QUICK NOTES: Difficulty:Easy Type: Aquatic fern Size:Rarely taller than 3cm, leaves usually smaller than 0.5cm Native Range:South and Southeast Asia Position and Usage:Carpet to Foreground Growth Rate:Slow to moderate Lighting:1/5 – 4/5 Water Conditions:5-25°C, 5 – 8 pH (very adaptable and tolerant of higher temperatures) CO2:Not required but can speed up growth Propagation:Sprawls via runners, clumps can be separated, occasionally produces sporing releasing bodies that will sometimes open in the aquarium. Special requirements:Very few. Iron rich substrate is appreciated but not required.
Paludarium Use:Suitable for paludariums, vivariums and Wabi Kusa. Can be grown emersed, partially emersed or in a humid terrarium.
Curiosities:Eaten as a food in certain culinary traditions in Thailand. Commonly found in rice paddies where it is shaded by taller plants.
Marsilea crenata, also known as dwarf four leaf waterclover, is an aquatic fern native to Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent where it is frequently found in rice paddies.M. crenatais by far the least demanding aquarium carpeting plant in terms of light and CO2 and acclimates to a wide range of water parameters including temperature, pH and hardness (dH). It is a great alternative to classic carpeting plants likeGlosso, Hemianthus and Micranthemumspecies which require more light and CO2. Marsileawill live and grow in an aquarium with low lighting and no CO2 injection.
Marsileais a short plant which sprawls along the substrate via a rhizome anchored with roots. The rhizome produces many, dense stalks bearing a single leaf producing a dense, tall carpet. When emersed or floating, the leaves resemble a four leaf clover (hence the nickname), submerged in the aquarium the leaves become a small teardrop shape and the plant resembles a taller, thickerGlossostigma elatinoidesin coloration and form. It can also be used alongside shorter carpeting plants such asHemianthusandMicranthemumto create a layered look in the foreground.
Normally, M. crenata, like most ferns is grows slowly or moderately in the aquarium - good lighting, nutrients and optional CO2 addition (or Excel) can speed up its growth dramatically. It tolerates a variety of conditions and can thrive in a wide temperature range.Marsileais rich in carotenoids which, depending on the growth conditions can produce brown to reddish leaves which are perfectly healthy and will turn green again in time.
Size: Max. height of 1cm in high light conditions and up to 5cm in lower light conditions
Position and Usage: Foreground
Growth rate: Medium to very fast
Lighting: 3/5 – 5/5
WaterConditions: Slightly acidic to neutral pH; recommended temperature of 25°C (tolerates 18 - 30°C). Prefers soft water but tolerates all but very hard water
Propagation: Spreads quickly and naturally via runners; cuttings can be re-planted.
Special Requirements: Bright light and CO2 recommended for short, carpeting growth but can also be grown in medium lighting without CO2.
Hemianthus callitrichoides (HC Cuba) is one of the most magnificent aquarium plants. With millimeter size leaves, dense growth and a vibrant green color, it breathes life into any aquascape. With bright light and carbon dioxide, it grows as a short, dense, creeping carpet. It is extremely flexible and can be used to great effect in the smallest nano aquariums to the largest display tanks. It is especially stunning with shrimp and small, brightly colored fish.
Though it really shines in ‘high tech’ setups where it grows into a vast, pearling lawn of green. HC can also be grown as a normal, albiet tiny stem plant in low tech tanks, bowls and nano-aquariums. Due to its diminutive scale, it can make small aquascapes appear huge and huge aquascapes appear colossal.
To accommodate its small dense roots, we recommend a fine substrate. Plant in small clumps just a few centimeters apart. When acclimated,H. callitrichoideswill grow quickly, and these small clumps will grow into each other, spreading over surprisingly large areas and carpeting the exposed substrate of your tank. Occasional trimming is recommended to tame vertical growth and may be used to intentionally shape the terrain and even creating terrace-like effects.
While nutrient supplementation is not required, a fertile substrate will encourage healthy growth. The accumulation of detritus could choke this plant, so we the occasional gentle vaccuming during water changes.
Difficulty:Moderate to demanding Type:Rosette Size:6 x 6cm typically; may grow up to 10 x 10cm Native Range:China Position and Usage:Foreground to midground Growth Rate:Slow - Moderate Lighting: 3/5 – 5/5 Water conditions:Prefers softer water and temperatures of 20 - 28°C CO2:Required Propagation:Vegetative, new plants bud off mother plant and large well established mother plants can be split in 2 or 4 new plantlets. Special requirements:Magnesium enrichment, root tabs, CO2 necessary if tank is deep, can be used without CO2 if the plant is ~6 inches or less from the surface.
Although these plants are aquatic members of the pipewort family,Eriocauloncan be grown semi-immersed and are perfect for vivarium habitats. When submersed, they make an incredibly unique addition to the foreground of a tank. However, they are very demanding root feeders and tend to form surprisingly extensive root systems in fertile, soft, or fine sand-like planting media. They can be helped along by planting in nutrient-rich substrates or by planting a slow-release nutrient root tab beneath the plant. They need high lighting to establish and root properly, without which newly planted specimens may simply “melt away” while established specimens may cease to grow and atrophy at their core. Such decay can be reversed if consistent, high lighting is restored. No other plants should be allowed to grow over yourEriocaulonlest they block or filter light.Eriocaulonleaves are delicate and, without clean water and circulation, may become clogged by debris and algal growth. Magnesium enrichment will delay leaf die-off, although outer leaves will naturally yellow and die as they are replaced by new growth at the central core. This plant can be replicated by dividing the mother plant in half using a sharp razor blade to produce two daughter plants. However, as these plants are extremely delicate, this procedure is not without risk.Eriocauloncan also reproduce by producing flowering buds on stalks. We recommend clipping buds if they emerge, as the mother plant usually dies after reproduction.
Size:10 – 30cm+ in height, 10 – 20cm in rosette width
Native Range:Southeast Asia (Sri Lanka)
Position and Usage:Any placement may be appropriate, although midground is common
Lighting:1/5 – 3/5
Water Conditions:pH of 6 – 8, temperature of 75° to 82°F
Special requirements:High nitrate levels and stable water conditions
Cryptocoryne Wendtii, also known asWendt’s Cryptocoryne, is a slow-growing, undemanding species well-suited to smaller aquariums. As a dense, low-growing plant,C. wendtiiis well-suited to midground placement and can be used to conceal the unsightly lower regions of your taller, stem-type plants. However, if positioned in groups,C. wendtiiwill grow tall and narrow. As such, solitary specimens may be most attractive. With regular pruning and nitrate-heavy fertilization, this plant will thrive. It may experience leaf die-off when first introduced to an aquarium but will acclimate well over time. Leaf size, shape, and colour will depend greatly on your tank’s light intensity, making it a pleasantly versatile variety. To propagate, remove a small portion of the root with some attached stem and plant in the substrate. You can also pull apart a mature plant and plant the resulting specimens across the aquarium. This species is hardy and its propagation simple, making it an excellent choice for experienced and beginner aquarists alike.
Position and Usage:Midground to background placement
Lighting:2/5 - 5/5
Water Conditions:22 - 28° C; pH of 6.5 to 7.5
Propagation:Rhizome division; runners
Special Requirements:Iron-rich substrate
Known also as the ‘Spiral Water Trumpet’, Cryptocoryne spiralis is a ‘primitive’ Cryptocoryne variant native to India. It is distinguished by a septum (a wall or partition) that closes the kettle (the lower, cylindrical part to the spathe), a feature not seen in any other Cryptocoryne variant. True to its name, C. spiralis has slender foliage that may grow in loose, vertical spirals. The yellow-green leaves will thicken when specimens are planted in isolation and narrow when specimens are planted in groups. Regular pruning and/or thinning will keep this plant at its finest.
While C. spiralis is a hardy species less prone to rot than most, tank conditions should be kept stable as this plant’s sensitivity to rot may be increased when shocked. Cryptocoryne species should not be moved once planted as they can take up to or over a month to recover. When healthy, C. spiralis will propagate through runners. The rhizomes can be divided and replanted if further propagation is desired. CO2 supplementation and high intensity lighting are not required but will encourage vigorous growth.
Propagation: Runners; splitting; cutting off daughter plants
Cryptocoryne lutea ‘hobbit’ is a dwarf variety of the standard Cryptocoryne lutea species. This miniature Cryptocoryne, creates a colorful foreground accent or focal point in bonsai and nano aquascapes and visual interest in larger tanks. It can be planted into the substrate or attached to ornamental rocks or driftwood. The luxuriously deep purple-brown foliage will contrast beautifully against the green foliage of other common foreground plants.
Although slow-growing in comparison to its larger relatives, C. lutea ‘hobbit’ is relatively undemanding, though moderate to high lighting and CO2 supplementation will keep it at its healthiest and most vibrant. Like other Cryptocoryne species, C. lutea ‘hobbit’ should not be subject to sudden changes in tank conditions and needs a stable environment to thrive.
QUICK NOTES: Difficulty:Easy, suitable for beginners Size:Floating plants will grow 10 - 20cm in width; rooted plants may grow larger Native Range:Southern Continents (Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, parts of the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Northeast India, and Northern Australia) Position and Usage:Midground to background placement with the potential to float at the water’s surface Growth Rate:Medium to fast Lighting:3/5 - 5/5 Water Conditions:Optimal water temperatures of 22 - 28°C; hard water preferred CO2:Discouraged Propagation:Floating plantlets can be re-planted in the substrate or left to grow independently Special Requirements:Use extra care when handling this plant’s delicate stems
Notes and curiosities: Thought by some to be a variant of Ceratopteris thalictroides while other scholars have categorized this plant as a completely separate species due to its reproductive structures
Ceratopteris Cornuta, otherwise known as the "lobed water sprite", is an adaptable plant that will adjust to the space it is given. It is a distinct and somewhat uncommon species that is related to the common water sprite (C. thalictroides). It is extremely easy to care for and makes a great first aquarium plant for the beginner. Floating specimens can grow to 20 x 20 cm across, while rooted plants may grow larger, potentially to your tank’s surface. We discourage C02 injection as this species requires trimming and can overwhelm an aquascape. Floating plantlets should be monitored as they may clog filtration systems and circulation pumps. Grounded specimens require manual rooting in a deep, dense substrate. Rooted plants develop a different, finer leaf shape and and will grow slower than their floating counterparts. Warm water temperatures will encourage fast growth, but this hardy plant is suitable for cold-water aquariums and can be kept with goldfish. Rooted specimens plants require more light than floating plants.
This is a hardy, easily cultivated species that is absolutely beautiful and and will quickly turn bare aquariums or patches into lush green forests, providing not only eye-candy but ideal shelter and comfort for animals such as shrimp or more timid fish. When happy, it reproduces abundantly via little plantlets which appear between the lobed leaves of the mother plant. Water Sprite an ideal plant for removing excess nitrate as well as ammonia and nitrite from the water and is an excellent oxygenator.
Floating specimens are recommended for breeding fish or shrimp as the roots provide hiding spots from larger tank mates and also naturally host micro-organisms that fry and shrimp thrive on.
Special Requirements: May benefit from nitrate supplementation (5 mg/L); and phosphate supplementation (0.25 - 0.5 mg/L)
Notes and curiousities: Used as a medicinal plant in the Ayurvedic medical tradition for cognitive enhancement
Common Names: Money Wort, Indian Pennywort
Bacopa monnieri is an undemanding, relatively fast-growing plant native to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. It is an especially popular aquatic variety and is known by several names including although not limited to ‘moneywort’, ‘water hyssop’, and ‘Brahmi’. It has both medicinal and ornamental properties.
Emersed plants will creep along the substrate while submersed plants will grow in vertical bunches. Stems are fleshy and sport green, oval leaves. With regular maintenance, you may cultivate B. monnieri into a shrub-like shape. Lateral shoots and pseudo-runners at the base of the plant can be trimmed and resultant cuttings used to propagate.
This plant will thrive when grown in relatively clean, clear, nutrient-rich water. CO2 supplementation, regular iron and micronutrient supplementation and bright lighting will promote robust growth. In insufficient lighting, lower portions of the plant may rot.