10 Best Aquarium Plants Grow In Gravel

Maintaining optimal conditions for plant growth is crucial for keeping aquatic plants alive in an aquarium. If you want your tank plants to thrive, you’ll need to do more than just provide them with food, light, CO2, and the right water parameters; you’ll also need to give careful consideration to the substrate you use.

A common concern is whether or not aquarium plants can thrive in gravel. As a matter of fact, it is totally dependent on the type of plant you intend to cultivate. In most cases, gravel is the best medium for plant growth, but there are exceptions among aquarium plants. Some of the few aquarium plants that actually do well in gravel are those listed below. Keep reading!

Which Aquarium Plants Grow In Gravel?

Aquarium plants are a great way to improve the appearance of your tank while also providing some benefits for your fish. However, not all plants will grow in the same type of substrate. We’ll take a look at which aquarium plants grow in gravel and what you need to do to make them thrive.

Anubias

There has been a long tradition of using Anubias plants in aquariums. Over ten different species of Anubias exist, from the massive Anubias Gigantea to the tiny Anubias Nana. These lovely plants can be used to enhance the aquarium by providing a striking contrast to any other plants you may have.

Anubias requires little attention and is beautiful in its robust green leaves and sturdy root system. It’s a low-maintenance plant that, depending on the type and the size of the tank, may act as either a foreground, midground, or background plant.

Ideal Requirements:

  • Water pH:  6.0 – 8.0.
  • Hardness:  From soft to hard water.
  • Temperature:  72 – 82 °F (22 – 28 °C)
  • Lighting:  Low to average lighting.

Bucephalandra

Even though it is a relatively new species of plant to the aquarium hobby, the Bucephalandra, or Buce plant, has quickly become one of the most popular plants for aquascaping. A wide range of sizes, leaf forms, and coloration (from green to blue to dark violet and even multicolored) characterize this extraordinary plant’s many subspecies. In addition to being a great plant for tanks with a gravel or sand bottom, it also thrives in tanks with an inert substrate.

Ideal Requirements:

  • Water pH:  between 6.0 and 8.0.
  • Hardness:  soft to hard
  • Temperature:  72 – 82 °F (22 – 28 °C)
  • Lighting: dim to bright lighting

 Java Fern

Another lovely plant that thrives in gravel is the Java fern. Even more conveniently, this plant does not require a lot of fertilizer. It requires little care and can be grown in an aquarium.

Even though Java Fern grows slowly, it will ultimately cover your entire tank and provide a stunning display. It lives a long time and can get pretty big. Although gravel might aid in root retention, it does come with a few downsides. It’s important to take caution while planting your Java Fern in the gravel, as it can die if the roots are buried too deeply.

Ideal Requirements:

  • Water pH:  6.0 – 8.0.
  • Hardness: Water ranging from soft to hard
  • Temperature: 20 – 28 C (68 – 82 F)
  • Lighting:  Low to moderate
Many beautiful green algae under the water.

Amazon Sword

The Amazon Sword is a fantastic starter plant because it does not provide any significant challenges to inexperienced growers. It doesn’t need a ton of sunlight and can hold out in a wide range of temperatures. Since gravel lacks nutrients, fertilization is crucial.

Ideal Requirements:

  • Water pH:  6.5 – 8.0.
  • Hardness:  Soft to hard water
  • Temperature:  20 – 28 C (68 – 82 F)
  • Lighting:  Low to Moderate lighting

Cryptocoryne Wendtii

The aquarium plant known as Cryptocoryne Wendtii thrives in both sand and gravel.

Although it has few requirements, this plant should be rooted as soon as possible. Gravel is ideal since Cryptocoryne Wendtii has such a deep-rooted system. As long as there is plenty of gravel and the roots are planted firmly in it, everything should be OK (at least three inches deep).

Ideal Requirements:

  • Water pH:  without a strict pH requirement
  • Hardness:  hard to very soft water
  • Temperature:  59 – 86°F
  • Lighting:  Low to moderate

Madagascar Lace

A gravel substrate is ideal for the growth of Madagascar lace; however, the plant is difficult to maintain. For this plant to thrive, constant attention to providing the best growing conditions is required. Even minor changes in the environment can quickly stifle growth.

Additionally, it is crucial that Madagascar Lace be planted correctly into the gravel. This means that it needs to be buried in the gravel at a depth of at least two inches. Since gravel lacks nutrients, you need to fertilize your Madagascar Lace on a consistent basis.

Ideal Requirements:

  • Water pH:  5.5 – 7.5
  • Hardness:  soft to moderately hard water
  • Temperature:  60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (15-20 degrees Celsius)
  • Lighting:  Low to moderate

Red Tiger Lotus

The red tiger lotus may flourish in aquariums with gravel and produce beautiful flowers. The one problem with having it as an aquarium plant is that it cannot flower while submerged in water. The beautiful red leaves of the Red Tiger Lotus plant are consolation. If you insist on planting a Red Tiger Lotus in gravel, keep in mind that this plant has high nutrient requirements, and gravel cannot meet these needs. A little upkeep is needed, but it’s well worth it.

Ideal Requirements:

  • Water pH:  6.0 – 8.0
  • Hardness:  soft to moderately hard water
  • Temperature:  22 – 28 °C (71 – 82 °F)
  • Lighting:  Moderate to High

Vallisneria

In spite of its grass-like appearance, the Vallisneria plant grows very quickly. It lives in warm water and thrives in the tropics. As a low-maintenance plant, Vallisneria thrives on gravel because it doesn’t require much attention. Plants like Vallisneria look great when placed around the perimeter of an aquarium. Additionally, it can be used as a covering for the entire tank.

A shallow covering of gravel is all that’s required to get Vallisneria to take hold and grow roots. The most crucial thing is to keep the crown of the Vallisneria plant above the gravel.

Ideal Requirements:

  • Water pH:  6.5 – 8.0
  • Hardness:  Medium to very hard water
  • Temperature:  68 – 82 °F (20 – 28 °C)
  • Lighting:  Moderate

Dwarf Sagittaria

For aquariums with gravel, the dwarf Sagittaria is a fantastic option because it thrives in a wide variety of conditions. This plant is native to the Americas and Columbia. However, this plant is considered invasive in several countries, such as Indonesia and Portugal.

Just make sure there are plenty of nutrients in the gravel when you’re ready to plant your Dwarf Sagittaria. Fertilizing this plant thoroughly is essential, and it will perish without adequate iron.

Ideal Requirements:

  • Water pH:  6.0 – 8.0
  • Hardness:  hard water
  • Temperature:  68 to 82 °F (20 – 27 °C)
  • Lighting:  Moderate

Water Weeds

South American ecosystems are home to a plant known as waterweed. Many people who are passionate about aquatic life enjoy keeping this plant in their aquariums since it helps to filter the water and oxygenate it. It can survive in a wide range of water temperatures and is tolerant to a wide range of water conditions.

The roots of your Water Weeds need to be buried well into the gravel. They need to be set into the ground at least two to four inches. They may survive in conditions where there are many inches of gravel. When planting Water Weeds in gravel, provide a gap of at least an inch between each plant.

Ideal Requirements:

  • Water pH:  6.5-7.5
  • Hardness:  hard water
  • Temperature: 72-78 °F
  • Lighting:  Moderate

Which Aquarium Plants Grow In Gravel And Low Light?

Aquarium plants are a great way to spruce up your tank, and they also provide some benefits for your fish. Some plants can even help keep the water clean. But not all plants grow in all types of aquariums. If you have a gravel substrate and low light, here are some plants that will thrive in your tank.

Anubias (Anubias barteri, Anubias nana)

Anubias species are some of the most popular aquarium plants for tanks with a gravel substrate and low light. They have tough, leathery leaves that can tolerate plenty of handling and don’t need much care to stay healthy. Anubias are relatively slow-growing, so you won’t be trimming them very often.

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)

Like Anubias, Java fern is a great choice for low-light tanks. It has long, thin leaves that make it look like a carpet in the aquarium. It doesn’t require any special substrate or fertilizers to stay healthy and can even thrive under fluorescent lighting.

Cryptocoryne (Cryptocoryne wendtii, Cryptocoryne parva)

Crypts are a great choice for low-light tanks with a gravel substrate. They come in wide different varieties and have thick leaves that can tolerate plenty of handling and flow in the tank. As an added bonus, Cryptocoryne are very easy to care for and don’t require any special fertilizers or substrate to stay healthy.

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)

Java fern is a very versatile plant that can grow in both low-light and high-light tanks. It has long, thin leaves that make it look like a carpet in the aquarium. It doesn’t require any special substrate or fertilizers to stay healthy and can even thrive under fluorescent lighting.

Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri)

Java moss is a great choice for low-light tanks with a gravel substrate. It’s a very hardy and fast-growing plant that can tolerate plenty of handling and flow in the tank. As an added bonus, Java moss doesn’t require any special fertilizers or substrate to stay healthy. It’s also very easy to propagate and can be used to create beautiful, natural-looking aquarium scenes.

Crypts (Cryptocoryne wendtii)

Crypts are a great choice for low-light tanks with a gravel substrate. They come in wide varieties and have thick leaves that can tolerate plenty of handling and flow in the tank. As an added bonus, Cryptocoryne are very easy to care for and don’t require any special fertilizers or substrate to stay healthy.

Amazon Sword (Echinodorus sp.)

Amazon sword is a great choice for low-light tanks with a gravel substrate. It has broad leaves that add lots of interest to the aquarium, and it can tolerate plenty of handling and flow in the tank. As an added bonus, Amazon swords don’t require any special fertilizers or substrate to stay healthy. They’re also very easy to propagate and can be used to create beautiful, natural-looking aquarium scenes.

Marimo Ball (Aegagropila linnaei)

Marimo balls are a great choice for low-light tanks with a gravel substrate. They’re small, round balls of algae that can tolerate plenty of handling and flow in the tank. As an added bonus, they don’t require any special fertilizers or substrate to stay healthy and will help keep the water clean and clear. They’re also very easy to propagate and can be used to create interesting, natural-looking aquarium scenes.

No matter which type of plant you choose for your tank, make sure it’s compatible with the light levels in your aquarium and the type of substrate you have. With a little research and some patience, you can create a vibrant and healthy tank that will be a delight to look at.

Which Aquarium Plants Grow In Gravel And Use Fish Waste As Fertilizer?

If you’re like me, you probably think of aquarium plants as something that just sits in the background and doesn’t do much. But did you know that some aquarium plants can actually grow in gravel and use fish waste as fertilizer? This makes them a great choice for hobbyists who want to keep an aquarium without having to worry about adding additional fertilizers.

We’ll take a look at which plants fall into this category and discuss how you can go about choosing the right one for your tank.

Java Fern

Java fern is a popular choice that’s been around for many years. It grows in gravel and absorbs nutrients from fish waste, making it an ideal option for aquarium hobbyists who want to avoid additional fertilizers. The leaves of this plant are thick and leathery, which makes them very durable in tanks with higher levels of aggression. Java fern also doesn’t need a lot of light or maintenance, so it can be a good choice if you’re short on time.

Anubias Nana

Anubias nana is another popular aquarium plant that can grow in gravel and use fish waste as fertilizer. It’s easy to care for, and its leaves are much more delicate than those of the java fern, making it a great choice for tanks with calmer fish. The leaves are also very attractive, as they have a unique pattern that adds visual interest to any tank. Anubias nana is also relatively hardy and can cope with most water parameters.

Hornwort

Hornwort is a popular aquarium plant that can be grown in gravel and use fish waste as fertilizer. It’s very tolerant of different water conditions, so it’s an ideal choice for beginners who might not have the time or resources to care for more delicate plants. Hornwort also grows quickly and can help keep algae at bay by absorbing nutrients from the water before they can be used by algae.

Cryptocoryne

Cryptocoryne, also known as crypts, are another popular choice for aquarium hobbyists who want to avoid additional fertilizers. They grow in gravel and use fish waste as fertilizer, making them an ideal option for those who don’t have the time or resources for more complicated setups. Crypts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them an aesthetically pleasing addition to any tank. They are also hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

Java Moss

Java moss is another popular aquarium plant that can be grown in gravel and use fish waste as fertilizer. Java moss also grows quickly and looks great in tanks with darker backgrounds, as it has a beautiful green hue.

Dwarf Baby Tears

Dwarf baby tears is a small and delicate aquarium plant that can grow in gravel and use fish waste as fertilizer. It has unique foliage that can give your tank an interesting texture, and its small size makes it ideal for tanks with smaller fish. Dwarf baby tears prefer shady areas of the tank, so be sure to provide plenty of places for it to hide.

No matter which of these aquarium plants you choose, it’s important to make sure that your tank is well-maintained and has the right light, water parameters, and fertilizer for the particular plant.  With the right care, any of these aquarium plants can make a great addition to your tank and provide plenty of beauty and interest.

How Do You Feed Aquarium Plants In Gravel?

Feeding aquarium plants in gravel is a simple process that can be used to ensure your fish tank is full of healthy, vibrant aquatic vegetation. Here are the steps for feeding aquarium plants in gravel:

1. Begin by preparing the gravel substrate. Remove any debris, such as fish waste or larger plant parts, before adding fertilizer to the tank. This will help ensure that all of the nutrients are evenly distributed throughout the entire aquarium environment.

2. Once you have removed all of the debris, use an appropriate fertilizer specifically designed for aquatic plants. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label, as different brands may require different amounts or application methods.

3. After adding the fertilizer, spread it evenly throughout the gravel substrate using your hands or a long-handled spoon. Make sure to cover all of the ground, so that all of the aquatic plants in your aquarium can benefit from the fertilizers.

4. Once the fertilizer has been distributed, gently stir it into the gravel using a long-handled spoon or aquarium tool. This will help ensure that all of the plants are getting an equal amount of nutrients from the fertilizer.

5. Finally, make sure to keep an eye on your aquatic plants to ensure they are receiving enough nutrition. If you notice any yellowing or wilting of the leaves, add a bit more fertilizer.

Which Gravel Is Best For Aquarium Plants?

Hobbyists often put a great deal of thought into choosing the perfect gravel for their aquariums. Not only does gravel play an important role in the overall aesthetic of the tank, but it can also affect plant growth. Gravel acts as a substrate, providing a place for roots to anchor and deliver essential nutrients.

In general, aquarium plants do best in gravel which is slightly acidic and rich in iron. This type of gravel creates a hospitable environment for most plants, helping them to thrive. Of course, there are always exceptions, and some hobbyists prefer to experiment with different types of gravel to see what works best for their plants. Ultimately, the best gravel for aquarium plants is the type that helps them to grow and flourish.

Choosing aquarium gravel might be difficult due to the wide variety of available options. You need to think about a few different things.

Here are a few of the most crucial points that we considered emphasizing:

1. Size

Gravel comes in a wide range of sizes, from small pebbles to large chunks. The size of the gravel you choose will depend on the size and type of plants you plan to add to your tank. If you have larger plants with long root systems, then you may need bigger pieces of gravel for them to anchor in. On the other hand, smaller plants with shallow root systems may do better with a finer grade of gravel.

2. Color

The color of your aquarium gravel can play an important role in creating the overall aesthetic of your tank. Many hobbyists prefer natural colors such as brown or black to keep things looking more natural, but you can also find gravel in brighter, more vibrant colors too.

3. Composition

Aquarium gravel comes in a variety of compositions, such as quartz, sandstone, and lava rock. Each type of gravel will have different benefits for your aquatic plants, so it’s important to do some research and find the best fit for your tank.

4. pH

The pH of the gravel is also important to consider. Gravel that is slightly acidic (around 6.5-7) will provide the best environment for your aquatic plants.

5. Easy to Clean

As your aquarium plants grow and their roots start to spread, they can easily clog up the gravel. Choosing gravel that is easier to clean will help keep the tank looking neat and organized.

Ultimately, the best gravel for aquarium plants is the one that helps them to thrive and grow healthily. Doing some research and considering each of the factors above can help you find the right substrate for your tank. With a little bit of trial and error, you can create an environment where your aquatic plants can flourish!

FAQ

Can Aquarium Plants Grow in Gravel?

It is conditional upon the type of plant you have. In most cases, gravel is an excellent medium for plant cultivation. Certain plants, however, do particularly well in this medium.

Can You Have a Planted Tank with Just Gravel?

The lack of minerals in gravel makes it a poor substrate for a fully planted tank, but it can nevertheless serve as an anchor for the plants and allow their roots to spread out.

Is Sand or Gravel Better for Planted Tanks?

For most freshwater tanks, gravel is the better option. Plants in a live aquarium are not recommended to be grown on sand since it does not give adequate nutrients for their development. Particularly if your aquarium contains plants that get their nourishment through their roots, known as “root feeders.”

Is Gravel a Good Substrate for Plants?

When it comes to establishing a plant’s foundation, gravel is important. While it is true that some plants can thrive without the support of gravel or other substrates, this is not the case for the vast majority. While there are a variety of options, many plant roots thrive in a gravel substrate.

Conclusion

The gravel needed for each plant will be different. While some plants thrive in a soil-free environment, others require a substantial amount of gravel. The amount of gravel needed to support the roots of your plants in a large aquarium can vary depending on things, including the sort of plants you have. No matter what you decide to plant, it’s imperative that you first perform extensive research before actually putting the gravel in the tank.