The stalky bamboo shoots commonly seen in vase-shaped aquaria make a great aquatic plant for aquariums. It is safe for both fish and invertebrates and does not fall under a form of a true aquatic plant. They are great for producing oxygen within the aquarium and do well when partially submerged. Due to their length, lucky bamboo is easy to submerge with the top part of the bamboo stalks sticking out. This can look incredibly attractive and exquisite inside of a natural, planted aquarium.
BUT! you cannot put normal bamboo in your fish tank as the roots and the plant as a whole will immediately begin to rot.
However, lucky bamboo can be put in a fish tank at your own risk. Keep in mind that lucky bamboo really doesn’t have much to do with real bamboo at all.
Lucky bamboo can also help with keeping the water parameters under control. If you keep an overstocked aquarium and the nitrates within the water fluctuate frequently, lucky bamboo will readily absorb the nitrates and use them for growth. This article aims to inform you on how to successfully grow lucky bamboo in your aquarium and the reasons it is a safe plant for your tank’s inhabitants.
Table of contents
- What is lucky bamboo?
- The Difference Between True and Lucky Bamboo
- How to Successfully Grow Lucky Bamboo in an Aquarium
- The Myths of Lucky Bamboo Dangers Within the Aquarium
- Growth Rate and Benefits of Lucky Bamboo
What is lucky bamboo?
Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is a common household plant that is commonly kept in tall vases as a household decoration. It is easy to care for and does not require soil to grow in. It does well half-submerged and is hardy enough to survive in a small amount of water. Aside from lucky bamboo not being a true aquarium plant, it is not even a species of bamboo. Lucky bamboo can produce twirling or straight stems with sparse vibrant green leaves growing out from the sides. It does not get as large as true bamboo species and remains a vivid green color. You may notice a pattern of light brown rings every few inches along the stalk of the plant.
The Difference Between True and Lucky Bamboo
How to Successfully Grow Lucky Bamboo in an Aquarium
Lucky bamboo does well in all different shapes and sizes of aquaria. This plant is ideal underwater or partially submerged plant and caring for the plant is an easy task. You can easily introduce lucky bamboo into your aquarium with minimal effort or changes within your aquarium.
1. Ideal water requirements
Lucky bamboo should be kept in freshwater aquariums and will die off if it is kept in brackish or saltwater aquariums. The pH of the water should ideally be acidic and between 6.0 to 7.5. Water hardness does not affect lucky bamboo too much and should only be placed in an aquarium that has been treated with a dechlorinate. Chlorine can cause root stress and eventually kill off your lucky bamboo plant. The once vividly green leaves can turn yellow and fall off. It is also important to note that all species of captive inhabitants like fish, snails, or shrimps as well as other aquarium plants should only be in dechlorinated water.
You should avoid using water that has high amounts of fluoride as it is toxic for lucky bamboo. If you do have fluoridated water, you can use bottled and filtered water instead. Just make sure it is ideal for the inhabitants.
2. The substrate and water depth within the aquarium
Lucky bamboo can survive if its roots are submerged. You can keep lucky bamboo in or without a substrate and they will still thrive. The top stalks can be exposed to air and stick out of the aquarium without it affecting their growth. The roots should be submerged in at least 2 to 4 inches of water and efforts should be taken to keep them covered in water to avoid the roots from drying out.
If you have substrate inside of the tank, you can plant them at least 4 inches deep within the substrate. Pebbles or gravel are great options of a substrate that allow a decent amount of water circulation to reach the roots. Aquarium sand is not the best option as a substrate because it does not allow the necessary amount of water required to support their growth and health. If the substrate is depriving the roots of proper water circulation, the roots will develop hypoxia with dead zones. It is best to avoid drying out the roots because the roots will burn when exposed to air for a long period.
3. Lucky Bamboo Lighting Requirements
Lucky bamboo appreciates moderate lighting and does not require artificial growth lights or even bright window lights. They need at least 6 hours of light to complete photosynthesis. Bright lights will cause the leaves to burn which is seen by decaying yellow or browning of the leaves.
4. Fertilization and Carbon Dioxide Requirements
You can use liquid fertilizers or even root fertilizer tabs in the gravel or pebbles that the lucky bamboo is buried in. They do not, however, require fertilizers and grow well using only the aquarium water’s nutrients. Fish produce enough waste to supply your lucky bamboo plant with a variety of nutrients to support their health and growth.
The carbon dioxide your fish creates within the water is enough to keep your lucky bamboo plant growing healthy. CO2 diffusers are potentially dangerous and unnecessary to use for your fish or invertebrates.
The Myths of Lucky Bamboo Dangers Within the Aquarium
Growth Rate and Benefits of Lucky Bamboo
Lucky bamboo grows moderately slow and grows faster if it is planted into a substrate. The plant can grow for a few years to maximize its size if it is kept in good conditions. If your lucky bamboo plant receives more light, the plant will grow at a faster rate. A welcoming benefit of lucky bamboo is that it helps to increase the overall oxygen in the water. This helps the other plants to grow well and provides the inhabitants with more oxygenated water.
Lucky bamboo looks great when kept with smaller fish, snails, or shrimps. This easy-growing species can make a great addition to your aquarium while being completely safe for the inhabitants. It makes a great plant for first-time plant aquarists. We hope this article has helped you understand lucky bamboo’s appropriate care and the safety of your aquarium’s inhabitants.
Featured Image Credit: asharkyu, Shutterstock