How long can aquarium plants stay in a bag?

A planted tank may be among the most satisfying endeavors in the hobby but it does come with a lot of questions, one being how long aquarium plants will stay alive in a bag? This is a critical question to consider when plants are transported over a long distances. A lot of factors can come into play and we are going to explore all of them in this post.

How long can aquarium plants stay in a bag

How Long Can Aquarium Plants Survive In A Bag?

The general rule of thumb is that most plants can live between three to four days inside a bag. Even the most delicate plants can survive for a day inside a bag when properly packed.

How To Keep Aquarium Plants Alive Inside A Bag?

There are a few things that you can do to maximize the chances of survival of an aquarium plant inside a bag

  • Use wet towels to prevent the drying out of these plants. Gently wrap the leafy portion of the plants but make sure not to smush them. This is especially helpful when the plants will be in transit for a long time.
  • Keep the bagged plants inside a sturdy box or a container during the transit and make sure that there are no leaks.
  • If they have to be kept inside the bag for more than two days then ensure that plants are occasionally exposed to some sunlight.

How To Handle Aquarium Plants That Have Been In A Bag?

Plants do not need to be acclimatized to the same degree as fishes before being introduced to your aquarium. Gently rinse them with chemical-free water. Freely float them inside the aquarium and after a couple of hours, you can begin to plant them. If you intend to store them further, just place them to a temporary holding tank with enough water to keep them submerged and with adequate lighting. 

As you can see, it isn’t all that difficult to ensure that aquarium plants stay alive inside a bag. As long as you keep an eye out for all the factors mentioned here, you should be able to transport even the most delicate aquarium plant with minimum hassles.

Why Aquarium Plants Are Transported In Bags?

Terrestrial or land-based plants can survive far longer using just the moisture present in the air. However, for the most aquarium plants, the moisture in the air (even in the most humid of places) isn’t enough and they will dry out in a matter of hours. These bags, on the other hand, can be filled with enough water to keep plants moist for the entire duration of the journey.

Another reason is that these bags are practical. They can keep the plants relatively safe without taking up too much space and without adding any unnecessary weight. This makes them easier to pack and ship using regular shipping methods. That’s why it is now possible to get live plants even from some of the most exotic locations on earth.

Factors Affecting Aquarium Plant Lifespan In A Bag

Just like everything else in the aquarium hobby, live plants are nuanced and have many facets to them. During shipping they can be affected by a plethora of factors and these include:

Time Duration

This is perhaps the biggest and most obvious factor that will decide how long the aquarium plants will live inside the bag. Depending on the source of plants, they may have to stay in the bag for anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days. The shorter the time duration, the better their chances are of making it alive to your aquarium.
So, always buy your plants from the closest fish store you can go to without compromising on quality. Also, get your plants bagged at the very end of your shopping trip. If you are using a courier service to get your plants, make sure to select the quickest shipping method possible. Also, make sure that the plants do not end up sitting in some remote location for hours on end. Even if it costs more, do not gamble with the shipping service you use.


This is another factor that can slowly but surely affect the plants. Avoid direct sunlight because this can lead to a rapid rise in temperature inside the bag. Any undesirable elevation in temperature can quickly kill the plants. If you are transporting them in a car, make sure to keep them somewhere where they cannot be exposed to direct sunlight.
For shipping, ensure that the plants are shipped in a styrofoam box or something similar but if your are shipping it by air you, in addition to styrofoam box, you will also need some form of a chemical warming pack. The idea is to keep the conditions as stable as possible around the bags.

Amount Of Water In the Bag

 If it is a short trip then just enough water to keep the plants moist is sufficient. However, if they are to stay in the bag for more than 12 hours then there should be enough water to keep the plants completely submerged. Also, ask the shop or person you are buying the plants from to double bag everything to avoid leakages and breakages during transit. Aquatic plants can dry up at an alarming rate therefore the quality of the bag used is vital.

Type And Health Of The Plants

 Not all aquarium plants are same. Some are more resilient during transit than others. If a plant is hardy in the aquarium, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be similarly resilient during shipping. Generally, plants with tough and strong leaves and stems tend to do better in shipping than those that are delicate. Such plants should be bagged extra carefully.
If you can choose your own plants then select ones without any drooping and/or rotting leaves. If you can’t choose your own plants then make sure that you are buying from a reputable source that guarantees that only the healthiest plants are sent to you.

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