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Can Aquarium Plants Survive without Light? (Yes, but…)

Wanna know can aquarium plants survive without light?

You are in the right place because in this article I am going to answer the same question.

I will also tell you other important information related to the topic that you should know.

So let’s get right into it.

So, can aquarium plants survive without light?

Most of the aquarium plants can survive 5 to 7 days without light. However, if you have some delicate aquatic plants then they may not survive more than 3 days.

Can Aquarium Plants Survive without Light? (Yes, but…) image

How long can aquarium plants survive without light?

How long can aquarium plants survive without light really depends on the species of the plant.

If you got hardy aquatic plants like Moneywort, Amazon sword, Java moss, Java fern, Dwarf baby tears then they can survive for up to a week without light.

On the other hand, if you have some delicate aquarium plants like Diamond ludwigia, Marsh mermaidweed, etc. Then these plants may not survive more than two to three days without light.

Besides, if the aquarium plants are established then they can survive longer without light compared to the plants that are not established.

Also, hardy aquarium plants may not look healthy if they don’t get light for a long time. But once they get the light they’ll bounce back and regain their original appearance in a few weeks.

Keeping the lights off in your planted tank can harm your fish!

When it comes to keeping the lights off in a planted tank people usually only think about the plants i.e. they are only concerned whether the plants will survive or not without light. And they don’t think about the fish in the tank.

The thing is if you have hardy aquarium plants in your tank then they will survive for up to a week without light.

After the week they may look unhealthy but they will regain their appearance once they get the light in a few days or weeks.

But keeping the lights off in your planted tank can actually harm your fish more than the plants.

When you keep the lights off for a long time in your planted tank and the plants are not getting any light then the plants will take in oxygen and put out carbon dioxide until they get the light.

Over time the Carbon dioxide will build up in the tank. And this can cause oxygen deficiency in the tank.

And when there is Oxygen deficiency in the tank, the fish will not survive in your tank.

That’s why it is very important to have a system in place to keep your tank well-oxygenated when you are going to keep your aquarium lights off for a long time. 

What is the light in a fish tank for? (Do you really need it?)

How to keep your tank well oxygenated?

planted tank

Now I’ll share with you a couple of ways to keep your tank well oxygenated when you are going to keep your aquarium lights off for a long time.

  • The simplest and reliable way to keep your tank well oxygenated is by introducing an air pump in your tank. The bubbles coming out from the air pump will break the surface of the water of your tank which helps to get oxygen into the tank and off-gas the CO2 from the tank. We recommend Tetra whisper air pump. It is a very cheap and reliable air pump. You can check its latest price at Amazon here.
  • Another way is to use hang on the back filter. The water coming out from the hang on the back filter will break the surface of the water and keep your tank well oxygenated. You can check out the best HOB filters here.
  • You can also use a wave maker to break the surface of the water of your aquarium. Besides, a wavemaker also circulates the water in the tank which helps in better filtration of the water.

Remember most of the aquarium plants are hardy and they can bounce back after a few days of poor conditions.

However, this is not the case with the fish. The fish will not survive for a long time if it is not getting the ideal environment in your tank.

9 Best Oxygenating Plants for Aquarium

How to keep your aquarium plants alive until you fix the light issue?

There can be several reasons you may want to keep the lights off or you’re not able to provide light to your aquarium plants.

Probably your lighting fixture is broken and it is going to take some time for the new fixture to arrive.

Probably you are going on a vacation and that’s why you’re not able to keep the lights on.

Whatever the reason is there are a few ways to cope with the condition.

1. Get a timer

If you’re going on vacation and that’s why you’re not able to keep the lights in your aquarium on then using a timer is a great way to provide light to your aquatic plants consistently.

You can get a timer at a very cheap price at your local fish store or online. 

I recommend Nearpow timer. You can check it out at Amazon here

As you can see, it is very cheap. 

You can set timings on the timer and the lights in your aquarium will turn on in the morning and will turn off at night according to the time you set in the timer.

This way the plants will get sufficient light every day consistently. So they will be in good shape until you come back.

Do Aquarium Plants Need Light? (Do they really need a special light)

2. Put the plants into the bucket

You can put the live aquarium plants into a bucket that you use to change the water of your aquarium with the water from your aquarium that you may throw away while doing the water change.

Now keep this bucket near a window so that the plants will get some light.

Once you come back or fix the light issue then you can replant the plants into your aquarium.

20 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Aquarium

3. Move the aquarium

If you have a small aquarium then you can move the tank near the area in the room where there is good ambient lighting like near the window.

Just make sure not to expose your aquarium to direct sunlight. Because this will cause algae growth in your tank.

How to Keep Aquarium Plants Alive Before Planting? (3 Easy Ways)

FAQ

faq image

How long can aquarium plants live in a bag?

Most of the live aquarium plants can live between 3 to 4 days in a bag.

However, exactly how many days the plants will survive in the bag really depends on the species of the plant.

Hardy aquarium plants like Anubias and Java fern can easily survive up to 4 days in a bag.

On the other hand, fragile stem plants will not survive as long especially if they’re not stored properly in the bag.

If you want the plants to survive longer in a bag then make sure that the leaves of the plants will not dry out.

To keep the leaves of the plants wet you can add more water than usual into the bag or cover the plants with wet paper towels.

29 Best Tropical Aquarium Plants (And care guide for beginners)

How long can aquarium plants survive in mail?

Most of the live aquarium plants can survive in 3 to 4 days in mail.

However, the duration can vary depending on the species of the live aquarium plant.

Hardy aquarium plants like Anubias, Java fern, sunset hygro, etc can survive up to a week in the mail.

On the other hand, fragile aquarium plants may not survive that long.

Besides, how the mailer has packaged the live aquarium plants also comes into play when it comes to the duration for which the live aquarium plants will survive in the mail.

Do Goldfish Like Plants in the Tank? (5 Best Plants for Goldfish)

Can too much light kill aquarium plants?

Too much light can kill aquarium plants.

The thing is you have to provide the light according to the carbon and other macro and micronutrients available in your tank.

And when there is an imbalance between the light and the nutrients the plants suffer.

So when you provide more light then you also need to provide more carbon and other nutrients to the plants.

If you’re providing too much light and the plants are not getting other nutrients and carbon then this can cause nutrient deficiency in the plants. And eventually, the plants will die.

Besides, too much light and fewer nutrients can also cause algae bloom in your tank.

Is LED light good for fish tank? (6 Benefits of LEDs over other types)

Can aquarium plants survive without CO2?

Aquarium plants can survive without CO2 if you are providing low to moderate lighting to your aquarium plants.

However, if you are providing highlight to your aquatic plants then you will also need to supplement the plants with additional CO2. Else, algae bloom can occur in your tank.

Do Aquarium Plants Need CO2? (Can you keep them without co2)

Can I leave my aquarium light on 24 7?

You should not leave your aquarium light on 24 7. And you should keep the lights on for a maximum of 8 to 12 hours every day.

The reasons you should not keep the aquarium lights on 24/7 are as follows:

  1. One of the most important reasons you should not keep the lights on 24/7 is because it can cause algae growth in your tank.
  2. In your aquarium, for the healthy growth of the inhabitants, you should try to emulate their natural habitat. And in the natural habitat, the fish and live plants have a 24 hour day and night cycle. So you should emulate the same and keep the lights in your aquarium on for a maximum of 12 hours.

Should Aquarium Light be Left on at Night? (Answered)

How To Revive Aquarium Plants?

How long can aquarium plants live without water?

Most of the aquarium plants can live 2 to 3 days without water as far as you’re keeping their leaves moist.

You can easily keep your aquarium plants moist by wrapping them with wet paper towels.

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

Conclusion

Aquarium plants are very hardy. In nature, they survive in diverse environments.

So most of the aquarium plants can survive 5 to 7 days without light.

However, if we are talking about some light demanding and fragile plants then they may not survive that long.

I hope you find this article helpful.

If you do, please share it.

Happy Aquascaping!

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