Is Monstera Toxic To Fish? Navigating Aquarium Safety with this Tropical Plant

Welcome to our exploration of the grand intersection of leafy elegance and aquarium life.

With Monstera’s wide, glossy leaves speckled with unique holes and slits, these plants make a real style statement in any home.

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Monstera plant in an aquarium with fish

But wait, what happens when your underwater buddies meet this lush piece of decor?

Does the Monstera play nice with your fishy friends, or is there more to this stylish houseplant than meets the eye?

Grab your aquatic gear, fellow readers, because we’re about to take a deep dive into the tropical jungle meets aquarium saga!

Is Monstera Toxic to Fish?

Most varieties of Monstera contain calcium oxalate crystals, which are indeed toxic substances.

However, this toxicity may not pose a significant risk to your fish if certain precautions are taken.

For instance, if you’re planning to grow Monstera in your aquarium, you should separate the plant’s leaves from your fish, especially if you have vegetarian fish that may nibble on the leaves.

Monstera in an aquarium guide

Additionally, always perform any pruning away from the aquarium to prevent sap from dripping into the water and remove any fallen leaves from the tank as they can pollute the water if they start rotting.

Understanding Calcium Oxalate Crystals

Calcium Oxalate crystals are present in various plant-like stems, leaves, and roots, including Monstera.

These crystals can cause reactions ranging from mild irritation to severe toxicity in humans and animals, like dogs and cats.

Monstera has been listed as toxic by the ASPCA, but its toxicity level is not fatal.

In the case of fish, calcium oxalate crystals may have a similar effect. When ingesting these toxins, fish may experience irritation or discomfort.

While the risk is not significant enough to be fatal, you should still take precautions and separate the fish from the Monstera plant, especially if you have vegetarian fish.

To prevent potential harm to your fish, consider the following options:

  • Place a protective barrier between the plant’s leaves and the fish in the tank
  • Limit access to the Monstera plant for specific fish that may nibble on its leaves
  • Opt for other non-toxic plant options in your fish tank

By being cautious with your fish tank setup and keeping an eye on how your fish react to the presence of a Monstera plant, you can maintain a safe and healthy environment for your aquatic pets.

Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the well-being of your aquatic friends.

Effects of Monstera on Fish

Monstera deliciosa is a popular houseplant known for its unique, split leaves.

While it may look beautiful in your home, it is important to consider the potential effects of Monstera on your fish tank and its inhabitants.

Symptoms of Ingestion

Monstera contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause mild to severe reactions if ingested by fish or other aquatic animals.

Some symptoms that your fish may experience if they ingest parts of the Monstera plant include:

  • Irritation and discomfort
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Signs of distress, such as rapid swimming or erratic behavior

Although Monstera is not considered fatal to aquatic species, the presence of calcium oxalates can still have a significant impact on their health.

Potential Damage to Fish Tanks

Aside from the risks posed by ingestion, Monstera can also cause potential damage to the fish tank itself.

Should the plant be partially submerged, its roots can grow rapidly and possibly clog your tank’s filtration system or sump.

Moreover, Monstera’s large leaves can restrict the amount of light penetration in the tank, affecting the growth of other aquatic plants and the overall balance of the ecosystem.

It is recommended to keep Monstera out of your fish tank and opt for aquarium-safe plants that pose no risk to your aquatic pets.

Aquarium with fish, fish tank

Alternatives to Monstera in Aquariums

While the Monstera plant can have some benefits within an aquarium, it’s essential to consider other plants that may be better suited for your aquatic environment.

In this section, we will discuss alternatives to Monstera for aquarium use, focusing on aquatic plants safe for fish and non-toxic houseplants.

Aquatic Plants Safe for Fish

Aquatic plants are an excellent choice for creating a healthy and natural environment for your fish, as they will absorb nitrates and provide oxygen.

Moreover, they require a similar lighting setup to that of the Monstera plant. Below is a list of some top aquatic plants that are safe for fish:

Java Fern

A hardy, slow-growing plant that can thrive in various lighting conditions. It provides excellent hiding spots for fish and does not require substrate.


A popular choice for beginners, Anubias is easy to care for, can grow under low light conditions and is compatible with many fish species.

Water Sprite

An aquatic plant that grows rapidly in even moderate lighting, Water Sprite can help reduce algae growth by competing for nutrients.

Non-Toxic Houseplants

If you’re looking for houseplants to grow in your aquarium, it’s crucial to choose non-toxic options that won’t harm your fish.

Some non-toxic houseplants that can thrive in aquarium environments include:


Devil's ivy plant in a glass aquarium filled with water. Scientific name Epipremnum Aureum

Known for its ability to grow in aquatic environments, Pothos can absorb nitrates and provide an exciting look to your aquarium as its leaves cascade over the edge of the tank.

Be sure to only have the roots in the water and avoid fully submerging the plant to prevent rot.

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo

Another popular addition to aquariums, Lucky Bamboo can be grown with its roots submerged in water, providing an interesting and exotic appearance.

However, ensure the leaves remain above water to avoid rot.


While not every Alocasia species is safe for fish, many are non-toxic and can be grown with their roots in water, provided the plant has access to ample light and nutrients.

In conclusion, when selecting plants for your aquarium, always ensure they are safe for your fish and can thrive in aquatic environments.

Both aquatic plants and non-toxic houseplants can provide your fish with natural hiding spots, help to maintain water quality, and enhance the overall appearance of your aquarium.

Read more: 4 Plants Not To Grow Near Your Monstera

Preventing Monstera Exposure to Fish and Pets

To ensure the safety of your fish and pets, it’s essential to take necessary precautions to prevent their exposure to toxic Monstera plants.

In this section, we’ll discuss how to choose the right location for your Monstera and using a repellent spray effectively.

Choosing the Right Location

When placing your Monstera in your home or garden, consider its accessibility to fish, pets, and children. Keep it out of reach by:

  • Using hanging baskets or high shelves in areas where pets and children cannot access them.
  • Placing the Monstera near a fish tank should be avoided, as fallen leaves or debris could contaminate the water.
  • Opt for a secured outdoor location, such as a fenced-off area, if you have outdoor pets.

Choosing a strategic location for your Monstera ensures the safety of your loved ones and pets while still allowing you to enjoy the aesthetic benefits of the plant.

Read more: Are Monstera Toxic To Rabbits? A Crucial Pet Owner’s Guide

Using Repellent Spray

In addition to careful placement, employing repellent sprays can help deter pets from getting close to your Monstera. Here are some tips for using repellents:

  • Apply a pet-safe repellent spray on the plant’s leaves and stems. Preferably, use a product that doesn’t harm fish in case of accidental exposure to the fish tank’s water.
  • Reapply the spray regularly, following the manufacturer’s instructions, to ensure its effectiveness.
  • Using natural alternatives like citrus or eucalyptus oils can sometimes be effective and safer options for both pets and fish.

Remember that preventing exposure to Monstera is crucial, as ingestion of any part of the plant can cause irritation, drooling, and vomiting in animals.

Moreover, the calcium oxalate crystals found in Monstera can trigger more severe conditions, such as kidney stones, if ingested in large amounts.

Utilizing a combination of careful placement and repellent sprays will help keep your fish, pets, and children safe from the potential dangers Monstera plants pose.

Emergency Actions to Take in Case of Ingestion

If you suspect your fish has ingested Monstera, it’s important to act quickly and take the necessary steps to ensure their safety.

Here are some emergency actions you should follow:

Identify ingestion symptoms

Keep an eye on your fish for symptoms of ingestion, such as difficulty breathing or swimming, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

These may be signs that your fish has been poisoned.

Call a professional

In case of ingestion, immediately contact your local veterinarian, animal poison control center, or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) for guidance on how to proceed.

They can provide expert advice on what to do and whether further treatment is necessary.

Have vital information ready

In case you need to consult a professional, make sure you have important information about your fish ready, such as its species, size, and any relevant health history.

This will help them provide accurate advice on how to address the situation.

Remove contaminated items from the aquarium

If you believe your fish has ingested Monstera, remove any remaining leaves or items that may have been contaminated from the aquarium to prevent further exposure.

Monitor your fish

Aquarium with cichlids fish from lake malawi

Keep a close eye on your fish for any changes in their behavior, and follow any advice given by the veterinarian or poison control center.

In some cases, symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea may occur, which may require further attention.

Remember, it’s important to remain calm and act quickly in case of ingestion. Keep this information handy and contact a professional for guidance to ensure the safety and well-being of your fish.

Diving Up: Emerging with Wisdom

As we resurface from our deep dive, we’ve learned that Monstera, despite its mesmerizing tropical appeal, holds a bit of a caution for our aquatic friends.

However, we also learned that with the right precautions, your fish can still coexist with this captivating plant.

So, don’t toss out your Monstera yet! Strategically place it where your pets or aquatic buddies can’t nibble on it, and consider using a repellent spray.

And remember, there’s a wide world of non-toxic aquatic and house plants out there that could be perfect additions to your aquarium.

So, it’s a yes to the Monstera, but let’s do it thoughtfully, ensuring we keep our home a safe haven for all its occupants – land, air, and water.

After all, in our journey with our finned friends, we’re always learning, adapting, and evolving. Keep exploring and happy aquascaping!

Is Monstera Toxic To Fish? Navigating Aquarium Safety with this Tropical Plant