The Benefits of Aquatic Plants: Beautiful and Beneficial

Benefits of Aquatic Plants header

Aquatic plants are great for your pond for various reasons. They are not just beautiful, they are also advantageous to the entire ecosystem.

Read on to learn about the benefits of aquatic plants.

What Are The Benefits of Aquatic Plants?

The benefits of aquatic plants are many. They are great food for your aquatic animals, they provide protection from predators and shade from the heat, they reduce algae and free up nutrients for your fish, they absorb pollutants and purify and clean the water and they add a bit of color to the surrounding environment. What is there not to love?

About Aquatic Plants

When we think of plants, we immediately think about those on the ground and in pots. We don’t usually bother noticing aquatic and air plants. 

Aquatic plants thrive on water whether it is fresh or saltwater. 

Also known

Aquatic plants are also called hydrophytes. 

There are three types of aquatic plants:

  • Totally submerged plants
  • Floating plants
  • Swamp plants

The differences

Totally submerged plants are pretty explanatory. They are considered true water plants as they live or thrive underwater. 

The floating plants are completely on the surface and are considered to have rooted in floating water.

Swamp plants, on the other hand, have their lower parts submerged. 

Original plants

According to some scientists and researchers, the first plants were aquatic. These original plants eventually adapted to the environment and crawled to land and became terrestrial plants. 

Although, a second school of thought believed the terrestrial plants were the original. 

According to Prof. Patrick Martone:

“All land plants evolved from aquatic green algae, and scientists have long believed that lignin evolved after plants took to land as a mechanical adaptation for stabilizing the upright growth and transporting water from the root.”

Martone is a Department of Biology professor from the University of British Columbia. 

Flowers on water

Benefits of Aquatic Plants

Aquatic plants exist in natural ponds, rivers, swamps, and wetlands for a reason. They are needed to balance the ecosystem. 


If you are trying to build a pond in the backyard, or you have pet fish in the aquarium, you will need aquatic plants. 

There are so many benefits to having plants. No matter how small your aquarium or pond is, that is a whole ecosystem. Just like any ecosystem, there should be balance. 

Here are the benefits of aquatic plants

1. Provide food for aquatic animals

A lot of aquatic plants are great fish food. 

This is not to say that you shouldn’t supplement fish food if you have aquatic plants. You should still feed the fish with fish food you buy from the store. 

By the way

A lot of the fish food in the store are also made of or processed from aquatic plants. 

What you should choose to put in with your fishes are aquatic plants that grow fast–but not too fast. 

What does this mean?

You want a plant that can easily grow so that the ones eaten by the fish will be replenished. 

2. Provide shade & protection

This is particularly true for floating plants. They could provide shade for the fish especially when it gets too hot. 

You have to remember, when you put the fish in a pond, it’s shallow compared to natural bodies of water like the sea or the river. 


When it gets too hot, the fish can’t find solace in the deeper part of the water. That’s why floating plants are necessary. 

They also hide the fish just in case there are predators around. Remember, cats could be real pain for you if you have a pond.

Fish in fish ponf

In the same manner

They could also provide protection for fry. The baby fish might need protection especially if you have a mixed of different species in the pond. 

Some types of fish can be aggressive toward others. 

So, if you plan to mix different species in the pond, make sure there are submerged plants for the fry to hide in. 

3. Reduce algae

Algae may look like plants and are technically part of the plant kingdom, but they are definitely not plants. 

They don’t have roots, stems, and leaves. 

Why are they bad?

They are not really bad per se. However, when they overpopulate the pond, a phenomenon known as algal bloom, the fish will be in danger.

You see, the algae will greatly reduce oxygen in the water, thereby suffocating the fish. 

As a result

The fish could get sick, or worse, die. 

We don’t want that, do we?

Obviously not!

Now, when there are aquatic plants, they will compete with the algae for key nutrients in order to thrive. 

In most cases, the aquatic plants win and would minimize the nutrients that would go to the algae and would encourage their multiplication. 


The plants are suffocating the algae. 

So, what are the nutrients that aquatic plants and algae are competing for?

  • Iron
  • Nitrates
  • Potassium
  • Trace elements
Green leaves on water

4. Absorb pollutants

Aquatic plants make the water cleaner for the fish. They do this by absorbing pollutants present in the water. 

The fish, just like any animal, also have waste. This waste will just circulate in the pond. 

But with plants, nitrates will be absorbed through their leaves. 

Here’s an important reminder

Don’t depend solely on plants to clean the water in the pond. You have to clean the pond regularly as well. 

5. Attractive to look at

Plants, in general, will add beauty to your space. 

It’s the same in your pond. When you choose the flowering aquatic plants, your pond will surely look attractive and vibrant. 

This way

People don’t actually need to just look down at the pond to see colors from the fish. 

From afar, people will already appreciate the different colors and the dynamic ecosystem of the pond–or the aquarium. 

Buds on water surface

6. Good for mental health

Plants, in general, are good for your mental health. They are a calming presence in people. 

That’s why a lot of people turn to gardening to relax. 

When you have aquatics

You don’t even need to tend to these plants all the time. Just the same, you will be able to enjoy their beauty.  


Are you planning on having a pond or aquarium with fish? Always balance the ecosystem with some aquatic plants. No, not the plastic ones, the real ones!

There are a number of advantages as to why you need to have aquatic plants. For one, they are beautiful to look at. But that’s quite superficial, right? There are actually many practical benefits to having plants. They provide food for the fish as well as protection from the sun and from predators. 

Aquatic plants also help reduce algae and pollutants in the water. To top it off, they are great for your mental health.

You Might Also Like

Since we’ve covered the importance of having aquatic plants, you ought to know the best backyard pond plants to grow. We made a list of seven delightful aquatics that you can have in your pond or even in your aquarium.

If you still don’t have a pond and are thinking of having one, you don’t need to pay big bucks for a contractor to build you water feature at home. You can do it yourself. Check out our guide on how to build a fish pond.

But if you do have a pond, don’t forget to clean it regularly. Here’s a list of the best pond cleaners of the year

Useful Resources

  • Aquatic Plants and Flowers – ProFlowers
  • World’s First Flowers May Have Come from Fresh Water – Science Mag
  • Best Backyard Pond Plant Varieties – The Spruce

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