How to Plant Aquarium Plants


Whether you have a large or small fish tank, live aquarium plants are a nice addition. They not only add interest to an aquarium, but improve the quality of the water inside the tank. Aquarium plants absorb the carbon dioxide fish breathe out, and absorb some of the waste fish produce. Once you plant your aquarium plants, make sure they receive a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of light each day.

Step 1

Rinse the tank five times with lukewarm water mixed with salt. Use about 1 tbsp. of salt per gallon of water. Scrub the sides with a nylon sponge, if necessary. Rinse the gravel by pouring it into a shallow pan. Pour water over it and swish it around. Pour off the water--debris will be floating on top.

Step 2

Set any decorative rocks in the tank, usually near the back. Fill the tank with 2 inches of gravel and 6 to 8 inches of water.

Step 3

Place taller, denser plants, such as cabomba, in the rear corners. Place shorter plants, such as dwarf Cryptocoryne, in front and to the sides of the taller plants. Leave the front of the tank clear of plants so you can see your fish.

Step 4

Dig a hole to accommodate the roots so they point down and outward, if necessary. They should not bend up back toward the top of the gravel. The crown, where the plant meets the roots, should be just above the gravel, not buried.

Step 5

Cut off the bottom inch of bunch plants (which are sold in bundles and usually tied together with a rubber band) on a cutting board. Strip off the first inch of leaves. Unbundle the plants and bury the inch where you just stripped the leaves. Bury the plants individually, but close together in bunches.

Things You'll Need

  • Gravel
  • Cutting board
  • Knife


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

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.