Plants in shallow gravel?

HummingbirdNSabath

Let’s go back to me nine months ago, I had driven to Athens, listening to Bon Jovi and was now at a fish store that my dad thought would be cool to check out. The people there said that plants would grow fine in gravel that’s one inch tall... at least they gave me a lot of fertilize. Those plants died a couple months after. I still have maybe 1/2 an inch worth of gravel in my garage that I’m gonna wash and put in tomorrow. Can you give me some ideas for plants? I have Flourish, Iron and Excel liquid fertilizers.
(i know I need more angelfish, I’m gonna get them tomorrow. Along with the plants.)
 

gray_matter16

First thing is I don't think I can say with certainty that the sole reason your plants died was because of shallow gravel. I think there could be a host of other reasons in combination with that as well. So just make sure you're do your due diligence in root cause analysis (pun not intended)- this site is a fantastic resource so that shows you're already doing well.

That being said, the half inch of gravel you have, plus the fact that it's such large gravel is going to mean most root heavy and stem plants are going to have a hard time growing. Plants like amazon swords, crypts, ludwigia, are all going to be tough to plant, let alone grow and thrive. If you stick with this substrate, you'll want to use plants whose roots don't require planting. Those would be like Java ferns, anubias, bucephalandra, hygrophila pinnatifida. They need their rhizome above the substrate and use their roots to simply attach/hold on to things- whereas the other plants generally need to be planted and have room for their roots to take hold under the substrate like a traditional plant would.

another option would be floating plants like frogbit, salvinia, duckweed, red root floaters, water lettuce. You can even float most stem plants like ludwigias, water wisteria, and rotalas.
 

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