How To Plant Aquarium Plants

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Last Updated on 2023-08-30

Planting is vital for a planted aquarium. A little bit of preparation before planting can begin can make a big difference. Planning ahead to determine where each plant will go and what you can expect after a few months of growth will save you a lot of time and energy later on.

When designing your aquarium, don’t forget to incorporate natural elements like rocks and driftwood. If you want your tank to look its best, stick to using just one kind of rock or driftwood throughout. Think ahead and design your hardscape such that it will accommodate an aquarium after it has grown for a few months.

Aquatic plant growing is a relaxing pastime that will provide you and your fish much joy. Have a read-through to find out more.

Table of Contents

How To Plant Aquarium Plants In Gravel

Have you been debating which substrate to use for your new aquarium? Or if any substrate is required. Each aquarium is designed and set up in its own special way. Some are more about function, while others are more about how they look.

If you’ve settled on gravel as the substrate for your aquarium, you can now set up your plant life. Although it could appear difficult at first, rest assured that it is a lot simpler than you may imagine.

Here is a step-by-step list of what you need to do:

1. Make Sure You’re Using the Right Size of Gravel

The size of gravel varies, which may come as a surprise. The ideal size range for gravel grains is three to eight millimeters. A plant’s growth could be stunted if the gravels are too large. If the gravel grains are too small, though, they won’t be able to support the weight of the plants’ roots. Consequently, the plant’s survival might be in jeopardy.

2. Pile the Gravel in The Aquarium and Get It Ready Before You Plant the Plants

Putting a layer of gravel at the base of your aquarium is the next stage in setting it up. Spread the gravel out in an even layer in the tank, no more than two inches thick. In order to make cleaning your aquarium easier, we recommend keeping the layer to no more than two inches in height.

When you’ve added enough gravel, sprinkle a few drops of aquarium plant fertilizer on top of it. Then, add enough water to the tank to reach the halfway mark.

3. Put Plants in The Aquarium

Put the plants in the gravel carefully. When transferring plants to the aquarium, handle the roots with care to avoid damaging them. After you’ve set your plant in the gravel, you can assist it to flourish by covering its roots with more gravel.

4. Pour in The Rest of The Water and Feed the Plants

After you’ve planted everything, it’s time to replenish the water supply. Your fish tank’s plant life will determine how much water it needs. Add the final amount of water, then fertilize the tank, and you’re done.

aquatic plants and oxygen bubbles on leaves.

How To Plant Aquarium Plants In Pots

Although it’s simple to put aquatic plants right into the substrate, growing them in containers offers a number of benefits. Additionally, it safeguards the tender roots from predatory fish, giving you greater control over the situation. Growing plants in containers is simple. However, you need to take extra care in certain situations. Here’s what to do.

  • Soil preparation is the initial step. The next step is to saturate the soil to the point that you can easily move it around with your hands. When it’s done, you can move it to the pot.
  • The dirt should have the consistency of mud, and the pot should be pressed down several times. Doing so will remove any voids in the soil and compact the soil in the container.
  • Create a hole in the soil’s middle to place the live aquarium plant. This needs to sink to the bottom of the pan.
  • When replanting, it’s important to leave some space between the soil and the plant’s roots. Protect the plant’s new home by filling it around with pebbles and substrate as you set it in the container.
  • It’s important to pack the gravel firmly on top of the soil in the container.
  • Plants in containers should be lowered gently into aquariums rather than thrown in. When you do this, the trapped air bubbles will pop.

When setting up an aquarium, we suggest utilizing plastic or clay containers. They don’t encourage unwanted algae development in the area, and they’re simple to care for. Fertilizers for plants should also be added if you have any.

How To Plant Carpet Plants In Aquarium

One of the most popular aspirations is to create a carpeted tank, and for a good reason: it’s a gorgeous look to attain in an aquarium. The shimmering sheen and bright green color complement many popular modern aquascaping designs. They are cheap and simple to style in a way that pleases the eye. To make your aquarium a verdant paradise fit for fish, just follow these instructions.

  1. Tank Selection. Pick an aquarium tank. Get it ready by giving it a good scrub down.
  1. Put the Aquarium Soil. Spread soil in the bottom of the tank. A spatula can be used for this purpose. You can level the height short towards the front and taller towards the back of the tank to give an elevated aspect when the grass grows.
  1. Spread the Seeds. Distribute the seeds uniformly across the soil. There are a wide variety of carpeting plant seeds on the market.
  1. Keep the Soil Moist. It would be helpful to spray some water over the soil and seeds to make the layer more moist. Put a plastic bag over the top of the tank to keep the moisture inside. It’s important to keep the soil moist, so sprinkle or spray it often.
  1. Good Lighting. Install the aquarium’s lighting and leave it on for a minimum of six to eight hours daily.
  1. Add Water. Put a little plastic plate or plastic cover over the emerging plants after you notice them sprouting and growing properly, and then begin filling the tank with water. The plastic cover or plate will keep the water from exerting too much pressure on the plants.
  1. Install Filter. Now you need to put the filter into the aquarium tank so that you may provide the carpet grass with a healthier habitat.

How Do I Keep Aquatic Plants Healthy?

Not only do aquarium plants add aesthetic value, but they also help maintain a healthy ecology that is beneficial to the fish you keep there. Knowledge of the basic requirements of aquatic plants is essential whether you wish to add a few plants for accent or create a full-fledged aquatic garden.

The following are some suggestions for promoting the growth of healthy aquatic plants.

Decide on the Best Plant for Your Freshwater Aquarium

A plant that can thrive when entirely submerged underwater is considered an aquatic plant, but different types of aquatic plants have distinct maintenance needs. Choosing plastic plants for your aquarium is easier than picking the right live aquatic plants for your fish’s habitat. For example, you don’t have to think about the size and look of the plants or how they will fit into your aquarium.

Find the Right Substrate for Your Freshwater Aquarium Plants

The best conditions for aquarium plants are 2–3 inches of laterite (a soil and rock combination rich in iron and aluminum) covered with an inch of bigger substrate, such as gravel, but plants can grow in any aquatic substrate.

Invest in A Good Light Source

You probably already know that light is necessary for plants to photosynthesize, but the best aquarium lighting for your plants will depend on what kinds of plants you have. They require about 10–12 hours of light per day, preferably full-spectrum lighting. However, the demands of certain plants are more particular than others.

Aquascaping and Fertilization Go Hand in Together

To promote healthy development and vitality without harming the fish, use a fertilizer that contains iron. Make sure to monitor the growth, though. Some aquarium plants won’t need regular pruning, but others, like Rotala Indica, can quickly outgrow their containers and spread their leaves across the water’s surface if left unchecked.

Make Sure the Water in Your Aquarium Is Clean and Healthy

Maintaining a clean fish tank and using the proper fish tank cleaner on a regular basis can help, but it’s still important to keep an eye out for algae. Aquarium plants face competition from algae for light and nutrients, but it’s not always as simple as using an algaecide, which may have negative impacts on your aquarium.

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How To Anchor Aquarium Plants

Most aquatic plant species cannot survive without being anchored. Some plants require it so that their roots can grow deep and sturdy, while others simply flourish in the cracks of rocks or old pieces of wood. It can be tough to use weights to keep plants at the bottom of the tank. Your anchoring supports should be well concealed so as not to detract from the overall aesthetic of a planted tank. You must also take care not to disturb the plant’s roots or stunt its development.

It’s always wonderful to set up a planted fish tank and see your very own underwater rainforest come to life. One of the most annoying things about aquascaping is having your plants float to the surface minutes later. If you take the time to learn how to securely anchor aquarium plants, you’ll never have to worry about them toppling over again.

Here are nine tried-and-true methods of securely fastening aquarium plants:

Spread Out A Thick Layer of Substrate

Most aquarists employ this method of anchoring when establishing a live-planted aquarium. You can learn about the rooting habits of your plants. The thickness of the substrate layer needed to fasten them firmly will be determined by this.

Aquarium Plants Should Be Anchored in Cracks

Cracked, textured pebbles, and even the divots in driftwood, are perfect for staking plants. A thin fishing line can be used to affix aquarium plants to any surface. The plant’s roots will eventually wrap around the item you’re anchoring it to, and no one will ever see the fishing line.

Anchor Aquarium Plants with Weights

External influences can uproot your plants even if they have the potential to stay rooted in substrate alone. Some of the many things that can cause plants to be uprooted include a filter with high output and bottom-dwelling organisms that like to burrow into the substrate. The use of weights to anchor live plants in place, together with a reasonable covering of sand, can help prevent this from happening.

Fasten Aquatic Plants on Driftwood

You may use the same technique to secure plants on pieces of wood if you’d rather use driftwood for aquascaping than rocks for hardscaping. A fishing line can be used to secure live plants to driftwood. Wrapping the roots of an established plant around a piece of wood is a simple way to keep it in place.

Fasten Plants to Rock

Sticking live plants into decorative cracks and crevices is just like securing them to rocks. The plants’ roots will eventually spread and firmly connect to the rock. When it comes to large-leafed, tall plants, this way of anchoring is ideal.

Attach Plants with Fish-Safe Glue

Plants can be glued on rocks or driftwood using aquarium adhesive to keep them in place. Cyanoacrylate glue is a fast-curing, instant adhesive that is safe for use in an aquarium with live fish. It is widely used in reef aquariums for mounting corals and securing rockscapes.

Use Mesh for Carpet Plants

A layer of substrate isn’t necessary, but it helps keep carpet aquarium plants in place. Nylon mesh works great as an anchoring prop. Seedlings of carpet plants can grow more robust roots when planted in mesh. The mesh can be kept in place by placing weights at each of the aquarium’s four corners.

Keep Plants in Pots

Plants for aquariums that don’t need to have their roots disturbed too often can be kept in their nursery containers indefinitely. If you like a more organic appearance, you can transplant them into a terra cotta pot, but the concept remains the same. This kind of anchoring will keep your plants safely grounded and out of the reach of most curious scavengers.

Ceramic Plant Anchors

Most plant anchors sold in stores are simple ceramic weights in the form of short hollow cylinders. To use, you simply insert the plant’s roots and a little piece of stem into the holes. A little piece of sponge can be used as a cushion if the plant isn’t quite ready to fill the hole. After that, you just need to push the ceramic plant anchor down into the substrate.

How To Plant Aquarium Plants Without Roots

The addition of aquarium plants is a terrific way to spruce up your tank and provide visual interest, but they may be a challenge to maintain. The process of planting a plant in a substrate, which is necessary for many plants to survive, can be time-consuming and messy if the plant doesn’t have roots.

Here are steps to follow if you want to add plants with no roots to your aquarium.

  1. Take the plant and unwrap the basket, ring, or rubber band from around the stems’ bases.
  2. Each stem should be buried at least 2 to 3 inches; if the substrate is too deep, it will suffocate the lower leaves.
  3. Instead of planting the stem plants in a dense group, give each plant a little room to spread out and develop healthy roots.
  4. You can use tweezers to plant them.
  5. Once the plant is in place, you can use your fingers to lightly press down on and secure them in the substrate.
  6. If they tend to drift away, plant weights can be wrapped around the base.

Remember to give your newly planted aquarium some time to adjust before adding fish.

How To Keep Aquarium Plants From Floating

One of the most common problems with keeping aquarium plants is that they tend to float to the surface. This can be frustrating because it can make it difficult for the plants to get the light and nutrients they need to thrive. In this blog post, we will discuss three methods that you can use to keep your plants from floating: planting them in soil, using weights, or using a plant holder. We will also provide some tips on how to choose the best method for your aquarium.

So, how do you keep aquarium plants from floating? Let’s take a look at three of the most popular methods.

  1. Plant your plants in soil. This will help to anchor them in place and prevent them from floating to the surface. You can either purchase aquarium-specific soil, or you can use regular potting soil that has been mixed with sand. Be sure to rinse the soil before using it in your aquarium, as it may contain chemicals that could harm your fish.
  1. Use weights to keep your plants in place. You can weigh them down with rocks or gravel, use special aquarium plant weights, or anchor them to driftwood or rocks. Be sure that the weights you use are safe for aquariums and will not rust or dissolve over time.
  1. Use a plant holder. This is a device that sits on the bottom of the aquarium and holds the plants in place. There are many different types of plant holders available, so be sure to choose one that is appropriate for the size and type of plants you have.

So, there you have it! Three methods that you can use to keep your aquarium plants from floating. Be sure to experiment with different methods to see what works best for you and your plants.

How To Attach Aquarium Plants To Rocks

There are a number of aquarium plants that can be kept on rocks in an aquarium. You’ll need to attach them to the rock with some kind of adhesive or tie them down for a few weeks in order to give them sufficient time to affix themselves to the rack without assistance. You may install aquarium plants on rocks in your aquarium in a couple of different ways.

Method #1: Tie Aquarium Plants to The Rock

When you have decided on the material you will use to secure the plant to the rock, you should try out a few various placements for the plant to determine the best one. In addition to imagining the plant growing on the rock in your aquarium, you should visualize how you want it to look as it matures.

  • Once you’ve settled on a placement, you may begin preparing the rock by placing the plant’s roots in it.
  • Then wrap the entire thing in a cotton string, fishing line, or a rubber band.
  • Don’t tighten the wrappings down too firmly, or you might kill the plant. Also, be careful not to harm the plant’s roots.
  • All you need to do to keep the plant where it is supposed to be is provide it some kind of support.

Method #2: Stick/glue Aquarium Plants to The Rock

Glue is far more practical and less of a hassle than tying aquarium plants to rocks.

  • Then, place the plant’s rhizome on the rock and hold it there for a minute until the super glue gel dries.
  • After one minute, the plant will begin to root itself to the stone.
  • Now, after 5-10 minutes, you can transfer the plant to your aquarium.

How To Keep Aquarium Plants Alive Before Planting

It’s perfectly fine to buy plants in the morning and wait until the evening to unpack them. Until you have time to put your plants in your aquarium, we will briefly go through several strategies to ensure their survival.

There are two easy ways to keep live aquarium plants alive until you plant them.

Bucket Method

Live plants can be stored for many days or weeks before being planted in your aquarium by placing them in a bucket or other food-safe container filled with water. If you’re filling the container with regular tap water, you need to treat it first. For the sake of the plants, you should additionally dilute some liquid fertilizer in the water.

Paper Towel Method

Another option for preserving live aquarium plants until they can be planted in an aquarium is to first wrap them in paper towels and then in a newspaper. And then, using a spray bottle, soak the newspaper. The major thrust of this technique is to sprinkle water over the newspaper at regular intervals. In addition, fresh newspaper must be added daily if you want your plants to thrive. There’s also the fact that if you wrap the plants, they won’t get any air or sunlight, so this approach works best with tough plants.

How To Prepare Plants For Aquarium

New aquarium owners often have questions regarding how to properly plant aquarium plants. This step-by-step guide will show you how to prepare your plants for planting in the aquarium.

Taking Biological Risks into Account

While plants purchased from an aquarium store are likely safer than those collected from a nearby stream, they still need to undergo quarantine and preparation. Invasive organisms like germs and parasites can hitch rides on aquatic plants all too easily. Just because your new plants came from an aquascaping-focused aquarium supplier doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful.

Checking Out Every Plant

Young snails or clusters of eggs coated in a yellowish slime may be hiding in the stems or the undersides of leaves. The larvae of damselflies can also be seen on the rooted plants in water. Either before or after the first rinse, you can use tweezers to remove these pests by hand. Leaves with brown algae should be removed from the plant.

Rinsing the New Plants

Use chlorinated tap water to clean your new plants after inspecting them visually unless you’ve purchased exotics or plants known to be highly delicate. The first rinsing shouldn’t take more than two minutes, and it should involve soaking the plants in a bucket rather than keeping them under a running tap or hosing them down.

If the plants don’t seem right or they’re from a wild environment, you can give them a quick 20-second rinse in a bleach-and-water solution of 1:29. The last soaking rinse should be done in a bucket with conditioner-dechlorinated water.

Utilization of Quarantine Tanks

Quarantine is a necessary step when introducing new species to an aquarium, and experienced aquarists typically have a second tank specifically for plants. The goal is to check the chemical composition of the water again once the plants have been washed and disinfected. The length of time spent in quarantine can vary from one to three weeks. If you have more delicate plants, you can test their reaction by adding cups of established water from the main tank.

How To Weigh Down Aquarium Plants

You may prevent your aquarium plants from drifting around with the help of aquarium plant weights, which you can tie or position around the plants. While certain aquarium plants, like java moss, prefer to float freely, others do better when planted in the substrate or fastened to something solid.

Because of the way aquarium plants are typically sold at our local pet stores, many of us don’t give much thought to the various aquarium plant weights that are available.

Here are a few ways you can try.

Potted Aquarium Weighs

If you purchase a “potted” plant from a pet store, you can place it directly on top of your substrate without removing the plant from the pot. This is the easiest way because the plant will be slowed down by its own weight, so no further action is required other than making sure the potted plant is sanitized.

Metal Weights

Metal weights, which are often metal strips, can be bent around the plant’s roots or stems to prevent it from floundering. The metal will prevent your plants from moving around, whether they are buried under the substrate or sitting on top of it.

Aquarium Plant Weight” Suction Cups

These aren’t technically aquarium plant weights, but they’ll help your plants stay put. Plants can be attached to suction cups and then suctioned to the tank walls with a fishing line or hot glue. In addition to using the suction cup, you may also use mini-zip ties to secure the plants.

Ceramic Weights

The same materials used to make ceramic aquarium decorations are also used to make ceramic weights, so they won’t damage your fish. These plant weights are normally cylindrical in shape, and after being filled with a plant, they can be buried beneath the sand, rock, or gravel in your aquarium.

Stone Weights

Perhaps you find these weights too attractive to bury in your substrate and would rather use them to secure your plants above ground. Stone weights are cylinders you place a plant through and bury or partially bury in your substrate, although you may alternatively tie them to the plant instead of burying both. If you’re going for a more realistic aquarium design, these are the perfect weights to use.

Adding live plants to your aquarium is a great idea, but they usually need to be weighted down so they don’t float around and get caught in the filter. Most aquarium plant weights are safe for fish, but lead aquarium plant weights should be avoided as there isn’t enough knowledge on how lead affects fish and enough material showing lead is detrimental to people.

Still, there are many more options that are completely risk-free for your aquarium plants, such as potted plants, stone weights, suction cups, and ceramic weights.

How To Attach Aquarium Plants To Driftwood

Anchoring some of your live plants to pieces of driftwood is one of the finest ways to give your planted tank a more natural appearance. The results are mind-blowing, yet the method is surprisingly straightforward. Make sure you achieve the desired effect by following our tips for utilizing driftwood as an anchor for live plants.

Use Fishing Line

In most cases, a fishing line is the best and cheapest option for attaching plants to a surface. In addition to the driftwood, plants, and fishing line, all you really need is a pair of scissors.


  1. Find a nice piece of driftwood to work with. Before you get started, you should wash it and let it dry fully.
  2. Choose whatever plants you’d want to string around the driftwood. In general, it’s best to go with smaller, lighter-weight plants.
  3. For each plant, cut a piece of fishing line long enough to loop around the driftwood multiple times.
  4. Wrap the driftwood with the fishing line until you reach the end, then tie off the line at the plant’s base. Wrap it up and snip off the excess.
  5. To finish covering your driftwood, repeat this procedure for each plant.

Use Hot Glue

The use of hot glue can be helpful if you want to completely attach your plants, even when moving them to a new tank.


  1. Get your stuff together. To connect a plant to the driftwood, you will need hot glue, a lighter, and the plant itself.
  2. First, heat up the glue gun.
  3. After that, you should dab some hot glue onto the plant’s back.
  4. Put the plant onto the driftwood and keep it there for a few seconds so the glue can set.
  5. Continue doing so until all of your plants are fastened to the driftwood.
  6. Your driftwood planter won’t be ready to show off until the adhesive has dried.

Use Screws or Nails

If you want to add heavier plants or larger pieces of driftwood, this is the way to go.

Materials needed:

  1. Driftwood Large plants with deep roots
  2. Screws or nails (depending on the size of your driftwood)
  3. Hammer or a screwdriver (depending on the type of fastener you are using)
  4. Wire


  1. Select the plants you’d like to affix to the driftwood. Don’t overload the nails or screws or they won’t hold.
  2. Spread out the driftwood on a level surface.
  3. Put the plants where you want them to stay on the driftwood.
  4. Nail or screw the driftwood to the ground, being cautious not to sever the plant’s roots in the process.
  5. Assemble all the plants on the driftwood by repeating step 4.
  6. Small plants may need to be wired into place to prevent them from wilting or tumbling off the driftwood.
  7. Driftwood should be placed once all plants have been established.

Use Epoxy

Big pieces of driftwood or plants that weigh a lot benefit most from this approach.

Materials needed:

  1. Epoxy
  2. Driftwood
  3. Plants
  4. Container and stirrer
  5. Gloves and a face mask


  1. Before continuing with this task, you should take precautions. Wearing protective gear such as a mask and gloves is a must before venturing too far from the aquarium.
  2. You should start by preparing the epoxy resin as directed.
  3. Using a putty knife or any similar tool, spread the epoxy onto the driftwood once it has been mixed.
  4. Prepare the driftwood by positioning the plants so that they will not be displaced when the epoxy hardens.
  5. If more adhesive is needed to keep the vegetation in place, do so now.
  6. Before touching or displaying your driftwood arrangement, wait for the epoxy to cure as directed by the manufacturer.

Plants, especially smaller ones, can be easily attached to driftwood. To avoid harming the plants, take your time and be cautious when you fasten them in place. A little work can result in a stunning and one-of-a-kind work of living art.

How To Attach Java Fern To Lava Rock

The simplest approach to make your fish tank active and full of life is to add a Java Fern to it. The freshwater Java Fern is a great addition to any aquarium because it can be easily attached to a rock.

Learn the simple technique for fastening Java fern on the rock. In addition to being quick and easy to complete, it also requires minimal effort. See our detailed instructions below:


Lava Rock

Glue Gel

Java Ferns

  1. Remove the cap off the tube of super glue gel and use it to make a small hole in the lid.
  2. Get the plant ready. Take it out of the pot and peel off the tag.
  3. To prevent the plant from rotting, get rid of as much of the cottony rock wool that surrounds the plant’s roots as possible. Try to get down to the roots. You can also take it off with very gently running water. Use your hands to scrub the roots clean. On the other hand, a single Java fern pot may contain multiple plants.
  4. Learn where on the rock your plant will thrive best. A natural crease or dip works well.
  5. Pat the plant’s roots dry with a paper towel or hand towel.
  6. Glue should be spread along the fern and should be slightly thick. The super glue gel works well because it does not seep into the crevices of the rocks.
  7. Hold the plant’s roots firmly in place for a couple of minutes, vertically above the rock. These roots will eventually wrap around the rock and secure the plant.
  8. Put them in your tank once they’re completely dry. With time, they’ll reach their full height and give your home a truly jungle feel.

The addition of Java Fern to your fish tank can be dramatic, therefore learning how to secure the plant to rock is a worthwhile skill. The fact that it can be fastened to a rock makes it suitable for use in any aquarium.

What Aquarium Plants Don’t Need Substrates?

Without substrates, growing freshwater aquatic plants can be a fun challenge. You have to rely on inorganic nutrients from the water column, which makes it significantly more challenging. As a result, fertilizing your plants on a consistent basis is essential.

Here are eight of the best aquarium plants that do not need a substrate.

Java Moss

Java moss can be left to float freely or attached to rocks and driftwood. Java moss can be made by covering coconut skins with the moss and setting them afloat. Another option is to attach the Java Moss to a mesh plate and use that to make a plush partition.

Amazon Sword

The Amazon Sword does well even in low light and is a good choice for people with larger tanks. However, additional root fertilizer will be necessary for this plant’s success because it is a root feeder. Thankfully, a few root tabs should do the work. In order for this plant to produce flowers, it needs to grow above the water’s surface.

Java Fern

If you want to rearrange the furniture in your tank, you can secure them to a rock or a piece of wood and then move them. Substrate care is unnecessary because they can obtain all the nutrients they need from the water.


Having a powerhead in your tank is essential for your Hornwort to survive without a substrate because the plant needs a lot of water movement. Root tab fertilization applied once a week will promote healthy development.


Anubias plants are another popular choice among aquarists due to their durability and longevity. You can also grow this plant successfully without any substrate. The anubias is a great option for hobbyists who want to get a natural appearance in their tank but do not have access to powerful lighting because it grows slowly and needs little light, especially when first planted.

Lettuce Water

Popular for both its appearance and texture, Water Lettuce (Pistia) is a highly sought-after aquatic plant. Larger tanks are ideal for this fast-growing plant because its broad leaves offer good cover for fish that enjoy swimming among plants. Despite the fact that it can be cultivated in aquarium substrate, the attractiveness of the plant’s leaves has led to its more common use as a floating plant.


It does well both when planted in the substrate and when floated in an aquarium. Due to its ability to accumulate nutrients from the water column, this plant requires minimal attention.

However, the stored silicates can lead to algae growth if they are not regularly removed.


Duckweed is adaptable and can flourish in a wide variety of water conditions, but it thrives best in pristine environments free of algae. The plant can be grown in an aquarium by just setting it on the water’s surface. Duckweed also has few true roots, so it will be easy to care for.

Floating Crystalwort

Floating on the water’s surface, Floating Crystalwort sends out runners that colonize hardscaping and other man-made structures. Though it lacks genuine leaves, it can nonetheless spread out into a dense mat of green stems and fine roots.

The Brazilian Pennywort

This immersed plant, known as Brazilian pennywort, can grow into thick mats on the surface of the water. In place of runners, it has tiny, white roots. These roots are ideal for securing the plant to submerged hardscapes like driftwood or rocks.

None of them need the assistance of a planted tank substrate to thrive; some can be grown simply by floating on the surface of your aquarium, while others may require attachment to a hardscape. Choose one of these plants if you want to ditch the gravel or substrate in your tank. We guarantee that you will be pleased with your choice.

What Aquarium Plants Can Grow In Sand?

An aquarium would be incomplete without substrate. While fish may be able to make it in an aquarium without any substrate, the stark surface is unsettling to the eye and the touch. Gravel or sand and substrate are your two main options, and many people think that gravel is far simpler to work with.

While sand can serve as an aquarium’s substrate, it may be difficult to identify aquarium plants that do well in this environment. The purpose of this article is to assist you in locating the most suitable aquarium plants for a sand substrate.

Here are five of our favorite picks for plants to use, all of which may thrive in sand or even just on top of it when tied to a piece of driftwood.


Hornwort is, without a doubt, one of the best plants that can grow on sand. Hornwort is a versatile aquarium plant that can be grown in sand or gravel, anchored to rocks or driftwood, or left to float freely on the water’s surface. One of its many redeeming qualities is that it can be planted and rooted in a variety of different ways. Ensure that there is at least 2–3 inches of sand beneath the hornwort’s intended planting site for it to develop a strong root system and flourish.

Amazon Sword

The Amazon sword plant is an excellent option for a sand substrate plant. Here, however, the thickness of the substrate is more essential than its type. Both sand and gravel are suitable for planting the Amazon sword in; however, the depth of the sand or gravel should be at least 2.5 inches to allow the Amazon sword’s roots room to spread out and develop into a strong, healthy root system.

Java Fern

Another plant that does well in sandy environments is the Java fern. So, what you need to know here is that the java fern does not like to be buried at all. It has rhizomes rather than traditional roots, which do not fare well in soil or gravel when buried.


Another plant that does well in just about any aquarium is the Anubias. Although planting Anubias in sand won’t kill it, it won’t thrive either. Gravel is healthier for the plant’s roots. In reality, Anubias can be grown on any surface or substrate as long as it is deep enough to support the plant’s extensive root system.

Java Moss

Java moss is another plant that does poorly when buried. It dislikes being buried in sand or gravel. To counteract this, java moss does particularly well when placed on rocks and driftwood, which are likely additions to any aquarium with a sand substrate.

Any aquarium plant that will be planted in the sand should be given a head start by using root tabs. Roots tabs are little pellets that have everything a plant needs to grow and flourish, especially when it comes to establishing a solid foundation for its roots. Some plants have a hard time getting their roots to anchor and grow in sand, but if you add some root tabs to the water before and after you plant them on the sandy substrate, it will greatly help the process and allow the roots to flourish.


Can You Put Plants Straight Into an Aquarium?

Although most of us can’t wait to put our fresh aquatic plants into our already established planted tanks, it’s important to take precautions to avoid introducing unwanted bugs or toxins. If you have a freshwater aquarium, you should always quarantine new plants first.

Can You Plant Aquarium Plants In Gravel?

Gravel can be used as a versatile medium that supports plant roots and prevents them from wandering. Aquariums benefit greatly from this material, as it can improve the overall aesthetic of the water and aquatic plants within the tank.

How Deep Should Aquarium Plants Be?

Aquarium plants will not thrive if they are put on a substrate that is too shallow, as their roots will become tangled, and they will not receive enough water and nutrients. The plants’ deep roots require a substrate that is at least 6 centimeters deep (2 to 3 inches).

How Can I Attach Java Fern To Driftwood?

Attaching Java ferns to rocks or driftwood encourages optimal growth. In most cases, the fern will be fastened to the wood using a fine thread that will eventually degrade in the water.

Where Should I Place Plants In The Aquarium?

Plants that grow slowly and remain small should be used as foreground plants in the front of the aquarium. Fill in the sides of your aquarium with medium-height plants (4-10 inches/10-25 cm) and leave a swimming space near the center free of decor.


Many people who set up an aquarium choose to include live plants, which can provide a more naturalistic look as well as oxygenating the water. Aquarium plants can be a beautiful addition to any tank, but they need to be planted correctly in order to thrive. It’s important to select species that are known to do well in different aquarium conditions. Most aquarium plants need a substrate in which to anchor their roots. In addition, live plants will often need to be fertilized in order to obtain the nutrients they need. With proper care, however, live plants can be a beautiful and low-maintenance addition to any aquarium.

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