What Beginner Plants Grow Well In Gravel?

TJ Perkins

I'm somewhat new to aquarium plants. I just recently got 40lbs of black, pea gravel for my 29 gallon tank. I do not want to take out the black gravel in my tank because I personally think it is easier to clean than sand and substrate like eco-complete. Are there any plants that grow decently in gravel?

I'm looking for plants that require low light, can grow decent in gravel, tall and bushy plants for the back ground, and plants that can carpet the foreground. I've grown Amazon Swords in seachem Fluorite without any root tabs, but I know that stuff is easy to grow with that type of substrate. I would prefer not to use root tabs just because they're so expensive so if you could recommend plants that grow well in the gravel and feed off of fish waste, that would be awesome but if its unavoidable, I am still open to suggestions. Thank you!
 

Mcasella

Carpeting plants require a finer substrate and very high light (as well as co2 injection) to carpet properly instead of growing towards the light - these are not beginner plants...
Dwarf lily (stellatta, rubra) grow well in low light, medium light, high light, they can be grown bushy if you trim to surface leaves back. Trimming surface leaves also encourages growth of the plant for dwarf lilies. Most root tabs can be bought online for 7$ for 50 or even 100 root tabs...
Swords are another low light option, but you seem a little disinterested in them. Anubias, while expensive and slow growers, meet all of your requirements (though their rhisome cannot go into substrate or they will rot and die, their roots can by held down with gravel though). there are tall types (frazeri, afzelii, barteri, lancelotta, and congensis are all good ones).
 

TJ Perkins

Carpeting plants require a finer substrate and very high light (as well as co2 injection) to carpet properly instead of growing towards the light - these are not beginner plants...
Dwarf lily (stellatta, rubra) grow well in low light, medium light, high light, they can be grown bushy if you trim to surface leaves back. Trimming surface leaves also encourages growth of the plant for dwarf lilies. Most root tabs can be bought online for 7$ for 50 or even 100 root tabs...
Swords are another low light option, but you seem a little disinterested in them. Anubias, while expensive and slow growers, meet all of your requirements (though their rhisome cannot go into substrate or they will rot and die, their roots can by held down with gravel though). there are tall types (frazeri, afzelii, barteri, lancelotta, and congensis are all good ones).

I would love to do Amazon swords if I could! Would you recommend it? I wanted to get 1 on each side of the tank to start. Will Dwarf Sag and Blyxa Japonica grow in gravel? There is a guy who lives near me who is essentially selling aquarium plants for half the price that I see at my LFS and even online, but I just don't want to waste my time trying to plant if it won't grow. Thank you!
 

Mcasella

You can always get plant anchors and weigh down the dwarf sag (I have some chain sword that is growing well like that, very green looking - low light/natural light tank), I haven't had experience with japonica so I can't advise on that plant. It seems to be fully aquatic though, it might be a higher lighting than you are wanting.
I have a number of swords in gravel, one has eight inch leaves (from beginning of leaf at stem to tip) that are about two inches wide, this grew from a teeny daughter plant from one of my first swords, it is in gravel with a small amount of eco-complete equivalent around it. (I have not used root tabs on that sword.)
See if that guy has any root tabs (20 will last you a while) and if he will sell them cheap.
 

justinmo

You can find like 50 root tabs on eBay for 5 bucks, and they only need replacing every 2-3 months. Water sprite is great but you might have to weigh it down. Bacopa australis is a quick grower that is low- medium light, corkscrew val (or any other val that will fit your tank) will do fine in gravel with root tabs, staurogyne repens I've heard is a good "carpeting" ish plant that can grow in low-medium light, though it grows vertically rather than spreading so you'll have to cut it and replant, java fern would also work, these are only some of the few.
 

AquariumX

I would love to do Amazon swords if I could! Would you recommend it? I wanted to get 1 on each side of the tank to start. Will Dwarf Sag and Blyxa Japonica grow in gravel? There is a guy who lives near me who is essentially selling aquarium plants for half the price that I see at my LFS and even online, but I just don't want to waste my time trying to plant if it won't grow. Thank you!

If you have the lights to grow Amazon Swords, you might as well plant them in dirt.

For my tank, I made shallow pots filled with dirt (yes, from the yard) that are buried in the sand. The plants are rooted in these and are growing very well.

IMO, if you are going to the trouble to grow plants you might as well take the extra step so they will grow. You can even plant them in small terracotta pots if you don't want to disturb your substrate.
 

Fla442

The absolute best plant to grow in gravel imo is water sprite. Not only will it grow like crazy, it will grow new plants off of each stem that can be replanted.
 

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