Archive for the ‘Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants’ Category

Anubias barteri

July 6th, 2014

Common name: Growing Plastic Plant, Anubias Barteri, Anubias

Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Anubiadeae

Synonymous: Anubias barteri var. angustifolia
Anubias lanceolata
Anubias nana

Anubias barteri

Anubias barteri

Distribution and habitat: Anubias barteri is a flowering plant that hails from the west of Africa. In the wild, it can be found growing in streams, rivers and marshes. It is often found growing on large stones or logs (rarely in the substrate) immersed, semi immersed or (rarely) totally submersed.

Description: Anubias barteri is a flowering plant that has lush green arrow shaped foliage. This rosette plant may reach up to 40cm (16 inch) in width and has thick, creeping rhizomes. The leaves are thick, dark green and quite tough, with a leather-like appearance. Diagonal lines run from the center vein to the outer edge of the oval or arrow shaped leaves, depending of plant size and variety. The underside of the leaf is a lighter green than the top and the veins are clearly visible. Almost indestructible, individual leaves can last for years.

The Anubias barteri is an amphibious plant that will survive either totally or partially submersed underwater. In its emerged form, its leaves tend to be larger and its growth faster. Occasionally this plant will flower, either when fully submerged or when partially above the water line when is used in a paludarium. The flower is in the form of a creamy white spadix, similar to a cala lily. The flowers will last a long time, often several months. In sumerged condition, its flowers will also produce seeds. Seems that blooming occurs more often in submerged setups.

Care: Anubias barteri is a hardy plant that has lush green arrow shaped foliage. It is highly tolerant to a variety of growing conditions, including poor conditions, making it easy and ideal for beginners.
In order to keep these plants small, simply trim back the leaves near the rhizome with a sharp pair of scissors. Under correct water conditions, the Anubias barteri propagates by side shoots on the rhizome, causing rhizome division.
The rhizome stores food for the plant, which is one of the reasons this plant is so easy to care for. Even if it should lose all its leaves, the rhizome will slowly begin to sprout new leaves. Prune dead or damaged leaves back to the rhizome to keep the plant healthy. To encourage the growth of new leaves, make small cuts in the skin of the rhizome. New shoots will emerge from the cuts.
They are very slow-growing however, taking several years to reach their full size. Contrary to what was thought for years, this plant does respond to the use of CO2 and additional lighting, growing at a faster rate than without.

Water: Anubias barteri will grow successfully in soft and acid water conditions. The ideal water conditions for best results in gowing Anubias barteri are an alkalinity of 3 to 7dKH and a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, but it is extremely tolerant when it comes to pH and can adapt to a pH-value from 5.5 to 9.0. Water flow over the leaves is an encouragement for best growth.
Because of its robustness and its very good adaptation to a wide range of water conditions, Anubias Barteri can be kept in most tanks. Due to their bold leaf shapes and forms, Anubias barteri work best as single specimen plants in the tank. They look stunning planted next to an interesting piece of driftwood, especially if lit with a spotlight.

Anubias barteri plants make a welcome addition to any outdoor planted pond because the leaves are not very tasty to plant-eating fish and they tolerate almost any pH as long as water temperature is above 20°C (68°F). They typically grow in running water, but Anubias barteri plants can also grow in standing water. They grow well in freshwater ponds with plenty of shade at ideal water depth of 30cm (12 inch).

Substrate: Anubias barteri plant attaches itself to rocks, driftwood, substrate and may even float. It can also be found rooted in gravel and other substrates. When planting Anubias barteri in aquarium, special care should be taken of the rhizome and the roots. The rhizome should not be buried beneath the substrate, as it will rot and die off. In small grains the roots might not be able to get a good hold and the sand tends to compact, while larger gravel has a tendency to collect pockets of rotting detritus. The ideal size is 2-3mm gravel or 1-2mm coarse sand. The bottom 1/3 of the gravel can be supplemented with a fertilizer, of which popular choices are peat (softens water), laterite (a clay containing iron, usually used with undergravel heating systems) and soil.

A good technique to attach Anubias barteri to pieces of wood or rocks is to tie down its roots against the chosen substrate. Use cotton thread or light fishing line when attaching Anubias barteri plants to rocks or bogwood and tie it loosely to avoid damaging the plant. The plant will creep horizontally in a single direction, growing quite slowly. After a while its roots will anchor themselves to the substrate and the fishing line could be removed.

Anubias barteri will grow faster if the leaves are above the surface of the pond, although they can be submerged. There are few ways to use Anubias barteri in planted outdoor ponds:
- Anubias barteri plant prefers a rich substrate, but can also tolerate plain gravel. If there is substrate or gravel on the bottom of the pond, the roots will grow into it. Keep the rhizome above any substrate or gravel. The rhizome needs to be in the light for the plant to grow properly and may rot if buried.  This technique is best suitable for tropical areas where these plants can be planted permanently.
- If the bottom of the pond is bare, tie the plant to a rock or piece of driftwood to anchor it in place until the root system develops. The roots will grow around the rock or driftwood. Once this happens, remove the string.Otherwise, it may simply be stuck between rocks.
Anubias barteri may also be able to grow by floating freely in the water.

Light: Anubias barteri plant prefers moderate lighting, approximately 2 to 3 watts per 4liters (1 gallon) of water provided by a fluorescent fixture with daylight bulbs. The light should be consistently on 10-14 hours a day. If placed under high lighting conditions the leaves will grow faster, but will be more compact and susceptible to algae growth, particularly beard algae. The algae does not hurt the plant, but it does affect its appearance. However, care must be taken when using high lighting conditions, as the additional light can promote algae growth on the leaves, which is hard to combat. In these situations, keeping algae eating fish will help in dealing with algae growth. Another way to keep them away from algae and control algae growth on their leaves is to introduce them in the tank after you introduced fast growing plants. Fast growing plants will regulate and control algae outbreaks before introducing slower growing plants.
Under high lighting conditions, this plant seems to create more leaves but smaller in size. In the aquarium Anubias barteri should be placed in shaded areas to reduce the risk of algae developing on the leaves.

Anubias barteri is best in the midground or background areas of the aquarium due to its robust size.

As the name of this species suggest, Anubias barteri plants like shady locations when grown in outdoor planted ponds.

Temperature: Anubias barteri can thrive in a wide range of temperatures from 22 to 27°C (72-82°F).

Before placing them in outdoor ponds, check the temperature of the pond water. Anubias barteri tolerate most water conditions, but need temperatures between its hardiness – 20 to 30°C (68-86°F). Lower temperatures can lead to yellowing leaves which finally will die back.
Place plants in buckets of pond water and set them in an indoor area under plant lights or near a window if temperatures drop to freezing.

Feeding: Fertilization is not necessary, nor is the use of CO2, however additional CO2 will promote faster growth.
Anubias barteri plants are low demanding when it comes to nutrients and the organic waster produced by the fish is usually enough. They will also do well with the carbon dioxide exhaled by the fish and do not need additional carbon dioxide. High levels of phosphate (1.5-2 mg/l) seem to induce flowering independently of the other parameters in the tank or the health status of the plant. High phosphate levels in combination with a good iron and micronutrient supply reduce problems with spot algae under strong light.
A glut of hair algae growing on the leaves of your Anubias barteri can indicate low Co2 levels within the tank.
Liquid Plant Food, CO2 Injection, Trace Elements, Substrate and Iron-Rich Fertilizer can be used in tanks with Anubias barteri plants.

Propagation: Propagation for Anubias barteri is very simple and straightforward. In many cases the plants themselves will create new growth tips from the rhizome resulting in a full dense cluster of leaves and one large plant. This new growth tips and be cut off or broken free from the original woody stem when several leaves have developed which can provide enough light catching ability to make food for the plant. Several techniques can be employed to speed up reproduction or used just to reduce the size of one large plant. To create new growth tips or to just trim a large plant break off a section of the rhizome that has several healthy leaves on it. The portion of plant that did not have the new growth tip will produce a growth tip, assuming that it has several leaves of its own to begin with. To create a fuller single specimen take a sharp knife or razor blade and nick a small cut into the rhizome of a healthy plant. This will encourage a new growth tip to form. In these ways will form multiple plants to share or a monster show piece plant.
It is also possible to cultivate Anubias from seeds. Only plants that grow out of the water will produce seeds.

Note: Anubias barteri is not a true submerged plant, therefore it is not a true aquarium plant, being most suitable plant for paludarium. Because the plant is not hurt if kept totally submerged, these plant is a popular plant in aquarium-scaping. Underwater its development is slower. Anubias barteri var. nana is one of the most widely spread aquarium plants in Europe, Asia and the US.

In nature Anubias species are found in wet, forested areas, generally along the banks of waterways. These shady locations gave rise to the name given to this genus, which has been named after the god of the afterlife, Anubis. Today, Anubias are cultivated across the world, for use in aquariums and paludariums.

Recommended varieties:
Anubias barteri var. angustifolia (Synonymous: Anubias lanceolata f. angustifolia) is a long-stemmed plant with dark green, long, narrow and pointed leaves. The leave blades are 5-9 times as long as wide and the petioles are 0.5-1 times as long as the blade. It can reach a height of 30cm (12 inch) and has long lasting leaves (usually they will last several years), but is a slow grower – only 6 to 10 new leaves per year. This plant suits big tanks because of its size. This plant is also known under the name Anubias barteri var. afzelii.

Anubias barteri var. caladiifolia (Heart-Shaped Anubias) is one of the bigger kinds of Anubias Barteri. Growing as big as 12 inches, its heart-shaped leaves can be as long as 23cm (9 inch) and 13cm (5 inch) wide. Because of its size, it is recommended to plant it in a large tank or pond. This plant can be of the best effect if planted in group in the middle to back side of the tank.

Anubias barteri var. coffeefolia has is a deeper green, with dark ribbing on the leaves with textured, ribbed-leaf appearance. Also, as new leaves form on this plant the stems appear red and sometimes the new leaves are more yellowish in color, darkening as they mature. It is a relatively short plant that grows to a height of 15cm (6 inch), but is known to grow very wide. Anubias barteri var. coffeefolia is most suited in the midground area where it can form hedges and spread along driftwood. Although these plants have been traded under the name Anubias barteri var. coffeefolia, this name has no taxonomic status, being just a variation of the Anubias barteri.

Anubias barteri var. glabra (Synonymous: Anubias lanceolata, Anubias minima) are large, narrow-leafed Anubias barteri with leaf-stem up to 35cm (14 inch) long. The leaves are spear-shaped, up to 21cm (8 inch) long, 9cm (3.5 inch) wide. This plant will reach 30 to 50cm (12-20 inch) in height in aquarium, therefore it is suitable for large tanks in back position. Also suitable for ponds in warm environments. The usual growth rate is 4-8 leaves per year.

Anubias barteri var. nana (Anubias Nana, Dwarf Anubias, Nana) is a dwarf variety, only 5 to 15cm (2-6 inch) tall. This variety is even slower grower than Anubias barteri, often only producing one leaf in a months’ time. The leaves can reach a length of 3cm (1 inch) and be 2cm (0.8 inch) wide. Anubias barteri var. nana has charming heart-shaped leaves and a creeping growth fashion. Because of its reduced size, it is best to be placed in a front position in the aquarium.

Anubias barteria var. nana ‘marbled’ is variegated, with most of the leaf white and some speckling of green. It is a variation of  Anubias barteri var. nana.

Anubias barteri var. nana ‘gold’ is again a color variation of the common Anubias barteri var. nana. Its leaves have a yellow green colour. This colour could be misconstrued as simply sick, but it is a true color variation.

Lifespan: Anubias barteri are very robust plants and live for numerous years.

Availability: Anubias barteri is the most commonly available species of this genus.

Uses and display: Anubias barteri are commonly used in aquariums, usually attached to rocks or bogwood. They live equally happily fully submerged or partially submerged. These plants are so attractive that they are often used as a centerpiece. They can be used as a mid-ground plant or foreground plant and are often attached to driftwood or rocks. They will not only add beauty, but also improve the water quality and add color to the aquarium.
It is an extremely hardy plant, which makes it popular for aquarium use, as well as in paludariums. Because of its tick and tough leaves, it makes an ideal plant for aquariums with species of fish that are known to nibble on or uproot plants. Small fish will find this plant makes great a hiding place.
And to do something different with them, they also work very well in terrariums. Paludariums are their best option to be grown in.

Aquarium summary:
Environment: freshwater, flowing water
Height in aquariums: 25-45cm (10-18 inch)
Width in aquariums: 30-40cm (12- 16 inch)
Growth rate: slow
Difficulty: easy
Placement: foreground, mid ground
Lighting needs: medium
Substrate: gravel, attached by driftwood or rock
Temperature: 22-28°C (72-82°F),
pH: 6.5 – 7.5
Water hardness: 3-7KH
Water depth: 30cm (12 inch)

Width outdoor: 25-45cm (10-18 inch)
Height outdoor: 30-40cm (12- 16 inch)
Hardiness zone: 9

Anubias barteri var. coffeefoliaAnubias barteri var. nanaAnubias barteri var. glabraAnubias barteri var. caladiifoliaAnubias barteria var. nana marbleAnubias barteri var. nana goldAnubias barteri nanaAnubias barteri - flowerAnubias barteri

Aquarium Plants, Bog Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nymphoides aquatica

January 27th, 2014

Common name: Banana Plant, Banana Lilly, the Big Floating Heart, the Brain Plant, Heart Water Lilly, Underwater Banana Plant

Family: Menyanthaceae

Synonymous: Limnanthemum aquaticum
Limnanthemum lacunosum
Limnanthemum trachyspermum
Menyanthes trachysperma
Nymphoides lacunosa
Villarsia aquatica

Nymphoides aquatica

Nymphoides aquatica

Distribution and habitat: Nymphoides aquatica species is most commonly found in Florida in calm, slow moving rivers and lakes. It is also found elsewhere in the Southern United States, including Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia. In State of Maryland this plant is listed as an endangered species due to the shrinking acreage of some native Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains wetlands in which the species grows naturally.

Description: Nymphoides aquatica is attractive and long-lasting decorative aquatic perennial plant which is treated as annual in unfavorable climates. It is a unique looking rosette plant that gets its name from its banana shaped tubers. These unusual tubers are actually where the Nymphoides aquatica plant stores the nutrients. The cluster of thick banana-shaped tubers are located close to the leaves near the surface of the water. The leaves are rounded and have a notch at the base. They resemble small water lily leaves. The leaves are green above and dull purple below in high light and light green to yellow both below and above in low light conditions. The lowermost leaves grow 15-45cm (6-18 inch) tall and frequently the plant will produce a floating lily leaf on a long petiole at the surface. It features showy small white five-petalled flowers that arise from below the leaf. It blooms late spring through early fall. The flowers are hermphrodites growing only on the surface of the water and the fruits sink after ripening.

Nymphoides aquatica is an amphibious plant and will grow either fully or partially submerged. It makes really nice floating pads with white snowflake flowers in each leaf. In the fall every leaf forms another “banana” bunch.

Care: Nymphoides aquatica is really easy to take care of and lives in most conditions, being tolerant of deep water and low light. This plant can be grown rooted or as a floating plant and can produce floating or submersed leaves. Low light or shaded conditions and colder weather will result in plants reaching maturity in submersion. 80% of Nymphoides aquatica plants will sink to the bottom and root themselves. Left to float to the surface, the banana-shaped tubers will turn into obvious lilies fast.
The floating Nymphoides aquatica‘s leaves typically mature, reaching full growth, in one to two weeks, dependent upon conditions and other environmental factors and flowers develop from just below the leaf structures. Given optimal conditions, this plant will commonly flower in the tank.
Although Nymphoides aquatica is a perennial plant, returning years after year when cultivated in water gardens, some recommend replacing plants every four to five years for optimal showing.

When needed, simply remove any dead leaves at the base of the plant, clip it close to the banana bunch. These plants grow pretty quickly and will continuously strive to send leaves to the surface, where they form lily pads. Unfortunately, when these pads form, it drops all its aquatic leaves, leaving you with a bare stem. Simply cut of any leaves that grow too adventurously and it will soon regrow it.

Water: The ideal water conditions for best results are a temperature of 20-27°C (68-81°F), an alkalinity of 3-6dKH and a pH of 6.0-7.2. Place this plant in tank where the water movement is not too strong.
At its largest size of just 15cm (6 inches) it fits perfectly in a small tank and also works as a great accent plant in large tanks.

In outdoor mini-ponds, it makes really nice floating pads with white snowflake flowers in each leaf. Make sure there is some amount of current too, as with any aquatic plant it will die with stagnant water.

Substrate: Fine sand to large river rock used for fish tanks all works. Nymphoides aquatica should have a third of the larger banana shaped roots buried in the gravel. The plant will also put out normal shaped roots. In a calm location, the Nymphoides aquatica plant can be left to sit on the bottom of the tank and the roots will plant themselves in to the substrate.

This plant is a great pond plant. Just burying one third to one half of their roots in a 10cm (4 inch) pot filled with clay soil or other substrate and place it in the pond. Within its hardiness zone, this plant can be planted directly in the pond or water garden’s soil. It can, of course, also be left as free floating plant as well.

Light: It requires minimal lighting, but does best in high to bright conditions. For optimal growth, the Nymphoides aquatica requires a moderate level of light at 5 watts per 10 litres (2 watts per gallon) with full spectrum (5000-7000K) bulbs.

Nymphoides aquatica plant will grow faster and have a light green coloration with moderate lighting and will grow slowly and retain a dark green coloration in low lighting conditions. In low light, banana plants throw up short stems with small pads on the ends. In high light, they grow stems up to your tank’s surface.
Those who are determined to grow Nymphoides aquatica plants in their fish tanks can stunt growth and avoid flowering by reducing light and preventing the plant from surfacing.

Outdoors, this perennial grows best with two or three hours of direct light or indirect or filtered light all day; morning light is best. As pond or bog plant the esthetic features will be the water lily like appearance of this plant. After floating leaves appear, it produces white flowers.

Temperature: Nymphoides aquatica plant prefers tropical temperatures and high light exposure, which makes its use in water gardens more challenging in some climates; however, indoor water gardens with proper environmental measures can support Nymphoides aquatica in most any region of the world.

When temperature stabilizes at 10°C (50°F) or higher it will grow leaves up to 10cm (4 inch) and will grow beautiful flowers. Take the plant indoors into a small tank when the temperature goes below 7°C (45°F) until next season.

Feeding: Nymphoides aquatica will greatly benefit from high quality aquarium liquid or substrate fertiliser. The fertiliser should have iron as an ingredient. Potash is a good ingredient for this plant as well but not required.
Plants grown in fertilised medium will produce a large amount of leaves and will stimulate the floating leaves to develop banana shaped tubers in late autumn which can be used to form new plants.

Propagation: Nymphoides aquatica propagates sexually by seeds that fall off the flowers on the surface after ripening. Asexually, most frequently, via vegetative splitting from separated leaves or cuttings.
Propagation in an aquarium is usually accomplished by clipping a mature leaf and re-planting when roots emerge or simply left to float. When the lily pads grow to the surface, simply cut the stalk off about 10cm (4 inch) long left of the leaf, leave it to hang in the water and after a few weeks at the end of the stalk young white roots will start to form. Once roots form, the new plant can be planted then in tank.
Another way is if the water is rich in iron and fertiliser, the side leaves will start to grow white roots straight under the leaves and then can simply cut the leaf off along with the roots and replant it. The new baby plants will stay low and will not shoot lily pads to the surface.

Although a perennial it is best replaced by new stock every 4 or 5 years.

Companion plants: Nymphoides aquatica species can be kept together with other cool water plants, e.g. Myriophyllum and Sagittaria; including floating types (Azolla, Salvinia) given sufficient light/shallow water. For more tropical systems, Nymphoides humboldtiana, Nymphoides indica are suggested.

Problems: Nymphoides aquatica plants can be severely damaged by snails.

Note: It is important, however, to avoid species of Nymphoides that are classified as noxious weeds and tend to escape cultivation.

Availability: Nymphoides aquatica are sold usually as individual rooted (unpotted) plants.

Uses: Nymphoides aquatica are common aquarium plants, often being grown as fillers or specimen plants because of their unusual shape. Nymphoides aquatica can be used as background or foreground plants in aquascape. Plant them singly for best results and for the most attractive look. They look wonderful when used as filler plants with other aquatics. Adding Nymphoides aquatica to a freshwater aquarium helps create a natural look for the tank. As it grows, this plant helps purify your water by absorbing nitrate nutrients.

Because of the Nymphoides aquatica unique ability to be cultivated as a floating or rooted, aquatic plants, they are a popular choice for water gardens: ponds and bogs. Here these plants can reach their maturity and display their water lily like floating hart shaped leaves and flowers. In favorable climates these plants will soon take over the water surface and will help keeping the water clear and provide shade for aquatic life. These plants are attractive to dragonflies in garden.

Aquarium summary:
Height in aquariums: 5-15cm (2-6 inch)
Width in aquariums: 5-10cm (2-4 inch)
Growth rate: medium
Difficulty: medium
Placement: rosette plants
Lighting needs: medium
Substrate: gravel
Temperature: 20-27°C (68-81°F)
pH: 6 – 7.2
Water hardness: 3-6KH

Width outdoor: 35cm (14 inch)
Height outdoor: 45cm (18 inch)
Hardiness zone: 6a-10b

Nymphoides aquatica in fish tankNymphoides aquatica Nymphoides aquatica - rooted leafNymphoides aquatica Nymphoides aquatica Nymphoides aquatica Nymphoides aquatica

Aquarium Plants, Bog Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aldrovanda vesiculosa

September 13th, 2013

Common name: Waterwheel Plant

Family: Droseraceae

Synonymous: Aldrovanda generalis
Aldrovanda verticillata
Drosera aldrovanda

Aldrovanda vesiculosa

Aldrovanda vesiculosa

Distribution and habitat: Aldrovanda vesiculosa captures small aquatic invertebrates using traps similar to those of the Dionaea muscipula (Venus Flytrap). The traps are arranged in whorls around a central, free-floating stem, giving rise to the common name, the Waterwheel Plant. This is one of the few plant species capable of rapid movement.

While the species displays a degree of morphological plasticity between populations, Aldrovanda vesiculosa possesses a very low genetic diversity across its entire range.

Aldrovanda vesiculosa is the most widely distributed carnivorous plant species, native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Aldrovanda vesiculosa is spread mainly through the movement of waterfowl – plants sticking to the feet of a bird are transported to the next aquatic destination on the bird’s route. As a result, most Aldrovanda vesiculosa populations are located along avian migratory routes. Throughout the last century the species has become increasingly rare, listed as extinct in an increasingly large number of countries.

Aldrovanda vesiculosa prefers clean, shallow, warm standing water with bright light, low nutrient levels and a slightly acidic pH (around 6). It can be found floating amongst Juncus species, reeds and even rice.

Decsription: Aldrovanda vesiculosa is a rootless aquatic plant; seedlings develop a short proto-root, however this fails to develop further and senescence. The plant consists of floating stems reaching a length of 6–40cm (2-16 inch). The 2–3mm (0.08-0.1 inch) trap leaves grow in whorls of 5-9 in close succession along the plant’s central stem. The actual traps are held by petioles which hold air sacks that aid in flotation. One end of the stem continually grows while the other end dies off. Growth is quite rapid (4–9mm (0.15-0.35 inch)/day in Japanese populations), so that in optimal conditions one or more new whorls are produced each day.

The actual traps consist of two lobes which fold together to form a snap-trap similar to that of the Dionaea muscipula (Venus fly trap), except that they are smaller and underwater. These traps, which are twisted so that the trap openings point outward, are lined on the inside by a fine coating of trigger hairs, snapping shut in response to contact with aquatic invertebrates and trapping them. The closing of this trap takes 10-20milliseconds, making it one of the fastest examples of plant movement in the kingdom. This trapping is only possible in warm conditions, when water temperature is about 20°C (68°F). Each trap is surrounded by between four and six 6–8mm (0.23-0.31 inch) long bristles which prevent triggering of traps by debris in the water.

The small, solitary white flowers of Aldrovanda vesiculosa are supported above the water level by short peduncles which arise from whorl axes. The flower only opens for a few hours, after which the structure is brought back beneath the water level for seed production. The seeds are cryptocotylar, meaning that the cotyledons remain hidden within the seed coat and serve as energy storage for the seedlings. Flowering is however rare in temperate regions and poorly successful in terms of fruit and seed development.

Care: To raise Aldrovanda vesiculosa it needs to set up a growing area for them. Outdoor growing generally works better than indoors growing, but they can be grown in a 38 litres (10 gallon) aquarium indoors successfully. Even smaller containers will work but at least 19litres (5 gallon) aquarium is needed and they perform better in bigger aquariums. The smaller the volume of your container, the more difficult it will be to create and maintain stable conditions. Periodic water changes and correct setting up of the container used to grow this aquatic carnivorous plant is essential. Is recommended to use a relatively shallow container with a large surface area. A water depth of 20-30cm (8-12 inch) is sufficient.

Water: Most water is fine to use from moderately hard to softer water. When hard water is used, it is a must to grow companion plants with Aldrovanda vesiculosa to help take the excess nutrients out of the water.
If CO2 is used, then something with a decent alkalinity (KH) is needed to keep the PH from going wild. When CO2 is added Aldrovanda vesiculosa will live happy in about anything as the CO2 is the key element for photosynthesis. Most carbon dioxide in water is produced by bacteria which are responsible for the decay of organic substances. Therefore, the more comfortable this bacterias are, the more valuable gas they will produce.
PH of 4 – 7.8 is tolerated. 6.8 – 7.4 is ideal.

Aldrovanda vesiculosa likes growing in ‘Brown Water’, named like this because the water is a brownish color  from tannins released in water by  the peat. This carnivorous like growing in water that has decomposing plant mater in it, in other words, peat. Fresh plant parts dying and decomposing is bad as this encourages fungus. Old plant parts partially decomposed decomposing is good and that is exactly what peat is. Generally a 1/4 cup of peat per 4 litres (1 gallon) of water is good enough. Boil the peat and let cool, stirring occasionally as it cools to help release the air. Once the peat is cool it will sink well if keep covered in water after boiling.
Also can be added some clay. Red, black or gray clay are all good. It gives the plants something to hang onto, it also helps the micro fauna and introduces some helpful bacteria.

However, water conditions should become suitable and stable before introducing Aldrovanda vesiculosa safely. Healthy water should be clear, straw coloured, contain a variety of small living microorganisms and be as free from algae as possible.

Light: If grown outside, place them in shaded ponds to keep water from over heating. When grown indoors, give them as much light possible.

Temperature: In its natural environment, -15 to 30°C (5- 86°F) is tolerated. The water temperature during the growing season must be at least 16°C (61°F) with 32°C (90°F) as a maximum, but ideal temperatures are 23-30°C (73-86°F). Prolonged water temperatures of 29-31°C (84-88°F) cause the Aldrovanda vesiculosa to flower. Prevent overheating by shading; in overheated water algae might become a serious problem. The water temperature should be cooler at night time then during the day, but this is naturally happening to some degree.

Winter dormancy is occurring as day length and temperature drops, the plant will slow its growth and develop winter buds or turions at the plant tips.  These will drop off, sink and over-winter in the bottom of the pool.  The top of the pool may be ice covered, but the bottom should be deep enough so that the water does not freeze solid.  The mature plants that are freezing will die, but in early spring as the water warms, the turions will begin growth and the new plants will float to the surface, often before other plants begin spring growth.  For indoor culture, the turions may be kept in a peat slurry in the refrigerator at 3-5°C (37-41°F).

Feeding: Aldrovanda vesiculosa is a carnivorous and like to eat! Make sure you supply them with a food source: Trumpet Snails are generally available at any pet shop that sells fish. They reproduce like mad and Aldrovanda can eat the young ones. These snails only eat dead plant parts, not live plant parts. Daphnia, copods, small fry, small tadpoles (tadpoles eat plants so do not add to many), mosquito larva and the like are all good. Be careful not to add something that will eat the Aldrovanda vesiculosa, as some snails that eat plants.

Never add fertilisers (nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium) to the water.

Propagation: Aldrovanda vesiculosa reproduces most often through vegetative reproduction. In favourable conditions, adult plants will produce an offshoot every 3–4cm (1-1.5 inch), resulting in new plants as the tips continue to grow and the old ends die off and separate. Due to the rapid growth rate of this species, countless new plants can be produced in a short period of time in this fashion.

In winter hardy Aldrovanda vesiculosa form so-called ‘turions’ as a frost survival strategy. At the onset of winter, the growth tip starts producing highly reduced non-carnivorous leaves on a severely shortened stem. This results in a tight bud of protective leaves which, being heavier and having released flotational gases, breaks off of the mother plant and sinks to the water bottom, where temperatures are stable and warmer. Here it can withstand temperatures as low as −15°C (5°F). In the wild, Aldrovanda turions have been observed to have a relatively low rate of successful sinking. Those nutritious turions that fail to sink are then grazed by waterfowl or are killed by the onset of frost. In spring when water temperatures rise above 12-15°C (54-59°F), turions reduce their density and float to the top of the water, where they germinate and resume growth. Non-dormant turion-like organs can also form in response to summer drought.

Problems: Good indicators of the plant’s health are the thickness of its apex (thick, onion-shaped-good; thin-bad), the length of the adult plant (more than lcm (0.4 inch)-good) and the number of branches (few-good; none-bad).

The big killer of Aldrovanda vesiculosa are Algae growth.
Treatment: Addition of chemicals (alum, copper sulphate) only solve the algae problem temporarily and are not appreciated by Aldrovanda vesiculosa. If you use CO2 it will help prevent algae growth.
It should not be much of a problem for indoor tanks once the tank has aged. You can add daphnia or snails to help keep it cleaned up as these are in the same time food for Aldrovanda vesiculosa. Change every other week 10% of water or as needed on indoor setups.
Outside setups can be a little harder to keep under control. Change the water as needed and keep the CO2 levels up if applicable.

Boron Deficiency will cause a steady decline in the plants until they die.
Treatment: Most plant stores sell a product to treat it with. This is a rare disease or macro vitamin deficiency.

Companion plants: Aldrovanda vesiculosa should be grown with other water and/or marsh plants as they helps to lower the nutrient levels in the water by direct uptake and by stimulation of the decomposition process. Companion include Utricularia inflata and other Utricularia species will consume extra nutrients from the water. It is important to include other submergent plants in pots such as Typha species (Cattail), Pontederia species (Pickerel Weed), Nymphaea species (Water Lilies) or Sagittaria species Arrowhead Plant. The leaf litter generated by these companion plants is essential to promote the growth of daphnia, protozoa and other aquatic “food.”  In addition these companion plants keep algae growth to a minimum during the warm growing summer months.

Notes: Aldrovanda vesiculosa is one of the strangest plants around. It is more widespread than any other carnivorous plant, being also a rare and endangered species. Do not  introduce these plants in bodies of water they do not already inhabit.

Use: Consider growing Aldrovanda vesiculosa outdoors. They can tolerate frost or a light freeze. They grow exceeding well in a bog pools in the yard. Also they can be grown in an aquarium indoors successfully.

Aldrovanda vesiculosaAldrovanda vesiculosaAldrovanda vesiculosa - flowerAldrovanda vesiculosa - snap-trapAldrovanda vesiculosa - turionAldrovanda vesiculosa - shootAldrovanda vesiculosa - branchingAldrovanda vesiculosa - seed germinationAldrovanda vesiculosa - Australian form

Aquarium Plants, Carnivorous Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants , , , ,

Taxiphyllum barbieri

July 24th, 2013

Common name: Java Moss, Christmas Moss, Dubious Bladder Moss, Mini Moss, Singapore Moss, Triangular Moss, Willow Moss

Family: Hypnaceae

Synonymous: Vesicularia dubyana

Taxiphyllum barbieri

Taxiphyllum barbieri

Distribution and habitat: Taxiphyllum barbieri is a moss native to Southeast Asia. In its moist tropical climates it grows on the ground, on tree trunks and rocks, often on banks of periodically flooded rivers. In the wild this species is often found growing in association with Microsorum pteropus.

Description: Taxiphyllum barbieri is the most common of the mosses used in aquariums. It is a delicate moss with small branched stems. Branching is irregular and covered with rows of tiny overlapping oval-shaped leaves 2mm long. The elongated bright green leaves of the submerged forms of Taxiphyllum barbieri are much smaller than those that grow on land. It has no true roots, instead absorbing nutrients primarily through its leaves and stems. It will grow free floating or will send out rhizoids to attach itself to rocks, decorations, driftwood, as well as gravel or sand. However, these rhizoids do not absorb nutrients as roots do. The only purpose they serve is to attach the plant to an object.

Care: This moss can be allowed to float, weighed down to a gravel substrate where it will eventually attach itself or affixed to wood or rock or wrapped around wood or rock to which it will become attached, growing on almost any surface. It does not require soil.

His growing rate is slow to moderate. It is quite easy to grow as it is a hardy plant, tolerating and growing in a wide range of water conditions after a period of acclimatisation. Regular trimming will help to keep it in shape. It has no special requirements.

In aquariums it should be planted where there is good water current because debris gets stuck on it easily giving a brown fuzzy appearance to this hardy moss. Also, Taxiphyllum barbieri grown on the bottom of the tank is prone to collecting debris, which can be unsightly and even damaging to the plant if large amounts build up. To clean the moss, remove it from the tank and rinse it well in water. Do not worry about being too rough with it, as Taxiphyllum barbieri is quite sturdy.

Light: This plant is undemanding as far as lighting is concerned, doing well in both high and low light. In high light, the plant will grow dense and lush while in low light, the plant will be darker and lankier.

Water: It accepts all kind of waters, even weakly brackish. Soft, acid water is the ideal.

Temperature: It grows best at 21 to 24°C (70-75°F), but can live in temperatures of up to 29 to 32°C (85-90°F).

However, too warmer water temperature tend to slow the growth of this moss.

Fetilization: While CO2 and fertilisation will enhance growth rates, this moss will prosper without them as well. To promote deep, healthy green color, iron fertilisation with a commercial liquid fertiliser is recommended.

Propagation: Java moss can be easily propagated via division. Pull clumps from the parent mass and attach them to their new location with nylon line or cotton thread or by placing small pebble on top of it. Within a few weeks the moss will attach itself to the object sending out rhizoids and grow out covering the thread. As it grows it will spread both horizontally and vertically in rows, often forming dense tufts of heavy growth. As it grows it should be trimmed to keep a good shape and promote further growth. Pieces that are trimmed can be used to start new plants.

Problems: The main problem with Taxiphyllum barbieri may be the algae growth. Once algae begins growing in the moss, it is almost impossible to remove and the entire plant has to be discarded. The best way to avoid algae growth is to avoid excessive light and keep the water clean.

Taxiphyllum barbieri can overwhelm filters or clog the fountain if it is not thinned out occasionally.

Uses: Taxiphyllum barbieri is commonly used in freshwater aquariums. It attaches to rocks, roots and driftwood. Also, it can be used in coldwater aquariums and is ideal for breeding tanks. Taxiphyllum barbieri is very useful for softening the harsh effect of tank furnishing, giving them an aged, timeless appearance. Even it can cover the filter entirely, converting it into an attractive feature in aquarium.

Due to its clinging nature Taxiphyllum barbieri can also be transformed into a moss wall. This can be accomplished by folding a net and spreading the moss evenly across it. Then, the net can be secured together by polyester strings, and held on the aquarium wall by using suction cups. It is a slow starter until it has established itself.

It makes a good mid or foreground plant. It is especially popular among aquarists raising fry (baby fish) and tadpoles, to protect them from cannibalistic adults.

Taxiphyllum barbieri is suitable for both aquariums and vivariums or paludariums. Can be used in pond or fountains.


Height: to 10cm (4 inches)
Width: to 10cm (4 inches)
Growth Rate: Slow to Medium
Placement: Mid and Foreground
Lighting Needs: Low to Bright
Temperature: 15 to 32°C (59-90°F)
Hardiness zones: 6a-11
pH: 5.5 to 8.0
Hardness: to 20 dGH

Aquarium Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Terrarium Plants, Water Plants , , , , , , , ,

Acorus gramineus

July 18th, 2013

Common name: Grassy-Leaved Sweet Flag, Dwarf sedge, Japanese rush, Japanese sweet flag

Family: Acoraceae

Acorus gramineus

Acorus gramineus

Distribution and habitat: Acorus gramineus is native to Japan in eastern Asia, where it usually occurs in wetlands and shallow water. It can grow fully or partially submerged or in very moist soil, but it will usually only flower when at least partially submerged.

Description:  Acorus gramineus narrow leaves, which grow in a dense clump or tuft rising from a slender rhizome that lies just below the surface of the potting mixture, are up to 45cm (18 inch) long. There is a green slower spathe, but is is barely noticeable since it is so fine that it looks almost like another leaf.

Houseplant care: Acorus gramineus grow more or less continuously, but its active growth will slow down under reduced light.

Light: Medium light or direct sunlight filtered through a translucent blind or curtain will suit Acorus gramineus.

Temperature: An indoor Acorus gramineus will grow well in normal warm room temperatures, but can also tolerate temperatures as low as 4ºC (39ºF). High humidity is essential; stand plants on trays of moist pebbles throughout  the year and mist-spray the leaves during the warm periods.

Water: Because they are marsh plants, Acorus gramineus needs more water than most other types of plants. These plants must never be allowed to dry out at the roots. Water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. The pot may even  be allowed to stand in shallow saucer of water.

Fertilising: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during spring and summer.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil-based potting mixture. In spring move small plant into pots or shallow pans one size larger if their tufts of leaves have completely filled the surface area of the mixture. 13cm (5 inch) pots or half-pots are likely to be the largest size needed.

Gardening: Acorus gramineus when grow outdoor is easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in both boggy conditions (including very shallow water) and consistently moist garden soils. Scorched leaf tips will occur if soils are allowed to dry out. Appreciates some relief from hot summer sun (e.g., afternoon shade or filtered sun) when grown in hot summer climates. Slowly naturalizes by spreading roots, but is not too aggressive.

Acorus gramineus can be planted in baskets in shallow water. It also makes a useful aquarium plant but is short-lived where water temperatures exceed 22°C (72°C) for long periods. Divide every few years to prevent congestion.

Propagation: Prapagate by separating overcrowded clumps in spring or summer. Carefully pull the clumps apart with the fingers, making sure that a piece of rhizome is attached to each section and treat each divided clump as a mature plant.

Problems: Acorus gramineus has no serious insect or disease problems.

Scorch will occur if soils are not kept consistently moist to wet.

Recommended varieties:
Acorus gramineus ‘Variegatus’ is a variegated-leaved form of Acorus gramineus. It has white stripes on its green leaves.

Acorus gramineus ‘Albovariegatus’ is a variegated-leaved and dwarf form of Acorus gramineus. Its leaves grow rarely much larger than 15cm (6 inch).

Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ (Golden dwarf sweet flag) is a dwarf cultivar if Acorus gramineus to 25cm (10 inch) tall and 15cm (6 inch) wide. It has linear fans of glossy, pale green and cream-striped leaves that have an overall golden effect.

Uses: Acorus gramineus can be used as groundcover, in erosion control, rain garden or as a water plant.

Acorus gramineus are generally paludal (marsh plants) and are equally suited to aqua-terrariums and garden ponds, although they will also survive totally submerged.

Acorus gramineus can be used to form mass as ground cover in small areas of water gardens, along streams or ponds or in moist open woodland gardens. It is frequently used around the edges of ponds and water gardens, as well as submerged in freshwater aquaria. Acorus gramineus is ideal for foregrounds in aquariums. Also effective in rock gardens or border fronts or as small landscape accents as long as the soil moisture requirements can be met.

Acorus gramineus is the only one species from genus Acorus often grown indoors. Acorus gramineus provide a pleasant contrast with the more substantial foliage of other house plants.


Foliage – green or coloured
Shape – grassy
Height: 45cm (18 inch)

Watering in active growth period – plentiful
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in active growth period – min 4°C max 24°C (39-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 5a-10b

Aquarium Plants, Bog Plants, Container Grass, Foliage Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants, Ornamental Grasses & Sedges, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , , , , , , ,

Vallisneria gigantea

June 22nd, 2013

Common name: Eel Grass, Eelgrass, Tape Grass, American Wild Celery

Family: Hydrocharitaceae

Synonym: Vallisneria americana

Vallisneria gigantea

Vallisneria gigantea

Distribution and habitat: Vallisneria gigantea occurs naturally in Iraq, China, Japan, Korea, India, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Australia, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Venezuela. Vallisneria gigantea blooms all year and occurs almost always (estimated probability 99%) under natural conditions in wetlands. Long, flattened, ribbon-like leaves arising from a cluster at the base of the plant are minutely serrate with bluntly rounded tips. Leaves grow to 1.5m (5 feet) in length and approximately 1cm (0.4 inch) width. A light green stripe runs down the center of the finely-veined leaves.

Vallisneria gigantea grows in ponds, lakes and quiet streams at depths of 1 to 4m (3-13 feet). Vallisneria gigantea likes quiet waters such as lakes and slow flowing streams, fresh to brackish waters of streams, lakes, rivers and bays from sea level to 500m (1,640 feet). It is a native submerged plant that forms long ribbon like leaves growing up from the bottom of a pond or dam.

Description: Vallisneria gigantea is a genus of freshwater with long leaved grass-like aquatic plant. This plant will get rather large and will form a dense cover at the water surface which will aid in the control of free floating algae (green water).

In most aquariums the leaves grow so long that they float on the surface. Vallisneria gigantea leaves arise in clusters from their roots. Leaves grow up to 120cm (47 inch) long and 12mm (0.4 inch) wide. So the plant needs pruning to stop it taking too much light from plants growing beneath. The leaves are tough and strong, so they are not normally eaten by herbivorous fish, dark green coloured with rounded tips and definite raised veins. They generally grow in cycles, thriving for 3 or 4 months and then dying off for another few months.
Vallisneria gigantea is dioecious and individual plants are either male or female. Individual pistillate flowers have three sepals and three white petals, and occur in a tubular spathe that grows to the water surface at the end of a long peduncle. Staminate (male) flowers are crowded into an ovoid spathe borne on a short peduncle near the base of the plant. Eventually the spathe of staminate flowers breaks free and floats to the surface where it releases its flowers. Fertilization occurs when male flowers float into contact with female flowers. When fertilization is complete the peduncle of the pistillate flower coils up and fruit develops underwater. Fertilization produces a long cylindrical pod containing small, dark seeds.

Care:   Vallisneria gigantea is very fast growing, it has been recorded to grow 1cm (0.4 inch) a day. Always make sure that the leaves do not get fractured, as soon as this happens the leaf will die off.This plant can be pruned as long as the leaves are cut back with sharp scissors. Leaves that are dying off can also be removed by lifting them away at the base. Usually requires about 2-4 weeks for acclimatization but later it can reproduce and can become the primary plant in your fish tank.

Water: Water hardness and pH level are not vital factors for Vallisneria gigantea, but prefer alkaline water. Vallisneria gigantea does not like flowing water so plant away from filter return pipe.

Vallisneria gigantea must be planted under water 2.5 to 15cm (1-6 inch) deep.

Temperature: Vallisneria gigantea has a large range of water temperature from 20 to 28°C (68-82°F).

Light: Vallisneria gigantea takes full sun to light shade; growth will be faster and stronger under brighter light.

Substrate: Vallisneria gigantea do well in a mixture of fine sand with a medium light level. Iron is important for these plants, and the best way to ensure that they get the right quantities is to use an iron-rich substrate. Recommended substrate for growing is gravel.

When planting Vallisneria gigantea always leave the crown of the plant above the substrate, this is easy to spot as the crown will have a lighter colouration as the rest of the plant.

Fertilise: In order to stimulate the growth, an iron-rich fertiliser should be added to the water periodically.

Propagation: Propagation of Vallisneria gigantea is really easy. After 2 to 4 weeks from planting the plant starts rooting and will produce runners. Do not separate the runner from the motherplant until it reached usable size. The transplanted new plant will stagnate and take one month (even more) before recovering and starting expanding and getting ready for another propagation.

Uses: Vallisneria gigantea are commonly grow in tropical and subtropical aquaria. Undemanding, fast growing plant, it is best suited to larger aquariums. Vallisneria gigantea makes as well good plant for the discus tank and in deep tanks such as cubes if sufficient light is provided. It can be used to hide filters and other equipment. It is a valuable for water oxygenation.

Vallisneria gigantea is a good habitat plant for fish and birds when present in large plantings.

For pond proposes Vallisneria gigantea is suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It can grow in water.

Recommended varieties:
Vallisneria americana var. biwaensis: This variety has narrow 3-5mm (0.1-0.2 inch) wide, strap-shaped, 5-50cm (2-19 inch) long leaves and produces beautifully twisted leaves with longitudinal nerves. This plant is particularly attractive as middleground plant or even foreground plant in large aquaria. This plant is a bit more light requiring than most other Vallisneria types but apart from than it is undemanding regarding water hardness and temperature.

Vallisneria americana “Mini Twister”: It is used for the foreground in aquarium. As indicated by its name, Vallisneria americana “Mini Twister” is a rather small plant. The short leaves (10-15+ cm) (4-6 inch) make it particularly useful as foreground and middleground plant and the twisted leaves provides a colourful asset when light is reflected by the leaf surfaces.

Vallisneria americana var. natans:  It is native to Australia and is a very hardy species suitable for an aquarium. The leaves are narrow (up to 10 mm (0.4 inch) wide) and strap-shaped, middle long (50-100 cm) (20-40 inch) and with 3-5 longitudinal nerves. Transverse nerves are randomly spread over the entire leaf. The plants natural occur in huge populations in standing as well as running waters. It is an easy and undemanding beginner’s plant having no particular requirements for neither light nor CO2 and it grows in a wide temperature interval from 18-28°C (64-82°F). It is easily propagated via runners.

Interesting facts: Vallisneria gigantea is mostly found in permanent waters where it may form large continuous patches. The plant is not self-fertile. As most other obligate waterplants, it has evolved a specialized pollination strategy when reproducing sexually. The male flowers are released under water but since they are less dense than water they immediately float to the surface. Here, they are trapped by the female flower which are supported by a long flower stalk floating on the water surface. Hence, the pollination is not carried out by insects but by water movements carrying the pollen to the female flower. Characteristically, Vallisneria prefers hard water and is rarely found in soft and acid water in nature. The robust types are not demanding and do not need CO2 addition since they in nature occur on shallow water in lakes which are naturally poor in free CO2.

Asexual reproduction occurs when winter buds, or turions, form at the meristem of Vallisneria gigantea plants in late summer. These winter buds elongate in spring, sending a stolon to the surface from which a new plant emerges. During the growing season, each plant can send out rhizomes that grow adjacent to the parent plant. Sexual reproduction occurs in late July to September.

May be confused with: Bur-reeds (Sparganium spp.), submersed leaves of duck potato (Sagittaria spp.), northern mannagrass (Glyceria borealis), and wild rice (Zizania aquatica), which all can have long, ribbon-like underwater leaves, but do not have the distinctive midrib or the coiled fruit stalk of Vallisneria gigantea.
Vallisneria gigantea can be confused with Zostera marina. However, Vallisneria gigantea has a light green stripe in the center of its leaves and its leaves are generally broader than those of Zostera marina. Because Vallisneria gigantea prefers lower salinity and Zostera marina higher salinity, the two species are not know to occur in the same location although their salinity ranges overlap slightly.

Hardy to zone: 9

Vallisneria americana 'Mini Twister'Vallisneria americana var. biwaensisVallisneria americana var natans

Aquarium Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , ,

Ammannia gracilis

June 17th, 2013

Common name: Large Ammannia, Red Ammannia, Pink Ammannia, Delicate Ammania

Family: Lythraceae

Ammannia gracilis

Ammannia gracilis

Ammannia gracilis is a plant native to West Africa in marshes, streams and riverbanks.

Description: Stem plants have narrow, rather wavy leaves, growing opposite on an often robust stem. Depending on the light intensity, the leaves vary from a pale green to a bronzy red colour. They grow to about 12–20cm (5–8 inch) or longer. The flowers are inconspicuous, growing from the leaf axils of emerse plants.

A group of several stems planted midground will soon form a bushy backdrop for a shorted carpet of lighter green foreground plants.

Care: Emersed plants are tougher and hardier than the delicate submersed form.
Ammannia gracilis prefer much light for optimum growth. They can grow quickly in the right conditions and will grow emerse if the water is shallow enough. They grow well with additional carbon dioxide added to water. Ideal water conditions are soft and acidic but these plants are generally hardy and adaptable in most moderate conditions. To grow well they need a good iron micronutrient added to the aquarium.

Ammannia gracilis can be kept emersed as well. Once the stems reach out of the water surface, leaves will turn greenish red.

Water: This stem prefers mildly acidic to moderately soft water.

Light: Lighting should of Medium to High.

If not given strong enough light, Ammannia gracilis will loose its lower leaves, growth will decrease, and remaining leaves will be pale and sickly.

Temperature:  Water temperature should be ranging between 22-28°C (72 – 82°F) with a very minimum of 15°C  (59°F).

Fertilise: Recommended Co2 Injection. Supplement iron and macronutrients.
If Ammannia gracilis does not receive iron and high lighting, then the leaves will turn a pale pink to green in colour.

Pruning: Pruning should be done by topping and replanting the more robust top portions.

Special care: Delicate leaves grow quite quickly when provided with a nutrient rich loose substrate, gentle water circulation and adequate feeding. Low nitrate promotes the desirable reddish colouration.

Uses: Ammannia gracilis tend to grow large in the aquarium, so a minimum 0.6m (2feet) tank should be used. Stems can reach 1cm (0.4 inch) thick with leaves atleast 10cm (4 inch) long. Stems and Side shoots can be cut off and replant, the old base of the stems would produce new shoots from the leaves if the top of the stem is cut off. If you would like a more bushier plant, then it is recommended to cut the stem in the middle when the top reaches the surface.

A. gracilis, due to its eventually large size, is most suited to the midground to background of aquariums larger than 76L (20g) where it can add a brilliant splash of color to any layout, using it for contrast to the typically green streets. .

Propagation: Ammannia gracilis can be easily propagated by cuttings pushed into the substrate. Cuttings are obtained by removing side shoots from the main stem plant with a pair of scissors.

Take care when planting not to put all the stems in one hole. Plant each stem adjacent to the others but in individual holes. This will help ensure that the lower leaves are not deprived of light and water circulation.

Aquarium Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , , , ,

Sagittaria subulata

June 16th, 2013

Common name: Dwarf Sagittaria, Needle Saggitaria, Floating Arrowhead

Synonym: Alisma subulatum; Sagittaria natans

Family: Alismataceae

Sagittaria subulata

Sagittaria subulata

Distribution and habitat: Sagittaria subulata is native from South America can grows to a height of 50cm (20 inch) when it grows older. In the aquarium it sometimes sends a long flower stem to the surface and small white flowers unfold just above the water surface. In its natural habitat grows in rivers; it is found in both freshwater and brackish water.

Description: Sagittaria subulata is a grass-like plant with leaves only 5mm (0.2 inch) wide. These are bright green, with acute or rounded tips. In shallow water, small floating elliptical or egg-shaped leaves are produced, followed by small white flowers. It is a fast-growing species, which displays productive multiplication through runners, which will form a dense, about 5-7cm (2-2.8 inch) thick cover within a few weeks.

Sagittaria Subulata species have long and narrow leaves when kept under water (Arrowhead shaped).

Care: Sagittaria subulata is an easy, undemanding fast growing plant. This plant can be grown in its emersed or submersed form. If grown emersed, its leaves are somewhat thicker than when grown immersed. At one point pruning must be done because the plant develops runners that are too close from each other and Sagittaria Subulata will have the tendency to climb to look for light and space.

Water: Water parameters are not really an issue as this plant seems to do great in any conditions, even quite hard, alkaline water conditions. Sagittaria subulata grows best in medium-hard to hard water with a pH-value within the moderately acid to alkaline range.

Light: Sagittaria subulata require moderate to strong light. Intense lighting will bring out reddish leaf apexes.

Temperature: Optimum growth temperature for Sagittaria subulata is 18 to 26°C (64 – 79°F), but it can withstand temps from a very low 15°C (59) to 29°C (84°F). Sagittaria subulata seems to be not sensitive to temperature change.

Fertiliser: Add fertilizer on a regular basis as important factor for this plant to thrive.

Substrate: Fine-graveled sand is best for these delicate plants.

Planting density: 4-5 plants for every 15cm (6 inch)

Propagation: They propagate by sending runners everywhere around the mother plant. With a good substrate (rich in Iron), added CO2 and a strong lighting, this plant will grow very quickly to cover the bottom of your tank.

Problems: The plant leaves will become yellowish if proper conditions are not met (especially if it lacks Iron).

Uses: Sagittaria subulata is used in aquariums as mid-ground or foreground plant. Planted as a standalone this aquarium plant can be striking.

Recommended varieties:
Sagittaria Subulata var. pusilla, the smallest Sagittaria subulata, growing up to 30cm (12 inch).
Sagittaria Subulata var kurziana which grows up to 50cm (20 inch).
Sagittaria Subulata var gracillima, the tallest Sagittaria subulata, reaching up to 60cm (24 inch).

Interesting facts: Sagittaria subulata is often confused for Vallisneria species.

Hardiness zone: 8-11

Sagittaria subulata flowers







Aquarium Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , , ,

Ceratophyllum demersum

June 16th, 2013

Common name: Hornwort, Rigid Hornwort, Coontail, Coon’s tail

Family: Ceratophyllaceae

Ceratophyllum demersum

Ceratophyllum demersum

Distribution and habitat: Ceratophyllum demersum is native to North America but nowadays having a cosmopolitan distribution in temperate and tropical regions. Ceratophyllum demersum is declared weed Australia and is classed as an unwanted organism in New Zealand.

Description: Ceratophyllum demersum is a submersed with no roots,  so is free-floating perennial plant. The stems reach lengths of 1–3m (3-10 feet), with numerous side shoots making a single specimen appear as a large, bushy mass. The leaves are produced in whorls of six to twelve, each leaf 8–40mm (0.3-1.6 inch) long, simple, or forked into two to eight thread-like segments edged with spiny teeth; they are stiff and brittle. It is monoecious, with separate male and female flowers produced on the same plant. The flowers are small, 2mm (0.08 inch) long, with eight or more greenish-brown petals; they are produced in the leaf axils. The fruit is a small nut 4–5mm (0.1-0.2 inch) long, usually with three spines, two basal and one apical, 1–12mm (up to 0.4 inch) long. It can form turions: buds that sink to the bottom of the water that stay there during the winter and form new plants in spring.

Care: Ceratophyllum dersum grows in still or very slow-moving water. Generally floats during the warm months if allowed, but may be potted and submerged. Sinks to the bottom of the pond during cold weather if allowed to float. Ceratophyllum demersum is fast growing plant.

Light: Ceratophyllum demersum’s light requirement is part shade.

Temperature: Ceratophyllum demersum grows in lakes, ponds and quiet streams with summer water temperatures of 15-30°C (59-86°C) and a rich nutrient status.

Propagation: Ceratophyllum demersum natural propagate through seed that sink to the bottom of the water and stay there during the winter, forming new plants in spring.  Also  Ceratophyllum demersum  can be propagated from plant fragments.

Uses: Ceratophyllum demersum is often used as a floating freshwater plant in both coldwater and tropical aquaria, being free-roots plant or it may be attached to the substrate or objects in the aquarium. Its fluffy, filamentous, bright-green green leaves provide an excellent spawning habitat for fishes.

Interesting facts: Ceratophyllum demersum has allelopathic qualities as it excretes substances that inhibit the growth of blue-green algae (phytoplankton and cyanobacteria).

Ceratophyllum demersum may be confused with non-weedy Ceratophyllum echinatum, which is more delicate, bright green, usually grows in deeper water, and has 3-5 lateral spines on the fruit. Also Ceratophyllum demersum is similar to other bushy submersed plants such as: Muskgrasses (Chara spp.) which are large algae and produce a skunk or garlic-like odor when crushed; waterweeds (Elodea spp.) which have whorls of broad flat leaves; and milfoils (Myriophyllum spp.) which have feather-like leaves.

Note: Ceratophyllum demersum is an invasive species. Its dense growth can out-compete native underwater vegetation, leading to loss of biodiversity.

Hardiness Zone 4-10

Ceratophyllum demersum inflorescence Ceratophyllum demersum fruit







Aquarium Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , , , ,

Egeria densa

June 16th, 2013

Common name: Large-flowered Waterweed, Brazilian Waterweed, Elodea, Anachris

Family: Hydrocharitaceae

Synonymus: Anacharis densa (Planch.) Vict., Elodea densa (Planch.) Casp

Egeria densa

Egeria densa

Distribution and habitat: Egeria densa is an ageless aquarium plant, a species of Egeria native to warm temperate South America in southeastern Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay and become naturalized and invasive in many warm temperate to subtropical regions of the world, including Europe, southern Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and North America.

Description: It is an aquatic plant growing in water up to 4m (13 feet) deep, with trailings stems to 2m (6 feet) or more long, producing roots at intervals along the stem. The leaves are produced in whorls of four to eight, 1–4cm (0.3-1.5 inch) long and 2–5mm (0.7-2 inch) broad, with an acute apex. It is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants; the flowers are 12–20mm (0.4-0.8 inch) diameter, with three broad, rounded, white petals, 8–10mm (0.3-0.4 inch) long on male plants, and 6–7mm (0.2 inch) long on female plants.

Houseplant care: Must be planted in full sun to avoid the lower leaves from rotting, submerged at the base of a waterfall where the water moves freely is ideal providing excellent filtration. It will not do well in still waters. It grows best in a nutrient rich, high light situation.

Egeria densa is an adaptable plant that can grow in both high light and low light conditions.  When grown in high light, Egeria densa stems will display a dark green and grow up to 0.5m (2 feet) long in a short matter of time.  It will appear very leaf due to the short distance between the internodes of the stem. In low light situations, the leaves and internodes along the stem will become more spaced out, the stem becomes thinner, and the plant will take on a dull green color.

Temperature: It grows well in the cooler aquarium and is very easy to grow.

Propagation: It is easily propagated through fragmenting the stem and side shoots. Plants in cultivation are all a male clone, reproducing vegetatively.

Uses: Egeria densa is a popular aquarium plant. Egeria densa is used to oxygenate the water and to absorb excess nutrients.

Egeria densa can be used in the background or midground areas of sparsely planted aquariums planted in bunches of 6-7 stems. It also does well floating.

Interesting facts:
It said that Egeria densa secretes anti-bacterial enzyme that can reduce blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).

It is often confused with similar looking species Hydrilla and Elodea Canadensis as per image bellow:



Egeria densa leaves are in whorls (leaf groups) of 4 to 5; Hydrilla leaves are in whorls of 4 to 8; and Elodea Canadensis forms whorls of 3.

Note: The rapid growing nature, couple with few predators and no diseases, has allowed Egeria densa to flourish in the wild unchecked.  Ponds, lakes and streams are in danger to become infected, large mats of Egeria densa that prosper block out the sun to the native vegetation, causing havoc on the local ecosystem and boaters. Take great care not to let this plant enter local waterways.

Hardiness zone:  5a-11

Egeria densa flower







Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , , , ,