How to Plant Live Aquarium Plants


Planting live aquarium plants plays an important role in steadying the oxygen levels in the tank. The underwater plants undergo photosynthesis when they are exposed to light, which creates a more authentic environment for fish and other underwater creatures. The two main types of live aquarium plants are rooted varieties and bunch varieties. Both require the same materials and environment when planted in an aquarium, but they must be prepared in slightly different fashions.

Step 1

Pour about 1 tsp. of salt into the empty aquarium and fill the aquarium with warm water. Swirl the saltwater around in the aquarium to clean it, then dump out the saltwater solution. Rinse the aquarium at least five times with lukewarm water.

Step 2

Dump the medium-sized aquarium gravel into a dish pan or bowl and fill the container with water. Pour off all the water that settles above the gravel to get rid of dirt and debris.

Step 3

Add an even, 2-inch-deep layer of clean aquarium gravel to the bottom of the aquarium. Pour 6 to 8 inches of lukewarm water into the tank.

Step 4

Plant the aquarium plants. Dig holes about 1 inch deep in the gravel with your fingers. To plant rooted aquarium plants, simply slide the plants in the hole, keeping the roots straight and spread out. Cover the plant up to its crown with gravel. To plant bunch aquarium plants, cut off the bottom inch of the bunch and pluck the leaves off the inch above that. Set the plants in a hole and fill it in with gravel.

Step 5

Fill the aquarium the rest of the way with water and place the cover on the tank. The aquarium should sit in an area where it gets a fair amount of either artificial or natural light.

Things You'll Need

  • Salt
  • Medium-sized aquarium gravel
  • Dish pan or bowl


  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: "Planting Your Aquarium"
Keywords: planting live aquarium plants, rooted aquarium plants, bunch aquarium plants

About this Author

Katie Leigh is a freelance writer and editor based in Chicago. A Loyola University New Orleans graduate with a Bachelor's degree in communications, Leigh has worked as a copy editor, page designer and reporter for several daily newspapers and specialty publications since 2005.