Have you ever wondered if it’s necessary to place live plants inside your fish aquarium, or are they simply for decoration? Believe it or not, real-life plants help maintain a healthy ecosystem for your fish by cleansing impurities while providing other benefits, like shade from sunlight exposure or evading larger fish.
Nevertheless, not all plants can be placed inside an aquarium because they can rot and pollute the water, thus affecting your fish’s quality of life. Therefore, many people wonder what plants can be used in an aquarium, apart from regular aquatic plants.
For example, lucky bamboo is a popular plant choice for aquariums, but is it really viable? Can you put lucky bamboo in an aquarium?
Lucky Bamboo in an Aquarium
Before anything, you should understand that lucky bamboo is a completely different species when compared to ordinary bamboo. Although they make look physically similar, they are not even related to each other.
Lucky bamboo, which is scientifically known as “Dracaena sanderiana” is actually a water lily and thrives in conditions where high humidity exists. On the other hand, true bamboo is referred to as “Bambusoideae subfamily” and is a form of tall grass, which grows to impressive heights and requires a lot of sunlight and water to flourish.
Because of this, you can come to the conclusion that lucky bamboo has some characteristics akin to an aquatic plant, while ordinary bamboo may perish eventually in an aquatic environment. Although there are many controversies about whether lucky bamboo can be used in an aquarium or not, the final verdict is that it’s possible to place it in an aquarium.
You just need to follow certain safety procedures to keep your fish water clean, while maintaining your lucky bamboo healthy.
Is Lucky Bamboo Toxic to Fish?
Although experts have expressed that lucky bamboo can be placed inside a fish tank or aquarium, some people are still concerned if it can be beneficial for your fish or actually cause some harm.
Actually, lucky bamboo has the ability to protect your fish and other plants from certain chemicals and toxins. Fish produce two common chemicals as waste products, ammonia, and nitrates, which are dangerous and lethal at high concentrations.
Overfeeding your fish, uneaten fish food in the tank, and inadequate cleaning can cause the levels of these substances to accumulate in your tank water. While the tank’s biofilter is able to transform some of these compounds into nitrites, a less toxic compound, they can still affect your fish’s health.
In addition, decaying plants can further pollute the water and increase the ammonia and nitrate levels. However, this is where lucky bamboo comes into action.
Lucky bamboo has an affinity for nitrates, like most plants do, and use it to repair themselves and more. In simpler terms, lucky bamboo absorbs the nitrate in the water and employs it to grow and thrive in its environment.
Therefore, it filters the nitrate levels in your fish tank, making it a safer environment for your fish and other plants that live in it. Because of this, using lucky bamboo is one of the best cost-effective ways to maintain the nitrate levels in safe concentrations in your fish tank or aquarium.
On the other hand, you should never use ordinary bamboo in your tank or aquarium. Mistaking it for lucky bamboo can become a death sentence for your fish and plants. Ordinary bamboo will rot due to high humidity conditions and gradually pollute the water in your tank.
Additionally, its decaying structure will cause a spike in the ammonia and nitrate levels in the water, which can be dangerous and lethal for your fish. Thus, you should always be careful and make sure that you are planting lucky bamboo in your tank or aquarium.
Is Bamboo a Good Aquarium Plant?
Overall, lucky bamboo is a great plant choice for your fish tank or aquarium. As said previously, lucky bamboo filters the nitrate level in your tank’s water, which preserves your fish’s health and keep the water clean. However, it can provide other benefits that are of great interest.
For example, the lucky bamboo’s twists and bends can add a beautiful aesthetic to your tank’s or aquarium’s overall appearance. The contrast of the crystal-clear water with the vibrant green of the lucky bamboo will be a sight to behold and captivate the attention of many people, especially those who admire beauty in eco-friendly practices.
Additionally, the lucky bamboo’s structure offers some form of shelter for small fish who prefer to evade contact from larger fish living in the tank. It is also quite amusing to watch the fish swim around the bends and twists of the bamboo. It even looks like they are dancing gracefully and displaying a small show for your eyes.
Finally, its maintenance inside a tank or aquarium is similar to other aquatic plants with a few additional measures that are necessary to keep it healthy and lively. You don’t need to invest a lot of your time to keep your aquarium safe for your fish and other plants. Thus, it’s a great option to have lucky bamboo in a tank.
How Do You Grow Lucky Bamboo in a Fish Tank?
There are certain steps that you must take in order to grow lucky bamboo in a fish tank successfully. This includes four main aspects: nutrients, adequate planting, aeration, and sun exposure.
- You need to provide enough carbon dioxide for your lucky bamboo to grow and thrive in a fish tank. Therefore, you must use appropriate fertilizers, such as Seachem Flourish, and add them to the water in appropriate quantities. Remember to check the label to avoid harming your fish and try to add it in regular timeframes. If you see that your bamboo is growing and new leaves are spurting, then you are on the right path.
- Try to plant your bamboo about four inches or more below the substrate material. This will keep your plant in place, avoid fish from eating its roots, and absorb more efficiently the fish waste that builds up at the bottom of the fish tank. Additionally, it can reduce the probability of the roots of growing above the substrate.
- Remember that all plants need oxygen to effectuate photosynthesis and this includes aquatic plants and lucky bamboo. You need to aerate them enough so they flourish in an aquatic environment. You can do this by changing the tank water on a regular basis (once per week or so) and use some devices, like air stones and filters with waterfall structures. Therefore, it’s recommended to plant your lucky bamboo in the filter for enough aeration.
- Finally, lucky bamboo does not need to be exposed to sunlight 24/7. Too much sunlight can actually damage it and you can know this if you see any yellow leaves on your bamboo. Thus, you should limit its sunlight exposure and redirect the lights for optimum growth.
Does Lucky Bamboo Give Oxygen?
Like all plants, lucky bamboo produces oxygen. However, lucky bamboo produces more oxygen concentrations than most plants because it only grows lives. Since most plants grow flowers, some of their carbon dioxide-oxygen exchange is redirected for their growth. This allows them to concentrate on some of their photosynthetic properties for seeds, nectar, and sap.
On the other hand, lucky bamboo does not produce flowers but grows leaves instead. As you know, the process of photosynthesis (creating oxygen and sugars from carbon dioxide) occurs mainly in leaves.
Thus, this plant produces more concentrations of oxygen than other plants do and makes it an ideal plant for decoration and healthier environments in both your home and fish tanks or aquariums.
Benefits of Lucky Bamboo in an Aquarium
The following are some of the many benefits that come with having lucky bamboo in an aquarium.
- Provides an elegant style to your tank’s or aquarium’s looks.
- Filters the water from impurities and toxic chemicals, while keeping it clean.
- Its structure can be used as protection for smaller fish and sea creatures from larger fish in the aquarium.
- Some fish can employ as mating locations when the mating season commences.
- Allows fish to become less startled from humans approaching them since they are surrounded by multiple aquatic plants.
- Provides considerable amounts of oxygen that will improve both your fish’s and your quality of life.
- According to Feng Shui practices, it brings harmony and peace to any location restoring the imbalances present. It is also said that it can bring luck and increase wealth.
Lucky Bamboo Myths
Even though lucky bamboo is used around the world, there are still certain myths that must be addressed to bring comfort for some people. For example, some people still believe that it’s dangerous for fish.
However, as said previously, many people mistake it with ordinary bamboo, which is the one that is lethal to aquatic life. Lucky bamboo improves and protects your fish from high nitrate levels.
Another myth is that you need to place it in the filter for optimum growth. Although you place it in the filter to receive enough oxygen, it’s 100% necessary to place it there. You can resort to other methods to aerate your bamboo and let it thrive in an aquatic setting.
Another important myth concerning the presence of its leaves; some say that they should remain above the water, while other depicts that it’s better to have them underwater. In this scenario, there is no right and wrong since this relates to adequate care. To keep your bamboo healthy, you must provide all the nutrients and environmental needs to keep it healthy.
If not, it will start to decay whether the leaves are above or under the water, However, it’s recommended to prune regularly any yellow leaves to avoid premature decay. Either way, it depends on how you take care of your lucky bamboo.
There are many benefits to having lucky bamboo in your fish tank or aquarium, such as better water quality or an elegant aesthetic to your tank. So you should try your best and give your fish the best care possible!