Updated: October 11, 2022

Aphids are tiny, sap-sucking insects that can wreak havoc on freshwater plants. They are a common problem faced by aquarium enthusiasts, gardeners, and farmers alike. If you’re struggling to get rid of aphids on your freshwater plants, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll discuss some effective ways to eliminate these pests and keep your plants healthy and thriving.

Understanding Aphids

Before we dive into the methods of getting rid of aphids, let’s first understand these pesky little insects. Aphids are soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of plants, including freshwater plants like anubias, java ferns, and cabombas. They reproduce quickly, which means a few aphids can quickly turn into an infestation.

Aphids are usually found on the undersides of leaves, where they can easily suck the sap from the plant. They secrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which can attract ants and cause mold growth on the plant.

Ways to Get Rid of Aphids

Now that we know what aphids are let’s discuss some effective ways to get rid of them.

1. Manual Removal

The first step in getting rid of aphids is manual removal. You can use a soft-bristled brush or a piece of cloth to remove the aphids from the plant. Be gentle while doing this to avoid damaging the plant. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to suck up the aphids.

2. Neem Oil

Neem oil is a natural insecticide that is effective against aphids. It works by disrupting the insect’s hormonal balance and preventing them from feeding on the plant. Mix neem oil with water according to the instructions on the package and spray it on the affected plants. Repeat this process every few days until the aphids are gone.

3. Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soap is another effective way to get rid of aphids. It works by suffocating the insects and drying out their bodies. Spray the insecticidal soap on the affected plants, making sure to cover the undersides of the leaves where the aphids are usually found. Repeat this process every few days until the aphids are gone.

4. Ladybugs

Ladybugs are natural predators of aphids and can be an effective way to get rid of them. You can purchase ladybugs from a garden center or online and release them on the affected plants. They will feed on the aphids and help control their population.

5. Reflective Mulch

Reflective mulch can be used to deter aphids from infesting your plants. It works by reflecting sunlight onto the undersides of the leaves, where the aphids are usually found. This makes it difficult for them to feed on the plant, and they will eventually move on to another location.

Prevention Tips

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to dealing with aphids. Here are some tips to prevent an infestation:

  • Keep your plants healthy and well-maintained
  • Avoid over-fertilizing as this can attract aphids
  • Use floating plants like duckweed to provide shade and reduce sunlight exposure
  • Quarantine new plants before introducing them into your aquarium or garden


Are aphids harmful to humans?
No, aphids are not harmful to humans.

Can I use chemical insecticides to get rid of aphids?
While chemical insecticides can be effective against aphids, we recommend using natural methods like neem oil and insecticidal soap.

How often should I spray my plants with neem oil or insecticidal soap?
You should spray your plants every few days until the aphids are gone.

How do I prevent an aphid infestation?
Keep your plants healthy, avoid over-fertilizing, use floating plants to provide shade, and quarantine new plants before introducing them into your aquarium or garden.