I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Can Aquarium Plants Grow In Sand? (Easy aquarium plants for sand substrate)

There are a lot of benefits of keeping live plants in aquarium.

But what if you have sand substrate.

Can aquarium plants grow in sand substrate?

Well, you’re in the right place.

In this article, I am going to answer the same question.

I will also tell you how to keep and take care of aquarium plants in a tank having sand substrate. So that they will not just survive but thrive in your tank.

I will also tell you some of the best and easy aquarium plants for a sand substrate that you can keep in your tank no matter if you have white or black sand.

So let’s get into it.

So, can aquarium plants grow in sand substrate?

There are several aquarium plants that can grow in sand substrate. However, you will need to supplement root feeder aquarium plants with root tabs. And water column feeder plants with liquid fertilizers because sand will not provide them nutrients.

Can Aquarium Plants Grow In Sand? (Easy aquarium plants for sand substrate) image

Are Aquarium Plants Good? (Everything you need to know)

How to keep aquarium plants in sand substrate?

Plants require several macro and micronutrients for their proper growth.

Plants require macronutrients that the consume in large quantities such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

Also, plants require micronutrients that they required in very small amounts such as boron, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, etc.

Now, plants can get some of these nutrients from freshwater aquarium without any fertilizers such as nitrogen, carbon, etc.

But to provide other essential nutrients you will have to either supplement your aquarium plants with fertilizers or plant them in a nutrient-rich substrate.

As we don’t have a mineral-rich substrate in our tank, the other option remain is to supplement plant with fertilizers.

There are two types of fertilizers you can provide to your aquarium plants

  1. Liquid fertilizer
  2. Root tabs

Among these two types of fertilizers which type of fertilizer you should provide to your aquarium plants depends on the plant.

Basically, there are two types of aquarium plants.

  1. Water column feeder aquarium plants
  2. Root feeder aquarium plants

Are Aquarium Plants Hard To Keep? (And how to keep them healthy)

Water column feeder aquarium plants

The water column feeder aquarium plants are the plants that get most of their nutrients through water column.

They absorb nutrients through their leaves from the water.

To supplement essential nutrients to such plants you will need to add liquid fertilizer in the water of your aquarium.

How much and how often do I need to add liquid fertilizers in my aquarium?

How much liquid fertilizer you will need to add in your tank depends on which brand of fertilizer you use.

Usually, you will need to add liquid fertilizer on the weekly basis after the weekly water change.

And amount you should add in your tank is generally mentioned on the packaging or label of the liquid fertilizer.

9 Best Oxygenating Plants for Aquarium

Root feeder aquarium plants

Root feeder aquarium plants are the plants that absorb most of the nutrients that they need through their roots from the substrate.

When you plant root feeder aquarium plants into the sand substrate, as sand substrate don’t carry any nutrients, you will need to add or insert fertilizer in the form of root tabs into the substrate.

The root tabs then slowly release nutrients into the substrate. And these nutrients are then absorbed through the roots of the root feeder aquarium plants.

How much and how often do I need to add root tabs in my aquarium?

How much root tabs you will need to add your tank depends on the size of your aquarium.

Root tabs generally last for 2 to 4 months so you will need to add them after every 2 to 4 months in your tank.

How many root tabs you should add in your tank and how frequently you should them in your tank is mentioned on the label or packaging of the root tabs.

Are Aquarium Plant Fertilizers Safe For Fish? (Best fish safe fertilizers)

Best aquarium plants for sand substrate (Easy to care and maintain)

There are a lot of live aquarium plants you can keep in your aquarium. Some plants are hard to keep i.e. they require special care. And there are also several live plants that are very easy to care and maintain.

Now I am going to share with you some best aquarium plants that you can easily keep in your sand substrate aquarium.

These plants are low maintenance and hardy so even if you are a beginner you can easily keep them in your tank.

Most aquarium plants require special lighting to thrive in the tank.

But if you don’t have a special lighting setup for your tank then don’t worry I will start with some low light aquarium plants that can do well in any lighting condition.

And then I will also share with you some plants that require moderate to high lighting conditions.

52 Best Freshwater Aquarium Plants For Beginners (And Care Guide)

Low light aquarium plants for sand substrate

1. Java fern

PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTJava Fern
COMMON NAMESJava Fern
SCIENTIFIC NAMEMicrosorum pteropus
FAMILYPolypodiaceae
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTLow to Moderate
GROWTH RATELow to Moderate
TEMPERATURE68-82oF
pH6.0-7.5
HARDNESS60-160 ppm
PLACEMENTMid to Background
MAXIMUM SIZE13.5 inches
MINIMUM TANK SIZE5 Gallons

Java fern is one of the most popular aquarium plants.

This plant is very hardy and it is very easy to care for. So you can easily keep it in your tank even if you are a beginner.

Besides, this plant can be kept with a wide range of fish and it is very cheap as well.

How much light does Java fern require?

Java fern is a low light plant and it does well under low to moderate lighting condition.

If you provide it very strong lighting then it will start turning brown and transparent.

If you noticed these symptoms then you should reduce the light and after a couple of weeks, it should regain its original appearance.

Ideally, you should provide it about 1.5 to 2 Watt light per gallon.

What’s the best place to keep Java fern in an aquarium?

Though Java fern is a slow-growing plant, this plant can get very big.

So usually, you should keep it in the middle ground of your tank. If you have a small tank (below 10 gallons) then you should keep it in the background of your tank.

The ideal water parameters for Java fern

Java fern can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

However, the ideal temperature for or Java fern is between 68° to 81° Fahrenheit.

Its pH tolerance range is between 6-7.5 and the water hardness tolerance range is between 3-8 KH.

How to plant Java fern in sand substrate?

Java fern doesn’t have real roots. Instead, it has rhizomes which are a kind of stem.

So it doesn’t draw nutrients from the substrate which makes it ideal for sand substrate aquarium because sand don’t carry any nutrients.

To plant Java fern into the sand substrate, just make hole into the sand with your finger and then put its rhizomes into the substrate and cover it with sand.

Fertilization requirements for Java fern

Java fern can grow in your tank without any fertilizers.

But if you want to see Java fern thrive in your tank and grow fast then you will need to supplement it with liquid fertilizers.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

7 Best Aquarium Plants That Don’t Need Fertilizers

2. Anubias

PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTAnubias
COMMON NAMES
SCIENTIFIC NAMEAnubias
FAMILYAraceae
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTLow-Moderate
GROWTH RATESlow
TEMPERATURE72-82°F
pH6.5 – 7.8
HARDNESS60- 160 ppm
PLACEMENTMid-background
MAXIMUM SIZE11+ Inches
MINIMUM TANK SIZE5 Gallons
PROPAGATIONRhizome Division

Anubias is one of the most popular plant in the aquarium hobby.

This plant is very hardy and it is recommended for beginners.

Though this plant is a bit expensive, it is hardy so it will not die easily.

How much light does Anubias require?

Anubias does well in low to moderate lighting conditions of 1.5-3 Watts per gallon.

If you provide low light i.e. around 1.5 Watts per gallon then it will grow slowly. 

On the other hand, if you provide it moderate lighting of around 3 Watts per gallon then it may grow fast but it can also lead to algae growth on the leaves of this plant.

So providing low light is ideal.

What’s the best place to keep Anubias in an aquarium?

Anubias is a short plant so you should keep it in the foreground of your aquarium so that it will not get lost amongst tall plants in the background of your tank.

Ideal water parameters for Anubias

As mentioned earlier, Anubias is a pretty hardy plant and it does well in a decent range of water parameters.

That being said, the ideal temperature range for Anubias is between 72° to 82° Fahrenheit.

Its pH tolerance range is between 6.5 to 7.8 and the hardness tolerance range is between 3-8 KH.

How to plant Anubias in sand substrate?

Anubias does not have true roots, instead, it has rhizomes that basically helps it to get attached or stand in the substrate.

Anubias doesn’t really draw a lot of nutrients through its rhizomes which makes it a very good plant for sand substrate. As sand doesn’t either provide any nutrients to plants.

Planting Anubias in sand substrate is very simple, you just have to insert the base of it into the sand only enough that it can stand in your aquarium.

Besides, you can also tie it to driftwood or rock and then put it in your aquarium.

Fertilization requirements for Anubias

Anubias mostly draw nutrients through its leaves. And for the optimum growth of this plant, you should supplement it regularly with liquid fertilizers.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

6 Tips to Take Care of Live Plants in Aquarium (For Beginners)

3. Amazon sword

PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTAmazon sword
SCIENTIFIC NAMEEchinodorus grisebachii
FAMILYAlismataceae
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTModerate
GROWTH RATEFast
TEMPERATURE 60.8-82.4°F
pH6.5-7.5 pH
HARDNESS8-15°dH
PLACEMENTBackground
MAXIMUM SIZE16 Inches
MINIMUM TANK SIZE10 Gallons

Amazon sword is one of the most popular aquarium plant.

This is a fast growing aquarium plant and it is very easy to care for.

This plant grows pretty large and create a forest-like effect in your aquarium.

How much light does Amazon sword require?

Amazon sword is not very light-demanding.

It does well under low to moderate lighting conditions.

Ideally, you should provide it at least 2 Watts light per gallon. And the light should be on for about 11 to 12 hours every day.

One thing to note when it comes to lighting for Amazon sword is that Amazon sword is very susceptible to algae growth. If it gets light for more than 12 hours then it can cause algae growth on its leaves.

So you have to follow the strict lighting regime and turn on and off the light at the same time.

And the plant should not get more than 12 hours of light every day.

Fortunately, there are some aquarium lights that come with an inbuilt functionality that automatically turns on and off the lights in your aquarium.

If you already have lighting for your aquarium then you can also use a timer that will automatically turn on and off the lights at the set time.

Check out my recommended lighting here.

What’s the best place to keep Amazon sword in aquarium?

As mentioned earlier, Amazon sword is a fast growing plant and it can grow pretty large.

This plant has very wide leaves that get spread in all direction.

So ideally, you should keep Amazon sword in the center of your tank.

But you can also keep it in a background of your tank if you have a large tank.

Ideal water parameters for Amazon sword

Amazon Sword is a very hardy plant and it can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

That being said the ideal temperature range for Amazon sword is between 60-82° Fahrenheit.

Its pH tolerance range is between 6.5 to 7.5 and the water hardness tolerance range is between 5 to 15dh.

How to plant Amazon sword in sand substrate

Planting Amazon sword in sand substrate is a very simple and straightforward process.

You just have to bury the roots of the Amazon sword into the sand substrate only enough that it can stand in the aquarium.

If you are going to plant multiple Amazon sword in your tank then make sure to keep some distance between them. 

If you keep them very close to each other then they will compete for nutrients with each other. Also, the leaves that are at the lower part of the plant will not get sufficient light.

Fertilization requirements for Amazon sword

Amazon sword is a pretty hardy plant and it can grow without any fertilizers in your tank.

But if you want a green lush Amazon sword in your tank then you should supplement it with some fertilizers.

Amazon sword gets nutrients through both its roots from the substrate and through its leaves from the water column.

So ideally, you should feed it both liquid fertilizers as well as root tabs.

But if you have to choose between the two then I suggest you go with root tabs because Amazon sword is a heavy root feeder.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

11 Best Red Aquarium Plants (Beginner Friendly and Undemanding)

4. Jungle Vallisneria

PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTJungle Vallisneria
COMMON NAMESJungle Val, water celery, tape grass or eelgrass
SCIENTIFIC NAMEVallisneria Americana
FAMILYHydrocharitaceae
CARE LEVELIntermediate
LIGHT REQUIREMENTMedium
GROWTH RATE Fast
TEMPERATURE65° – 85° F
pH 6.8 – 8.0
HARDNESSModerately Hard to Very Hard
PLACEMENTBackground
MAXIMUM SIZE6 feet (2 meters)
MINIMUM TANK SIZE10 gallon

Jungle Vallisneria is one of the first plants introduced in the aquarium hobby and it is still a favorite of many aquarists.

This is a tall-growing, hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

It is also one of the recommended aquarium plants for beginners.

How much light does Jungle Vallisneria require?

Jungle Vallisneria is not very demanding when it comes to light.

This plant can do well in low lighting conditions as well as in medium to highlighting conditions.

Though under low lighting conditions its growth will be much slower. Whereas under high lighting conditions it will grow very fast and can easily overtake your tank.

So ideally, you should provide it medium lighting conditions of 2-3 Watts per gallon.

What’s the best place to keep Jungle Vallisneria in aquarium?

Jungle Vallisneria is a fast growing plant and it can grow pretty tall.

It can grow up to 6 feet tall in your aquarium.

So ideally, you should keep it in the background of your aquarium.

However, you can keep it in the mid-ground or foreground of your tank if you have a large tank. Or you are going for jungle effect.

What’s the ideal water parameters for jungle Vallisneria?

Jungle Vallisneria can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

It can tolerate temperature as low as 65° Fahrenheit so you can easily keep it in a cold water aquarium. And it can tolerate temperature as high as 85° Fahrenheit so you can easily keep it in tropical fish tank that has warmer temperature.

Besides, its pH tolerance range is between 6.8-8 and it prefers moderately hard to very hard water.

How to plant Jungle Vallisneria in sand substrate

Planting Jungle Vallisneria in sand is very simple. You just have to bury its roots into the sand.

Just make sure that you are only burying its leaves and not the upper part of the plant because this can rot the plant and it may end up dying.

Fertilization requirements for jungle Vallisneria

Jungle Vallisneria gets most of the essential nutrients that it requires through its roots.

So you should provide it fertilizers in the form of root tabs.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

Besides the plants I have mentioned above there are a few other plants that you can easily grow in a sand substrate.

I have written a detailed article covering all these plants you can read it here.

20 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Aquarium

Conclusion

So can aquarium plants grow in sand?- Yes, aquarium plants can grow in sand.

Obviously, you can easily keep artificial aquarium plants in the sand substrate but you can also keep live aquarium plants in sand substrate.

As live plants require nutrients and sand doesn’t provide any nutrients you will need to provide them nutrients through fertilizers.

I hope you found this article helpful.

If you do, please share it.

Happy fishkeeping!

Related articles:

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment