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5 Best Plants for Turtle Tank

Most recommended
Repta Vines-Pothos
  • Brand Fluker
  • 6 feet in length
  • Lifelike
A good choice too
Reptile Terrarium
  • Brand Exo Terra
  • Size Small
  • Color: Mandarin
A good choice too
Rainforest Ground Plant
  • Brand Exo Terra
  • Color MULTI
  • Size Medium
Exo Terra Plant
  • Color Multi
  • Grass
  • Brand Exo Terra
Reptology Climber Vine
  • Color Red and Green
  • 12 x 4 x 4 inches
  • Brand Penn-Plax

Choose the Best Plant for Turtle Tank

Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Plants for Turtle Tank

7 users answered this survey. Please help us improve this review!

42.86% of users selected Repta Vines-Pothos , 28.57% selected Reptile Terrarium, 28.57% selected Rainforest Ground Plant, 0.00% selected Exo Terra Plant and 0.00% selected Reptology Climber Vine. Every month we analyze your answers and change our rating.

If you’re looking for the best plants for turtle tanks, look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we will answer all of your questions and provide helpful tips on choosing the right plants for your pet turtles. We’ll also review some of the best plants for turtle tanks on the market today. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced turtle keeper, read on to learn more about the best plants for your tank!

Fluker’s Repta Vines-Pothos for Reptiles and Amphibians

If you have a reptile or amphibian friend that’s in need of some leafy greens, you might look into Fluker’s Repta Vines. Not only do these vines look aesthetically pleasing, but they’re also long enough even for larger animals.

Additionally, they help to maintain higher humidity levels, which is important for your reptile or amphibian friend’s health. And if that wasn’t enough, they’re also easy to clean.

But while you will get enough coverage for your tank with these, there are some downsides to consider. First, the leaves are sparse and provide no hiding spots, and the glue residue left over from the manufacturing process requires you to clean them properly prior to decorating the tank with them. In addition, some of the wires are exposed which could be harmful for your reptile. Lastly, their suction cups are basically useless and because of them the whole set-up is flimsy, so you might consider hooking the plant. But overall, this product is worth it, especially if you have a particularly large tank.

  • Looks aesthetically pleasing;
  • Long enough even for larger animals;
  • Keeps to maintain higher humidity;
  • Easy to clean;
  • Great deal for the price;

  • Leaves are very sparse;
  • Leaves have glue residue over them;
  • Some wires are exposed;
  • Flimsy structure;
  • Suction cups are hard to hang;

Exo Terra Artificial Plant, Reptile Terrarium Decoration

The Exo Terra Artificial Plant is the perfect way to add some greenery to your reptile terrarium, without any of the hassle of real plants! This artificial plant comes with strong suction cups that will keep it securely in place, even in smaller terrariums.

It’s also incredibly versatile – you can use it as a decoration, or as a hiding place for your reptile. Best of all, it comes at a great price, so you can add some greenery to your terrarium without breaking the bank.

When it comes to artificial plants for your reptile terrarium, the Exo Terra Artificial Plant is a great option! This plant is small in size, making it perfect for smaller terrariums. However, one downside is that it’s made of stiff plastic so it’s not as flexible as it may seem. Additionally, it can smell of chemicals initially, so be sure to wash it before use. Additionally, this plant is not water-resistant, so it may dye the water if used in a water tank. Finally, it’s not particularly sturdy, so you’ll want to take care when handling it.

  • Great for smaller cages;
  • Aesthetically pleasing;
  • Versatile;
  • Come at a great price;
  • Strong suction cups;

  • Small size;
  • Plastic is stiff;
  • Can smell of chemicals;
  • Not water-resistant, dyes the water;
  • Not sturdy;

Exo Terra Rainforest Ground Plant

The Exo Terra Rainforest Ground Plant is perfect for anyone looking to add a bit of greenery to their reptile tank. This large-sized plant has a bendable structure and can be easily rearranged to create the perfect hiding spot for your reptile.

Not only does it look great, but the Exo Terra Rainforest Ground Plant also holds water which helps to raise humidity levels, making it the ideal choice for your reptiles.

If you’re considering the Exo Terra Rainforest Ground Plant for your terrarium, you will need to consider some downsides of this product. The leaves of this fake plant are made of plastic that sheds easily, so watch out for your reptiles. Last thing you’d want is for your pet to consume the dangerous plastic. Additionally, the plant may be too big for smaller tanks. Plus, it’s prone to falling over if your reptile is way too energetic.

  • Large sized;
  • Adds a great look to your tank;
  • Works as a great hiding spot;
  • Bendable structure;
  • Helps to raise humidity;

  • Parts of fake leaves fall off;
  • Reptiles can consume the plastic;
  • Not for smaller tanks;
  • Falls over easily;

Exo Terra Turtle Grass Plant

The Exo Terra Turtle Grass Plant is the perfect addition to any terrarium. Not only does it create natural hiding spots for your small reptiles, but it also comes with a weighted base so it stays sturdy in any environment.

Plus, its realistic design makes it the perfect aesthetic addition to your tank.

Overall this is a realistic-looking plant that is perfect for larger tanks and smaller reptiles, but be warned – some reptiles may try to snack on it! It may also have a chemical smell when you first open the box, but don’t worry – this can be dealt with by soaking the plant in water before placing it in your tank. But despite these drawbacks, this fake turtle grass will still make a great addition to your turtle’s housing.

  • Creates natural hiding spots;
  • Comes with a weighted base;
  • Sturdy;
  • Looks realistic;
  • Can handle smaller reptiles weight;

  • Not for small tanks;
  • Not for bigger animals;
  • Reptiles will try to eat it;
  • May smell of chemicals out of the box;

Penn-Plax Reptology Climber Vine Reptile Terrarium Plant Decor Red & Green

The Penn-Plax Reptology Climber Vine Reptile Terrarium Plant Decor Red & Green is a great addition to any reptile terrarium. This vibrant plant not only adds color and interest to your pet’s home, but it also provides great coverage and can be used as a hiding spot.

The strong suction cups keep the vine securely in place, while the durable construction ensures that it will last for many years. Best of all, this affordable plant is easy to care for and will provide your pet with hours of enjoyment.

This beautiful plant comes in a vibrant red and green, adding a splash of color to your reptile’s home. But beware, this plant comes with a strong chemical smell that some may find offensive. Additionally, the leaves on this plant are quite sharp, so be careful when handling it. Also the plant may look way too artificial for some reptile owners, so if you want to 100% replicate the natural look, consider this factor.

  • Serves as a colorful addition;
  • Great suction;
  • Good coverage;
  • Can be used as a hiding spot;
  • Cheap;

  • Smells of chemicals;
  • Looks too fake;
  • Plastic is unyielding;
  • Leaves edges are too sharp;

Buyer’s Guide

We have compiled a list of the best plants for turtle tanks on the market today. Now, in this buyer’s guide, we will take a look at what to look for when choosing a plant for your turtle tank.

Types of Decorative Plants for Your Turtle Tank

When it comes to adding plants to your turtle tank, there are many different routes you can go. But the first choice you will have to make is picking either live or artificial plants.

Types of Decorative Plants for Your Turtle Tank

Some turtles will eat live plants, some won’t touch them, and others will destroy anything in their path regardless of edibility. You can also opt-in for artificial alternatives that will last for longer and won’t be eaten by your pet reptile.

But both of these types serve as a great way to create a more naturalistic environment for your turtles. By providing cover and hiding places, you can reduce stress levels in your turtles and create a more enjoyable environment for them to live in. [1],[2]

Live plants vs. Fake plants Debate

The most common debate when it comes to adding plants to any type of enclosure is whether live or fake plants are better.

There are pros and cons to both types of plants, so it really depends on your personal preference as to which route you want to go.

Live plants will obviously need more care than fake plants, but they also provide a more naturalistic look for your turtle tank.
They also help to oxygenate the water and can even provide a little bit of extra filtration for your tank.

On the other hand, fake plants are much easier to care for and can be just as aesthetically pleasing as live plants. They also won’t die if your turtle decides to munch on them and they won’t add any extra biological load to your tank. [2]

Why Would You Want to Add Live Plants to the Turtle Tank?

There are many reasons for adding live plants to your turtle tank. Let’s discuss them in more detail.

For aesthetics

Plants can make your turtle tank look more natural and inviting. They can also provide your turtles with hiding spots and a place to rest. Aesthetically, live plants help your turtle tank look more like their natural habitat and reduce the stress levels of your reptile. A stressed turtle is more likely to get sick and is less active overall.

To reduce algae growth

Algae can take over a turtle tank quickly if there are no live plants to help control it. Algae growth is often caused by an imbalance in the water. This is perfectly normal behavior and can actually be beneficial to their health. Live plants help to balance the water and reduce algae growth.

To remove waste from the water

Live plants play an important role in the water filtration process. They help to remove waste and toxins from the water, which keeps your turtles healthy. Plants also help to improve the quality of the water, making it clearer and cleaner.

As a secondary food source

Turtles are omnivores, so they need both animal protein and plant matter in their diet. While the main source of food for your turtle should be pellets or other commercial turtle food, adding live plants to the tank can provide them with a supplemental source of nutrition. This is especially important for baby turtles or turtles that are sick and not eating as well.

Turtles are curious creatures and will often nibble on plants in their tank. This is perfectly normal behavior and can actually be beneficial to their health. Plants can provide vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that turtles need to stay healthy.

Of course turtles won’t eat artificial plants but they still might try to do so, for that reason choose a plant that is safe for turtles. [2],[3],[4],[5],[7]

Dangers of Adding Live Plants In Your Turtle Habitat

While there are many benefits to adding live plants to your turtle habitat, there are also some dangers that you should be aware of. Some plants can be toxic to turtles if they eat them. It is important to do your research and choose plants that are safe for turtles before adding them to your tank. [5]

Why Would You Want to Add Artificial Plants to the Turtle Tank?

There are many reasons why you might want to consider adding artificial plants instead of live counterparts.


Artificial plants do not require the same level of care as live plants. They don’t need to be trimmed and you never have to worry about them being eaten by your pet. This is especially useful if you are new to keeping turtles as pets, or if you simply don’t have the time to care for live plants.

Another advantage of artificial plants is that they are not susceptible to disease and pests. This means that you won’t have to treat your turtle tank with chemicals that could potentially harm your turtles.

Danger of Adding Artificial Plants to Your Turtle Tank

While plastic plants can be an inexpensive and low-maintenance option for your turtle tank, there are several reasons why you should avoid them. Plastic plants that aren’t meant for reptile tanks can harbor bacteria and other harmful organisms that can be harmful to your turtles. They can also release toxins into the water that can be harmful to your turtles. In addition, plastic plants can damage your turtle’s health if they chew on them.

Danger of Adding Artificial Plants to Your Turtle Tank

So for this reason you should consider live plants that are designed specifically for aquariums and have hardy leaves without sharp edges. [2]

What Plants are Harmful for Turtles?

If you do decide to go with live plants for your turtle tank, it’s important to do your research and make sure that the plants you choose are safe for turtles.


Ivy is a common houseplant that can be found in many homes, but it’s important to note that this plant is toxic to turtles. If ingested, Ivy can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even respiratory distress in turtles. So if you’re looking for plants to add to your turtle tank, make sure Ivy is not on the list.

Water hemlock

Water hemlock is another common plant that is toxic to turtles.
This plant can be found in many ponds and streams, so it’s important to be aware of it if you live in an area where turtles are common. If ingested, water hemlock can cause seizures, paralysis, and even death in turtles. So make sure to avoid this plant if you’re looking for safe options for your turtle tank.


Azaleas could look like a beautiful flowering plant that can add some color to your turtle tank. However, they are also one of the most toxic plants for turtles. Azaleas contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can cause respiratory and gastrointestinal distress in turtles if ingested. If you have azaleas in your home, it’s best to keep them out of reach of your turtle. [5],[6][8]

Most Common Plants to Add to the Turtle Tank

Now that we’ve gone over some of the plants that you should avoid, let’s take a look at some of the most common live plants that are safe for turtles.


Duckweed is a common aquatic plant that is often found in ponds and streams. This plant is safe for turtles and can even provide them with some extra nutrition. Duckweed is high in protein and contains many vitamins and minerals that are essential for turtle health.

Another benefit of duckweed is that it helps to keep the water clean by absorbing excess nutrients. This can help to reduce algae growth in your turtle tank.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant option for your turtle tank, duckweed is a great choice. This plant does not require any special care and will thrive in most aquarium conditions.

The main downside of duckweed is that it can quickly take over your turtle tank if left unchecked. This plant reproduces very rapidly and can quickly cover the entire surface of your tank. If you don’t want your turtle tank to be filled with duckweed, it’s important to keep an eye on this plant and remove it as needed.


Anubias is a popular plant for many aquariums, and it’s also a great option for turtle tanks. Anubias is a slow-growing plant, so it doesn’t need to be trimmed as often as other plants. It’s also an easy plant to care for, which makes it a great option for beginner turtle owners.

Anubias can either be grown in the water or on land.
If you decide to grow them in the water, you’ll need to make sure that the roots are submerged. You can either tie the plants to rocks or driftwood, or you can use an aquarium gravel substrate.

Java fern (Microsorum pteropus)

Java fern is a beautiful plant that is native to Southeast Asia. It’s a popular plant in the aquarium trade and can be found in many pet stores.

This plant does not need any substrate to grow and can actually be attached to rocks or driftwood with ease. Java fern can also tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making it a great choice for beginner turtle keepers.

One thing to note about java fern is that it will not do well if it’s kept in direct sunlight. This plant prefers low to moderate lighting and will start to yellow and decline if it’s kept in too much light.

Overall, java fern is a great plant for turtle tanks and is one of the easier plants to care for.


Hornwort is a great plant for turtle tanks because it can grow quite large and provides a lot of cover for your turtles. It’s also a very tough plant that can withstand being nibbled on by turtles. And if you’re looking for a tough plant that will provide your turtles with plenty of cover, then hornwort is a great option.

Hornwort is an aquatic plant that is native to Europe and North America. It can grow in both fresh and saltwater, making it a great option for turtle tanks.


Hornwort can be found in most pet stores that sell live plants. You can also find it online from many different retailers. [1],[5]

Water compatibility

When choosing a plant for your turtle tank, the first thing you need to consider is whether the plant is water compatible or not. There are many plants that cannot tolerate being submerged in water for long periods of time, and these are not ideal for turtle tanks. Look for plants that are specifically labeled as “for reptiles” or “aquatic” when shopping. Also make sure that the plant you choose can tolerate the pH and hardness of your turtle’s water.

Plants that are not water compatible will typically have leaves that will begin to brown and wilt after a few days underwater. Sometimes, it even can color the water in the tank. If you see this happening to your plant, it is best to remove it from the tank and find a replacement that can better tolerate the conditions.

Maintenance easiness

Another important factor to consider when choosing a plant for your turtle tank is how easy it is to take care of. Some plants require a lot of upkeep, such as regular pruning and trimming, while others are much easier to care for and can even be left alone for long periods of time. If you do not have the time or patience to care for a high-maintenance plant, it is best to choose one that is low-maintenance instead or opt-in for a fake one that still resembles the natural aquatic plant look. [1],[2]

Growth in low-light environment

If you want to choose a real plant for our turtle tank, make sure it has an ability to grow in low-light environments. Many plants require high levels of light to thrive, but this is not ideal for a turtle tank. As we have mentioned, too much light can cause algae growth, which can be harmful to your turtles.

Instead, look for plants that can tolerate low or moderate levels of light. These types of plants are typically found in shady areas in the wild, and they will do well in a turtle tank with limited lighting. Anubias and Java fern are two examples of plants that grow well in low-light environments.


Next thing you should consider is stability. Many turtles are quite active, and they can uproot or damage plants that are not securely anchored in the substrate. Look for live plants that have a strong root system and artificial plants with a heavy stand. These should help keep them in place, even if your turtle bumps into them from time to time. You may also want to consider attaching the plant to something heavy or hooking it so that it cannot be easily dislodged by your turtle. [2]


The size of the plant is important to consider for two reasons. Firstly, you need to make sure that the plant is not too big for your turtle tank. Secondly, you need to make sure that the plant is not too small for your turtle tank. Seems simple enough, right?

Size is important because if the plant is too big, it can crowd the turtles and reduce the swimming space for them. Turtles need a lot of space to swim so they can stay healthy.

Another thing you need to consider when adding plants to your turtle tank is whether or not the plant will be able to provide adequate hiding places for your turtle. Turtles are shy creatures and often like to hide away in dark, secluded places. If the plant is too small, it will not provide adequate hiding places for your turtle.


Next important factor to keep in mind when choosing a plant for your turtle tank is safety. Researching whether or not the plant is poisonous to turtles is one of the elements of safety. Some plants contain toxins that can be harmful or even fatal to turtles if ingested. It is important to do your research and make sure that the plant you are considering adding to your tank is not toxic to turtles. If you are unsure about a particular plant, it is always best to err on the side of caution and choose something else. There are many safe, non-toxic plants that are ideal for turtle tanks. Some of our favorites include java ferns, anubias barteri, and hornworts.


Otherwise, you might consider choosing artificial plants for your turtle tank. These are typically made of plastic and are completely safe for turtles. Despite this, some plastics can release toxins into the water if they are not of high quality. Turtles will obviously try to chew on the plant, even if it’s fake but they usually instantly get turned off by the taste. If they continue to chew on the plant however, replace it as soon as you can. Also make sure artificial plants don’t shed any small pieces that your turtle could mistake for food and choke on.

You should also avoid plastic plants that have rough edges or are made of cheap materials. Instead, choose artificial plants that are specifically labeled as safe for reptiles.


Another thing to think about when choosing a plant for your turtle tank is its hardiness. Some turtles can be quite destructive, and you will need to find a plant that can withstand being nibbled on or uprooted. Look for plants with tough leaves or stems, such as Anubias or Java Fern. These plants are not as easily damaged and will be able to better withstand the abuse of curious turtles.

If you have a particularly destructive turtle, you may need to look for artificial plants instead of live ones.
Artificial plants are made of materials that cannot be eaten or destroyed, so they are ideal for tanks with voracious turtles. Just make sure that the artificial plants you choose are safe for your turtle to be around and are strong enough to handle the chewing attempts. [7]


Do artificial plants affect the water quality in my turtle tank?

No, artificial plants will not affect the water quality in your turtle tank. In fact, they can actually help to improve it by providing a place for beneficial bacteria to colonize and break down waste products in the water. On the other hand, they won’t affect the water in a bad way either.

Can I put pothos in my turtle tank?

Yes, pothos is a great plant for turtle tanks! Not only does it provide much-needed oxygen to the water, but it also helps keep the tank clean by absorbing excess nutrients.

Pothos is a fast-growing plant, so you’ll need to trim it back regularly to prevent it from taking over the tank. It’s also important to note that pothos can be poisonous to turtles if ingested, so be sure to keep it out of reach of your pets.

Do turtles eat aquatic plants?

Turtles are opportunistic feeders and will consume just about anything they can fit in their mouths. This includes aquatic plants. While most turtles won’t eat a lot of vegetation, some species such as the red-eared slider turtle are notorious plant-eating machines.

If you have a plant-eating turtle, you’ll need to be extra careful about the types of plants you put in your turtle tank. Some plants are poisonous to turtles while others simply don’t stand up well to being chewed on.

Can you put live plants in a turtle tank?

Yes, you can put live plants in a turtle tank! There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing plants for your turtle tank. First, turtles are curious creatures and may uproot or nibble on your plants. Choose plants that are sturdy yet not too delicate. Second, turtles need plenty of space to swim and bask, so choose plants that won’t crowd the tank. Third, turtles produce a lot of waste, so choose plants that are tolerant of high levels of nitrates and ammonia.

Useful Video: The Solution to Growing LIVE PLANTS in TURTLE TANKS?!


Turtles need to have plants to survive and feel at peace. You can either choose live or artificial plants; both have their own benefits. Both of these plants will help recreate a natural habitat for your pet turtle and live ones can even cleanse the water. Artificial plants are a great option if you don’t want to worry about keeping live plants alive and healthy, but they won’t provide the same environmental benefits as live plants.

So, those are five of the most popular plants for turtle tanks on the market today. When choosing plants for your tank, keep in mind the size of the plant, how safe it is for your turtles, how easy it is to maintain, its growth rate and water compatibility. We hope this article has helped you choose wisely when selecting plants for your new turtle tank!