Plants Attached To Driftwood Or Stone

  • #1
So my Fluval Flex 15 gallon is set up and currently cycling without fish. Right now it has a bonsai driftwood tree with marimo moss balls attached, two pieces of dragon stone, and a couple fake plants. I was considering removing the fake plants and adding live plants but I wanted some advice first. If I add live plants I do not want them buried in my gravel, instead I would like them attached to small pieces of driftwood or dragon stone that just sit on the bottom of my tank. I have a lot of extra dragon stone to use but no driftwood. Here’s my questions, first of which is better to attach plants too? Driftwood or dragon stone? Secondly if I attach the plants to driftwood or dragon stone myself what adhesive would I use? I have aquarium sealant (not sure if that would work) but I don’t have super glue. Third, which plants would be best for this purpose? I was thinking java fern and anubias, but I know very little about plants. I mainly want them for the back of my tank and one or two on the sides. Fourth, does anyone know where I could buy these plants already attached to driftwood or stone? I know aquatic arts sells them but I think they are all out of stock, anyone have any ideas? Lastly and most importantly how do I care for these plants? The Fluval Flex is a low light aquarium I believe. Would the plants need liquid fertilizer or anything like that? Like I said I know basically nothing about aquatic plants and this is my first tank ever so please share any and all information or advice you have with me. Thanks!

  • #2
It would be easier to attach plants to driftwood, but it doesn't really matter. Either will work.

You can attach the plants to the rocks/driftwood with rubber or elastic bands or fishing line until the roots go into the substrate.

I know PetSmart sells both. Java fern in-store, and anubias online, but that is just where I live. It may be different in your area. You could probably find them online too. Live Aquaria has anubias.

These plants will root into the substrate after being attached to the stone/driftwood for a for a while, and then you can remove whatever you used to attach them.

Aquasoil and a fertilizer would be help them grow, but neither is a necessity. Just a recommendation.
Side note:
Aquasoil can change your water parameters. If you don't want it changed, just use a normal substrate with with fertilizer if you want.

Anubias and java fern are both low light plants do you the light you have right now should be enough for them.

  • #3
I'm fairly new to planted tanks, but did put in a lot of research as far as plants that need to be planted and those better attached to rocks or driftwood.

One thing that has been a game changer for me as far as the attached plants is flourish glue. I get it from the lfs, comes in a two pack and attaches more plants than I actually have, have plenty left over at this point. I have used it with java moss, java ferns and anubia's attaching them to both driftwood and rocks. Plus I have used it to attach driftwood to a rock to keep it submersed and making rock piles that are stable once I get the look I want.

So far it's worked great with no problems to the water prams, after all, it is made to work in fish tanks.

Just my 2 cents worth.
  • #4
You could do something like this:

Stone and wood are equally good for attaching. If you don't have superglue, cotton thread will work too.

Bucephalandra, bolbitus, and moss are great options for this too. In my opinion mosses other than java moss look the best, while being less unruly.

A low tech fertilizer would be greatly beneficial, if you're in the US, Nilocg ThriveC, Easy Green, or UNS Plant food are good options.
You could order all of your plants + fertilizer from, and save on having to ship plants and ferts from different vendors
  • #5
Hi, I like this topic. I very much like dragonstone and am trying to decide to go real or artificial plants. I like the clean look of this image. One type of fake plant. What is the equivalent and what is the fake plant? Advice.


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  • #6
I agree with _Mak- Java fern, Anubias, moss, bucephalandra, and bolbitis are some plants that can be attached to stone or wood. However, for Java Fern I have had bad luck with attaching to stone.


  • #7
I've got some stem plants I'm growing in cholla wood currently.(moneywort, pennywort and creeping mint charlie) as well as some java fern. It's working out pretty well so far. The pennywort and mint charlie are new to the tank so the new leafs are small right now but the moneywort has been in there a while and is doing great. The java fern actually didn't start doing well untill i put it in and on the wood.


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  • #8
I've got some stem plants I'm growing in cholla wood currently
Brp933, that's interesting to me. I bought cholla wood for my java ferns, but read up on it after my purchase to learn (maybe incorrectly?) that it disintegrates after 8-12 months. How long have you had yours in place and is it holding up well?

I ended up tying my Java ferns to small rocks, using one strand of a nylon rope. So far so good and one of the ferns is actually attaching itself to the gravel, and that seems to also be a good anchor.

I also have anubias that came in a little pot with soft floss around the roots. I removed the pot and left the plant and floss, put the floss about 1/8" into my gravel, leaving the plant rhizome exposed. So far the anubias seems quite happy and sprouting many new leaves, as well as creeping roots off to one side.
  • #9
I definitely agree with AquaticQueen when it comes to simply attaching plants to drift wood with rubber bands. All my LFS do this with driftwood and they charge $20~USD a pop.

I think the way you are going to aquascape your tank will help determine how you will be attaching the plants. How you place the wood in the tank should determine what plant you put on it. For example if you would like Java Fern as your background plants you'd place the driftwood at the back possibly elevated to give the plants some height.

I'm going to list some plants I like and I ripped this list off of an older discussion I had with someone else for plants.

Anubias Nana - Simple easy to care for broad leafed plant for mid-ground levels of the tank that doesn't need much light or CO2.
Anubias Bateri - Basically the bigger version of Nana but will work better as a mid to background plant since they can get tall in some cases. They even flower under water from time to time which is pretty cool. Will do better in soft to neutral water though so shrimp might be an issue here.
Trident Java Fern - Cool twist on the regular java fern as it can split along the leaf and look like forks or ... well tridents. Pretty low CO2 needs and light similar to normal java ferns. Like other Java Ferns their smaller kids can grow from their leaves so you'll be able to grab some and make more easy enough.
"Thors Hammer" - Java fern with a BA name. has split leaves that sometimes curl up. Someone thought they looked like a hammer but I don't see it.
Regular Java Fern - Looks good at any aquarist level.

You can just rubber band these onto any rocks or wood and wait for the rhizomes to attach themselves. Best part is they don't need CO2 injections, but I would dose liquid fertilizers once in a while to make sure they are staying healthy.

Try Java moss if you like the look on rocks or driftwood as well.

Here's a photo of my 29g right now if you want any ideas. I have the Thor's Hammer fern in the middle on driftwood and on rock not visible in photo at the back.
If you feel like reading or seeing more picks feel free to look at my 29g build I'm writing about; link should be below.
  • #10
The ferns are only a few months old( in my tank) but the cholla has been in there over a year now. It depends on the thickness of the cholla. I bought mine from aquatic arts. Sometimes it takes a few year to disintegrate from what I've then my plants will have attached to either the rodent tubes behind it or the rocks and substrate under them. Everything's going well so far though.

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