Aquarium advice

Popular Planted Tank Fish Options - Small, Medium and Large Aquascape Livestock

Angelfish in a planted tank

Planted Aquariums


Planted tanks are becoming increasingly popular and it’s easy to see why, aquascapes look beautiful! Once you have setup your aquascape or preferably before, you will need to consider what fish you would like to stock. Before you read on, I want to point out that no matter the style of your aquascape you must always ensure your setup meets the requirements of the fish you plan to stock. The tank must be the correct size and you must have the correct equipment installed. Also be careful stocking fish that you do not have much experience with, some fish grow large and can quickly destroy an aquascape and some fish species will happily eat plants. So be sure to research the species you plan to keep thoroughly before buying your fish, this way you will get the most enjoyment from your planted tank.


Nano, Medium or Large Aquascape


Nano aquascapes which are under 20 gallons are very popular. They can work great on desktops; they provide a mental retreat during a busy working day. Desktop nano aquascapes also work well as you are generally sat close to the aquarium meaning you can appreciate the finer details in the tank. Medium aquascapes are a great option if you wish to stock more fish and are a great choice for beginners as the higher water volume means parameters will be more stable. Large aquascapes can take longer to setup and will be more expensive but the end product is worthwhile! A large aquascape can really transform a space and give you the option to keep large fish like Angelfish and Boesemani Rainbows.


Popular planted tank Livestock choices:


Betta - Great for a tank of at least 5 gallons. These colourful fish have a lot of personality. Unless your tank is 15 gallons or larger it is best to keep your betta alone.

Cardinal Tetras - Cardinal tetras are the most popular tropical fish, and for good reason. Cardinals have bright blue and red bodies. Their colour really pops against green plants. You will need at least a 2 foot tank for these, and they need to be kept in groups of at least 6 to thrive.

Ember Tetras - Ember tetras work well in tanks 10 gallons and above. These bright nano schooling fish are peaceful and can even be kept with cherry shrimp which makes a stunning planted tank display. Keep a minimum of 6 as these are a schooling fish.

Pea Puffer - Pea puffers are great for small to medium species only aquascapes. Roughly 5 gallons per pea puffer is advised. These fun little fish have a lot of personality.

Chilli Rasboras – These tiny gems are perfect for small aquascapes. Species like Chilli Rasboras can be kept in a good sized school in a 10 gallon and are small enough to not be a threat to shrimp. They work well for a detailed nano desktop aquascape as you can sit close and enjoy the environment you have created.

Corydoras – Most Corydoras do well in planted tanks over 20 gallons or larger, although Pygmy Corydoras can be kept in 10 gallons. These fish need a sandy substrate and should be kept in groups, they will spend a lot of their time sifting through the sand.

Platy – Platys are a personal favourite of mine and are great fun for newcomers to the hobby. Although they are not as hardy as they once were, they are very colourful and easy to breed. Just setup a healthy planted environment and you will see fry in no time! 15 gallons is a good minimum tank size for these fish.

Amano Shrimp – Amano shrimp are named after the world famous Takashi Amano who pioneered the planted tank as we know it today. Originating from Japanese these shrimps do a great job at eating algae and leftover food in any size of planted tank. Larger fish may try to eat shrimp.

Cherry Shrimp – These tiny colourful shrimps are right at home in a nano planted tank. You can find cherry shrimp in a variety of colours, and they can be housed with most nano fish. Consider a shrimp only tank if you plan to breed your cherry shrimp.

Angelfish - Angelfish do well in larger planted tanks, they do not eat plants and when breeding will even lay their eggs on plant leaves. Avoid small schooling fish like cardinal tetras as these can be preyed upon by large angelfish.

Bolivian Ram - These colourful hardy fish are a relatively peaceful option for a medium to large sized aquascape. They are sand sifters and spend a lot of time at the bottom of the aquarium. They generally take no notice of small schooling fish and really brighten up a planted tank.

 Boesemani Rainbow - These large colourful fish are a great choice for a larger planted tank. The orange and blue bodies of males really stand out against live plants. Avoid keeping these with small fish as rainbows reach a large size.



We supply high quality aquascaping products to help you create the planted tank of your dreams. Please let us know if you have any questions regarding livestock choices, our friendly expert team are happy to help!

By Alasdair McPhail

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