Can You Leave Aquarium Plants in Pots: What You Should Know

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to using aquatic plants in aquariums, but there are some general guidelines that can help. Aquarium plants have been used for a very long time to create a lush and beautiful environment for fish. They are also great to use in terrariums and make the aquarium look more natural. But, is it ideal to put aquarium plants in pots and let them sit there inside your fish’ home?

In this article, we will provide you with the answer to that question as well as some necessary tips and guidelines for putting plants in your aquarium.

Aquascaping of the beautiful planted tropical freshwater aquarium

Can You Leave Aquarium Plants in Pots

Yes, you can leave aquarium plants in pots, but there are a few guidelines that you should follow. First of all, always make sure that the water level in the pot is correct and does not go below the base of the plant. This will help to keep your plant healthy and safe. Secondly, it is important to give your plants adequate light and humidity levels. Lastly, be sure to move your plants occasionally so they do not get too stressed and unhappy.

For most aquatic plants that grow relatively slowly or not at all – such as swords, java ferns, etc., keeping them inside a closed aquarium can be perfectly fine. While commercially available aquatic plants may die after a few years, this is not the case for many species that are purchased as aquarium plants or even planted by enthusiasts at home. There are also some types of aquarium plant that can tolerate drying out much better than others and you should avoid moving them so often in your aquarium; they like to “fall into” their substrate very easily when they dry out, which will result in a lot of root damage and even death.

Are Pots Safe for Aquarium Fish?

Yes, pots are safe for aquarium fish. Pots will not hold as much water as an aquarium and so the water level in the pot should remain at or slightly below the base of your plant to avoid drowning. Additionally, pots do not provide adequate light and humidity levels for most plants; move your plants occasionally if they grow slowly. However, certain types of aquarium plants that are commonly used in the home aquarium setting may require a constant source of moisture and should be avoided inside pots. Another care is to use potting media with drainage holes or sphagnum peat moss instead of soil, otherwise, your plant can rot from lack of oxygen.

What Types of Aquarium Pots Are Safe to Use?

Aquarium pots that are made from synthetic materials such as polypropylene, polystyrene, or PVC are generally safe for aquarium use. These types of pots typically do not contain any harmful chemicals and can be sterilized using boiling water. Glass, ceramic, and plastic pots may also be used in an aquarium, but they must be coated with a sealant to prevent corrosion.

Glass and ceramic pots may not be cleaned with a strong detergent. Many newly-purchased aquariums come pre-packaged in plastic; this is acceptable except that some of the chemicals used to make the PVC may leach into the water. If you are unsure whether or not a specific pot is safe for use, it might help to heat each side of a networked dishwasher tub filled halfway with hot water, stirring gently, then placing each pot in the tub one at a time. If you find a growing problem after using this test, switch to a different type of plant pot until it resolves itself.

How Big Should My Aquarium Plant Pot Be?

There is no strict guideline when it comes to the size of the plant pot that you are going to put inside your aquarium, as long as it does not take up too much space, especially for active fishes like Barbs and Danios. In addition, The size of the pot you will use for your aquarium plants is going to depend on several things, including the size and type of fish tank that you have. For general guidance, here are some suggestions:

  • 1 gallon (3.8 liters) tanks – 6-inch pots or up
  • 10-gallon (37 liters) tanks – 12-inch pots or up
  • 20-gallon (76 liters) tanks – 24-inch pots or larger
  • 30-gallon (113 liters), 55-gallon, 80+ Gallon aquariums – 40-inch to 48-inch pot size
Photo showing a tropical aquarium fish tank that is overrun with snails and guppies, being planted with artificial green plants. Pebbles and ornaments, including a resin shipwreck and ruins, are placed on the bottom, around the gravel.

How to Plant Aquarium Plants in Pots?

Several methods can be used to plant aquarium plants in pots. The most important thing is to ensure that the soil and water of the pot have been amended with a suitable planting mix before adding the aquatic plants. Once the aquatic plants have been added, they need to be watered regularly and kept well-fed for them to thrive.

There are also intermediate methods which include the use of several aquarium plants in pots, these ways are jumbled and messy but can be efficient for certain tank setups where space is limited or preferred by the aquarist. To make sure that you obtain healthy freshwater aquatic plant hobbyists from thriving–and adaptable over time–you should consider a planting system that includes both large-space and smaller-space plants, depending on the space of your aquarium and their needs.

The process of planting aquarium plants in pots is the same as when you transplant them into the tank. Remove any old soil, the roots, and branches, and then wash the plant in cool water. Check for pests or diseases before adding them to your fish tank. Rinse it off and give it one last rinse to remove all debris. Once the plant is dry, you can place the container in a wide mouth quart or gallon-sized plastic bag. This will help prevent stem breakage as well as have its roots kept moist until placed into your fish tank.

How to Put Pots in the Aquarium?

  • Step 1: Add some gravel or sand to the bottom of the pot. You don’t need to do this for every plant, but it’s a good idea for larger plants or those that will be placed near the top of your aquarium.
  • Step 2: Place the pot in its desired location in your tank and fill it with water until it comes up one inch above the pot’s rim. Use a thermometer to make sure the water is at least 72-degree Fahrenheit in the pot.
  • Step 3: Add 5-6 small air stones and/or plants to fill out more temporary “bedding.” Use pieces of rock wool or peat moss as a base underneath your assortment of aquatic plant species to help prevent root rot, especially for more delicate varieties. This will keep it from getting sucked into the drain holes in your skimmer basket if you have one on hand.
  • Step 4: Place rocks at every level throughout the aquarium to provide more support for the plant and keep it in place. It’s a good idea to remove half of your tank water while you use this method, only filling up with some fresh, clean water when placing an aquatic or allergenic plant. This will also help reduce algae growth as well! Once the pot is placed into its new home in the tank, put back on top of that 10-20% (anywhere from 10-20%) of your tank’s water. This will help with plant gas exchange as well, for a more natural “feel” to the aquarium.
  • Step 5: Reattach all intake tubes and pipes into their respective locations in the aquarium. For example: If you have an under gravel filter setup, remove half of the plants just placed and attach both filters back onto each side on incoming tubing so that they are both flushed with new water.
  • Step 6: Turn the filters back on and let them run completely through their cycle before adding any more live plants or décor to suit your current needs. Enjoy your newly revamped planted aquarium!

Why Should You Use Pots for Aquarium Plants?

One of the main benefits of using pots for aquarium plants is that they are less invasive than traditional aquascaping methods. They also lend a natural look and feel to your tank, allowing you to feature more delicate varieties of aquatic plants without fear of them being uprooted or damaged. Pots can be easily moved from one aquarium to another, making them an ideal option if you want to add some new life into an existing tank but don’t want to tear down and remodel the whole tank!

When it comes time to remove an aquatic plant from its pot, very little equipment is required to achieve this task. You will only need a pair of sharp scissors or pinchers along with either some toothpicks or needle-nose pliers. Give yourself ample room so that you can squeeze the root ball out without ruining other plants still in their pots. The best part is that most plants like to be out of the light until they are completely rooted, so you will only have newly planted aquariums for a few days or weeks anyway at this point! Most indoor and greenhouse-grown plants (as well as many varieties commonly sold at traditional aquatic stores) require little maintenance once into the tank; usually, just weekly lower light dosing until new growth occurs to encourage an attached root system.