can i put lucky bamboo plant in my aquarium?

Hey there, fellow aquarium enthusiast! If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for unique additions to make your underwater world more beautiful. One day, while strolling through a local plant store, I stumbled upon some exquisite bamboo plants. The idea of adding bamboo to my aquarium sparked my curiosity, but I had some doubts. Is it safe for my fish? Can bamboo thrive underwater? Can I put bamboo in my aquarium without harming my aquatic buddies?

In this extensive guide, I’m going to take you on a deep dive into the world of bamboo in aquariums, with a special focus on lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana). We’ll explore the differences between lucky bamboo and true bamboo, discuss whether it’s suitable for fish tanks, learn how to grow it in your aquarium or fishbowl, and tackle important topics like water parameters, lighting, and more. So, if you’re contemplating adding a touch of bamboo to your underwater oasis, stick around to find out if it’s the right choice for your aquatic pals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is an attractive and easy-to-care-for choice for aquariums.
  • Lucky bamboo and true bamboo are distinct, with varying requirements for aquatic environments.
  • Successful growth of lucky bamboo in your aquarium hinges on water parameters, lighting, and substrate.
  • Lucky bamboo can be partially or fully submerged in water, and it doesn’t necessarily need to grow above the waterline.
  • Contrary to some myths, lucky bamboo is safe for your fish and can even enhance water quality when well-maintained.

What is Lucky Bamboo?

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of whether you can add bamboo to your aquarium, let’s start with a little introduction to lucky bamboo. Lucky bamboo, scientifically known as Dracaena sanderiana, is a popular ornamental plant known for its striking appearance and cultural significance. While it’s often associated with luck and prosperity in Asian cultures, it has also found its way into the hearts of aquarium and indoor gardening enthusiasts.

Lucky bamboo typically boasts long, slender stalks adorned with lush, green leaves clustered at the top. These stalks can be straight or twisted, creating visually appealing shapes that can instantly elevate your aquarium’s aesthetics. However, despite its name, lucky bamboo isn’t a bamboo species. It belongs to the Dracaena family and hails from West Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. Its adaptability and aesthetic appeal make it a favorite choice for both aquariums and home decor.

Lucky Bamboo vs True Bamboo

Before you make any decisions about introducing bamboo into your aquarium, it’s crucial to understand the key differences between lucky bamboo and true bamboo. While both fall under the broad category of plants, they have significant distinctions that can impact their suitability for aquatic environments.

Lucky Bamboo:

  • Scientific Name: Dracaena sanderiana
  • Not a true bamboo species
  • Native to West Africa and Southeast Asia
  • Thrives in water with minimal care
  • Usually sold with roots submerged in water
  • Can be partially or fully submerged in aquariums
  • Flourishes in low to medium light conditions
  • Suitable for both aquariums and indoor planters

True Bamboo:

  • Belongs to the Bambusoideae subfamily
  • Encompasses various bamboo species (e.g., Bambusa, Phyllostachys)
  • Native to diverse regions worldwide
  • Generally not ideal for continuous submersion in water
  • Requires well-draining soil and periodic dry spells
  • Thrives in outdoor settings with ample sunlight
  • Typically not recommended for aquariums due to soil-waterlogging issues

Now that we’ve cleared up the distinction between lucky bamboo and true bamboo, let’s focus on whether lucky bamboo is a good fit for your aquarium.

Can Lucky Bamboo Go In A Fish Tank?

The burning question for aquarium enthusiasts like you and me is whether lucky bamboo can coexist harmoniously with our fishy friends. The great news is that, under the right conditions, lucky bamboo can thrive in an aquarium without causing any harm to your aquatic pals. Here’s why:

  1. Water Adaptability: Lucky bamboo has a natural affinity for aquatic environments. It tends to grow near water bodies in its native habitats, making it well-suited to thriving with its roots submerged. This adaptability is a key factor in ensuring that the plant can coexist with fish in your tank.
  2. Oxygen Production: Like other plants, lucky bamboo goes through photosynthesis, transforming carbon dioxide into oxygen. This means that it can contribute to boosting oxygen levels in your aquarium, benefiting your fish and other aquatic residents.
  3. Water Filtration: The roots of the plant can act as a natural filter, helping to eliminate excess nutrients and impurities from the water. This contributes to better water quality, which is essential for the overall health of your fish.
  4. Aesthetic Appeal: Beyond its practical advantages, lucky bamboo adds an element of elegance and serenity to your aquarium. The lush green leaves and graceful stalks create a visually pleasing underwater landscape that’s hard to resist.

To ensure that lucky bamboo and your fish live in harmony, it’s crucial to pay attention to specific care requirements. In the following sections, we’ll delve into the art of growing lucky bamboo in your aquarium or fishbowl, discussing water parameters, lighting, substrate, and more in detail.

Can Lucky Bamboo Thrive In Water?

One of the standout features of lucky bamboo is its adaptability to water. In its natural habitat, you’ll often find lucky bamboo growing along the edges of rivers and streams, with its roots happily submerged. This unique trait makes it a great candidate for aquariums and fish tanks, provided you meet its specific care needs.

To ensure that your lucky bamboo thrives in water, here are the crucial factors to consider:

Water Parameters

1. Temperature: Lucky bamboo prefers water temperatures in the range of 65°F to 90°F (18°C to 32°C). Fortunately, these temperature ranges are well-suited for most aquarium fish, making it convenient to maintain a harmonious environment.

2. pH Level: Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH level, ideally between 6.0 and 7.0. This pH range is compatible with many freshwater fish species, ensuring everyone’s comfort.

3. Water Hardness: Lucky bamboo can tolerate a range of water hardness levels, but it generally thrives in moderately soft to moderately hard water. This adaptability is a plus for your aquarium’s ecosystem.

Water Depth

Lucky bamboo gives you some flexibility when it comes to how much of it you want submerged in water. It doesn’t necessarily need to grow above the waterline like some other aquatic plants. You get to choose the level of submersion that best suits your aquarium’s aesthetics and design.


Unlike true aquatic plants that demand specific substrates, lucky bamboo doesn’t need any substrate in the traditional sense. You can place it directly in your aquarium, either anchoring it to the bottom with decorative rocks or setting it in a container filled with small pebbles or gravel to keep it stable.


Lucky bamboo is pretty adaptable when it comes to lighting, but it thrives best in low to medium light conditions. It’s a good idea to avoid placing it under intense, direct sunlight, as this can lead to unwanted algae growth on the plant’s leaves. If you want precise control over brightness and light duration, consider using aquarium LED lights with adjustable settings.


While lucky bamboo can absorb nutrients from the water, you might consider using a liquid aquarium fertilizer formulated specifically for aquatic plants. However, a word of caution: avoid over-fertilizing, as an excess of nutrients can harm both the plant and your fish.


Maintaining good water circulation and aeration is crucial for keeping oxygen levels up and preventing stagnation in your aquarium. Lucky bamboo’s submerged roots can benefit from gentle water movement, ensuring that they receive sufficient oxygen.

Carbon Dioxide

Lucky bamboo doesn’t have particularly high requirements for carbon dioxide (CO2), and it typically obtains what it needs from the air. Consequently, you usually don’t need to add CO2 to your aquarium for the sake of the plant. However, if you have a densely planted tank with other high-demanding plants, CO2 supplementation may be necessary.

With all these care considerations in mind, your lucky bamboo should be well on its way to flourishing in your aquarium. But what about potential health problems and how to tackle them? Let’s move on to that.

Lucky Bamboo Health Problems

Just like your fishy companions, lucky bamboo can experience health issues from time to time. Being attentive to the signs and symptoms can help you address these problems promptly and ensure your bamboo thrives in your aquarium. So, let’s dive into some common issues and how to treat them:

Signs and Symptoms

  1. Yellowing Leaves: Yellowing leaves are often a sign of overexposure to direct sunlight or excessive fertilizer. Move your lucky bamboo to a spot with less intense light and reduce fertilization if you notice this issue.
  2. Brown or Black Stems: Stem discoloration could be due to poor water quality or waterlogged roots. Check your water parameters, and if necessary, perform a water change to improve water quality. Ensure that the roots aren’t sitting in stagnant water.
  3. Algae Growth: Algae growth on the plant’s leaves can occur when it’s exposed to excessive light. Adjust the lighting conditions and clean the leaves gently to remove the algae.
  4. Wilting Leaves: Wilting leaves may indicate that the plant isn’t getting enough water or that the water is too cold. Ensure that the water level remains consistent, and if you suspect cold water is the issue, consider a heater for your aquarium.

Treating Health Problems for Your Bamboo

To treat these health problems, you can take the following steps:

  • Adjust lighting: Move the bamboo to an area with appropriate lighting levels.
  • Improve water quality: Check and maintain proper water parameters.
  • Clean the plant: Gently wipe the leaves to remove algae or dust.
  • Ensure adequate hydration: Keep the water level consistent.
  • Monitor temperature: Ensure that the water temperature falls within the recommended range.

By keeping an eye out for these signs and taking action promptly, you can keep your lucky bamboo healthy and thriving in your aquarium.


Can Lucky Bamboo Live In Water Forever? Yes, lucky bamboo can thrive in water indefinitely, provided you maintain suitable conditions and care for it properly.

How Fast Will My Lucky Bamboo Grow? Lucky bamboo growth rates can vary, but you can expect it to grow approximately an inch (2.5 cm) in height per month under optimal conditions.

How To Place a Lucky Bamboo Plant In An Aquarium? You can either partially or fully submerge lucky bamboo in your aquarium, depending on your preference. It doesn’t necessarily need to grow above the waterline.

Do Lucky Bamboo Need to Grow Above the Waterline? No, lucky bamboo doesn’t need to grow above the waterline. It can thrive when fully submerged or partially submerged.

Do Lucky Bamboo Excrete Toxic Stuff? No, lucky bamboo does not excrete toxic substances. It’s safe for your fish and aquatic environment.

Is a Lucky Bamboo Plant Safe to Put in an Aquarium?

Lucky bamboo plants are widely used for their aesthetic appeal and symbolism of good fortune. However, it is important to note that they are not suitable for placement in an aquarium. Adding artificial plants for aquariums instead can provide a safe and visually appealing environment for your aquatic pets.


So, there you have it! Lucky bamboo can indeed make a beautiful and beneficial addition to your aquarium. Not only does it bring a touch of elegance to your aquatic haven, but it also helps improve water quality and oxygen levels. Just remember to provide it with the right care, including attention to water parameters, lighting, and any signs of health issues.

By following the guidelines in this comprehensive guide, you can confidently add lucky bamboo to your aquarium and create a thriving underwater paradise for both your fish and your plants. Happy aquarium-keeping!

If you have any more questions or concerns, feel free to dive into our FAQs or reach out for further advice. After all, a well-informed aquarist is a successful aquarist!

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