How to Keep Aquarium Plants from Floating

How to Keep Aquarium Plants from Floating

Fresh water aquariums are not complete until they have live plants. Keeping freshwater aquarium fish demands that you set a natural or close to the natural environment so that underwater fauna can flourish. You can choose from hundreds of aquarium artificial decorations, but none will be appropriate to set up a living environment. What you need is the live aquarium plants that act as ideal flora for your aquarium fauna.

However, aquatic plants have a tendency to float and it causes troubles for aquarium owners.

Problem of floating aquarium plants

It is simple physics, as aquarium plants are lighter they float in water. This raises a problem for fish owners and plants floating on the surface are no good. First time aquarium owners try to keep the live plants rooted in the aquarium using the substrates, but they learn it the hard way that it is not possible. The substrates sever the purpose of providing aquatic plant space to spread their roots. They are of medium grain size usually 3-5 millimeters, which means they cannot hold the plants from floating above water.

You need a suitable anchor to keep aquarium plants from floating. River rocks make ideal anchors that you can use along with a fishing line for the job. That being said, you need to be careful with the choice of the rock. Granite rocks are best suited as they do not dissolve in water like the limestone nor changes the chemistry of water. This is why we suggest river rocks as anchors to keep aquarium plants in place.

River rocks anchor your aquarium plants in place

These steps will help you to set up the best anchor for your aquarium plant:

Items needed: small sized river rocks, nylon fishing line, scissors

  1. Choose river rocks that are neither too big nor too small
  2. Do not put the rocks directly into the aquarium, rinse them to clean off the dirt and sterilize by boiling them for 30 minutes
  3. Now cool down the rocks and tie the fishing line to the rock and make a loop at the other end of the fishing line
  4. Put the loop just above the root around the aquarium plant’s stem
  5. If there are any loose ends in the thread snip them off for the safety of fish
  6. Put the plant along with the anchor in the aquarium and repeat the process with other plants

Pro Tips

Sometimes it is not easy to make out of a river rock will dissolve in water or not. This is why put a few drops of vinegar in water when you are sterilizing the rocks. If the vinegar around a rock bubbles don’t use that rock as it will gradually dissolve.

Over time the aquarium plants will naturally become well rooted in the gravel, this is the time when you need to remove the fishing line. Cut it away carefully as it is necessary for maintaining a safe environment in the aquarium.

Taking Care

  • Stay away from lead fishing weights. Using them as anchors means slowly poisoning your fish.
  • Metal twist ties are also not appropriate to be used for securing anchors. They might not be toxic like lead, but will rust eventually and pollute the water.
  • For the same reason do not use river rocks that have metallic veins.

Securing a natural environment in your freshwater aquarium is a little bit challenging, but for the safety and well-being of your fish it is worth the effort.

2 thoughts on “How to Keep Aquarium Plants from Floating

    1. @pennylet

      I probably wouldn’t use river rocks for saltwater fish tanks. There might be contaminants or other chemicals in those rocks that can leak to your saltwater aquarium and can be deadly for your fishes. For saltwater, IMO it’s still best to use live rock and letting it cycle in the water.

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