Can You Put Bamboo In A Fish Tank & How To Do It Correctly?

Setting up an aquarium is not about having fish only. To create a visually pleasing tank, you also need to add plants and driftwood for decoration. But not everything is designed to live well underwater.

For example, many aquarists entertain the idea of putting bamboo inside a fish tank. However, they are not sure whether such an option is feasible.

Can you put bamboo in a fish tank? The answer will be addressed in today’s article!

Can You Put Bamboo In A Fish Tank?

bamboo in fish tank

If we are talking about real bamboo, then it is a big no.

Bamboo is not safe for your fish, since it will decay and dissolve in the water. During this process, rotten bamboo will release highly concentrated ammonia, disturbing the tank’s water conditions.

Furthermore, as rotten bamboo becomes softer and seemingly chewable, some fish may even come close and attempt to munch on it. But they have no idea bamboo tends to come with splinters. Imagine what would happen if a splinter ended up piercing through your delicate fish’s mouth!

Thus, for the safety of your fish and the state of the tank’s water, it is best that you keep bamboo away from the tank.

What Are Lucky Bamboo And Why Are They Safe For Fish?

While we have established that bamboo is bad for fish and should not stay in a tank, there is an equally tempting but much safer option. It is called lucky bamboo.

Scientifically known as dracaena sanderiana, lucky bamboo can be added to your tank. Whether partially or fully submerged, they can still survive and do not pose a threat to other animals. If cared for properly, a strand of lucky bamboo may live through years and years.

How To Keep Lucky Bamboo In A Fish Tank

Now that you know how hardy lucky bamboo is, it is time to import them into your tank. Below are what you need to know regarding planting and nurturing these plants.

Type of water

Direct rainwater, filtered water, or distilled water is your best bet for lucky bamboo. This is because these three types of water are completely rid of toxins or contamination.

Not only is it suitable for your bamboo, but it is also a great choice for fish. Minimizing the presence of harmful chemical substances is the key to ensuring the growth of your aquarium.


There are still arguments going on about whether to put bamboo leaves underwater.

Some say that a partially submerged bamboo plant stands a higher chance of surviving. Moreover, it will also prevent the leaves from getting rotten. On the other hand, some believe bamboo leaves are fine even if they are kept away from the air.

Either way, it is best that you experiment with each option and decide which one works better. You can place some bamboo strands underwater while leaving others hanging. Then, compare their growth and try to spot the difference.


lighting level for bamboo

Lucky bamboo and fish share the same characteristic that they do not like bright lights. Having a well-covered tank is necessary to reduce your fish’s stress level and ensure the bamboo does not get yellow.


Lucky bamboo needs to be planted deeply to withstand water pressure. Hence, you must find a way to coordinate the depth of your tank and the length of your bamboo strand. Keep the root firmly clung to the ground to avoid any tripping.

Carbon dioxide

An immense supply of carbon dioxide is crucial to the healthy development of lucky bamboo. Thus, you need to provide them with enough carbon dioxide inside the tank. But be aware that this amount of carbon dioxide will not be converted to oxygen.


You do not have to add fertilizer to nurture your bamboo. This is because these plants suck nutrients from fish waste. If all of your fish are well-fed, lucky bamboo will surely grow well.


1. What are the benefits of having bamboo inside a fish tank?

Having bamboo – or live plants in general – can bring about significant advantages for your aquarium.

Firstly, they get rid of your fish waste products. By feeding and absorbing the waste through their roots, bamboo cleans the water and prevents it from going muddy. If you are too busy to change the water regularly, having several bamboo plants can be of great help.

Secondly, bamboo makes quite a scene. Unlike other common plants, their unique elongated bodies are a sight to behold. That is not to mention how hard and thick they are. Once planted, bamboo is not likely to be moved around with the water flow.

Hence, they build up an intricate network of paths that allow your fish to wander and have fun.

Last but not least, lucky bamboo can suck in nitrates and ammonia. As the water becomes cleaner and more pristine, your fish stand a higher chance of reproducing and living for years.

2. How long can lucky bamboo live in a fish tank?

Generally speaking, a strand of lucky bamboo can live anywhere from 1 to 3 years. It mostly stops growing after 3 years and remains the same length.

While bamboo does not grow any longer, rest assured that it is still sturdy enough as a hiding place and a playground for your fish.

3. How fast does lucky bamboo grow?

How fast does lucky bamboo grow

If the lighting is kept low, lucky bamboo will grow like most houseplants. Excessive lighting may fasten its growing speed, but it comes at the expense of the plant’s yellowing surface.


So, can you put bamboo in a fish tank? Unfortunately no. But there are always alternatives if you fancy this plant. Make sure to read and follow the instructions carefully, and you will be able to have your bamboo-filled tank in no time!