aquarium plants roots above substrate (Pros and Cons)

aquarium plants roots above substrate

Here are three reasons why aquarium plants roots above substrate top of the substrate is beneficial.

Access to more nutrients:

Placing the roots of aquarium plants above the substrate makes it easier for them to access more nutrients, as the roots can absorb more minerals and trace elements from the water. This helps ensure that aquarium plants stay healthy and vibrant.

Improved oxygenation:

Placing the roots of aquarium plants on top of the substrate helps improve the oxygenation of the water. This is because the roots take oxygen from the water and use it to photosynthesize, which in turn increases the oxygen level in the water.

Better aesthetics:

Placing the roots of aquarium plants on top of the substrate can also improve the overall aesthetics of your aquarium. The look of lush aquarium plants with their roots on top of the substrate can help give your aquarium a natural look.

Pros and Cons of Having Aquarium Plants with Roots Above Substrate

Aquarium plants with roots that extend above the substrate come with both advantages and disadvantages. Although plants may look more aesthetically pleasing due to their unconventional positioning, maintaining plant and aquarium health requires a lot of effort.


  • Having rooted plants on top of the substrate can provide stability to the aquarium and help reduce the accumulation of bottom sediment and debris.
  • hese plants are also easy to clean and remove if they overgrow.
  • The aquarium is also able to provide more oxygen and nutrients to plant roots.


  • Roots can become breeding grounds for bacteria due to lack of substrate. This can lead to possible algae growth in the aquarium.
  • A lack of substrate can also weaken plants, meaning the stability of the aquarium is compromised.
  • Keeping roots healthy can be difficult due to lack of nutrients and limited access.

Care for Aquarium Plants with Roots Above Substrate

Here are three simple steps to caring for aquarium plants with roots above the substrate:

Regular Checkups:

Regularly check your aquarium plants with roots above the substrate for any signs of damage or decay. If you notice any problems, take immediate action to resolve them.

Substrate Pressure:

Make sure your substrate is not too deep for the roots to reach. Substrate pressure can damage roots and make your aquarium plants unhealthy.

Adequate lighting:

Make sure your aquarium plants have access to the right amount of light. Too much or too little light can make your aquarium plants unhealthy.

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Should you trim aquarium plant roots?

Yes, the roots of aquarium plants should be trimmed regularly. Trimming the roots will help remove dead, decayed, and overgrown roots, which can otherwise harbor bacteria and algae.

Pruning also helps promote healthy growth, as it encourages new root growth and allows plants to absorb essential nutrients. Root trimming is essential to maintaining an attractive and healthy aquarium environment.

Will aquarium plants root in gravel?

Yes, aquarium plants can grow in gravel. Although traditional methods such as placing plants in soil or hydroponic plant tabs are preferred, gravel can provide a suitable medium to promote growth and root establishment. To ensure that your aquarium plants develop strong roots, it is important to choose the right size and type of gravel.

How deep should planted aquarium substrate be?

The depth of substrate in a planted aquarium should be between 2 and 4 inches, depending on the type of plants you grow. Be sure to use a dense substrate to ensure proper growth and provide nutrients to your plants. Add a layer of nutrient-rich soil, covered with a layer of sand, to ensure that your plants have the best growing conditions.

Should aquarium plants be fully submerged?

Yes, aquarium plants should be completely submerged for optimal growth and health, although some aquatic plants can tolerate some exposure to air. Aquatic plants need oxygen dissolved in water to use it, and light penetration is greater when the leaves are fully submerged. Plant leaves also trap bacteria, which can be beneficial to the tank’s ecosystem, and they can provide shelter and hiding places for fish.


Aquarium plants need access to more nutrients to grow healthy and strong roots. Improved oxygenation will help them thrive and look their best.