For many enthusiasts, having live saltwater plants in their saltwater aquarium is a key way to maintain the health and ecological stability of the tank. But, some hobbyists might be a bit worried about having to look after plants as well as marine life!

But, have no fear! Many live plants for saltwater aquariums are super easy to take care of and actually help you look after your fish and keeping your tank balanced and healthy.

Why Choose Live Plants?

Live plants are a great way to improve the quality of the water in your tank as they absorb nitrates and carbon dioxide. They also release oxygen into the water. This helps keep the aquarium stable and healthy! Many act as a natural filtration system that removes the bad stuff and produces the good stuff. 

As your saltwater aquarium is your own little part of nature, it is important to keep it as natural as possible. Adding plants adds more life and biodiversity into the tank, creating a greater variety in your little ecosystem! 

They also look good and add color and texture to your aquarium. There are so many wonderful plants to choose from, with all of them adding different elements to your tank!

Not only will you love them, but your fish will love them too! When you have added plants to your aquarium you will soon notice your fish swimming amongst them and even munching on some. A lot of fish enjoy hiding out in shrubbery as it makes them feel safe and protected. Saltwater plants also add hiding places for small crustaceans like amphipods and copepods.

Live plants also help in combating unwanted algae. Adding macroalgae into your tank helps get rid of the slimy microalgae that we don’t like! 

Spaghetti Algae aka Chaeto

chaeto - spaghetti macro algae

This type of live plant is great for beginners and novices alike as it is easy to maintain and grows quickly. It also absorbs nitrates and releases loads of oxygen into the water so your marine life will love this addition to your tank! 

A lot of fish don’t try and eat this plant, but larger species are known to much on its green clumps sometimes. But, as it is a really hardy plant this won’t be an issue when it comes to it looking great and remaining healthy in your saltwater aquarium. 

Red Gracilaria Algae

red gracilaria saltwater plant

This is a red macro algae and adds a lovely shade of dark red to your aquarium! It is great for cleaning the water and provides nutrition for a lot of plant-eating fish. 

Perfect for tangs and angelfish, this live plant is easy to look after with the right lighting and moderate flow. A lot of hobbyists choose to grow this algae in a refugium and feed to the fish in little pinches every so often. However, it can be put in the main tank as it looks great!  

Mermaids Fan Macro Algae

green macro algae plant

This is a great decorative algae for saltwater aquariums. It has a short stem that grows out of the substrate and a big, beautiful green leaf that looks just like a mermaids tail!

The mermaid’s fan is pretty easy to look after once it gets settled in the tank. Fish tend to leave it alone. This live plant needs a decent amount of light and calcium in order to survive, so make sure your aquarium has an ample amount of these if you are wanting to add this plant into your tank! 


Mangrove shoot

Mangroves are a great addition to your saltwater aquarium as they help filter the water.  They work to remove certain toxins from the tank such as nitrates and phosphates. This means a healthier tank and happier fish! 

Mangroves are an adaptable plant and thrive with little light. You can purchase these mangrove shoots which can be placed in your aquarium once climatized. 

The roots of the mangroves can be put straight into the substrate or between rocks and will soon grow and become stable. 

When grown, these plants look wonderful and will work hard to keep your aquarium clean and healthy! 

Green Finger Plant aka Codium Macro Algae

Codium Macro Algae

This algae is both hardy and beautiful and therefore is very popular amongst saltwater aquarium hobbyists. Perfect for beginners, this plant looks interesting, with thick green stems. 

Like the other plants on this list, the green finger algae is great for a natural filtration system that keeps your tank fresh. Most fish don’t eat this plant, so you don’t have to worry about it being destroyed by hungry marine life!

Final Thoughts

Live plants are a necessity for saltwater aquariums and are great for keeping the ecosystem clean, fresh, and natural. The ones listed in this article are perfect for beginners as they are easy to take care of and add interest to your aquarium. 

Which plant you pick is up to you, as there are so many wonderful types to pick! It is all down to your own personal taste and what you need for your aquarium. 

Go and enjoy your new love for marine plants!