Aquarium Plant Weights: Everything You Need To Know

5 min read

Aquariums are very relaxing to sit and observe.

Many people think of aquarium fish right away but plants are an important part of making an aquarium beautiful to look at.

One of the most important things when setting up plants in your aquarium is the use of metal, ceramic, or rock plant weights to keep the plants from floating all over the place.

If you don’t use plant weights, your aquarium plants will more than likely end up in a jumbled mess!

The types of plant weights are:

  • Metal
  • Ceramic
  • Rock
  • Suction Cups
  • Potted Plants
  • DIY Weights

Let’s dive in and explore the specifics so you can decide which aquarium plant weights are best for you.

Metal Aquarium Plant Weights

These are the most common type of plant weights available for your aquarium and also the easiest to use.

They are more commonly known as lead plant weights but most modern aquarium keepers use plant weights that are lead-free.

Are Lead Plant Weights Safe For Fish?

This is a common argument among aquarium keepers today albeit a gentle argument. Lead plant weights have been used in aquariums for years and there is no hard evidence to prove that lead plant weights are toxic to fish. Some say the lead can leak into the aquarium water, but if you do your weekly water changes, the lead will be removed anyways. We recommend choosing lead-free aquarium weights to err on the side of caution. Besides, lead-free plant weights are readily available with the advancements in home aquarium products.

The most common type of metal plant weights come in metal strips about 2 inches long.

They are very flexible. You usually just wrap them around the bottom of an aquarium plant or bunch some plants together and wrap the weight toward the bottom.

Wrap the weight right above the roots or about an inch from the bottom if you are wrapping stems to give the roots room to grow.

After you wrap the plant/plants simply ease them into your aquarium and let them sink on their own, you don’t have to bury them.

These are by far the most common and easiest plant weights to use.

Another type of metal weight, not specifically designed for an aquarium can be any type of metal piece that you can tie your plants to either with fishing line, thread, or string.

You can bury this metal anchor in your substrate or let it sit on top of the substrate.

Ceramic Aquarium Plant Anchors

Ceramic plant weights are simply rings of ceramic.

These work fine with plants that have stems at the end to run through the ring but are not practical for plants with roots.

For plants with stem ends, you simply run the stem end or ends of the plant/plants through the ring.

You can glue the plant to the ring with clear super glue or a made-for-aquarium glue.

Another way is to buy a synthetic sponge, cut a sponge strip, wrap it around the stem end, and wedge it into the ring for traction, so the plant doesn’t slip out.

You can also tie or glue your plants to ceramic aquarium decorations.

Rock or Stone Aquarium Plant Weights

There are a ton of pieces of decorative stones made for the aquarium.

You can simply tie your plant to the side of one of these stones or glue it to the side.

This gives you a wide variety of decorations you can use.

We do recommend using aquarium-safe stones/rocks from your local pet store or designated as so if you buy online.

If you grab something from outside, there is no telling what might leach into your aquarium water.

These can also be stone decorations that you can use to weigh your plants down.

Suction Cups For Aquarium Plant Weights

Okay, these aren’t exactly weights, but I’m sure you already have a good idea of how these will hold your plants.

Make sure you get aquarium suction cups so you don’t have to worry about any chemicals getting in your water. They are very cheap anyway, so you don’t have to worry about the cost.

Most of the aquarium suction cups online come with zip ties so you can use them to anchor plants or decorations.

For plants, you may want to use a fishing line to attach your plants to the suction cup for looks so people don’t notice the zip ties. You can always use aquarium-safe glue as well.

You can suction the plants to the sides of your aquarium or you can even suction the plant to the bottom of your aquarium and then bury the suction cup with your substrate.

Suction cups work well with floating plants to suction them to one side of your aquarium to keep them from floating into your filtration system.

Potted Aquarium Plants

Some aquarium plants come in little pots.

Some beginning fish keepers will just plop the whole potted plant into the aquarium and leave it. Some aquarists even say this is okay.

You can definitely do this and then the pot acts as the weight.

We recommend that you remove the potted plant because its roots are wrapped in rock wool and you don’t want this stuff getting loose in your aquarium because it can get in your filter or in the gills of your fish.

Just squeeze the plant to loosen it from the pot and remove as much of the rock wool as you can with your fingers. Rinse it under tap water and use a toothbrush to get as much as possible out.

After all of the rock wool is removed, treat it like a normal plant and use some of the weights described above.

If you like the look of pots, you can place your plant into another aquarium-safe pot. Just put a layer of pea gravel, a layer of soil, and then a layer of gravel at the top.

DIY Weights

These can be anything from rocks or driftwood people find to actually making their own homemade ring weights.

I’ve seen people online buy polymers at the hardware store and shape them into the same shape of rings as the ceramic rings that are aquarium safe.

We don’t recommend any of this. The ceramic ring weights are cheap enough that it will be hard to beat the cost if you manufacture your own weights.

We also don’t recommend anything you find outside because it would be too hard to clean it and ensure no chemicals leach into your water.

In our opinion, the only DIY weights should just be aquarium-made products like decorations, driftwood suction cups, etc that you tie or glue your plants to.


If you do use a fishing line or string to tie your plants to anything, make sure you tie it tight and monitor it. Some fish that try to get into everything can seriously injure themselves if they get inside one of your fishline loops.


You will find many ways online to make DIY aquarium plant weights or to use household items to anchor your plants.

Just be careful and use only items that are already aquarium safe. You still need to rinse anything you use in water before you use it and place it in your aquarium.

Written by:

Pet Aquariums

Have you any questions?