17 Best Aquarium Plants for Gravel (with pictures)

Over the last 10 or 15 years, the popularity of highly aquascaped aquariums has rocketed. Whilst the work of the Godfather of aquascaping, Takeshi Amano was captivating the world in the early 1990s, it seems the rise of YouTube aquascapers is fueling new interest in plants.

Most of us however will never build a stunning aquascape, we just like the thought of adding live plants to our aquariums.

In this article, I look at the best plants to grow in the regular aquarium gravel.

What are the Best Aquarium Plants to Grow in Gravel?

When I first started fish keeping over 30 years ago, gravel was the main substrate we used. Some adventurous types tried sand, but that was about it, two different choices. These days there are dozens of different types of substrates available.

Most fish keepers however are still choosing to use gravel in their aquariums, and the majority of tanks in my fish room have gravel. It looks good, it’s practical and it is still relatively cheap.



If like me you enjoy growing live aquatic plants you might be looking for the best ones to grow in gravel. Here are my top 17;

  • Amazon Sword
  • Vallisneria
  • Dwarf Hairgrass
  • Monte Carlo
  • Scarlet Temple
  • Water Sprite
  • Water Wisteria
  • Dwarf Sagittaria
  • Moneywort
  • Cryptocoryne Parva
  • Aponogeton Crispus
  • Red Dwarf Aquarium Lily 
  • Staurogyne Repens
  • Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green
  • Red Flame Sword
  • Crinum Calamistratum
  • Cryptocoryne Lutea

1. Amazon Sword

Amazon Swords plants are possibly one of the most useful plants we can keep in our aquariums. These tall, tough plants grow in almost any situation and they work especially well to create a wall of color across the back of a tank, or to fill a corner in a classic ‘triangular’ aquascape.

Although Amazon Swords are hungry plants that do like to have some root tab fertilizers placed under them, they are not fussy about what substrate they grow in.

In my fish room, I have dozens of Amazon Swords growing in gravel. Some are in fine gravel, others in 10mm gravel and I even have some growing in crushed lava rock (which is very similar to gravel).

Amazon Sword plants are considered easy, hardy plants to grow, and they are especially suited to those who are newer to growing aquatic plants. They work well in a community set up with fish like Tetras, Rasboras, and Angelfish, but they can also stand up to the more unruly fish like Fancy Goldfish, Oscars, and some African Cichlids.

I have even managed to get a clump of Amazon Sword plants established in one of my Dragon Pufferfish tanks.

Amazon Sword plants are not too demanding on light. I grow many of mine under Fluval Aquasky lights, which are considered medium-level lights. I tend to run my lights for around 10 hours a day, which is sufficient.

Amazon Sword plants are root feeders rather than water column feeders, so ensuring they have access to good quality root tabs will help your them grow tall and dense.

In my experience, Amazon Swords do not have a high demand for additional CO2 in their water, and so they are suitable for low-tech tanks (those without CO2 injection). I have grown Amazon Swords in tanks that had CO2 injection, and I didn’t feel their growth was improved at all by the addition of CO2.

One note of caution: If you have almost any member of the Plecostomous family, including Bristlenose Plecos, living in your tank, there is a good chance they will eat the Amazon Swords. Let me assure you from personal experience, a group of Bristlenose Pelcos will turn an Amazon Sword into a lace plant overnight!

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2. Vallisneria

Vallisneria is another plant that I grow an awful lot of in my tanks that have gravel as the substrate. It is probably fair to say Vallisneria will grow in just about any substrate, and it can certainly grow in any type of gravel I have tried it in.

Vallisneria is a tall, grass-like plant that can grow up to around 3′ (91cm) tall in the right conditions. This plant is fast-growing and puts down a strong root system that will work its way down into the gravel in the search for nutrients.

There are lots of different types of Vallisneria available in the hobby. Some, like Jungle Vallisneria, can grow up to 6′ (1.83m) tall. Others stay much shorter. In my experience, all members of the Vallisneria family will grow well in gravel, and all will grow well in sand if they find themselves in a sandy-bottomed tank.

Vallisneria is another example of a hardy plant that works well for those who are new to plant growing. It does not tend to be used in high-end aquascapes very often, but it does make an excellent wall of green when grown along the back of an aquarium.

Vallisneria can survive in a wide range of water temperatures, which makes it suitable for both tropical fish tanks and tanks with Fancy Goldfish in. It does tend to be a greedy feeder, so plenty of root tabs and liquid fertilizer will help keep Vallisneria growing and staying a healthy, bright green color.

This plant is not too fussy about light and, like Amazon Sword plants, it can be grown under moderate or even low light levels. I have a couple of aquariums in my fish room that grow Vallisneria under low-energy CFL bulbs.

Vallisneria will grow happily in hard or soft water and it can be kept in a wide range of pH, making it even suitable for African Cichlid tanks, where the hardness and pH tend to be higher.

One place I love to grow Vallisneria is in my Angelfish tanks. There is something special about Angelfish swimming through Vallisneria.

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3. Dwarf Hairgrass

Dwarf Hairgrass, as its common name very much suggests, does not grow very tall. Its thin, grass-like leaves only grow to around 4″ (10cm) tall. Dwarf Hairgrass is a carpeting plant, meaning it is often used to create a thick mat of plants along the bottom of an aquarium.

Once Dwarf Hairgrass has become established in the aquarium it will send runners out under the gravel. New plants will emerge through the gravel from these runners allowing the Dwarf Harigrass to spread throughout the tank.

In my experience, Dwarf Hairgrass is one of the easiest carpeting plants to grow and it seems to relish growing in gravel as it can send its runners out through the gravel with little effort.

Although Dwarf Hairgrass is a fairly undemanding plant, the more light it receives, the thicker and darker the carpet forms. I currently grow a lot of Dwarf Hairgrass under Fluval Plant 3.0 LED lights, but they are a bit spendy (check the price on Amazon here). I also grow Dwarf Hairgrass under Fluval Aquasky lights, where it does grow well, but not as lush as under the Plant 3.0

Dwarf Hairgrass will happily grow in a fairly wide band of temperatures. I have found anywhere in the region of 60°F to 82°F (15.5°C to 27.5°C). I have read articles that suggest Dwarf Hairgrass can even be grown at lower temperatures, but I haven’t tried anything lower than 60°F (15.5°C) myself.

This plant is not too demanding on fertilizer, and it does not require CO2 to be injected. I normally use a liquid fertilizer in my Dwarf Hairgrass tanks. Easy Green aquarium fertilizer, which is made by Aquarium Co-op, has always performed well for me. Plus, as the name suggests, it is easy to use. You just put a few squirts into your tank once a week and the plants get all the nutrients they need.



If you find your Dwarf Hairgrass is growing a little too vigorously, or you are trying to create a really low growing carpet of green, you can just trim the Dwarf Hairgrass to whatever height you want it to be. When trimming my own Dwarf Hairgrass, I just use a sharp pair of scissors and work my way from one side to the other, trimming as I go.

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4. Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo is another really easy-to-grow carpeting plant that grows very well in gravel. I have a number of tanks that use gravel as the substrate and have Monte Carlo growing in them.

Monte Carlo is a low-growing plant that only reaches 2″ to 4″ (5cm to 10cm) high. The small, bright green leaves of Monte Carlo are prized by aquascapers who want to create a thick mat of green on the bottom of their tanks.

As Monte Carlo creeps across the gravel, it lays down roots everywhere the stems touch it. Using gravel as a substrate with Monte Carlo allows the plant to get a good grip. If Monte Carlo is grown on a substrate smaller than gravel, like sand, the roots can not get a proper grip and the Monte Carlo ends up floating to the surface.

Monte Carlo is a little more demanding on light than some of the other plants on the list. As mentioned above, the Fluval Plant 3.0 is probably the ideal light to use when growing Monte Carlo, although I do have some growing under the Fluval Aquasky, and it is growing, but not as well as it does under the Fluval Plant 3.0.

As with the Dwarf Hairgrass above, Monte Carlo does require the addition of liquid fertilizer to grow well. Once again, the Easy Green fertilizer is probably the best one to go for to give Monte Carlo the additional nutrients it needs.

Unlike Dwarf Harigrass however, Monte Carlo definitely benefits from having CO2 injected into its aquarium water. Injecting CO2 is the practice of dissolving compressed CO2, which is stored in a canister outside the aquarium, into the aquarium water via a small, porous diffuser.

When Monte Carlo is given enough CO2, it starts to pearl. Pearling is the name given to the tiny bubbles of oxygen plants give off when they find themselves living in almost perfect conditions.

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5. Scarlet Temple

Scarlet Temple is one of my favorite plants, largely due to the pinkish-red color the foliage goes as it grows closer to the light. Scarlet Temple is a relatively easy stem plant to grow, and gravel provides an ideal anchor point for this vibrant plant to sink its roots into.

This plant is usually used as either a midground or background plant, but if trimmed on a regular basis it can also be used as a foreground plant.

Some vendors sell Scarlet Temple, which is native to South America, under its scientific name Alternanthera Reineckii.

When Scarlet Temple is grown under very strong lights, the plant turns an almost deep purple color, making it really stand out against the usual green plants growing alongside it in the aquarium.

Scarlet Temple is a moderately fast-growing plant that likes to be kept in water that is around 63°F to 82°F (17°C to 27.5°C). Under normal conditions, Scarlet Temple will usually grow to between 10″ and 20″ (25cm and 50cm). As with many other stem plants, Scarlet Temple takes most of its nutrients in through its stem and leaves, so the addition of liquid fertilizer will be appreciated. Adding extra iron may also help boost the plant’s reddish color.

Scarlet Temple was one of the first plants I ever grew especially to sell and make a profit. Given the right conditions, Scarlet Temple will grow quickly, and in my experience, there is never a shortage of buyers wanting to buy this stunning plant.

This plant is really easy to propagate. All you need do is cut anywhere along its stems, although ideally just above a leaf, then carefully push the freshly cut stem into the gravel, taking care not to crush the stem in the process. When grown in gravel, Scarlet Temple will quickly form roots and within 4 to 6 weeks a new plant will be growing strongly from your cutting.

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6. Water Sprite

Water Sprite is one of the easiest plants in the hobby to grow. It loves to grow in gravel, but will also grow in sand, crushed coral, crushed lava rock, or even as a free-floating specimen.

Water Sprite is usually grown as either a midground or background plant. Many aquascapers use Water Sprite to fill large sections thanks to its bushy nature and ability to grow to around 12″ (30cm) tall. Water Sprite grows from a central stem which has feather-like leaves growing from it at regular intervals from the base to the tip.

When it comes to water parameters, Water Sprite is not fussy. Providing the water temperature is in the region of 68°F to 82°F (20°C to 27.5°C) and there is a reasonable light shining above the aquarium, Water Sprite will grow, and grow fast. Water Sprite is a very fast-growing plant.

Propagation of Water Sprite could not be simpler. Just cut at any point along the Water Sprites stem, although ideally above a leaf, and then carefully press the new cutting into the gravel. Water Sprite cuttings will often root within a few days and new growth may be visible in under 2 weeks.

Water Sprite is especially loved by fish breeders thanks to the protection it offers baby fish. In my own fish breeding tanks, especially the tanks with Guppies, Mollies, and Swordtails, I have found my baby fish survival rate has gone up thanks to the addition of large clumps of Water Sprite.

Whilst Water Sprite does appreciate a little liquid fertilizer, it will grow just fine without it and to does not need additional CO2 injection.

Regular pruning may be required to keep Water Sprite under control otherwise it can quickly take over an aquarium.

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  • The Water Sprite, also known as the Indian Fern, is a great plant to use as a mid-ground plant and also as a floating plant. The delicate, lacy leaves also make great cover for fry to hide among
  • Due to its poor root system, the Water Sprite retrieves nutrients from the water.The Water Sprite will grow profusely under the correct conditions, and for this reason, is excellent at removing unwanted and unhealthy inorganic nutrients from the aquarium water
  • In smaller aquariums with open tops, the Water Sprite can grow out of the tank and form beautiful surface leaves
  • The delicately branched leaves are very decorative and provide good contrast to other leaf shapes. The Water Sprite makes a great starter plant for the aquarist new to plant keeping.
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7. Water Wisteria

Water Wisteria is frequently confused with Water Sprite. The two plants look very similar at first glance, although Water Sprite has much finer leaves than Water Wisteria.

Water Wisteria is a hardy, fast-growing stem plant that is happy to grow in almost any conditions we provide it. It is the classic, ‘add water, will grow’ plant. Water Wisteria has no real preference on what substrate it is grown in. In my own fish room, I have it growing in around a dozen tanks with varying grades of gravel. It grows well in all of them.

This plant is not fussy when it comes to lighting. I have it growing in tanks that are lit by low-energy CFL bulbs, and it grows like a weed. Water Wisteria can also grow in a wide temperature band. Providing the water is somewhere between 70°F and 82°F (21°C and 27.5°C) it will grow well. I suspect it will grow in water both warmer and cooler than these temperatures.

Water Wisteria does appreciate the addition of liquid fertilizer on a weekly basis. As a fast-growing plant, Water Wisteria also absorbs nutrients quickly, which makes it an ideal plant for aquariums where the nitrate levels are too high.

Propagating Water Wisteria couldn’t be simpler. Like other stem plants on the list, simply cut the Water Wisteria stems just above a leaf, and gently push the freshly cut stem into the gravel. Water Wisteria will begin to root within a couple of days and new growth start almost immediately.



Much like Water Sprite, Water Wisteria is loved by fish breeders as it forms a thick mass of leaves, stems, and roots. Water Wisteria isn’t often used in fine aquascapes as it can grow somewhat erratically, sending roots out of the stems sometimes even from the very tip of the plant.

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  • The Water Sprite, also known as the Indian Fern, is a great plant to use as a mid-ground plant and also as a floating plant. The delicate, lacy leaves also make great cover for fry to hide among
  • Due to its poor root system, the Water Sprite retrieves nutrients from the water.The Water Sprite will grow profusely under the correct conditions, and for this reason, is excellent at removing unwanted and unhealthy inorganic nutrients from the aquarium water
  • In smaller aquariums with open tops, the Water Sprite can grow out of the tank and form beautiful surface leaves
  • The delicately branched leaves are very decorative and provide good contrast to other leaf shapes. The Water Sprite makes a great starter plant for the aquarist new to plant keeping.
  • If you do not satisfy with the purchase please contact us first before you give negative feed back or ask A to Z claim Guarantee. We will try our best to fix the problem as soon as possible

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8. Dwarf Sagittaria

Dwarf Sagittaria, which is sometimes just called Dwarf Sag, is an easy-to-grow carpeting plant that forms a dense, grass-like carpet across the bottom of your aquarium. Dwarf Sagittaria is especially suited to growing in gravel because it likes to push runners out as a way to propagate itself.

Dwarf Sagittaria is an undemanding plant that is often recommended to those who are new to aquarium plants. It is one of the easiest plants to create a carpet effect.

Providing Dwarf Sagittaria is given at least moderate lighting it will grow well. It usually grows to around 4″ to 6″ (10cm to 15cm) tall, but can form very thick clumps, especially when given access to high lighting. Most of my tanks with Dwarf Sagittaria growing run on Fluval Aquasky light, which is considered a moderate light.

The ideal temperate range for Dwarf Sagattria is 68°F to 82°F (20°C – 27°C), although I know fishkeepers who keep their Dwarf Sagittaria in cooler water even than 68°F. This plant is also happy growing in any pH from 6.0 to 8.0 and it grows equally well in hard or soft water.

One group of people who really enjoy growing Dwarf Sagittaria are shrimp breeders. Dwarf Sagittaria grows to form a dense carpet which provides an almost unlimited number of hiding places where baby shrimp can hide away from potentially hungry fish.

For the same reasons, Dwarf Sagittaria is also grown by a lot of fish breeders. In my own fish room, I grow a lot of Dwarf Sagittaria in my German Blue Ram and Dark Knight Ram breeding tanks.

If you are new to growing carpeting plants, Dwarf Sagittaria might be the ideal one for you to try.

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  • PROVIDES AMAZING ENVIRONMENT : Aquatic plants will produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide to enhance water quality in your aquarium community. Adding live plants not only beneficial for the natural ecosystem but also giving shelter and security place for your aquarium pets.
  • HIGH TECHNOLOGY : Our plants grown by using the latest technology and facility with digital controlled nursery to ensure that our plants are diseases pest snail and algae free.

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9. Moneywort

Moneywort, which is sometimes sold under its scientific name, Bacopa monnieri is a fairly easy-to-grow stem plant that is considered to be hardy, making it ideal for both beginners and those with a little more experience.

Moneywort does require at least moderate light and does better still when grown under high light. In my fish room, I have Moneywort growing in tanks lit by Fluval Plant 3.0 lights. The Moneywort grows really well under this light.

Growing Moneywort in gravel is very simple, just carefully push each stem into the gravel, taking care not to crush the stem between your fingers, or damage it as you press it into the gravel.

Moneywort is a slightly slower growing plant than some other stem plants, but it can get very tall if left untrimmed. Many aquascapers use Moneywort either as a midground or background plant. It could also be used toward the front, but it would require regular trimming.

The small, bright green leaves of Moneywort provide excellent contrast against larger, darker-leaved plants like Java Fern and Amazon Sword.

Like so many of the stem plants I have included on this list, Moneywort is used a lot by fish breeders. In my experience, Moneywort works well when you want to breed fish in a display tank. I have some stunning brick red Swordtails that live in a display tank in my house, but I also sell the babies to my local store, so Moneywort is vital to as many babies surviving as possible.

Although this article is focusing on plants that can be grown in the gravel, Moneywort can also be grown as a floating plant. When it is floating it will grow stems that reach up and out of the water, creating a stunning effect.

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10. Cryptocoryne Parva

Cryptocoryne Parva, or simply Crypt Parva, is a small carpeting plant that thrives when planted in gravel. Unusually for a carpeting plant, it also thrives even when grown under low light.

At just 2″ (5cm) or less tall, Cryptocoryne Parva is one of the smallest members of the Cryptocoryne family.

Cryptocoryne Parva is an incredibly slow-growing plant that will, given enough time, form a thick, lush carpet of dark green slender leaves. For those who don’t have the patience to wait many months for their Crypt Parva to form a carpet, planting multiple pots across a small area will speed up the process.

This plant grows really well in gravel. When it is ready to spread, Cryptocoryne Parva will send a runner out through the gravel, and a new plant will emerge.

Like so many other Cryptocorynes, Crypt Parva will happily grow in a wide range of water parameters. Providing the temperature is somewhere in the region of 70°F to 82°F (21°C to 27.5°C) and the pH is anywhere between 5.0 and 8.0 it will grow well for you.

In my experience, Cryptocoryne Parva does benefit from the addition of fertilizer in the form of root tabs. Root tabs deliver the nutrients where the plant needs them, at the roots. I have had good success using Flourish Root Tabs, which are made by Seachem.

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11. Aponogeton Crispus

Aponogeton Crispus is an easy to grow, robust plant that produces the most amazing, bright green crinkled leaves. So stunning is the display that Aponogeton Crispus puts on, it won’t ever fail to impress.

Aponogeton Crispus grows into a tall, wavy plant whose bright green leaves take on an almost transparent look. The leaves of Aponogeton Crispus may stretch 12″ (30cm) tall. This plant grows from a bulb rather than a rootstock. The bulb itself should never be buried in the gravel, but rather placed either half-buried or left sitting just on the surface of the gravel.

This large, hardy plant does benefit from the addition of both root tabs and liquid fertilizer. In my own tanks with Aponogeton Crispus growing I tend to add root tabs about every 4 to 6 months, with liquid fertilizer being added about once every two weeks.

Occasionally, individual leaves may become damaged or start to turn brown. These leaves should be removed to prevent the bulb from rotting. Dead leaves are quickly replaced by new ones.

Aponogeton Crispus does prefer softer, slightly acidic water, although it will grow in hard water, just not as well. It is fairly common for this plant to flower.

Aponogeton Crispus is happy growing under moderate light and it does not need any additional CO2 injected into its aquarium. When it comes to water temperature, Aponogeton Crispus is extremely tolerant with temperatures between 60°F and 86°F (15.5°C and 30°C) being acceptable.

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12. Dwarf Aquarium Lily

Anyone who is looking for a plant that has bright red color leaves to contrast against the traditional green of most other aquarium plants should give some consideration to the Dwarf Aquarium Lily. The large, triangular leaves of this stunning plant grow both in the water and on the surface.

Once established, Dwarf Aquarium Lily grows surprisingly quickly, even under low light levels.

Dwarf Aquarium Lily is a bulb plant, and the bulb must be planted on top of the gravel rather than directly into it otherwise the bulb will quickly rot. Within a few days, the build will send roots down into the gravel in search of nutrients and leaves up toward the surface in search of light.

Dwarf Aquarium Lily are hardy plants that grow well in water which is around 72 to 82°F (22 to 28°C). They do not require additional CO2 to be injected into their aquariums, but they do appreciate the addition of both liquid fertilizer and root tabs. Adding fertilizer will make a Dwarf Aquarium Lily grow faster and show brighter leaf color.

When a Dwarf Aquarium Lily is happy and growing well, it may send out little side shoots with daughter plants growing on them. These baby Dwarf Aquarium Lily can be planted in the gravel where they will grow into new plants.

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13. Staurogyne Repens

Staurogyne Repens, or S Repens as it is often called, is an easy to care for, compact plant that works well as a foreground plant in larger tanks or as the main plant in nano tanks.

The small, green leaves of Staurogyne Repens grow close to one another to form a bushy plant that can be used to fill spaces between other plants.

Staurogyne Repens does better when grown under high light, and it may struggle under moderate light. In my own fish room, I have Staurogyne Repens growing under Fluval Plant 3.0 lights, where it does really well. I have not had much luck growing it under lights that are less bright.

Maxing out at around 2″ to 3″ (5cm to 7.5cm) this tiny plant does not grow very fast.

Staurogyne Repens grows well in a fairly wide temperature range. Ideally, the water temperature should be maintained between 68°F and 86°F (20°C and 30°C). Although Staurogyne Repens does not have to have CO2 injected into its aquarium water, there is no doubt it grows faster and more robust when CO2 is injected.

This plant does not require a great deal of regular maintenance thanks to its slow growth rate. However, occasionally some stems will grow taller or faster than others, so they may need trimming back to maintain a level carpet.

Staurogyne Repens is especially well suited to growing in gravel as it likes to get its roots down into the substrate to get a firm grip. This plant can not be grown as a floating plant and it does not do well in very fine substrates like sand.

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14. Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green

I think it is fair to say, I probably grow more Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green than any other plant. The 155-gallon tank in the image at the top of this article is my Congo Tetra tank which is planted out only with Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green.

This incredibly hardy plant will grow well in gravel as well as in Fluval Stratum. Whatever substrate it is grown in, Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green sets down a robust root structure that penetrates deep into the substrate. Once established it will send out countless runners under the gravel leading to new plants popping up all over the tank.

Cryptocoryne Wendetii Green does benefit from a weekly dose of liquid fertilizer, and it would be pleased to receive some root tabs, although I grow it in many tanks without root tabs and it does just fine. This plant does not need CO2 injection to grow well.

The green leaves of Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green are highly variable from plant to plant with anything from bright green to deep green being thrown out. To my mind, it is this variability of leaf color that allows a single plant to be used in an entire aquascape.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green will grow to around 10″ to 12″ (25cm to 30cm) tall and spread out about the same distance. The leaves are tough. I have this plant growing in a tank with two large Fantail Goldfish and the plant stands up to the abuse they give it.

As far as water temperature goes for Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green, I grow it in tanks as low as 64°F (17.5°C) and as high as 82°F (27.5°C), although I suspect it could go both colder and warmer and still grow well.

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15. Red Flame Sword

The Red Flame Sword is a hardy, very easy-to-grow plant that can make a real impact in an aquarium. Whether used to form a backdrop of color or as a centerpiece plant, the highly variable colors of the Red Flame Sword never fail to make an impression.

The Red Flame Sword can have green, red, or bronze-colored leaves that can be spotted or mottled with color.

Providing it is grown under moderate lights, the Red Flame Sword will reach around 12″ (30cm) high with broad leaves creating an imposing plant. CO2 injection is not 100% necessary, but growth will be quicker and the plant will show better color when CO2 injection is available.

As with other members of the Sword family, Red Flame Swords are hungry feeders and ample root tabs should be placed around each specimen.

Be aware, Bristlenose Plecos and other members of the Plecostomus family will eat Sword plants.

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16. Crinum Calamistratum

Crinum Calamistratum is a really unusual plant that grows long, crinkled leaves from a large bulb. The long, flowing dark green leaves of Crinum Calamistratum can grow up to 4′ (1.2m) long. The bulb of Crinum Calamistratum happily grows in gravel.

This tough plant is especially good in tanks where other plants would be eaten. Usual plant destroyers like Fancy Goldfish, Tinfoil Barbs, and African Cichlids tend to leave this plant alone. There are even reports that Crinum Calamistratum will grow in brackish tanks.

Crinum Calamistratum works well as a single centerpiece plant and is occasionally grown in large numbers as a background plant.

This plant is not easily propagated in home aquariums, and so often ends up as a single specimen. In my own fish room, I have a couple of tanks with Crinum Calamistratum literally planted in the center of the tank with lower growing plants all around it.

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  • Crinum calamistratum from West Africa is a very graceful bulbous plant with dark-green, very narrow leaves.
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Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

17. Cryptocoryne Lutea

Cryptocoryne Lutea is the third member of the Cryptocoryne family to make this list, but that is because they are a family of hardy plants that generally grow well in gravel.

This plant is usually grown either in the foreground or towards the midground of the aquascape. Its leaves tend to vary somewhere between bright green to slight bronze color and its stems are often a light to dark brown.

Cryptocoryne Lutea grows to between 4″ and 8″ (10cm and 20cm) tall and likes to be grown in water that is around 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C). Ideally, the water should be calcium-rich with a pH somewhere between 6.0 and 8.0.

Although Cryptocoryne Lutea does not have to have CO2 injected to grow, it certainly grows faster, stronger, and with more vibrant color when it does.

Cryptocoryne Lutea propagates itself by sending runners out under the gravel. The nice thing about growing Cryptocoryne Lutea is that every few weeks a new plant pops up from underneath the gravel, meaning within a few months a whole section of the tank is covered in this stunning little plant.





In Conclusion

Gravel is a fantastic substrate to use. It is cheap to buy, lasts forever, and there is a wide selection of plants that will thrive growing in gravel. Although gravel is not as fashionable as it used to be, it is still an excellent choice of substrate. I currently use gravel in around 75% of the tanks in my fish room and I would recommend it to anyone starting out in the hobby today.


About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James
Editor

Article Sources

https://tropica.com/en/plants/plantdetails/Crinumcalamistratum(094A)/4541

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aponogeton_crispus

https://tropica.com/en/plants/plantdetails/Aponogetoncrispus(083)/4531

https://tropica.com/en/plants/plantdetails/Cryptocoryneparva(106)/4558