How to Grow Lucky Bamboo in the Aquarium

Have you ever wondered if those half submerged plants in those small vases of braided bamboo stalks in the flower department of the store would thrive in your aquarium? They are safe for tanks with fish and invertebrates, despite popular belief, so here are some ideas on how to care for and grow lucky bamboo in the aquarium.

What is Lucky Bamboo?

Lucky bamboo is a popular and frequent houseplant, but it’s unlike many others in that it’s incredibly easy to care for and growing lucky bamboo, doesn’t require soil: It may live in as little as a few inches of water. The irony of Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is that it isn’t actually an aquatic plant. It isn’t even a true bamboo species.

True Bamboo vs Lucky Bamboo

Can you put lucky bamboo in a fish tank?

Grow true bamboo in an fish tank is a bad idea since it releases ammonia into the water and becomes harmful to fish as it decomposes. On the other hand, lucky bamboo is more suited for an aquarium. Although it resembles actual bamboo, it is not the same.

Ascertain that your plants are healthy and that they have been properly introduced to your aquarium. Even with the fortunate bamboo, you must use caution while introducing it to your aquarium. Whether or not to place lucky bamboo in a fish tank is a matter of debate, although absorbs carbon dioxide lucky bamboo, releasing oxygen.

The main thing to remember is that, while lucky bamboo is not dangerous to the fish, like true bamboo, you must know how to properly immerse it in your tank. Some think that the bamboo plants should be totally submerged in water, while others argue that the plant’s leaves should be lifted above the water.

It is really preferable for the fortunate bamboo leaves to be above water. The plant will not develop correctly if the leaves are soaked, and the leaves will begin to decay. The entire plant will eventually perish.

If the leaves or stems begin to turn yellow, it is a solid indicator that the plant is decaying. When it decomposes, poisonous material is discharged into the tank. However, there’s a chance you’ll be able to save your fortunate bamboo plant if you go further down this page.

However, if you keep the leaves above the water, you’ll be OK. As a result, the greatest thing you can do is keep your lucky bamboo slightly submerged in water, with the leaves poking out.

A bamboo plant in your fish tank gives it a very natural and lovely appearance. Make sure, though, that what you have is the fortunate bamboo, not the genuine bamboo.

Although real bamboo and fortunate bamboo are two distinct species, they are frequently confused. As a result, you must exercise caution, especially if you are a new aquarium owner. Make sure you’re dealing with Dracaena rather than actual bamboo.

Bamboo in the aquarium

Rules for growing lucky bamboo in the aquarium

Substrate Depth

Is it necessary for Lucky Bamboo to be completely submerged in water, or may the leaves be exposed to the air above your tank? You may either put the plant in a deep, portrait-style tank or let the bamboo stalks rise out of your fishbowl; either way, as long as the roots are submerged, your plant should survive!

  • Sink at least 2 to 3 inches of the bamboo stalk’s root end into the water and make sure it stays submerged.
  • Lucky bamboo may also be planted up to four inches deep in your substrate to help it stay put.
  • It thrives in coarse gravel or pebble-based choices that allow enough of water to reach the root system.
  • Bamboo can suffer if the substrate compacts around the roots or develops hypoxic Dead Zones when planted in fine watery soils or sands.
  • Lucky Bamboo, unlike actual bamboo plants, does not tolerate dry roots. If you put your plant on soil that has been allowed to dry up or if the water around its roots evaporates, it will die.

Type of Water

Lucky bamboo is a freshwater plant that should not be kept in a marine or brackish aquarium. Their optimal pH range for water is 6.0 to 6.5, although they may thrive in a larger range.

They aren’t affected by hardness in the water. You might be possible to use tap water in your bamboo aquarium, but it’s not always a good idea:

  • Chlorine in the water can induce root stress, and prolonged exposure can cause the plant’s development to stall or the leaves to yellow.
  • While pre-conditioned (dechlorinated) tap water can be used in a bamboo tank, fluoride levels in your area should be checked.
  • Because fluoride is poisonous to Lucky Bamboo, you may need to use bottled or home filtered water in your tank if your tap water is fluoridated.


If at all feasible, get a tank that is several feet long and deep. The greater surface area of the water in a tank, the more oxygen is available for the fortunate bamboo.

It also provides your fish extra room to swim and eat. Most aquatic plants will die if they don’t get adequate oxygen.

Cycling out the water weekly is another approach to boost your tank’s oxygen levels because new water contains more oxygen. Water stones can also be used.

Carbon Dioxide

To thrive underwater, lucky bamboo needs a lot of carbon dioxide. To feed it with a suitable amount of carbon dioxide, you can use fertilizer designed for aquatic plant.

However, while the excrement generated by your fish usually supplies a significant quantity of fertilizer for the plant, you may occasionally require other sources.

Make sure you don’t over-fertilize the tank while using fertilizer. Fertilizer that is applied seldom and in large amounts might damage your fish. If your lucky bamboo starts developing new leaves and prospering, you’ve added just enough.


Lucky bamboo thrives in low-light environments. The leaves might be destroyed by direct sunlight or bright light entering the aquarium.

When the bamboo leaves turn yellow, you’ll know it’s time to dim the lights in your tank.

You can have medium illumination at most, but keep in mind that Lucky bamboo is native to a gloomy environment where it thrives behind taller trees. It can’t thrive in direct sunlight.


Lucky Bamboo isn’t a heavy feeder, so you may use an aquarium-safe liquid fertilizer in the tank or insert fertilizer tabs in the substrate they’re planted in.

To cultivate this little bamboo plant, you don’t need to add anything unusual to your tank. Your fish’s feces will most likely provide lots of nutrients!

Benefits of Having Lucky Bamboo in Your Aquarium

If you’re still on the fence about buying lucky bamboo, consider the following advantages.

It Acts as a Natural Filter

Despite popular belief that bamboo is detrimental to aquatic life, fortunate bamboo really aids in the health of your fish.

Different dangerous chemicals can accumulate in the aquarium if you overfeed your fish, do not maintain your tank on a regular basis, or do not clear out the water often.

Ammonia and nitrates are two pollutants caused by your fish, and a high, unfiltered amount of these can harm aquatic life.

The goal of your filter is to convert these dangerous waste chemicals in the water to nitrites. Nitrites, on the other hand, might be detrimental to your fish if they are present in significant amounts.

Although this conversion is necessary, your filter may use some assistance from time to time. The nitrates in the water are used by lucky bamboo for self-repair and development.

It absorbs nitrates, lowering their levels in your tank and keeping your fish’s water cleaner and less toxic. Lucky bamboo might be a helpful partner for your filter if you have a lot of waste-producing fish.

It Creates a Natural Shelter and Playground for Fish

The stalks of Lucky Bamboo twist and swirl, allowing your smaller fish to swim through. They can utilize this to amuse themselves. They can also exploit the leaves’ cover, as well as the tight gaps, for shelter and privacy.

These unusually shaped plants not only add to the lives of your fish in the aquarium, but they also make it appear quiet and tranquil. This arrangement, no matter where you put it, has a greener, more natural appearance than fake plants.

Myths About Lucky Bamboo in Aquariums

There are several misconceptions about growing bamboo in an aquarium, as well as a great deal of disinformation on the internet regarding the risks of utilizing bamboo among fish and other aquatic creatures. Let’s take a look at some of the most common misconceptions regarding Lucky Bamboo.

1. Lucky Bamboo Cannot Be Fertilized

I’m not sure where this fallacy came from, but you may easily fertilize your Lucky Bamboo using an fish tanks-safe liquid fertilizer or feed your plants with pills in the substrate.

Because these plants aren’t heavy feeders, fertilizers aren’t normally required, but if you’re applying fertilizers for other plants, your bamboo will benefit from them as well.

2. Bamboo Leaves Must Extend Above Waterline

No, if you wish, you may grow Lucky Bamboo fully underwater. While these plants are normally marketed with only the root end submerged in water, if you submerge them in your aquarium, the leaves will continue to develop.

3. Toxins are released into your aquarium’s water by Lucky Bamboo.

No, Lucky Bamboo does not emit poisons into the water in your aquarium. However, the myth is partially accurate since growing genuine bamboo in an aquarium may result in poisonous ammonia surges that might kill your fish:

  • If the roots of true bamboo plants are immersed, they cannot grow.
  • Their roots rot underwater as the plant suffocates and dies.
  • This decomposition causes ammonia levels to rise, overburdening your filter and poisoning your water, resulting in your fish’s death.

Frequently Asked Questions About Aquatic Bamboo Care

Here are some of the most often asked questions about utilizing Lucky Bamboo with other fish and invertebrates in aquatic settings:

Can Lucky Bamboo Survive in Water for a Long Time?

For around 1 to 3 years, Lucky Bamboo performs well in water. Unless you transplant it into the soil, you may not see much new growth after that. But it all depends on the situation. For nearly 5 years, I’ve had one water-planted bamboo plants, and it’s still flourishing strong.

What Kind of Fish Live Best with Lucky Bamboo?

Betas like natural plants because they can swim through them, hide in them, and seek refuge. They also produce enough waste to supply Lucky Bamboo with the nutrients it requires to thrive.

This assures a happy relationship: the betas get a natural filter to clean up their waste and plenty of room to swim and play, while the plant gets enough fertilizer and carbon dioxide.

How Long Can Lucky Bamboo Survive in My Tank?

A well-kept lucky bamboo plant should last two years in your aquarium on average.

They can endure longer if the substrate is healthier, such as dirt.

What Happens if the Leaves Turn Yellow?

Bamboo leaves that have turned yellow signal an issue in your aquarium’s ecosystem. This does not necessarily imply that your plant is dead, but simply that it need certain tweaks in order to grow once more.

If your bamboo leaves start to turn yellow, consider adjusting the amount or type of fertilizer you’re applying. Check the ammonia and nitrate levels in the water, the tank’s temperature, and whether the plants are getting too much light.

Look for any symptoms of illness or abnormal development on the plant itself. To avoid rotting materials contaminating your fish, a dying plant should be preserved as quickly as possible or transferred to another spot until it is flourishing again.

You may also need to replace the water, as a bamboo plant might die if it is exposed to tainted or oxygen-deficient water. This is why it’s critical to cycle your water on a weekly basis for this aquatic plant.

Final Words

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how to use Lucky Bamboo in your aquarium.

If you grow lucky bamboo correctly, then you will not have problems if you pick the right type of bamboo and provide the proper living circumstances for this plant – lucky bamboo.

Read also:

Top 8 Health Aquarium Benefits – Why Do You Need One?

12 reasons fighting fish lies at the bottom of the aquarium

Aquarium plants in pots. Detailed guide to choose and care

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