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The Best Plants For Sand Aquariums And How To Grow Them

Sand is a great substrate for fish tanks because it is easy to clean, lightweight, and provides excellent oxygenation. Many plants can be grown in a sand aquarium, but the best ones are easy to care for and require minimal maintenance.

Let’s get into it:

Plant Buying Tips For Sand Aquariums

Before buying plants for your sand aquarium, you must know that sand doesn’t hold any nutrient benefits for them. This means you must purchase and add root tabs to the soil where you place your plants. These tabs give room for your plant to grow properly. Another alternative is using nutrient-rich aquarium soil( but that’s in the higher price range).

Furthermore, aquarium sand can come in many different types, so check them out before choosing what suits your aquarium best.

Now let us look at the plant list:

Amazon Swords

Source: Google

Amazon Swords (Echinodorus species) are one of the most popular aquarium plants. These plants grow very well in sand substrates and are quite easy to maintain. Root tabs are essential for this plant, as it is a heavy feeder.


Source: Google

Cryptocoryne are a popular choice, too, for sand aquariums. They are hardy and come in different shapes, sizes and colours but do well in sand substrates. They also require plenty of root tabs, and you can add some liquid fertiliser for more healthy plants.


Source: Google

Hornworts are aquatic plants popular among aquarium enthusiasts because of their unique appearance and ease of care. They are easy to care for and can grow well in many environments. It is an ideal beginner plant since it can adapt to many different water conditions. Additionally, the plant gets most of its nutrients from the water, so it doesn’t really need roots to grow in sand.

Overall, Hornworts are a great addition to a sand aquarium. They are easy to care for, provide natural oxygenation, and help create a visually appealing environment for your fish.


Source: Google

Vallisneria is a popular aquatic plant with long waving leaves. In the right conditions, the plant multiplies like crazy. In sand, it will do well, but it will need some root tabs to ensure it survives. A medium to high level of lighting is needed.

Dwarf Hygro

Source: Google

Dwarf Hygro, or Hygrophila polysperma, is a popular aquatic plant among aquarium hobbyists. It is a hardy and versatile plant that can adapt to various water conditions, including sand aquariums. When enough nutrients are available, this plant grows really fast. This plant is not a heavy root feeder, unlike some of the previous plants on this list. It takes most of its nutrients from the aquarium water. It is, therefore, ideal for keeping in an aquarium as a floating plant.

Java Moss

Source: Google

Java moss is widely used in aquascaping due to its versatility. This plant can live “on sand rather than in sand”. Keep the moss in place by weighing it down. Typically, there should be little current, so the moss does not move, and no fish should disrupt it. The moss will slowly spread and grip the sand if it has enough light and nutrients in the water.


Source: Google

Anubias plants come in many different sizes, and their leaves are strong and dark green in colour. This plant grows in the sand because its roots can’t be buried. The substrate (or lack thereof) does not matter.

It is light-sensitive and takes its nutrients from the water. The plant grows slowly but is sturdy and can resist destructive fish like goldfish.

Ludwigia Repens

Source: Google

Red Ludwigia repens thrives in any substrate, including sand. It can grow fully or partially submerged, so you can still grow it even if you have a taller aquarium. Ensure that it receives the right amount of light. Keeping it in a low-light aquarium will fade its colour and leaves. You don’t need fertiliser, but your plants will look much healthier if you use root tabs.

Madagascar Lace

Source: Google

The Madagascar lace plant, despite its beauty, is very difficult to grow. Unlike any other plant on this list, it requires more specific conditions, and if you’re not careful, you can easily kill it. Madagascar lace requires fertilisation to grow properly. You will, however, be rewarded with a beautiful plant that will be the centrepiece of your aquarium if the water parameters are correct.

Rotala Indica

Source: Google

Sand is a perfect growing medium for Rotala Indica. Even though it grows best with fertiliser and high light, it will grow well without either. However, going the extra mile will grow faster and oxygenate your water much better. It can grow quite fast, given the right conditions. As a result, it requires more attention than other plants if you want it short and neatly trimmed.

Dwarf Hairgrass

Source: Google

Your aquarium will look like a grassy field when you use dwarf hair grass. Even when planted in the sand, it is easy to grow. For a full carpet of hairgrass, you’ll need both root tabs and CO2. Highlight setups are also beneficial. It will be dense instead of scattered and sparse this way.


Many different plants can work well in a sand aquarium. If you’re looking for plants that will thrive in low-light conditions or aquatic plants that will filter the water, then consider choosing some of these best plants for sand aquariums. So what are you waiting for? Start planting today!


Do aquarium plants grow in sand?

Like stem plants, aquarium plants with sensitive roots are readily converted to floating plants in a sand substrate. Sand used in aquariums does not contain many nutrients either. Even a highly tough plant will suffer without this source of nutrients since so many plants rely significantly on it.

Why is sand bad for plant growth?

Due to the comparatively large particle size in sandy soils, they are less fruitful than other soil types and more likely to dry up. This indicates that there are large spaces between the particles, which makes it simple for water (and nutrients that are soluble in water) to pass through the soil and out of the way of plant roots.

What are some benefits of using sand in an aquarium?

Your tank will look brighter once you add sand. Your tank will look much more natural if you do this.

There are many fish that will benefit from sand as a substrate. Many species of fish consume sand to aid in digestion.

Sand is actually very easy to clean and maintain, contrary to popular belief. While sand is cleaned differently from gravel, the overall process is not more time-consuming or complicated.