Aquarium Plants With Sand Substrate

Rachel K

I'm looking into doing a dragon stone and white sand substrate aquascape and I am looking into plants that work well with a sand substrate. I already have java ferns growing in my 10 gallon betta tank in sand, where they just sit on top of the substrate and their roots grow on top of it, looking very jungle-y and natural. I like the way these java ferns look and I will definitely replicate this in my 36 gallon bowfront, but I want other plants to compliment this look.

I plan on tying java moss to the dragonstone and getting some anubias but beyond that I don't even know where to look. I know sand substrate is bad for plants but I really want to work something out without digging up my entire aquarium.

I would also like to say that I would like something that grows tall since my aquarium is quite high, so that way some space in the back can be filled up.

For reference, I have a 17 watt fluorescent bulb and I don't mind getting root tabs or ferts for the water.

Thank you for your input!
 

Lynn78too

If you don't want to mess with the substrate there are plenty of different types of annubias (annubiases, annubiai?). Some have long stems with the leaf at the very last 3-4" and then there are medium sizes as well as the nana.

If the light is bright enough you can do carpet plants.

Microswords have small roots and should do well. Crypts also do well. Of course if you can always use moss as well on driftwood/hardscape.
 

Farlowella Fella

Whoever said sand is bad for plants? Pretty much any of the plants that grow in gravel will also grow in sand, I have Nymphoides taiwan, microswords, crypts, jungle vals, spiral vals, DHG and Rotala indica growing in both sand and gravel bottom tanks. I'd say light and nutrient availability are more limiting to growth than sand vs. gravel.
 

Rachel K

I really like the vals because of how tall it grows, do you thinks the current light that I have would be enough? Do you use root tabs?

Also, I can't do CO2 since I have a rupper lipped pleco and they are sensitive to CO2. I also have some sterbaiI cory cats that are known for ripping up carpeting plants, but I figured if I anchored the java moss to the hardscape it would work out.
 

Farlowella Fella

I have jungle vals in a 24" high tank with a 12 watt LED and they are growing quickly. I haven't used root tabs yet but the tank has only been running for 4 months so there should still be lots of nutrients in the substrate. Java moss, Java fern, anubias, buce and crypts can be attached to hardscape (driftwood).
 

kapsourakis

If you want to have some nice plants with your sand I can give you some advice by my experience. I have 3 tanks with sand and I am having no problems at all. You can combine easy with sand java fern, jungle val, anacharis (elodea densa), hygrophila difformis.
 

Niaa

I have java fern, java moss, 2 types of anubias, wisteria, and spiral val which have all done well and are growing. I also have amazon sword which has transitioned and seems to be doing ok, but it hasn't grown a lot yet.
 

MTV'sKribs

I have kept plenty of Amazon swords in both of my planted tanks with sand substrate for years. I still have the original one that I purchased some time ago. It has grown so well that it propagated several time and produced more baby plants, all of which I have successfully clipped and replanted in other tanks. I must have gotten 15 amazon swords from the first one I bought! They are great plants to provide shade and plenty of multi-depth hiding spots if they get big enough! You can also trim back leaves if you want to maintain its size.
 

Farlowella Fella

MTV'sKribs, I just read your name and burst out laughing, so thank you for that!
 

MTV'sKribs

Farlowella Fella haha thanks!
 

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