Why Aquarium Plant Roots Growing Everywhere [3 Reasons]

Whenever your home plants grow roots from stems and leaves, you can use them as decorations. But the aquarium plant roots growing everywhere can be a headache. They are difficult to maintain and can hamper the growth of other plants. 

We can say that there are 3 reasons why your aquarium plants grow roots from leaves and stems. If the plant is an aerial root plant then it will definitely grow roots from here and there. It’s in their nature. And then comes the deficiency of sunlight and the horizontal placement of plants.  

An aquarium is a congested place. Which makes it difficult for plants to survive by nature. In such a place if the plants are growing roots from everywhere then it can cause problems for both animals and plants in the tank. Thus the solution to the problem is also necessary.

3 Reasons for Aquarium Plants Grow Roots From Everywhere And What You Can Do

Aquarium Plant Roots Grow From Here and There

1. Plant With Aerial Roots

Whenever you see a plant growing roots from its stem or other parts the first thing to do is to take a look at what type of plant it is. There are lots of aquatic plants that have aerial roots. 

The plants with aerial roots grow their roots at the stem. The stems come out from different parts of the plants like a banyan tree. Some of these plants can grow roots from their leaves too.

Growing roots above the ground, in this case, above the substrate is a survival technique for the plant. They try to absorb several nutrients from the water and the air. It is also a moisture absorption technique for these plants.

Some aerial root plants reproduce through their roots. They expand their roots and grow new plants from those roots. You can use these roots to do re-plantation. 


To avoid the sudden appearance of roots from other stems, get proper knowledge about the plant. Get to know if the plant has aerial roots or not. This way you can decide whether to have them or not in your aquarium.

Sometimes these aerial root plants are a great way to purify the water. They can also play an important role in balancing the nitrate in the tank.

2. Insufficient Light

Even if the plant doesn’t have aerial roots it can grow these roots. One of the major reasons behind this is insufficient light. Every plant, especially the plants for aquariums, needs to have proper lights. Otherwise, they cannot perform photosynthesis. Thus gradually the plant lacks nutrients. 

It doesn’t matter which fertilizer or root tab you are using, the plant will be deficient in nutrients and CO2. Which means the plant will die gradually. 

As a self-defense mechanism plants start to grow roots from other parts. They use their roots as a medium of locomotion and try to reach sunlight. They also try to reach other plants beside them to share nutrients. 


If your aquarium has plants that need heavy sunlight to survive then it is very important to arrange sunlight for the plant. 

In case your place doesn’t have much access to sunlight, then use an artificial medium of light. There are several LED lights available in the market which are specially designed for aquariums. (Our Pick: NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light)

Otherwise, you can also choose plants that can survive in low light and are also good for your aquarium. They won’t create the root hazard and make your place look good. 

3. Horizontal Placement

If you’re planning to place an aquarium in your place then it is very important to learn about techniques and how to place the plants. Sometimes people get ignorant and don’t place the plant vertically. 

Some people place their plants horizontally with a wish to get an aesthetic look or for some other reason. But these horizontal placements lead the plant to grow roots from stems. 

Even the plants in the aquarium will try to reach the substrate, rooks or the walls to get stabilized. And for this, they use their roots. They try to hold the nearest body to get a placement. 

Thus when you place plants horizontally they grow roots from stems. This is another survival technique. 


The solution to this is to place your plant vertically. So that the roots get a strong media to hold onto. You can provide substrate soil or stones in that medium. Also if you like the horizontal placements try to choose plants that are in herb genera. They will grow roots from stems but in an artistic manner.

Why Aquarium Plants Having Aerial Roots Problem

Having aerial roots in your aquarium is not a severe problem. It doesn’t do any serious harm. Still, if you are concerned, then here are some problems that you may face.

Net Like Structure

The roots above the substrate can form a net-like structure. In this net, aquatic animals can get trapped. It will create unwanted resistance in their movement. 

Hard To Clean

Regular cleaning is an important part of maintaining an aquarium. But excess web roots can make it hard.

Forming Parasite

Aerial roots can be a good hideout for parasitic plants and animals. They will form imbalances in nutrient distribution.

Disoriented Look

If the aerial roots are not planted intentionally then they will disrupt the wanted look of the aquarium. This can end up ruining your plan for the aquarium.

How To Take Care Of Stem Roots

Cutting unwanted roots

There are several ways you can take care of the unwanted roots from stems. Here are some basic tips.

  • Cut off the unwanted roots with clumps, without hurting the main root.
  • Transplant the whole plant into a different aquarium with other aerial root plants.
  • Put the aquarium in a bright place with sufficient light and air.
  • Try to keep those plants in the back wall of the aquarium where they can grow and don’t create any resistance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Trim The Roots Of Aquarium Plants?

Whenever and without issues, holdfast roots and leaves can be managed or cut with scissors, in event that the plant gets excessively thick or on the other hand assuming grimy leaves ruin the look. The rhizome will grow new shoots over the long run. Try not to eliminate sound leaves and roots from recently established rhizome plants, give them an opportunity to settle.

Do Stem Plants Grow Roots?

Ensure the cutting incorporates no less than one development hub (a knock on the stem from which leaves or blossoms sprout) that can be covered in the developing medium. Roots will grow from this hub, as well as from the cut finish of the stem.

What Is Root Cutting?

Root cuttings are those bits of roots that structure new shoots. These are many times made in winter or late winter before plants start developing. Roots ought to be the thickness of a thick wire. Slice into one to two-inch lengths put on a damp establishing medium, cover, and keep soggy yet not wet.

Can A Plant Regrow From Just Roots?

Take cuttings from root development in pre-spring or late-winter, before the plant breaks lethargy. Roots have elevated degrees of carbs before they start their spring development, and the cuttings are bound to find success. But you will have to make sure the plant you are taking the cut from is healthy and it will not affect the mother plant.

Final Words

It is not always necessary that aquarium plant roots growing everywhere is a problem. They work great as a water purifier and balancing nitrate. You can also use these outgrown roots to do replantation. Plants with aerial roots are also great survivors. They can easily adapt to changes in water or other elements.

But sometimes they can create problems too. Therefore, if you are planning to plant any sort of these plants then make sure you are ready to take care of them.

Howard Parker

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