Keeping aquarium plants is a great way to add some green and natural beauty to your fish tank. They help break up the look of gravel, offer CO2 absorption, and provide places for your fish to hide. If you’re keeping aquarium plants, you’ll need to choose which plants you want in your tank. Will they grow in gravel? Most aquarium plants will grow in gravel, but there are some exceptions. Each plant has unique needs when it comes to the growing environment. Let’s learn more about whether or not aquarium plants can grow in gravel and what other factors you should consider before getting them for your fish tank.
Can Aquarium Plants Grow in Gravel?
Aquarium plants can grow in gravel, but they require a fairly large amount of space. They also require light and enough nutrients. If you have a gravel substrate, it is best to not use the same type as your aquarium tank. Otherwise, the two will mix together and create an unhealthy environment for your fish.
Which Plants Can Grow In Gravel?
Anubias plants are very popular aquarium plants. They can grow in gravel, and they are fairly easy to care for. However, some species of Anubias may not grow in the gravel at all. Some of the better-known varieties include:
Java fern is another popular aquarium plant that can grow in gravel. It is also relatively easy to care for and will thrive if given proper care and light.
Cryptocoryne plants are often used in natural aquariums, but they can also be used for planted aquaria as well. They will grow in any type of substrate, and they are also fairly easy to care for as long as you give them enough water (which should be around 1/2″ per week). Unfortunately, they do not fare well when kept under intense light and heat, so it’s best to avoid putting them under these conditions. The following are the most common Cryptocoryne species:
Elodea is another popular aquarium plant that can grow in gravel or sand substrates. It works best with a lot of light (if you don’t have enough light then it will get leggy). As far as nutrients go, you only need a small amount (as little as 1 teaspoon per gallon) per week if your fish eat it regularly (usually every other day). You may want to use some fertilizer on top of your Elodea to keep it healthy.
Amazon sword is another popular aquarium plant that can grow in gravel. It is not particularly difficult to care for, and it does well in most types of water. However, it does require a fair amount of light and nutrients, so don’t be stingy with your amounts or you may find your fish suffering from anemia.
Java Fern (various species)
Java ferns are similar to cryptocoryne plants in the way that they look, but they do not perform nearly as well when kept under intense light and heat conditions. They will also not grow when kept in gravel (which is why they are generally only used with natural aquariums). The following are some of the better-known varieties:
This is a very small Anubias species that will grow in gravel. It is not particularly difficult to care for and does well with a lot of light. This is one of the best gravel-grown aquarium plants for beginners because it tends to grow quickly (on the order of inches per month) and does not require much care.
Cryptocoryne wendtii is one of the most popular varieties of cryptocoryne plants, but it is also one of the most difficult to keep alive in an aquarium. It doesn’t do well in high light conditions, so you will want to avoid placing it under these conditions if at all possible. However, if you can provide enough nutrients (such as fertilizer or live foods), then it may be possible to keep this plant alive in your tank without too much trouble. You will probably need to remove this plant from your tank if you are going to keep fish with fin rot or other diseases that are caused by high light levels.
Why Do Some Aquarium Plants Grow In Gravel?
- Gravel provides a good source of nutrients.
- Gravel helps to aerate the water in your aquarium.
- Gravel is porous and allows air to pass through it, which is why it’s used in aquariums.
- Gravel provides a place for fish to hide, which can help keep them healthy and happy.
- Gravel is not as hard on your fish as other substrates such as gravel or sand can be on some fish species, including some catfish species that are used in aquariums.
- If you have trouble keeping plants alive in your tank, try planting them directly in the gravel instead of planting them in the substrate first. You’ll need to fertilize your plants with nutrients when you do this, but it will work better than trying to grow plants in the substrate first and then moving them into the gravel later on when they die off or get eaten by fish or other animals living in your tank.
- Some types of plants are not meant to grow in gravel because their roots are designed for deep substrate penetration instead of shallow growing areas like gravel can provide for them (Amazon sword plant comes to mind).
- Some types of plants cannot grow well without light, like most aquatic bromeliads and ferns (this includes most ferns). This also means they won’t grow well if they are planted too deep into the substrate since they need light exposure to grow.
- Some aquarium plants are meant to be grown in small pots, not in large tanks. In this case, you’ll need to transplant them into the gravel after they’ve been planted in the pot and grown a bit.
- Gravel is porous and allows air to pass through it, which is why it’s used in aquariums. Gravel also allows air to pass through it, which can help keep your tank more stable by providing oxygen for your fish and plants and by removing carbon dioxide from the water (CO2 is a big component of why some plants die off).
When planting aquarium plants in gravel, it’s important to choose plants that grow well in gravel. If you want to grow plants in gravel, you’ll need to provide them with nutrients they aren’t getting from the gravel. You can do this with special aquarium plant fertilizer. You’ll also want to provide CO2 if you’re growing plants in gravel. That CO2 provides plants with the energy they need to grow. When keeping aquarium plants, it’s important to choose which plants you want in your tank. You can’t just put any plant in your tank. You need to keep an eye on the plants and make sure they’re growing well.