Keeping aquatic plants in your tank is a great way to aquascape your tank, add several health benefits to the ecosystem of the tank and improve the health of your fish. However, in order to get the plants to stay, they need to be anchored.
The five best ways to anchor aquarium plants to your tank is to use fishing line, rubber bands, suction cups, superglue, or cable ties. All are safe for the plants and fish in your tank if used correctly. With these tools, plants can be attached to decorations, driftwood, and rocks.
The correct products and techniques must be used when anchoring your plants with any of these objects. Read on to learn how to use these tools along with the pros and cons of using them!
Why do I need to anchor my plants?
Not all aquarium plants need to be anchored to an object. However there are a few cases where anchoring the plant would be your best bet to keep the plant thriving and your fish safe. Keep in mind, if these cases don’t apply to you, you can still anchor plants if you wish!
Some aquarium plants tend to be a lighter weight than the water surrounding them. Therefore, they will float instead of staying anchored. This can cause a few plants to die if they are not rooted properly.
Some plants have a naturally weak root system, particularly when they are younger plants. With that being said, in order for plants to grow they need to have a strong root system. To keep roots strong, you can anchor the plants for a short amount of time while they are growing. This will ensure the plants thrive and their roots won’t break prematurely.
Lastly, some fish and crabs have tendencies to rip plants apart, hide in them, or dig the gravel and substrate holding up the plant. With that being said, it would be beneficial to anchor your plants to a larger object in the tank to prevent them from getting ruined.
Fortunately, there are a few different methods that can be used to anchor the plants in your tank. While some may require a testing trial, one method is bound to work better for you.
Using Fishing Line to Anchor Your Plants
Fishing line is a great way to anchor any plants in your home aquarium. The pros are that the fishing line is thin and easily workable. Fishing line can be used to anchor plants in small crevices found in caves or other decorations, or even driftwood. Another advantage to using a fishing line is that it is pretty cheap and you get a lot of bang for your buck.
On another note, some people prefer not to use fishing line because you may be able to see the line if you put too much. While some people don’t notice the small knots, others do and it can be distracting from the beauty of the tank.
Another disadvantage to using a fishing line, is that small pieces could potentially break off and a fish could swallow the piece. However, this is unlikely, but possible.
Using Rubber Bands to Anchor Your Plants
Rubber bands are also an acceptable method to anchor your plants down. The most positive thing about using rubber bands is that they are usually something we already have on hand. However, if not, they are pretty cheap to get.
Rubber bands can be used to attach plants to just about anything in the tank, including decorations, rocks and driftwood. However, using rubber bands does have its disadvantages. For starters, rubber bands can be highly visible depending on where you place them. Most people do not want an eye sore in the tank.
Unfortunately, we also can’t cut rubber bands so there may be extra rubber in the tank serving no purpose. On top of this, if you twist the rubber bands too tight, it may take just a nudge from a fish to break the band and cause harm.
Using Suction Cups to Anchor Your Plants
Aquarium suction cups are a great way to anchor your plants down to the tank. Keep in mind that these are usually used to put plants on the tank glass and not decorations as they won’t stick. This can be a disadvantage if you want the plants on your rocks or driftwood.
However, the pros outweigh this disadvantage. The advantages to using suction cups are that they are fairly inexpensive, can be used in bare bottom tanks, and they are very easy to use. With that being said, a suction cup can restrict your plants growth to a certain area (but again, this may not be a disadvantage).
Using Superglue to Anchor Your Plants
Using superglue to anchor your plants in your aquarium is a great option. Using superglue will allow you to attach your plants to anything you want including decorations, rocks, wood, or even the tank wall itself. This is a huge advantage, especially for those who love decorating their tanks.
With that being said, you can’t just use any superglue found at the store because it may be toxic to your fish and plants. This may be a disadvantage if you need to order the correct glue online because you will be stuck waiting.
When choosing to use super glue, you will have to ensure that it is aquarium safe and waterproof. The most common type of superglue used for tanks is cyanoacrylate glue. When anchoring the plant with this glue, you will want to make sure you don’t get glue on the leaves.
You will also want to dry off the plant to ensure the superglue sticks to the object you want. Needless to say, this has to be done outside of the tank, or prior to adding water to your tank for the first time. The glue should be held down for about a minute.
The most prominent disadvantage to using superglue is that once your plant is glued it will always be stuck to the object. Therefore, if you want to relocate the plant the item attached to it will have to be moved as well. This can be tricky if you want to completely redecorate your tank.
Using Cable Ties to Anchor Your Plants
The final best option to use when anchoring plants in your tank is to use cable ties. The positive to using cable ties is that they are cheap and can be found at any local hardware store, or chain store.
You can simply attach the cable to a decoration and place the plant in the loop. When the plant is in the perfect spot you can tighten the tie and cut off the rest of the cable. By using this method, it would be easy to move the plant because you can just cut off the cable and place another one in a new location.
However, the downside to using cables is that they are not visually appealing. You may be able to see the cables (depending on the color) and it can throw off the decorations in the tank.
Which is the best method?
The above methods are the best and easiest to do when it comes to anchoring plants. However, there is one that tops them all. This would have to be using an aquarium-safe superglue. This will allow you to place the plant wherever you would like in the tank and you will not need to redo the job.
Problems with Anchoring Plants
As with anything, there may be a few difficulties when trying to anchor your plants. You will want to be mindful of the following list so you can properly prepare on how to fix the issue.
- Forceful Water Flow. If you have a high-tech filter and bubbler, there is bound to be current in the water. This movement in the water can make it hard to anchor the plant and it may fall. To fix this issue, you can try removing a bubbler or take the filter down a notch.
- Unhealthy Plants. When purchasing plants for your tank, you will want to ensure they are healthy with string roots. If they are brown or falling apart there is a good possibility that the plant will not stay anchored and could break off.
- Aggressive Fish. Some larger fish species love to mess around with objects in the tank. Plants are no exception. They may try to pull your roots or the top of the plant leading them to break off. If you notice that your fish has these tendencies, it is best to use fake plants instead of anchoring live ones.
- Digging Fish. If you have fish that tend to dig in your tank such as Cory catfish or Plecos, you will want to make sure you anchor the plant to decorations and not gravel or substrates. This will minimize the risk of the fish damaging the roots.