10 Best Aquarium Plants that Grow in Gravel

Aquarium plants are plants that contribute to the natural appearance of our freshwater aquariums. These aquarium plants aid in ammonia absorption and offers suitable habitat for our fish, and they’re young. Aquarium plants thrive when combined with gravel such as pea gravel. This gravel is identical to the gravel used in landscaping. Specific facts must be recalled when growing aquarium plants on gravel. We’ll need to know which plants we’d want to employ in our aquarium, the type of lighting we want, and how we’d like to fertilize the plants, to mention a few.

Selecting the right plants for the aquarium is one of the most enjoyable aspects of this procedure. The hair grass plant is one of the most incredible plants in our aquarium. This is one of the inexpensive plants to purchase and thrives at the aquarium’s bottom. This plant has several stems that must be delicately trimmed to prevent injuring the fragile roots. Taking the time to space each branch no more than a half-inch apart will result in a stunning finish. It will take a few months to achieve a completely balanced aquarium bottom.

Potted plants are also the ideal aquarium for gravel substrates since they have woolly roots. While these plants can be grown in pots, they are advised to be removed for easier development. The planting method begins by excavating a tiny hole large enough to fit the plant and then lining it with gravel. This will ensure that the plant may develop freely in our aquarium.

Can You Grow Aquarium Plants in Gravel?

Aquarium plants can be grown in gravel, both in new and existing tanks. All you need are pond rocks that are fish safe, rubber bands, and your plants.

To plant, use a rubber band to secure the plant to the fish-safe-rock just above the roots. This will act as a weight for the plant after it is placed in the fish tank and help keep the roots stable beneath the gravel.

Nonetheless, it’s critical to remember that only some aquarium plants thrive on gravel. In contrast, others thrive in water, and others, such as java moss, are excellent candidates for aquarium walls, carpets, and trees when coupled with other decorations.

How to Grow Aquarium Plants in Gravel?

Getting your aquarium plants started might be tricky, especially if you are unfamiliar with the proper procedure. However, as long as you follow these procedures for planting aquarium plants in gravel, nothing is stopping you from producing some of this extraordinary life that has never been before!

Choose the Appropriate Gravel Size

Whether you are a novice or an expert with aquarium plants, it is always beneficial to be aware of the many varieties of gravel that may be utilized.

For most live aquatic plants, you may choose to use small-sized gravel with a 0.1 to 0.2-inch grain size (3 to 5 millimeters) since they thrive best in this size. Another substrate form is coarse sand, which should have a particle size of 0.12 inches (2 millimeters) to 2 inches (5 centimeters).

Establish A Gravel Substrate For Planting

Before you start growing aquarium plants in your gravel substrate, you must first prepare it. Create a bottom layer that is no more than 1.5 – 2 inches higher than the tank floor; otherwise, cleaning will be more challenging.

Then, sprinkle some aquarium plant fertilizer on top of it on top of the gravel layer. Root tabs for aquariums are also handy for providing nutrients at the beginning of the aquarium’s life because gravel does not contain any nutrients that plants require to grow. Finally, fill the tank about halfway with water, being careful not to overfill it.

It is critical to avoid using anything with sharp edges, such as broken rock, since this may cause harm to the plants’ roots.

Planting the Plants

The procedure for planting is quick and straightforward. To cultivate, use a rubber band, twine, or rope directly above the roots of your plants and secure them to the gravel with it. This will assist in weighing down the plant once it has been placed in water and keeping them stable beneath gravel while they are growing correctly.

Covering their roots will also help to guarantee that these gorgeous aquatic plants continue to develop and thrive! Extra support can be provided by a tiny layer of substrate cover around plant roots!

Fill Up The Tank With Water And Fertilize It

Filling the rest of the tank with water and fertilizing it to make it nutrient-dense for plants is the next step to be completed. Liquid fertilizer might be ideal for aquarium plant development since the plants will obtain most nutrition from the water through their leaves.

How to Look After Aquarium Plants that Grow in Gravel

There are no specific techniques required, and many types of live plants may thrive in gravel ground. All you have to do is ensure that their fundamental needs – light and nutrients – are met.

Provide Sufficient Lighting

A plant needs light to accomplish photosynthesis, and each variety of plants requires a distinct degree of light intensity. If the lighting in your aquarium is insufficient for the plants, you will need to put in more powerful lighting to ensure that just about everything flourishes as planned.

Consider Adding CO2 to the Atmosphere

Plants offer much more than simply enhancing the aesthetics of your fish tank. However, they require light and CO2 for photosynthesis to survive. The process produces oxygen and sugar, which are necessary for the life of your aquarium’s green residents and contribute to its vibrant beauty!

Therefore, please provide them with what they require by supplementing with CO2. The aquarium is a small environment with finite resources. Thus, supplementation is sometimes necessary as, without sufficient CO2, plants would create less sugar, resulting in unhealthy plants.

Maintain the Appropriate Frequency of Liquid Fertilizer

Aquarium plants thrive in gravel when added nutrients, such as a plant-based liquid fertilizer. This is critical for their growth, as they obtain most of their nutrition from the water via leaves.

Plants in aquariums require the correct nutrition to grow. If you apply an iron-rich fertilizer, it will aid in the growth and development of your plants for years.

Nonetheless, it would be great if you were aware of the essential micronutrient requirements of each plant via water or fertilizers.

10 Best Aquarium Plants that Grow in Gravel

Let us have a look at 10 best aquarium plants that grow in gravel. The plants and their specifications are mentioned below.

Amazon Sword

Plant SpecificationDetails
Common nameAmazon Sword
Scientific nameEchinodorus Grisebachii
Additional CO2 requiredNo
Recommended positionBackground plant
FertilizationRoot tabs
Max height16 in / 40 cm
Care complexityEasy
Lighting needsMedium to High
Growth rateModerate
AvailabilityBuy On Amazon

This plant looks fantastic in an aquarium. It has long sword-like leaves and may be planted in the background of your tank or as a showpiece in the middle. With minimal care, this flora will grow tall and strong.

Ensure that your tank contains enough gravel to root your plant adequately. You want a little less than three inches, around 2.5 inches, and the gravel should also be loosely packed. In a nutshell, avoid planting the roots deeply. Instead, allow them to develop because they will become large! Additionally, ensure that sufficient nutrients are provided by regularly adding root tabs. A maximum of three times each year should be enough.

Java Fern

Plant SpecificationDetails
Common nameJava Fern
Scientific nameMicrosorum Pteropus
Max height13.5 in / 35 cm
Additional CO2 requiredNo
Recommended positionMidground / Background plant
FertilizationLiquid fertilizer
Care complexityEasy
Lighting needsLow
Growth rateSlow
AvailabilityBuy On Amazon

Java Fern is another excellent choice for first-time plant owners. Ferns flourish in gravel and require little fertilizer. Many of these may be grown in your tank with relatively little upkeep. This is because Java fern is exceptionally adaptable to various environments. They prefer extremely low light intensities and may thrive in multiple temperatures.

These plants will also help your fish. The Fern’s huge leaves protect pets well. While Java does not overgrow, it may fill a full tank with beautiful greenery. Again, nothing to worry about here; trim this plant and clean up any waste. Also, check the lighting; too much light might kill Java Fern.

Avoid burying Fern’s roots too profoundly in the gravel. These plants will perish if planted too deeply in gravel. Smaller gravel with fertilizer encourages plant growth.


Plant SpecificationDetails
Common nameAnubias
Scientific nameAnubias Barteri
Max height16 inches / 40 cm
Additional CO2 requiredNo
Recommended positionMidground / Background plant
FertilizationLiquid Fertilizer
Care complexityEasy
Lighting needsLow
Growth rateSlow
AvailabilityBuy On Amazon

Anubias are huge, shade-loving plants that thrive in a variety of aquariums. They dislike being buried too deeply, but this plant will thrive in gravel with the proper care. The Anubias is a robust tank fixture with low maintenance requirements.

Medium-light works well for Anubias; however, additional light can be used to enhance growth. Anbubias do not require fertilizer as they grow well on their own. Consider adding root tabs or other fertilizers to the gravel to keep the plant’s color and vitality. Place this plant carefully on its substrate. Again, don’t plant too deep, and use suitable, soft gravel. This plant doesn’t need a lot of gravel.

Waterweeds (Anacharis Elodea)

Plant SpecificationDetails
Common nameBrazilian Waterweeds
Scientific nameEgeria densa
Max heightStem plants keep growing
Additional CO2 requiredNot necessary, but appreciated
Recommended positionBackground plant
FertilizationLiquid fertilizer
Care complexityEasy
Lighting needsMedium to High
Growth rateFast
AvailabilityBuy on Amazon

Waterweeds are native to South America. They are excellent at oxygenating and filtering tank water. Additionally, similar to the other plants I listed, waterweed is tolerant of various water conditions and is not temperature sensitive.

Nonetheless, for best plant development, use medium-light. If you want a big plant, add fertilizer and warmer water to ensure it grows fully. Colder water might help control the size of your waterweed. Arrange this flora on gravel and guarantee strong roots. They should be put 1-2 inches deep into your substrate. This plant doesn’t mind being buried in the gravel! Separate Waterweeds by at least one inch. So they can grow up!

Red Tiger Lotus

Plant SpecificationDetails
Common nameRed Tiger Lotus, Dwarf Lilly
Scientific nameNymphaea Zenkeri
Maximum height20+ inches / 50+ centimeters (under ideal circumstances)
Additional CO2 is necessaryYes (but can be done without)
Scientific nameNymphaea Zenkeri
Recommended positionMidground / Background plant
FertilizationRoot tabs and Liquid fertilizer
Care complexityModerate
Lighting needsModerate to High
Growth rateModerate to Fast
AvailabilityBuy on Amazon

Although the Red Tiger Lotus is a well-known flowering plant, it may grow on gravel. Therefore, if you cultivate it underwater and on land, blossoms will not form. Nonetheless, this plant species provides an excellent visual.

Tiger Lotus is not a complex plant to grow, but it must be adequately planned to get the best results. Ensure that the roots of this plant are buried in the gravel but do not cover the bulb. Otherwise, your Tiger’s growth will be stunted. Additionally, ensure that your gravel is well-fertilized. This species requires a high concentration of nutrients to survive in the water. Therefore, this plant prefers warmer areas and should be exposed to moderate quantities of light. More importantly, keep this plant trimmed since it will grow swiftly if left neglected!


Plant SpecificationDetails
Common nameBucephalandra
Scientific nameBucephalandra
Max height4 in / 10 cm
Additional CO2 requiredNot necessary
Recommended positionForeground / Midground plant
FertilizationLiquid fertilizer
Care complexityEasy
Lighting needsLow
Growth rateSlow
AvailabilityBuy on Amazon

Bucephalandra, unlike many other plants on this list, prefers thicker gravel. You don’t need huge rocks, just something more considerable than pebbles. Bucephalandra can be planted on top of the substrate or buried. Just don’t cover the rhizome!

Porous gravel is ideal so the root system may thoroughly immerse itself in its substrate. Other objects can also be used to secure your plant. Bucephalandra develops slowly in low light conditions. The water should be 71-82 degrees. These plants come in a variety of hues. They will grow enormous and become the tank’s focal point with proper care.


Plant SpecificationDetails
Common nameVallisneria or Val
Maximum height8 to 16 inches / 20 to 40 centimeters
Additional CO2 requiredNot necessary
Recommended positionBackground plant
Scientific nameVallisneria
FertilizationRoot tabs
Care complexityEasy
Lighting needsModerate to High
Growth rateModerate to Fast
AvailabilityBuy on Amazon

Vallisneria is a grass-like plant that proliferates. It is prevalent in tropical regions and favors situations with warmer water. Vallisneria is also a low-maintenance plant, an excellent alternative for bare aquariums needing additional coverage. You may either plant this fauna along the perimeter of your aquarium or let it cover it completely.

Vallisneria thrives in a more acidic pH range. So, again, the temperature should be a little higher. Additionally, you’ll want to trim it to prevent it from taking over your tank. Vallisneria can be grown in gravel, but it does not require an abundance. A thin layer should suffice, just enough to allow the roots to penetrate. However, the crown of your plant should remain above the substrate!

Java Moss

Plant SpecificationDetails
PlantJava Moss
Scientific NameVesicularia Dubyana
Care LevelVery easy
Light RequirementLow to Bright
Growth RateFast
Hardness60- 240 ppm
Maximum Size4 inches
Minimum Tank Size5 gallon

Before placing Java Moss plants within the water, cut them into tiny pieces and secure them someplace on the bottom of the tank, ideally with gravels. Colonies will begin to form within seven days at the most!

They are adamant and nearly difficult to kill! However, what sort of tank you own is irrelevant since these plants thrive in every environment. They absorb nutrients from the environment, maintaining them healthy as long as the water balance is maintained.

Asian Ambulia

Common Names: Dwarf ambulia, Ambulis, Asian marshweed
Scientific Name: Limnophila sessiliflora
Family: Plantaginaceae
Light Requirement: Low
Growth Rate: Fast
Temperature: 59-82° F
PH: 5 – 8
Hardness: 2 – 21°dKH
Placement: Mid-Background
Maximum Size: 15 inches
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon

It is a rapidly growing blooming plant that may reach 15 inches tall. This plant is an excellent alternative to the difficult Cabomba.
Beginners will appreciate this plant’s ease of care and tolerance for various water conditions. Asian ambulia is not easy. This plant thrives in low to moderate light. 2 to 3 watts per gallon of sunlight is recommended. You may use any substrate, even gravel, to grow Asian ambulia in your aquarium.

Asian ambulia is a resilient plant that does not require extra fertilizer. But, like any other plant, it will benefit from additional nutrients. Asian ambulia can withstand a broad range of water characteristics. This plant can survive temperatures ranging from 59°F to 82°F, making it ideal for a cold water aquarium. In terms of water hardness, it tolerates 2-21° KH.

Anacharis :

Common Name: Anacharis
Other Names: Brazilian waterweed, Anacharis densa, Leafy Elodea, Elodea,
Scientific Name: Egeria densa
Tank Size (minimum): 10 gallons (40 liters)
Difficulty: Easy
Growth Rate: Speedy
Fertilizers: Not needed

CO2: Not needed
Propagation: Cutting
Color: Green
Optimal Temperature : 20 – 24 °C

Anacharis is a well-known aquarium plant in Argentina, Southeast Brazil, and Uruguay. This aquarium plant is renowned for its flexibility, diversity, and aesthetically pleasing growth. Anacharis has rich green leaves that are delicately serrated. While the leaves are typically green, they can be found in various shades, from brilliant green to pale green. Pigmentation varies according to the water quality in its habitat.

The depth of the water determines the plant’s height. As a result, Anacharis may reach around 9 feet in the wild. However, it does not reach such heights in captivity. Anacharis grows well on any substrate, even gravel. This is because Anacharis can take nutrients from the water column and substrate. To cultivate Anacharis, ensure that each stem is planted in a 2-inch deep gravel substrate. If your Anacharis is planted too shallowly, it will produce floating branches. However, if they are planted too closely together, they will have a little area to flourish.

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