If you’re looking to put together a first-rate aquarium, you’ll need more than tropical fish species and eye-catching ornaments. Aquarium plants are often used to add some exotic flair to fish tanks, but those with less experience with aquariums have trouble getting started.
One question that crops is whether fish tank plants can grow in gravel substrate. The short answer to this is yes. However, you will need to ensure you are using the right substrate material for the types of plant you are looking to place within your tank.
If you want to grow fish tank plants in gravel, you first need to pull together a few basic items. You’ll obviously need your plants of choice, along with fish-friendly rocks for anchoring them. Rocks like granite, quartz and slate are all popular choices for use in aquariums and will not cause your fish any problems.
Lava rock is another good choice, although be weary when selecting pieces as lava rock tends to include sharp edges that can harm your fish if they stray too close.
Sandstone is another option, although if you go for this option, ensure the sandstone doesn’t contain any trace amounts of limestone as this is not a good fit for aquarium environments. Once you’ve selected your rocks, you can attach your aquarium plants to them.
Use a rubber band to do this, being careful not to put too much pressure on the roots of your plants as you fasten them. These heavy rocks serve as an anchor for your plants, making it easier for them to bed down in gravel substrate.
Adding Plants to an Aquarium
Once you’ve anchored your plants to your aquarium-friendly rocks, you next need to think about the gravel you will be using in your tank. Most plant species tend to prefer finger gravel to grow in, so look for fine grain sizes when choosing your substrate. If you are planting an aquarium for the first time, add a base layer of gravel substrate before reaching for your plants.
This bottom layer of gravel should be no deeper than three centimetres. Once you’ve added this layer, you can apply some fertiliser to help give your plants a fighting chance. Once this is done, you should fill your tank halfway with water.
You can now think about installing your chosen plants. Be gentle when placing plants in the gravel layer. You need to avoid causing any trauma to the plant roots, so be very careful when covering them with gravel if you want to achieve significant growth. Once you have added plants to your aquarium, maintaining them is relatively easy.
Most plant species will need to be exposed to around 10 hours of sunlight per day. If your tank is placed in a room with minimal exposure to natural sunlight, you may want to invest in a UV light to keep them thriving. You will also need to ensure your plants are enriched with fertiliser on a regular basis.