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I have a number of live plants in my aquarium. One of them - an oxygen weed - frequently works its way loose from the gravel in which I've planted it. I find myself often having to retrieve bits of the weed from all over the aquarium, gather the stems together, and then replant the weed in the gravel.

Are there any tips for securing such a plant?

  • I am assuming you are talking about live plants, not the plastic kind? – Ash Mar 5 '14 at 2:16
  • @AshleyNunn: yes, these are live plants. I've edited the question to clarify. – Nicholas Mar 5 '14 at 3:14
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There are numerous ways. Best way I know of is use very fine sand. Plant substrate which I assume isn't fine, and then pour some very fine sand on top. This should keep your weed down until it roots itself.

However it is also possible that you have trumpet snail infestation. Check if you do, and if it is the case then I suggest you make your substrate deeper. Trumpet snails and worms like to dig up earth, and having deep substrate allows for more digging space and leaves plants in peace.

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There's various ways. A lot depends on the type of plant and whether or not they put down roots or want to float free.

  • Pack some heavier rocks around the plant's base. You probably already tried this, but it works for most rootable plants.

  • Tie the plant to something, like a large rock or driftwood. Use some string to tie the base of the plant to something that sinks until roots take hold, or the plant attaches itself to the rock.

  • Wrap the plant around driftwood. For some plants which are meant to float and not put down roots, you can string the entire plant under an extruding piece of driftwood, so the wood holds the center down and the rest floats free.

  • Keep them in their pots. If the plant came with a small plastic pot, plant the whole thing in the substrate. Or buy a small clay pot to use. The main problem with this is you end up with a plastic pot permanently in your tank. But it will keep them in place.

  • Use plant anchors. I've never used them, but available for purchase are soft, bendable lead strips that you wrap around the plant to hold them down.

  • Nylon Mesh. For mosses and small carpeting plants, you can cover them with a mesh that will hold them down and give them something to attach to.

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The best way I've found at planting plants that don't root is with Cyanoacrylate gel - super glue gel. This is safe for fish and cures in water. I superglue java fern and anubias to driftwood, rocks, everything.

Tying plants to items is dangerous if you have fish that like to cram into small spaces, or look for food in the substrate. They can get caught in the string and will die if not freed, or may injure themselves trying to break free.

Other things you can do for non-rooting plants is:

  • Put plant weights on them, like iron bands, wrap around the rhizome and they will sink.
  • Jam them into crevices where they will eventually root to the item (driftwood, rocks, decor)
  • Pack them into the substrate and place a heavy object on top of the substrate
  • Get some sewing board, attach the plants to it, and bury it in the substrate
  • Plant them into a terracotta pot that sinks

You should also make sure you keep them planted in a location that is not hit by a lot of current, either at the base or eventually at the top when the plant grows upward. This can cause the plant to dislodge.

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why don't you tie the plant to a small but considerably heavy stone ? it will keep the plant grounded

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Use small nylon zip ties. You can tie any plant to something in the tank. I tied my fresh plants to plastic ones and voila! no issues with keeping them in place.

  • Do you have any references to make this a better answer? – Kate Paulk Sep 26 '16 at 11:57
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If you mean Hornwort ( ceratophylm ?) , it won't stay down long. It grows so fast under good conditions that it will soon be near the surface, and it never grows roots. (Java Fern is about the only other plant that will never grow roots). Most others can be weighted and pushed into sand . I use a small band of lead , heavy soft and ductile . I got the idea many decades ago when anarchis bunches came with lead bands ( I know, it is not politically correct today , but it worked so well for so long I still do it.) . In the right situation I use aluminum wire and rubber bands; I see rubber bands used often to hold coral frags.

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