Will Aquarium Plants Grow in Sand: Top 19 Plants That Do

Aquarium plants are an important part of aquarium maintenance. But if you have a sand tank, you need to make sure that the water quality is good enough for your aquarium plants to survive and thrive. But there’s more to just the basic needs inside a fish tank.

Can you grow aquarium plants in sand? If yes, how and what types of aquatic plants thrive in it? This article answers all your questions on growing aquarium plants in sand.

Image of coral reef and seaweed living in marine fish tank. This is a small saltwater aquarium, with just a few shrimps and a couple of small, orange and white ‘Finding Nemo’ clown fish.

Will Aquarium Plants Grow in Sand?

Yes, aquarium plants can grow in sand. Sand is a good substrate for aquatic plants because it has minimal water requirements and good aeration. However, you need to make sure the water quality is good enough for your aquarium plants to survive and thrive. Moreover, you need to make sure that the sand is clean and not contaminated with harmful chemicals. Sand can get contaminated by unhealthy fish waste, ammonia, or other harmful substances.

An aquarium fish tank full of water, plant, pebbles stones and air pump but without a fish in it.

How to Anchor Aquarium Plants in Sand?

If you have aquarium plants that need to be anchored in sand, use plant ties or cable ties. Make sure the plant ties or cable ties are long enough so that the plant doesn’t touch the water. Plant anchors can also be used to hold down floating vegetation like invasive algae.

What Aquarium Plants Grow in Sand?

  • Amazon Sword (Echinodorus grisebachii) Amazon Sword is a tropical freshwater plant that thrives on a sandy substrate. It can grow up to 6 feet tall and has dark green leaves with red stripes along the leaf margins. The flowers are small, white, and pink and emit a sweet fragrance when mature. In addition, Amazon Sword loves low light environments so placing it near the back of your tank will result in lush foliage.
  • Java fern (Leptochilus pteropus) – Java fern is a great substrate plant for anyone who wants to encourage lush aquatic vegetation growth. This tough and adaptable fern is easy to grow and thrives in both low light conditions as well as wet environments. Java Fern produces oxygen, helps maintain water quality, and supports a diverse community of aquatic plants.
  • Java moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri) – Java moss is a tender, slender moss that can be found growing on the floors of rain forests and in humid climates around the world. Java moss grows quickly in wet conditions and features tough strands that can hold water droplets. In addition, Java moss produces chlorophyll which can help to improve the color of your tank’s water.
  • Anubias nana(Anubias barteri) – Anubias nana grows rapidly in a fresh and saltwater environment, making it an ideal choice for any aquarium. In addition, this substrate plant is easy to care for and features large leaves with lance-shaped tips.
  • Anacharis (Elodea) – The color of this easy-to-grow aquatic plant can range from light green to dark brown, depending on the strain and location.
  • Rubin (Ludwigia repens) – Rubin is one of the hardiest aquatic plants around, and can even survive in inclement weather. This great substrate plant features dense root systems that help to stabilize the sand, and it thrives in both low light conditions as well as wet environments.
  • Madagascar Lace (Aponogeton madagascariensis) – Madagascar Lace is one of the most versatile and hardy aquatic plants around but is worthy of your aquarium containing sand substrate.
  • Bonsai (Rotala indica) – Bonsai is a great choice for any aquarium that wants to feature an attractive substrate plant. This easy-to-care-for substrate plant features large leaves and long stems, making it perfect for both low light and wet environments.
  • Cabomba (Cabomba carolinia) – Cabomba is a medium-sized succulent that features attractive variegated leaves. This plant can thrive in both low light and wet environments, making it a great choice for any aquarium.
  • Dwarf hairgrass (Eleocharis parvula) – Dwarf hairgrass is a great choice for any aquarium that wants to add an attractive and low-maintenance substrate plant. This plant features small, upright leaves that are dark green.
  • Myrio filigree (Myriophyllum simulan) – This sand substrate plant has small, delicate leaves that are green in color.
  • Lemon Bacopa (Bacopa caroliniana) Lemon Bacopa is a great choice for any aquarium that wants to add a nutrient-rich substrate plant.
  • Dwarf lily (Nymphaea leibergii) – The size of a Dwarf Lily is typically around 5 inches in height and 1-2 inches in width.
  • Crypt wendtii (Cryptocoryne wendtii) – Crypt wendtii typically grows to a height of around 3 to 11 inches and width of 3 to 5 inches. This substrate plant features upright, succulent stems that are green in color.
  • Italian Val (Vallisneria spiralis) – Italian Val is a popular substrate plant for use in Koi ponds and goldfish tanks. This elongated plant has medium-sized leaves that are green in color.
  • Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) – Hornwort is a popular substrate plant for use in ornamental fish tanks. This admirable plant is distinct for its small, succulent leaves that are green in color.
  • Tiger lotus (Nymphaea zenkeri) – Tiger Lotus typically grows to a height of around 7 to 31 inches and width of 9 to 23 inches. This medium-sized plant features striking stripes on its leaves, which gives it its name.
  • Dwarf Hygro (Hygrophila polysperma) – Dwarf Hygro is a popular substrate plant for use in freshwater and marine aquariums. This succulent plant grows to a maximum height of 24 inches.
  • Ruffled Sword Plant (Aponogeton crispus) – Ruffled Sword Plant typically grows to a height of around 9 inches. This succulent substrate plant features upright leaves that are green in color and is commonly used as an aquarium additive for nutrient cycling purposes.
Decorative aquarium.

In summary, there are a lot of aquarium plants that can survive and thrive in sand. You can find many species of aquatic plants that grow well in the sand at local nurseries or online stores. However, before you buy any aquatic plant, it’s best to consult with a professional first. They will be able to tell you if the particular plant is suitable for your tank and give you recommendations on which type of substrate would be best for your fish tank.

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