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House Plants That Can Be Used in an Aquarium

By Christie Gross ; Updated September 21, 2017
Seek out true aquatic plants for use in your aquarium rather than houseplants, which cannot live in submerged environments as long.

Plants provide a natural filter that keeps aquariums clean. They also serve as an aeration system, which supports aquatic life along with air pumps. Several aquatic plants perform these functions well, such as water wisteria, java ferns and banana plants -- each of which adapt to varying chemical concentrations and temperatures common in an aquarium. Yet certain houseplants can also live in aquariums. While houseplants can survive in a submerged environment for a period of time, these plants are ultimately better served in terrariums.

Dracaena Sandriana

Dracaena Sandriana is often sold as an aquatic plant in pet stores, although it is not truly an aquatic plant. It has short, thick stalks with narrow, variegated leaves of white and green. The shape of the leaves is sword-like. This houseplant is also called lucky bamboo. When the plant shows signs of decay, remove it promptly to prevent it from contaminating the tank. Most aquatic and pet shops sell this plant species for use in aquariums.

Aquatic Palm

Despite its name, the aquatic palm is neither an aquatic plant nor a palm, but an amphibious sedge (marsh plant). It can live and grow in an aquarium when its leaves are higher than the waterline, according to Wet Web Media.com. When the entire plant is underwater, however, it will be short-lived. It produces long green leaves with a spread shaped like an umbrella. It’s often sold in aquatic and pet shops.

Red Crinkle-Leaf Plant

The red crinkle-leaf plant has stiff, fibrous leaves that stick out from its sturdy stem and also features areal roots of a brown-red color. The lips of the leaves have curled edges. It generally does well in warm conditions of full sun and well-drained soil as a houseplant, but it is also sold as an aquatic plant in pet stores. It is also commonly available in a synthetic version. This hardy, unusual plant adds interest to an aquarium.

 

About the Author

 

Christie Gross has been writing since 1998. Her work writing public policy platforms for elected officials nationwide has been featured in national and local newspapers under various client pen names. Gross has a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science, as well as a Master of Public Administration from the University of Delaware.