Lucky Bamboo in Aquarium: Everything You Need To Know

Have you ever seen bamboo stalks and wondered if your aquarium would be able to support those half-submerged plants? Also, is it doable? Can this plant aid the tank in any way?

Compared to the complex requirements of other plants, growing lucky bamboo in aquarium setups may provide an excellent introduction to most aquatic plants and is a good place to start for the adventurous aquarist.

If you’ve ever thought of adding lucky bamboo to your fish tanks, read on because, in spite of popular belief to the contrary, they are safe for tanks containing fish and invertebrates.  I’ve gathered all the advice, tactics, and advantages of keeping this plant in your aquarium.

What is Lucky Bamboo?

A typical houseplant that you frequently see growing in little water-filled containers is lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana). It’s also a well-liked aquarium plant that may give your tank’s design a distinctive Asian flair. Lucky bamboo, however, is not at all Asian.

Lucky bamboo is an African plant that originates in Cameroon, despite its Eastern influences. It differs from conventional bamboo in some ways. The tall, erect grass that most people are accustomed to does not at all grow in water. A special kind of bamboo called “Lucky” is designed to resist seasonal flooding and dry periods.

What is Lucky Bamboo

Regarding the effectiveness and safety of lucky bamboo in aquariums, there is a lot of misunderstanding. However, maintaining the health and prosperity of this lovely plant is really not that difficult.

Is it OK to put Lucky Bamboo in a Fish Tank?

Your fish tank can definitely work well with lucky bamboo! For many types of fish, including betta fish, the lucky bamboo may make a wonderful, low-input tank companion if the parameters required by your fish and the bamboo line up.

In reality, adding aquarium plants like lucky bamboo can actually help more accurately recreate the natural habitat that much tropical fish are native to, especially for species like betta fish.

Is Lucky Bamboo Water Resistant?

Lucky bamboo, in contrast to real bamboo, may grow in aquarium water. Although these plants are not real underwater plants in and of themselves, they are a terrific addition to many tropical aquariums and require little maintenance.

How Do I Grow Lucky Bamboo in a Fishbowl or Aquarium?

There are two ways to raise fortunate bamboo, as was already explained. You can immerse it whole or partially.

Lucky Bamboo in a Fishbowl or Aquarium

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There is no Right or Wrong Approach

You have a bit more leeway with partial submersion. The idea is to keep the higher growth and leaves out of the water. Pick a mature specimen with plenty of lengths to do this. The tank should then be filled to a height of about an inch below the lowest leaf set and buried approximately four inches into the substrate

You might need to be a little more careful about producing a favorable growth environment if you wish to completely submerge the plant. Underwater, the stem and leaves will survive just fine. However, you need to make sure the plant is receiving all the nutrients it requires.

Lucky bamboo enjoys high oxygen and moderates to high carbon dioxide levels while immersed. Air bladders or more aggressive churning from your filter can solve the oxygen problem. You can use CO2 canisters or liquid dosing for carbon dioxide.

Pruning and Trimming

It’s totally up to you how much pruning your lucky bamboo gets. This plant is simple to care for because it does not spread horizontally. The only difficulty you could encounter is vertical expansion.

You may only need to prune the plant once or twice a year due to its sluggish growth pace. Cut slightly above one of the highlighted nodes to eliminate undesired growth. The rings that separate the various bamboo components are known as nodes.

Tank Buddies

Lucky bamboo’s wide range of fish and invertebrate compatibility is its finest feature. This plant is resilient!

Lucky bamboo has a very minimal danger of being harmed when nibbled on, as opposed to pure aquatic plants. The majority of your fish won’t be able to even make a dent if they try to nibble on the stalks! Only burrowing fish, which are known to uproot plants, are a problem. Even so, you may prevent the issue by deeply burying the bamboo’s base.

For the majority of fish and invertebrates, a lucky bamboo is a wise option. It’s not only durable enough to put up with any wild behavior, but its wide range of growth characteristics gives you a tonne of freedom when selecting tank mates.

Some Typical Good Bamboo Tank Companions are Worthy of Trying Out

  • Goldfish\cichlids
  • Barbs (we recommend Cherry Barbs)
  • Discus
  • Iggy Fish
  • Many Different Tetra Types
  • Angelfish
  • Aquatic Catfish
  • Gopher Fish
  • Toby Fish
  • many snails
  • nearly all freshwater shrimp
  • Crabs in freshwater aquariums
  • crayfish

The Advantages of Keeping It in Your Tank

Lucky bamboo is one of the most distinctive plants you can have from an aesthetic aspect. It is robust, tall, and thick. This indicates that, in contrast to other underwater plants, this one won’t sway with the flow of the water. It stays there while laying out a wonderful maze of pathways for your fish to explore.

Lucky bamboo can really enhance the conditions in the aquarium as a whole. This plant doesn’t decay inside or contaminate the tank, unlike what the general public thinks. It has the exact opposite effect!

Lucky bamboo collects nitrates from the water and utilizes them as fuel as it develops! As a consequence, the fish in your aquarium remain cleaner and healthier. Additionally, the plant will contribute to raising oxygen levels and give more timid fish a physical haven.

1. Appearance

In reality, lucky bamboo is a kind of grass. It grows in tall stocks with observable nodules, giving it a remarkable resemblance to conventional bamboo. This specific cultivar’s key distinction is that it has fleshy stalks with waxy crowns. This characteristic increases the plant’s tolerance for moist surroundings.

The plant’s sides develop a large number of leaves. The leaves have the same hue as the stalks, which range in tone from deep green to almost yellow.

The plant’s foundation is often straight and solid. You could see little roots emerging from the ground. The plant’s top growth can take a variety of shapes.

2. Size & Rate of Growth

They typically arrive as short stems that are barely a few inches tall when you initially purchase this plant. The fortunate bamboo plant can, nevertheless, reach heights of up to four feet!

Size & Rate of Growth

Where it grows and the amount of room it has will both have an impact on how tall it eventually gets. The growth rate is the same.

Lucky bamboo generally grows slowly, but you may change the atmosphere to speed up or slow down its pace of development. The shoots will grow to incredible heights with enough sunshine and nutrients! However, normal tank conditions tend to slow down and regulate its development rate.

3. Care for Lucky Bamboo

Despite widespread misconceptions, caring for lucky bamboo is not too difficult. It originates from severe areas in Africa where the weather is continuously changing. If it can survive there, it can thrive in a well-regulated aquarium!

Care for Lucky Bamboo

Naturally, the plant is in its perfect environment. Since lucky bamboo is a rather unusual plant, it is more crucial than ever to take care of its requirements.

4. Parameters for water

The curious thing about lucky bamboo is that it’s not really an aquatic plant. However, it may thrive in both partial and total submersion. It is crucial to understand the appropriate water conditions as a result.

Fortunately, this plant fits most tank configurations nicely. Actually, because it is so adaptable, most aquarists pay more attention to the preferences of their fish than to the needs of the plant. You should be alright as long as you follow these guidelines.

Water hardness ranges from 0 to 8 dGH and the pH ranges from 6.0 to 6.5. (Soft water)tank size.

For constant water conditions, a tank with a minimum five-gallon capacity is needed. A modest group of shoots could fit in a five-gallon tank.

Go bigger, though, to truly enjoy the beauty of lucky bamboo. Larger aquariums will give you the option of fully submerging the plant or letting it float above the water.

5. Lighting

Lucky bamboo thrives in environments with low to moderate illumination. It can grow more swiftly with a bit more exposure. However, going too far might have negative consequences. The leaves will get severely discolored and scorched if there is too much light.


The majority of plants profit from the standard day and night illumination cycle. It’s possible for lucky bamboo to grow close to a window with direct sunshine. Use a timer to make sure that artificial lighting is only on for 10 to 12 hours each day if you wish to use it.

6. Substrate

Lucky bamboo may be planted either with or without a substrate. Your tank’s residents will determine which option is ideal for you. Technically, this plant may continue to develop without any substrate at all. Two to three inches of water will do.

Aquarium With Substrate

However, if you want to keep the plant alongside fish and other invertebrates, that’s a whole other matter. Substratum materials will keep the roots safe and secure in aquariums packed with life.

Coarse gravel or loose pebble base is suitable. Nutrient-rich aquatic soils can be used, although they are prone to compacting around the roots and causing dead growth zones. Proper water movement around the roots is encouraged by a loose substrate.

7. Propagation

Your fortunate bamboo will continue to sprout new branches as it grows older. They can grow to nearly half the girth of the main stalk and occur at numerous nodes. Those ramifications create excellent plants to propagate.

Make sure your plant is healthy before you cut them off. Give the sprouting time to grow many leaf joints as well. At least one joint must be present in every propagation, while more joints are desired.

Trim any leaves to reveal the growing joint at the node when the shoot is ready. The shoot should then be neatly cut off using sharp scissors. Avoid sawing it off or leaving any sharp edges behind. Rough cuts just make it more difficult for the parent plant and its progeny to recover.


Immerse the propagation in water to create a new plant. Root them in the same tank as the parent plant, if at all feasible. Since the offspring is used to the circumstances, transplant shock is not a concern.

Similar to how you did with the parent plant, secure the cutting in the substrate. It should eventually grow its own root system. Make occasional checks to make sure the base isn’t decaying.

Lucky Bamboo Myths in Aquariums

There are numerous misconceptions about keeping these plants in aquariums, and the internet is full of false information regarding the risks of utilizing bamboo among fish and other aquatic creatures. Let’s look at some of the common misconceptions regarding Lucky Bamboo.

Lucky Bamboo Discharges Toxins into the Water of Your Aquarium

No, Lucky Bamboo does not introduce pollutants into the water in your tank. However, the myth is only partially accurate because adding real bamboo to an aquarium may result in hazardous ammonia surges that can kill your fish:

  • True bamboo plants cannot grow if their roots are submerged.
  • Underwater, the plant suffocates as its roots decay.
  • The ammonia surges caused by this breakdown will kill your fish since they will overwhelm your filter and pollute the water.

Lucky Bamboo Isn’t Fertile

I have no clue where this misconception came from, but you may easily fertilize your Lucky Bamboo using a liquid fertilizer that is suitable for aquariums or feed your plants with pills buried in the substrate. Since these plants don’t consume a lot of food, it is typically unnecessary to provide fertilizer, but your bamboo will use it if you do.

Bamboo Leaves Must Become Taller Than the Waterline

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

Lucky Bamboo Can Be Grown in Your Aquarium Filter

In your HOB filter, lucky bamboo may be grown. Some people insert the Lucky Bamboo roots in the filter compartment and fill the box with bio balls or gravel in place of replacement filter media. When the cover is removed, the plant protrudes from the HOB’s top and towers over your aquarium and light fixture.

Since the roots can’t absorb aquatic pollutants as effectively as filter media, I personally don’t like this method. Additionally, I dislike keeping my filter exposed since it lets too much dust and hair into the water. However, it is accurate to say that some individuals do grow lucky bamboo in their aquarium filters.

True Bamboo vs Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo varies greatly from true bamboo (family Bambusoideae), which is a completely distinct plant. The root system of the true bamboo or real bamboo plant will start to decompose if it is completely immersed. The fortunate bamboo, on the other hand, can not only withstand but also grows well under these circumstances.

In addition, there are variances in how plants develop during the course of their existence. Real bamboo has a rough, woody appearance, may reach heights of up to 70 feet, and needs soil to flourish.

Lucky bamboo, on the other hand, has a more flesh-like look, grows from a few feet to a few inches tall, and can spend its whole existence as half submerged plants or entirely underwater.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long can Lucky Bamboo be Immersed For?

Lucky bamboo grows nicely in water for one to three years. You may not notice any additional growth after that unless you transfer it into the soil. It all depends, though. One water-planted bamboo plant that I’ve been nurturing for over 5 years is still going strong.

What is the Growth Rate of my Lucky Bamboo?

Lucky bamboo, unlike actual bamboo plants, does not grow swiftly. The amount of light received by the plant each day will impact how rapidly it grows. In moderate, indirect light, it frequently grows as quickly as other houseplants. It grows more slowly when kept under poor lighting conditions.

Will my Lucky Bamboo Produce Oxygen in the Air?

Lucky Bamboo’s photosynthetic system, like that of all plants, results in the release of oxygen. Because the bulk of the oxygen is emitted by the leaves, even if your plant is entirely underwater, it will still produce oxygen that your fish and invertebrates may ingest.

The Bottom Line on Lucky Bamboo in Aquarium

In this piece, we’ve looked at some of the essential elements for starting a bamboo tank. Lucky bamboo may be a great first plant to attempt in a tropical design but bear in mind that it has special requirements for water parameters, temperature, and lighting if you do decide to grow it in your aquarium.

Your fish will appreciate the extra oxygen they could help your aquarium produce in addition to the aesthetic appeal they provide.

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