Can You Grow Spider Plant in Aquarium?

Disclosure: I may earn a commission when you purchase through my affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. – read more

The spider plant is easily among the most adaptable and easy-to-grow plants. These plants grow in a wide range of conditions and can adapt quite well to different environments.

The name comes from the way the leaves protrude from the plant, resembling spiders on a web. While a spider plant can grow in an aquarium, such a close environment isn’t really the best habitat for them.

The spider plant’s roots need lots of space to grow and do not do well in wet soil. Nevertheless, if the soil is moist and well-aerated, the plant will thrive and add a lot of value to your aquatic setting.

The spider plant is adaptable to different lighting conditions and light intensities. However, I do not recommend the spider plant as an aquatic plant in some cases for two main reasons:

  1. The roots will get pressure-cooked over time, and the plant will die within a few days right before your eyes.
  2. Planting them on damp soil can work for a few weeks. Once it gets surrounded by water, the problems may begin to surface.

Some determined aquarists try to make it work by providing the plant with an unstable support structure underwater to allow the roots to grow more freely. This prevents putting direct pressure on the root system and helps the plant grow naturally.

Another method involves burying the plant into a separate box containing soil as it involves minimal light fluctuations and provides enough oxygen for the plant’s roots to thrive.

Is Spider Plant Toxic to Fish?

While these plants are not poisonous, their roots emit carbon dioxide and rely on the water oxygen to maintain their vital processes. Unlike leaves, roots absorb oxygen to thrive, which can impact your fish in some cases.

With the spider plant consuming the oxygen in the aquarium, your fish will have much less oxygen to breathe. This is a problem specifically for fish species that require well-oxygenated environments.

Other species, like bettas, can do just fine with lower levels of oxygen. These fish possess a labyrinth organ and are used to live in under-oxygenated environments. They will go to the water’s surface regularly to breathe atmospheric air, so the plant’s presence won’t bother them too much.

That being said, you should always provide your fish with optimal oxygenation, especially when their habitat houses spider plants, among other oxygen-sucking living things. Excessively low oxygen levels will eventually stress your fish, leading to suffocation and even death.

Use an air pump or air stones to prevent these problems.

How to Grow Spider Plant in Aquarium?

Spider plants grow well when propagated through water and can grow in aquariums, fish tanks, bowls, and other aquaponics systems. However, you must meet specific environmental, climatic, space, water-related, and fertilizer requirements to help the plant thrive.

If you plan to grow a spider plant in your aquarium, cut off a two-inch piece from the stem and place it in your tank’s substrate close to one of the tank sides. Cover the bottom of the stem with gravel or sand and leave only the tip visible.

Make sure you place your plant stem in a place that receives plenty of light. You should also make sure that the soil is moist and change it once every few weeks to prevent root rot due to high levels of salt in the water. Make sure the spider plant foliage remains above the surface to avoid rotting.

Benefits of Growing Spider Plant in Fish Tank

There are several benefits to placing a spider plant in your aquarium. For starters, the plant can improve your tank’s esthetic impact and overall look. The bright green-colored leaves will contrast beautifully against the various colorful fish living in the tank.

It is one of the easiest-to-maintain aquarium plants as it does not require strict water or lighting conditions.

Your aquarium lighting system is enough for photosynthesis, allowing the plant to develop healthily and thrive over time. These plants are also useful for providing your fish with a variety of hiding areas, which are necessary in community setups where bullying and aggression can sometimes occur.

Can Spider Plant Grow Under Water?

It is easy to propagate spider plants in water. However, once the roots establish, the new plant will require the best conditions to thrive and develop. You must feed the plant every month and change the water every week, or it can suffer from salt buildup.

Spider plants can also present limp stems, hindering proper growth.

An ideal way to grow a spider plant in an aquarium is to transplant the plant into a growing soil medium. Leaving rooted spider plants in water may not only limit their growth, but the roots may also give off carbon dioxide, which can reduce the oxygen levels available for your fish.

Aquarists determined to keep their spider plant suspended in water may do so using a pair of chopsticks or skewers to prevent the foliage from dangling in the liquid. It is pivotal not to let any part of the plant touch the water except the root system.

Besides, the spider plant’s roots can be sensitive and may not tolerate overly acidic or mineralized water conditions. If you see any yellowing, you must remove the plant, clean its roots, and place it in good planting soil.


Growing a spider plant in your aquarium can be a lot of work. It is certainly not a project for amateurs or beginner aquarists. If you can commit to spending several hours a week caring for the plant, go ahead and cut a piece of a mature spider plant and propagate it in your aquarium.

However, if you are not keen on growing spider plants but wish to explore the best aquatic plants for your aquarium, there are numerous other easier and more viable options available.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *