Will Aquarium Plants Grow in Gravel? (Let’s See How)

  • By: Joseph Benson
  • Time to read: 11 min.

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Will aquarium plants grow in gravel? Have you seen the beautiful green that grows around a fish tank. A lot of times the answer to this question is why not. The truth is, aquarium plants growing in gravel can be a very difficult task. Even though gravel is often enough to grow some aquatic plants, it may be hard or even impossible to do so for others.

Many aquarium owners wonder about this, and the short answer is yes. The long answer is not quite so simple there are a lot of factors that determine if an aquarium plant will flourish in gravel.

You might have heard that aquarium plants don’t grow in gravel and my mind challenged that idea. I wondered what would happen if I attempted to grow plants using gravel as the substrate. Would it work? Does the gravel prevent plant roots from growing? Will aquarium plants grow in gravel? Yes of course.

Gravel as a substrate for fish tanks is preferred by many aquarists. There are some large aquarium plants that will grow themselves in this environment. However, aquarium gravel is not ideal for all aquarium plants and there are some which need the help of man to grow well.

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You don’t need a huge aquarium to have a great planted tank. Sometimes you can even grow plants in gravel. This article will briefly describe whether it is possible or not.

If you are interested in starting a planted aquarium, you will likely be told to use aquarium gravel for the substrate. While some people don’t have a problem with planted aquariums on gravel, many do not like it because they know their plants won’t grow as well.

Will Aquarium Plants Grow in Gravel?

Will aquarium plants grow in gravel?

Aquarium plants are a great way to add color, life and oxygen to the water in your aquarium. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. However, many people have questions about how to grow aquarium plants properly.

Will aquarium plants grow in gravel?

Yes! The first thing to do when planting an aquarium is to make sure the gravel is clean and free of debris. Then you can use an aquarium plant substrate that contains fertilizer so that it will provide nutrients for your plants.

You can also use regular potting soil if you prefer. When you place your plants into the substrate, make sure that they have enough room for their roots to grow down into it so that they have good drainage.

If they don’t have enough room for their roots, they will start to die off quickly because they won’t be able to absorb enough water from the substrate around them.

Aquarium plants are not easy to grow and care for. They require special lighting, fertilizer and a constant supply of clean water to flourish. Most aquarium plants will not grow in gravel because the gravel makes it difficult for roots to reach the water.

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However, there are some types of aquarium plants that can grow in gravel. These are typically plants that have very shallow root systems or plants that do not need much sunlight.

The most common type of aquarium plant that grows in gravel is Java fern (Microsorum pteropus). It has short leaves and small root systems which means that it can survive very well in an aquarium filled with gravel.

The Java fern will also thrive when planted on rocks or driftwood so long as there is plenty of light coming through the tank lid or window. Another plant that can survive in an aquarium with gravel is Anubias barteri var nana.

This plant has broad leaves which makes it ideal for growing in dark areas of your tank where there isn’t much natural light coming through the lid or windows.

Anubias barteri var nana will also grow well if you place it on rocks or driftwood in your tank so long as there is plenty of light coming through the glass top or side panels of your tank.

Key takeaway points

  • Will aquarium plants grow in sand?
  • How to plant aquarium plants in gravel?
  • Best gravel for aquarium plants
  • Plants that can grow in aquarium
Will Aquarium Plants Grow in Gravel?

Will aquarium plants grow in sand?

Yes, aquarium plants will grow in sand. Most aquarium plants are terrestrial and do not require any substrate to grow in. However, there are a few species that prefer to have some type of substrate under them. These include Java fern, Anubias barteri and Cryptocoryne wendtii var. nana.

There are many different substrates you can use in your aquarium and many people like to experiment with different types to see which ones they like best. Some of the more popular substrates include:

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• Coco-husk fiber

• Aragonite sand (for saltwater tanks)

• Diatomaceous earth (for freshwater tanks)

Aquarium plants can grow in sand, but it’s not recommended. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main one is that sand offers very little in the way of nutrients to the aquarium plants.

This means that you’ll have to fertilize your plants more often than if you used something like gravel or other substrate. Plus, many aquatic plants prefer to be planted deep in the substrate so that their roots can get more nutrients and water flow. Sand does not provide this benefit.

Aquatic plants are known to grow well in the aquarium. They help keep the water clean and look beautiful at the same time. But what if you want to grow some plants in your aquarium?

There are many types of aquatic plants available but not all of them will do well in your aquarium. Some plants need great amounts of light, others need a lot of nutrients to grow properly. And then there are some that require a lot of root depth or substrate for healthy growth.

So if you want an aquatic plant that will thrive in sand, make sure you choose one that doesn’t need much in the way of nutrients or root depth, such as Java ferns or Anubias barteri var nana (also called “dwarf” Anubias).

Or choose a plant that grows well on driftwood or rocks like Cryptocoryne wendtii (Wendt’s crypt) or Cryptocoryne beckettii var Bonaire (Bonaire crypt).

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The first thing is that not all aquarium plants are suitable for all types of aquariums. Some plants prefer hard water while others need soft water.

Some require high light while others can get by with low light. Some plants like acidic water while others need alkaline water. And some can only be grown in soil while others thrive in gravel or even sand.

Will Aquarium Plants Grow in Gravel?

How to plant aquarium plants in gravel?

Planting aquarium plants in gravel is a simple way of doing it. The simplest way to plant your aquarium plants is by placing them into the gravel substrate.

Planting your aquarium plants in gravel is a great method for planting all types of aquarium plants, including stem plants and floating plants. This method is often used by beginners as well as more experienced aquarists.

The only downside of planting aquarium plants in gravel is that they will not be able to grow as tall as they would if planted in a substrate that provides better support such as soil or sand. However, this method offers many advantages which are discussed below:

It’s easy to do – all you need to do is dig out some holes in the gravel and place the plants into them!

It’s cheap – there are no additional costs involved other than buying the plants themselves (which can be expensive) and purchasing some aquatic fertilizer if you want to encourage growth.

It’s low-maintenance – once your aquarium plants are in place, they require very little attention from you. You can simply leave them alone and enjoy watching them grow!

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Aquarium plants are an essential part of any aquarium setup. They help to provide a natural look and feel, while also helping to filter the water by absorbing nitrates and other pollutants. Aquarium plants require a substrate in order to grow properly, but they can be tricky to plant in gravel.

Gravel is usually used as the substrate for planted tanks because it’s easy to find, inexpensive and it makes for a nice surface on which plants can root. However, planting aquarium plants in gravel is not always easy since it does not provide enough nutrients or water for plant growth.

Planting aquarium plants in gravel requires some preparation before you can get started with planting your plants in your tank.

The first step when planting aquarium plants in gravel is to make sure that the substrate has been allowed time to settle and become stable after being added to the tank.

It is important that you wait at least one month before planting any new plants into your tank so that all of the nutrients have had time to mix together and stabilize.

Once your tank has been running for one month, it’s time to begin adding your plants! If you’re using live plants then they may already be growing in their pots so all you need to do is remove them from their pots and place them in the gravel.

If you’re planting artificial plants, then you’ll need to plant them into the substrate. To do this, use a pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut off the bottom 1/2 inch (1cm) of the stem and place it into the substrate.

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If there is no visible growth on the stem (such as leaves or roots), just cut off an inch or two (2-5cm) above where there are leaves/roots visible. This will help protect against algae buildup and give your plants a better chance at survival!

Once your plants are planted into the substrate, they will begin growing within 2-3 weeks! You can also add mosses and other small plants that don’t need any light at this point but they won’t grow as fast as other types of plants.

Will Aquarium Plants Grow in Gravel?

Best gravel for aquarium plants

The best gravel for aquarium plants should have a smooth surface that doesn’t contain any sharp edges or protrusions. The ideal gravel for your tank will also be large enough so that you don’t have to worry about it getting stuck in your plants’ roots or between their leaves.

Gravel for aquariums comes in many different shapes and sizes, but the most common type is round. You can also find crushed coral, which is made from seashells and looks similar to coral sand.

There are several different types of gravel that work well in planted tanks, including:

– Amazonia Aqua Soil

– Aquarium Driftwood Gravel

– Fluval Plant Gravel

Natural Aquarium Substrate

Natural aquarium substrate is another option that works well for many types of plants. It provides support for plant roots while allowing plenty of oxygen in as well as preventing harmful chemicals from leaching into your tank water column.

Natural materials such as coconut coir, peat moss and sand are available at most pet stores or online retailers like Amazon or eBay, making them convenient choices when setting up an aquarium or upgrading an existing one.

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The first thing you need to consider when choosing gravel for your aquarium is whether or not it will suit the type of plants you have in mind. Some types of gravel work better with certain plants than others, so be sure to check this out before making any purchases.

If you are looking for an easy way to determine how well gravel will work with your plants, consider how much space they require above their roots.

Your plant’s roots should never sit directly on the substrate (gravel), so make sure there is enough space between them and the surface of the tank floor so that they do not get damaged by excessive moisture or heat coming from below.

Will Aquarium Plants Grow in Gravel?

Plants that can grow in aquarium

Aquarium plants are a popular addition to fish tanks, but they can also be used to decorate ponds, water gardens and terrariums. Although some aquarium plants can grow in water with no additional fertilizer, others need a little help to thrive.

Many aquatic plants grow best in aquariums that have been prepared for them. The first step is to determine what type of water you have. If your tap water has a pH value below 6 or above 8, you will need to adjust the pH level with a buffer before adding any plants.

Next you should fill your tank with dechlorinated water (if necessary) and then add either gravel or sand as substrate.

This will provide nutrients for the plants while helping them anchor themselves in place. You should also add fertilizer that contains iron and nitrogen, unless your tank already has these elements present in abundance (see below).

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Your aquarium will be home not only to fish but also to other creatures like snails, shrimp and snails which will help keep algae at bay by eating it off the glass and substrate surfaces.

Snails are especially helpful since they feed on decaying matter like dead leaves and algae which could cause anoxic conditions within the substrate.

Snails are also very useful as fish food since they are easy for your fish to catch and eat. The fish will benefit from the calcium in their shells as well as the protein found in their flesh.

Some snail species can live for years, so if you want some of these creatures in your tank, choose a species that has a long life span.

The following plants are ideal for aquariums:

  1. Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)
  2. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
  3. Anacharis sp. (Eusteralis stellata)
  4. Bacopa caroliniana (copper variety)
  5. Cabomba caroliniana (copper variety)
  6. Hygrophila difformis ‘Mandaianum’ (purple variety)
Will Aquarium Plants Grow in Gravel?


Some aquarists have experimented with the idea of growing aquatic plant life on top of medium grade gravel. These plants do well because of improved water movement, although not so much from nutrients.

However, there is a downside to this. The gravel close to the light will overheat. This could ultimately kill some if not most of your plants.

If you do decide to try using gravel as a substrate it is important that you monitor the temperature and give your aquarium’s water time to adjust before adding plants.

It is important to remember that many aquarium plants will require nutrients to be supplemented within the gravel.

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In addition to the nutrient additives that are put into the water through regular water changes, a range of liquid and dry fertilizers are available containing different combinations of nutrients.

As it turns out, not all aquarium gravel is created equal. Whichever gravel you choose, avoid using a net with hooks to remove plants from the bottom of your tank.

If you want to keep your aquarium plants alive and happy, a gravel vacuum, aquarium shrimp net or aquarium tongs are the way to go, since they won’t damage your plants.

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Joseph Benson

Hi, this is Joseph Benson, aquarium is my area of expertise for years now, you can learn free aquarium tips from my page.

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