Water Spangles Vs. Duckweed: Which Will Beautify Your Aquarium?

Floating plants will add much more charm to your aquarium. Water spangles and duckweed are among the most popular choices in this term, thanks to their stunning color and ease of care. But which one should you choose?

We will give you a side-by-side comparison between water spangles vs. duckweed. Let’s read through to determine your favorite!

Water Spangles Vs. Duckweed: Comparison Table

Both water spangles and duckweed are popular floating plants for fish tanks. Here are some outstanding characteristics of the plants.

  Water Spangles Duckweed
Origin Central and South America Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America
Size Up to 0.6 inches Up to 0.3 inches
Color Light green Light to dark green
Difficulty Easy Easy
Lighting Moderate to high Moderate to high
Optimal pH 6.0 – 8.0 6.5 – 7.5
Water hardness Soft to hard Soft to hard
Optimal temperature 72– 79°F 60– 90°F
Substrate Not needed Not needed
Growth rate   Very fast Very fast
Propagation Spore-production, fragmentation, or by splitting Division
Fertilizers Recommended Not needed
CO2 Not needed Not needed

Similarities Between Water Spangles Vs. Duckweed

Fish owners don’t know what to choose between water spangles and duckweed because they have many similarities. For example:

  • These plants are easy to grow and care for.
  • They need moderate to high illumination.
  • Water hardness doesn’t matter both.
  • The plants don’t need a substrate for their development.
  • CO2 is not necessary.
  • Both plants are fast-growing.

Differences Between Water Spangles Vs. Duckweed

Now, we will discuss how plants differ in their origin, size, color, growth rate, propagation, and requirements.


Water spangles are floating plants native to Central and South America. You can easily find them in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil.

This species is well-known for its size compared to other plants and for its dangling roots. It provides a fantastic feeding area and shelter for young aquatic animals.

On the other hand, Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America are all native regions of duckweed, which has a sub-cosmopolitan distribution.

Except for cold and subarctic environments, the plant can live anywhere near freshwater lakes and slow-moving streams.


Water spangles and duckweed are both small plants, but the latter is small.

Often, water spangles can reach the size of 0.6 inches, while the average size of duckweed is 0.4 inches.

Despite the small size, both plants can cover the tank surface within weeks since they grow fast.

Leaves of water spangles

Leaves of water spangles are bigger


Water spangles often have light green leaves with white hairs covering the entire surface. Their leaves are oval or orbicular in shape with rounded tips and heart-shaped bases.

The duckweed leaves can range in color from light to dark green. They can be oval to tear-drop in shape and nearly flat on both sides.


Duckweed can be light or dark green


In their native habitat, water spangles mostly propagate through the spores.

In contrast, the plant multiplies vegetatively in the tank by fragmentation or the branching and cutting of terminal and lateral shoots.

Additionally, water spangles can divide the existing horizontal branches to grow new, separate plants.

On the other hand, as a perennial means, duckweed will survive for more than two years in ideal growing conditions.

Duckweed propagates asexually by vegetative propagation. Since they are flowering species, they can reproduce sexually, but you wouldn’t need to be bothered about this process.

How to care

These plants are easy to grow and care for. However, each requires specific conditions to thrive.

Water spangles

This plant can grow and form new shoots very fast. It can quickly double and quadruple in size in seven to ten days when all factors are favorable.

As a result, you should continuously hold back its expansion by regularly pruning the thick foliage.

Make sure to regularly prune the leaves to prevent the branches from crowding the water’s surface and limiting light from getting to those at the bottom of the aquarium.

Liquid fertilizers also play a vital role here. They should be nutrient-rich and offer everything the plant needs for optimum growth.

If you don’t supply the right amount of fertilizer, your plants will suffer. You may notice discoloration in the leaves and limited expansion.

Water spangles with light

Pruning is important for this fast-growing plant


Under ideal water conditions, duckweed grows quickly, so you need to monitor your tank correctly.

Also, scoop out a part of it when it appears to cover the entire tank surface.

The current in the tank may push your plants if you install a back filter that creates a strong flow. It will hinder the duckweed’s growth. In this case, redirect the flow four to five inches below the surface.

You might also add sponge pieces right where the water escapes at the front. This method will slow down the flow.

How about fertilizers? Duckweed requires less potash, phosphorus, nitrogen, and micronutrients than water spangles.

duckweed floating

Control the water flow in your tank

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do water spangles multiply?

Yes. They multiply quickly, even under simple conditions. Hence, you need to prune them sometimes to limit their expansion.

2. How fast do water spangles spread?

The plant can quickly double and triple in size within seven to ten days when all factors are appropriate.

3. Is duckweed good for aquariums?

Yes. As one of the best water-filtering plants available, duckweed is also aesthetically beautiful and easy to maintain.

4. Does duckweed oxygenate water?

Duckweed provides oxygen and circulates air, making it a valuable oxygen supply for your aquarium. The plant also absorbs CO2 from the water column, aiding in improving water quality.

5. What eats duckweed in a pond?

Koi, grass carp, and goldfish are a few of the more popular predators that like eating duckweed.


Water spangles and duckweed are excellent choices for your tank. They will soon cover the water’s surface with gorgeous green color.

So, have you chosen which plant to grow? Feel free to consider every trait of the two species, and enjoy what you create.

Thank you for reading!