Hard Water Aquarium Plants – What Are The Best Choices?

Having the right plants for your home aquarium brings about significant benefits for the fish community. Not only do plants help to filter the water, but they are also a constant source of live food. That is not to mention how plants can be highly decorative.

But unfortunately, not everyone knows how to pick the right hard water aquarium plants for their tanks. If you are one of them, make sure to check out this article and see the answer for yourself!

What Is Hard Water?

To put it simply, hard water refers to the type of water with a high concentration of minerals. These mostly include calcium and magnesium, although other minerals can still be present.

Hard water is alkaline, largely due to its large amount of mineral buildup. Thus, finding plants that can thrive in this environment can prove to be quite a problem for inexperienced aquarists.

7 Best Hard Water Aquarium Plants

aquarium plants


With a hardness tolerance ranging from 60 to 160PPM, anubias are a relatively safe choice for hard water tanks. They do not grow more than 11 inches in length, making them suitable for small and medium-sized tanks.

Furthermore, these plants are not easily swayed by external factors, which means they can stay alive for months despite harsh circumstances.

There is only one thing you should be aware of anubias, and that is the fact that these plants grow better under high lighting conditions. Thus, make sure to arrange as much lighting as possible should you want your plants to reach their full potential.

Java fern

Java fern is known for its hardiness, which can tolerate any hard water tank between 60 and 160PPM. Furthermore, they are affordable and beginner-friendly, making them the perfect addition to all tanks.

The best thing about java fern is that they could provide a playground for your fish. With long and roomy leaves, the java fern offers multiple hiding places that a fish community can comb through.

Java moss

Moss is arguably among the most popular aquarium plants thanks to its hardiness and appearance. Moreover, moss is highly accessible and is dirt cheap. Given these merits, it should be no wonder why java moss remains the top choice for hard water tanks.

That said, java moss can give way to algae growth if left in the wrong conditions. Thus, make sure you do not tamper much with its development.

Giant hygrophila

If you are having a huge aquarium at home, your best bet is to get some giant hygrophila. They have a much higher endurance compared to other plants, with a range between 72 and 321PPM.

Thus, feel free to toss these plants into even the hardest water tanks you can find.

Many aquarists enjoy giant hygrophila due to their fast growth and overall height. With a maximal height of roughly 24 inches, giant hygrophila make for great decor in 100-gallon tanks and above.

Bacopa Caroliniana

Bacopa Caroliniana

In case you are looking for some plants with gorgeous flowers, you cannot go wrong with bacopa caroliniana. With its rounded green leaves and baby blue flowers, bacopa caroliniana is the best for background decoration.

Moreover, these plants are by no means demanding regarding their living conditions. Whatever substrate and lighting you employ will not hurt their growth.

However, since bacopa caroliniana are hardy and invasive, you might have to trim them frequently to prevent them from overtaking other plants.

Amazon frogbit

Floating plants are an excellent choice if you wish to have some hard water aquarium plants. By providing coverage on top of the water, Amazon frogbit helps to remove heavy metals as well as other toxins from the water.

While Amazon frogbit does not require much care, it is important to note that these plants can grow fairly quickly. If left uncontrolled, frogbit may impede the growth of other plants inside the tank, not to mention how they can tamper with the lighting conditions.

Hence, you will have to ensure that Amazon frogbit is kept in check.

Dwarf baby tears

The appearance of dwarf baby tears makes them perfect for carpeting all tanks, especially hard water tanks. Not only are they decorative, but dwarf baby leaves can also act as a hiding place for your fish.

Even better? Once nibbed or eaten by other animals, these plants can easily spring back to life.

The only thing you need to be careful about regarding dwarf baby tears is pruning. Like frogbits, they can overtake other plants in the tank if not trimmed regularly.


1. Do aquarium plants prefer hard water?

Not necessarily. Most aquatic plants are more lenient towards soft water, especially those that come from tropical climates. But still, if put in hard water, these plants will find a way to adapt to the new environments.

2. Does water hardness affect aquarium plants?

Yes. Water hardness can affect the nutrient absorption of aquatic plants. That said, there are plants that can withstand a wide range of water hardness, so the key point here is to find some compatibility between the two.

3. How to take care of plants in hard water properly?

If you want your plants to grow in hard water tanks, make sure to pick the right types of plants in the first place. This way, they are less susceptible to death and can thrive when provided with enough lighting and nutrients.

Furthermore, you might have to maintain these plants by pruning them regularly. Some of these aquatic plants are highly invasive, which can impede the growth of others in a community tank.


Finding the right hard water aquarium plants is easy enough once you learn about each plant’s pros and cons. Make sure to consult with the seller and see which plants are best designed for your needs!