Anacharis is one of the best plants for beginners because it is very easy to maintain and it is very undemanding.
Furthermore, this plant can tolerate a wide range of water parameters, particularly a wide range of water temperatures, making it an excellent choice for both cold water and tropical aquariums.
Anacharis does well under moderate lighting conditions of about 2 to 3 Watts per gallon of your aquarium.
Under low light, this plant will die, and on the other hand, if it gets too much light, it can cause algae growth on it.
You can plant Anacharis in gravel substrate.
You can directly plant it by burying its stem into the substrate.
If you plant Anacharis in a cold water tank, you usually do not need to provide it with any fertilizer.
However, if you are planting it in a tropical aquarium, you will need to supplement it with fertilizer. And you can use both liquid fertilizers as well as root tabs to provide it with all the essential nutrients.
Ideal water parameters
Anacharis can tolerate a wide range of water parameters, especially temperature. It can withstand temperatures as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
And the ideal pH tolerance range of this plant is between 6.5 to 7.5, and the water hardness tolerance range is between 3-8 KH.
How to keep it in an aquarium
You can directly plant Anacharis into your gravel substrate.
Besides, you can also keep it floating in your aquarium.
Hornwort is a very popular plant in the aquarium hobby.
The reason for this is that it can withstand a wide range of water parameters and is very easy to maintain.
So you can keep it in a cold water aquarium as well as a tropical aquarium
Hornwort does well under moderate to high lighting conditions.
Under high lighting conditions, it will grow much faster.
Hornwort doesn’t have true roots, so technically, you cannot plant it in the substrate.
However, you can anchor it into the substrate by burying its stem into the substrate.
Hornwort is very undemanding, and it can do just fine without any additional fertilizers.
This is due to Hornwort’s allelopathic abilities, which allow it to release chemicals that prevent other plants from absorbing and using nutrients in their surroundings, allowing it to take all of them for itself.
If you are planting other plants in your aquarium alongside this one, you should ideally add some fertilizer to your tank to ensure that all of the plants in your tank are getting enough nutrients.
Ideal water parameters
This plant can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.
It can tolerate temperatures as low as 59 degrees Fahrenheit to up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. So you can easily keep it in a cold water aquarium as well as in a tropical aquarium.
Besides, the pH tolerance range for this plant is between 6 to 7.5 and the water hardness tolerance range is between 5 to 15 degrees GH.
How to keep it in an aquarium
As mentioned earlier, this plant doesn’t have real roots, so you don’t necessarily have to plant it in your aquarium. However, you can plant it in your aquarium by anchoring it into the substrate.
Besides, you can also keep it floating in your tank.
If you are going to plant it in your aquarium, then you should plant it in the background of your tank because it can grow pretty tall, up to 10 feet.
If you are looking for a beginner-friendly carpeting plant, then Dwarf Sagittaria is for you.
This plant is very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters, making it an ideal choice for beginners.
Besides, this is a short plant that propagates and grows very fast, providing a very good carpeting effect on the substrate of your aquarium.
Dwarf Sagittaria does well under moderate to highlighting conditions.
If you provide it with too much light for a longer period of time, you will start to see a tinge of red on its leaves.
Ideally, you should provide it with around 3 watts of light per gallon of your aquarium.
Ideally, you should plant Dwarf Sagittaria in a nutrient-rich substrate that is specifically rich in iron and CO2.
However, you can also plant it in the substrate, but in that case, you will need to provide it with all the essential nutrients, specifically iron, and CO2, through root tabs.
This is a very hardy aquarium plant, and it can do well without any additional fertilizers. However, for proper growth and development, you should supplement it with fertilizers.
And as you are planting it into the gravel subtract which doesn’t provide any nutrients, and as it absorbs nutrients through its roots, you should insert root tabs into the gravel to provide it with all the essential nutrients.
How to grow live aquarium plants in a gravel substrate
In this section, I am going to tell you some important things that you should keep in mind if you want to grow live aquarium plants in a gravel substrate in your aquarium.
Choose the right gravel size
If you want to plant aquarium plants in an aquarium that has a gravel substrate, you will need to be mindful when choosing the size of the gravel for the aquarium.
If you choose a gravel substrate that is very large, then the plants will easily get uprooted.
That’s why you should choose a fine-grain gravel substrate of anywhere between 3 to 8 mm for your aquarium.
Sufficient substrate depth
You should have at least 2.5 inches of gravel substrate in your aquarium.
This substrate depth is sufficient to anchor the plants in the gravel substrate.
Besides, it will give sufficient room for the roots of the plants to grow in the substrate and form complex root structures that will hold the plant in place in the aquarium.
Provide the nutrients to the plants
The biggest problem with growing live aquarium plants in a gravel substrate is that plants need nutrients for their growth, and gravel cannot provide those nutrients.
That’s why you will need to provide nutrients to the plants by inserting root tabs into the gravel.
Root tabs are basically small capsules that contain all the essential nutrients that plants need for their proper growth and development.
Besides that, another way to provide nutrients to the live aquarium plants is to first add nutrient-rich substrate in your tank and then cover that substrate with gravel.
When you do this, the plants will get the nutrients from the nutrient-rich substrate.
Aside from that, most aquarium plants obtain the nutrients they require from the water column via their leaves.
So you should also add liquid fertilizers in your fish tank, especially after doing the water change, so that the plants can absorb nutrients through their leaves from the water column.
Another not-so-popular way of keeping live aquarium plants if you have gravel substrate in your aquarium is to plant the plant in a pot. And the pot should contain a nutrient-rich substrate.
After that, put the pot in your aquarium.
This is the easiest way of keeping live aquarium plants in your tank if you have gravel substrate.
You will need to keep up with the maintenance of your aquarium plants to keep them healthy and to make sure that your fish tank doesn’t get toxic for the fish in it.
The maintenance of live aquarium plants includes trimming overgrown and dead and melting leaves from the plant.
Only have plant-friendly fish
There are some species of fish, such as goldfish, African cichlids, and Oscar fish which are known to destroy and eat live aquarium plants.
So you should avoid keeping such fish species in your planted aquarium.
Provide proper lighting conditions
Plants require specific lighting conditions in order to thrive in aquariums.
So, research the plants you want to keep in your aquarium, understand the type of lighting the plants require for proper growth and development, and provide such lighting conditions.
Provide the ideal water parameters that the plants need
Plants are not very demanding when it comes to water parameters like temperature, pH, etc.
Still, each plant has an ideal range of temperature and pH it can tolerate.
So you should make sure that the water parameters of your aquarium are within the ideal range that the plants need for their proper growth and development.
Benefits of growing plants in gravel substrate
There are several benefits of growing live aquarium plants in an aquarium that has a gravel substrate.
Live aquarium plants help keep your fish tank water well-oxygenated, which is essential for the fish in your aquarium.
Live aquarium plants absorb nitrates, which your aquarium’s fish produce and are harmful to them.
In most of the natural habitats of aquarium fish, there are some live aquarium plants.
And planting some live plants in your fish tank allows you to emulate the same and give a natural look to your fish tank.
Besides these, there are several other benefits to having live aquarium plants in an aquarium.
How to choose the best gravel substrate for your planted aquarium?
There are a few things that you should keep in mind while choosing a gravel substrate for your aquarium if you want to keep some live aquarium plants in it.
The grain size of the gravel
While choosing gravel for your planted aquarium, you should choose gravel that has a grain size of anywhere between 3 to 8 mm.
If the grain size of the gravel is very large, the plants will not get properly anchored, and they can be easily uprooted.
Color of the gravel
Before choosing the gravel for your planted tank, you should have a good idea about the kind of look or aesthetic you are going after in your tank and you should choose the gravel for the tank accordingly.
Composition of the gravel
Gravel comes in different shapes and forms, and you should choose the substrate according to the aesthetic you are going for.
Besides, you should also consider the aquarium fish in your aquarium and choose the substrate accordingly.
For example, if you have aquarium fish that like to forage for food near the substrate, then ideally, you should choose a gravel substrate that doesn’t have sharp edges.
How to anchor plants in gravel?
There are different types of plants you can anchor in a gravel substrate, and depending on the type, anchoring them in the gravel is a little different.
If you want to anchor stem plants in your aquarium, then you should just bury the roots of the stem plant into the gravel to anchor them in the aquarium.
Now there are also some stem plants like Java fern, which doesn’t actually grow any roots. So in that case, you just need to bury its stem, about 1.5 inches, deep into the substrate.
The most important thing you should keep in mind while anchoring rhizome plants into the gravel substrate is that you should just bury the roots of the plant into the gravel substrate and keep the rhizome above the substrate.
Can aquarium plants grow in gravel?
Yes, there are certain species of aquarium plants that can easily grow in a gravel substrate.
These plants are usually water column feeders or at least they can get nutrients through their leaves.
All the plants I have mentioned above are such plants.
What aquarium plants can grow in sand?
There are certain varieties of aquarium plants that can grow in a sand substrate.
Is growing live aquarium plants in gravel worth it?
There are several benefits to having live aquarium plants.
For example, live aquarium plants help to oxygenate your aquarium water, absorb nitrates, which are harmful to your fish, and give your fish tank a natural look.
If you don’t have any experience with keeping live aquarium plants, then you can start out with beginner plants, so it will be very easy for you to take care of them.
I have covered a lot of beginner-friendly live aquarium plants that you can keep in your gravel substrate in the above list.
Can aquarium plants grow in rock?
As mentioned in the list above, there are several live aquarium plants that you can easily grow in rocks.
Just make sure that the size of the rock is smaller, anywhere between 3-8 mm.
Besides, you can also attach live aquarium plants such as Java moss and Anubias to rocks and keep them in an aquarium that way.
Can Java fern survive in gravel?
Java fern doesn’t have real roots, so it will do just fine in a gravel substrate.
You just need to bury its stem about one and a half inches into the gravel to plant it in gravel.
Can any aquarium plants grow in gravel?
There are several different species of plants that can grow in gravel substrate. For example, Water Sprite, Hornwort, Amazon sword, etc.
However, you cannot grow very demanding heavy root feeder plants in gravel substrate because they need a lot of nutrients to grow and gravel cannot provide them with the nutrients.
Can you grow aquarium plants without soil?
Yes, you can grow aquarium plants without soil.
There are several aquarium plants that you can keep floating in your aquarium.
Besides, there are several aquarium plants that can grow in gravel or sand substrates.
How deep should gravel be for a planted aquarium?
The gravel should be at least 2.5 inches thick or deep in a planted aquarium.
This will allow you to properly anchor the plants into the substrate.
And it will also allow the plants to grow and develop their roots in the substrate.
Can aquarium plants grow in gravel without soil?
Aquarium plants can grow in gravel without soil. You just need to provide the plants with nutrients by burying root tabs in the gravel.
Can Amazon sword plants grow in gravel?
Amazon sword is a hardy plant that can grow in gravel substrate.
As Amazon sword absorbs nutrients through its roots, ideally you should add some root tabs into the gravel for the plant to do well.
Can Anubias grow in gravel?
Anubias doesn’t have real roots, so it doesn’t absorb nutrients through its roots. That’s why it will grow just fine in gravel, which doesn’t have any nutrients.
However, for Anubias to do well, you should ideally supplement the plant with nutrients through liquid fertilizers.
Can you put root tabs in gravel?
Yes, you can put root tabs in gravel. In fact, you should put root tabs regularly in your gravel substrate if you have live aquarium plants that absorb a lot of nutrients through their roots.
What will grow over gravel?
There are several aquarium plants that can grow on gravel substrate.
Some examples include Anubias, Amazon sword, Water Sprite, Jungle valisnaria, etc.
I have covered several live aquarium plants that you can easily keep in your gravel substrate above with detailed information so you can get started with them right away.
Can you mix aquarium soil with gravel?
Yes, you can mix aquarium soil with gravel.
Ideally, you should first add the aquarium soil, and then on top of that, you should put a layer of gravel on it.
Will Micro sword grow in gravel?
Micro sword will not do well and cannot grow in gravel substates as they need a lot of nutrients, which gravel cannot provide.
How to plant Anubias in a gravel substrate?
The most important thing you should keep in mind if you want to plant Anubias in a gravel subtract is that you should just bury the roots of the plant into the substrate and you should keep the rhizome above the substrate.
Here is a video demonstrating the same.
How long do root tabs last?
Root tabs can last anywhere between 3 to 6 months in an aquarium.
So you should be adding new root tabs every 3 to 6 months so that your plants are getting all the nutrients they need for their proper growth and development.
How many inches of gravel do I need for plants?
Your gravel substrate should be at least 2.5 inches thick so that you can easily anchor the plants into it and the plants have enough space to grow their root structure.
Can plants grow in gravel without soil?
Plants can grow in gravel substrates without soil.
But you will need to provide the nutrients for the plants to grow by inserting root tabs into the gravel substrate.
So these are the best aquarium plants for gravel substrate.
I hope you from this list helpful.
If you do, please share it.
Also, let me know which plant you are going to keep in your aquarium in the comments section below.
He is the main author and editor at Aquagoodness.com. And he loves to share helpful information on aquarium and/or fishkeeping hobby.
Prathmesh has over five years of aquarium and/or fishkeeping experience. Currently, he has a Betta fish tank. He has written hundreds of articles on various aquarium fish species and on fish tank maintenance over the last five years.
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