Can lucky bamboo be placed in an aquarium?

As a rule, plants from our environment cannot survive in an aquarium and they cannot be suitable plants for an aquarium. The reason is that such plants (some sooner, some later) decay and are a source of rot and pollution. In this way, the integrity of the water itself is impaired, which in turn leads to damage to the fauna and other flora in the aquarium.

Due to the fact that lucky bamboo grows well in water, some are wondering if it is possible to plant a lucky bamboo (dracena) in an aquarium?

Lucky Bamboo can tolerate its roots being in water almost indefinitely. So it’ll grow in almost any water. They will use up excess nitrates from aquarium water, which is usually a very good thing.

So, Yes, with proper care and sufficient nutrients, lucky bamboo can be safely introduced to an aquarium.

You can grow lucky bamboo underwater but it is more advisable to let the leaves out of the water. Its not a good idea to fully submerge the plant for a very long time. Some say a few days at most some say months. Bare in mind if done so it will rot and foul up your tank water.

One way to get bamboo for your tank is to plant it in the filter. This way the roots will always stay submerged, but the rest of the plant won’t rot.

Dracaena Sanderiana or “lucky bamboo”, except for similarities in appearance, has nothing in common with ordinary bamboo. True bamboo (Bambusoideae subfamily) is not an aquatic plant.

Lucky Bamboo fish tank

To grow lucky bamboo fully submerged in water you need to

  • Supply it with sufficient carbon dioxide.
  • Plant it deeply. To grow in water, use a layer of pebbles to stabilize the stems of the plant and hold it in place. This way you limit the roots from spreading above your substrate and becoming a snack for a curious fish. You need around 4 inches of substrate for a happy lucky bamboo plant.
  • Lucky bamboo needs low lighting by definition. It originates from the tropical forests of Cameroon where taller broad-leafed plants would cast shadows over it. Direct sunlight will burn the plant’s leaves and they will turn yellow, which is a good sign to turn down or redirect the lights.

Some lucky bamboo myths

  • It will secrete toxic stuff in the water – That will only happen if you put real bamboo in your aquarium and not Dracaena. Real bamboo belongs to a completely different family of plants and it will rot when submerged in water. Lucky bamboo is not at all toxic to your fish. If you don’t want to contaminate your water, make sure you’re actually getting Dracaena Sanderiana and not something else.
  • You won’t be able to fertilize it – Yes, you won’t be able to, but fish tank water is heaven for this plant. It has tons of nutrients including the fish waste. Your bacteria will take care of the rest. If your tank is properly cycled your beneficial bacteria will convert the ammonia into tasty nitrates. Lucky bamboo loves eating nitrates. In fact, it’s one of the best natural remedies versus high levels of nitrate in your aquarium.
  • The leaves need to remain above the water – This is not necessary, but there’s nothing wrong with it either. The plant will thrive with its leaves out/in of the water and if you think it looks better on your current aquascape setup – go wild.