Can You Leave Aquarium Plants in Pots? The Correct Answer Is Here!

Aquarists have long used aquarium plants as a great addition to their aquariums to make a beautiful and lush environment for the fish. These plants are also excellent for terrariums and give your aquarium a more natural look.

When you decide to place aquarium plants to add beauty to your aquatic community, you may wonder, “Can you leave aquarium plants in pots?

This article will help you answer that question and provide valuable information!

Can You Leave Aquarium Plants in Pots?

terracotta flower pot in tank

It’s alright to put your aquarium plant in some pots

The answer is yes. You can put your aquarium plant in some pots; however, you must follow several guidelines.

Using pots will make placing aquarium plants in the aquarium easier, making it an ideal choice for beginners.

In addition, there are many other benefits of leaving aquarium plants in some pots, which we will cover at the end of the article.

The Appropriate Size of Pots for a Fish Tank

There are no rules about the pot size you should put in your aquarium. You just need to ensure it’s not too bulky, especially for aquariums with active species like Danios and Barbs.

In addition, choosing the pot size should depend on many things, such as the type of aquarium you own and its size. Here’s a quick rundown on sizing pots.

Tank Size Pot Size
3.8l or 1-gallon 6-inch or up
37l or 10-gallon 12-inch or up
76l or 20-gallon 24-inch or up
113l or  30-gallon 40 to 48 inches

Suitable Substrate for Aquarium Pots

Red cap oranda goldfish in an aquarium

You should choose the right substrate for aquarium pots

You can use the fish tank substrate to hold your plants in place. In addition, it will also provide essential nutrients for your plants.

We recommend choosing organic potting soil since it delivers all the essential nutrients to your plants for many years.

Using aquarium gravel for your potted plants is alright, but you must add a few root tabs to provide nutrients. Replace these root tabs once a month to offer nutrients to your plants continuously.

How to Place Your Pot in A Fish Tank?

Step 1: Put sand and gravel on your pot’s bottom. Although it is unnecessary for aquarium plants, it is excellent for the bigger plants and those you place near the tank’s top.

Step 2: Put your pots in the desired position in your aquarium and fill them with clean water until reaching 1-inch above their rim. You should use a quality thermometer to ensure the water in your pots is 72 °F or more.

Step 3: Put five to six tiny air stones to fill out more temporary “bedding.”

To minimize root rot, use peat moss or rock wool as one base for your underwater aquatic plants. It is especially essential with more delicate species.

It will also help prevent your aquarium plants from being sucked into the drain hole in the skimmer basket.

Step 4: Put rocks at all levels throughout your aquarium to offer additional support for your plants and keep them in place.

We recommend removing half of the tank water in this case, only pouring some clean, fresh water when putting an allergenic and aquatic plant. Thanks to that, you can minimize algae growth.

Once you have placed your pots into your aquarium, place them back on top of 10 to 20% of the aquarium’s water. It will be helpful for gas exchange, giving a natural “feel” to your tank.

Step 5: Reinstall intake pipes and tubes into their positions in a fish tank.

For instance: If your tanks come with an under gravel filter system, remove half of your just placed plants to reattach both filters on each side on incoming tubing. That way, they will be flushed with fresh, clean water.

Step 6: Return your filters and allow them to run entirely through the cycle before putting any more décor or live plants to satisfy your needs.

Choose Safe Pots for Your Aquarium

When choosing pots to put in your aquarium, it is essential to ensure they’re non-toxic and safe.

Remember that some carelessness will also kill fish and destroy your aquatic environment.

Avoid using ceramic or random garden pots as they may contain various harmful substances like weed killers, fertilizers, and bug spray, making the water in your tank toxic.

Also, substances from uncured ceramic things may leach into your tank water, which is harmful to your fish and plants.

Moreover, we recommend avoiding pots that come with any paint and glaze as they have harmful chemicals.

The safest pots for aquariums are clay pots since they do not leach chemicals into your tank.

You can use the plastic pot since it is also safe, but the terracotta clay pot is the most common.

Advantages of Placing Potted Aquarium Plants in an Aquarium

There are many good reasons for placing the potted plant in an aquarium. Here are a few of them.

  • Allow oxygen and water exchange.
  • Moving around plants is more effortless.
  • Decoration and maintenance.
  • Offer a play area and home for your small fish.
  • Deliver a safe place for fish to lay eggs.


How Long Can I Keep Aquarium Plants in a Bucket?

If you have hardy plants like Anubias, they can live in the bucket for a couple of weeks. On the flip side, sensitive plants may last for a few days in the bucket.

How Long Do Real Plants Last in a Fish Tank?

Aquarium plants have an average lifespan of half a year in a pot.

Can Aquatic Plants Survive in Tap Water?

Tap water is safe for aquatic plants as long as the water has the proper parameters and has been dechlorinated.


Can you leave aquarium plants in pots? The short answer is yes.

Leaving your aquarium plants in some pots is alright. However, you need to pick pots that are the proper size for the aquarium and safe for your fish.

You have reached the bottom of this article. We hope it is helpful to you.

Thank you for your interest in the article!