Maintaining stems the 2Hr Way

Introduction Aquatic stem plants offer a huge variety of colors and leaf shapes, however, hobbyists often shy away from growing them. A common experience for newer hobbyists is that the stem plants grows well for a time period, then after a couple of trimming cycles, the bottom stems deteriorate and the aquarist is at a […]

Rotala Colour Tips

Above: Rotala ‘Singapore’ or Rotala ‘SG’ under different conditions. A: Rising nitrate levels turn the newest shoots green/ yellow. B: Medium nitrate levels- slight orange/ green new shoots. C: Steep sustained nitrate limitation turn leaves dark red. Similar to other members of the Rotala family (‘colorata’, H’ra’, ‘Ceylon’ etc.), follow these steps for richer reds: […]

How to grow Samolus parviflorus red

Introduction Samolus parviflorus red is relatively new to the aquarium hobby. It is not yet propagated in scale by larger commercial farms but can be found amongst hobbyist collectors and aquarium shops. This plant was originally collected in the limestone Karst region of Guangxi, China. The Chinese name for the plant is “小叶珍珠菜”.  Heiko Muth comments that the plant […]

How to grow Blyxa japonica

Grown under 200 umols of PAR using APT Complete in a densely planted tank. Introduction Blyxa japonica is a true aquatic plant; one that does not have an emersed form and grows only under water. It originates from Asia, where it can be found in shallow ponds and rivers. Blyxa japonica has been in the […]

How to make red root floaters (Phyllanthus fluitans) redder?

Introduction Phyllanthus fluitans is a floating plant from the Americas tropics. It has round leaves that sprout alternately on a short stem, and tufts of short red roots. It is from these red roots that the common name ‘Red root floaters’ came about. It is a decorative floating plant that propagates very quickly if nutrient […]

Easiest red plants in the hobby (red, not yellow)

Red plants add a vibrant touch of color to the planted tank. Generally, many red species require CO2, more specialized lighting and regular fertilization to truly show off their colors. However, there are a few species that will grow well even without CO2 injection. For a more in-depth guide for getting the best color out […]

How to grow Ludwigia ‘Pantanal’

Impressive bushes of this species tend to require a slightly taller tank (50cm+) for the plant to reach its full size. Grown with APT Complete in the water column and APT Jazz in substrate. Introduction Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata ‘Pantanal’ is a orangey red form of Ludwigia inclinata. Ludwigia ‘Pantanal’ is a fast growing stem […]

How to grow carpet plants without injected CO2

Everyone loves carpets. However, as smaller plants that grow on the substrate they have less access to light and are more delicate than larger, robust plants. With a little specialized attention, various carpets can be grown with high success rates in a low tech tank. 3 challenges to overcome Growing a carpet without the help […]

How to grow Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia cardinalis ‘mini’ above. Introduction Lobelia cardinalis is a light green stem plant that has attractive salad-like leaves. While the leaves can be purple when grown emersed, the submerged leaves are generally totally light green, with the slightest hint of purple under very high light. It originates from America and grows in moist soil along river […]

How to grow Bacopa caroliniana & B. Salzmannii

Bacopa caroliniana is green with bronze color tones, beside Bacopa salzmannii – this tank showcases a particularly red varietal of Bacopa salzmannii. Introduction Bacopa caroliniana Bacopa caroliniana is a long staple in the hobby. It’s most identifiable characteristic is that it has a lemon scent when its leaves are crushed. In horticulture shops, it is often sold as […]

Guide to buying/planting aquatic plant tissue cultures

Introduction Tissue culture plants are grown in a laboratory under sterile conditions; plant cells are propagated on a culture medium and produces exact copies of a plant without the need to go through seed production or pollination. It is especially useful for producing a large number of plants for species that are difficult to grow or propagate […]

Preventing damage, holes and algae on older leaves of aquatic plants

Why do old leaves deteriorate in the first place? There are many factors that give rise to this, but the primary reason in planted tanks is that a change in the environment that requires the plant to reprogram its enzymes to make best use of what is available in the current environment. For example, if […]

How to grow Hydrocotyle tripartita (Hydrocotyle Japan)

Introduction Hydrocotyle tripartita, also known in the aquarium trade as Hydrocotyle Japan, has been in the hobby for a number of years and is popular among the aquascaping crowd due to its attractive foliage and easy upkeep. It has green lobed leaves that make it look similar to terrestrial clover plants. Hydrocotyle triparta propagates very quickly through […]

How to grow Rotala ramosior Florida

Introduction Rotala ramosior Florida is an attractive stem plant with small deep purple leaves and a green stem. The plant was collected from Florida, USA as its name suggests. It is demanding in terms of light and CO2 and is not suitable for low tech/non CO2 injected tanks. It is not yet widely cultivated by large […]

How to grow mosses in the aquarium

Introduction There are a very large variety of mosses available that grow well in aquariums. The most common species available is probably Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri). Other common mosses in the aquarium trade include: Christmas Moss (Vesicularia montagnei) Anchor Moss (Vesicularia sp Anchor moss) Weeping Moss (Vesicularia ferriei) Flame Moss (Taxiphyllum sp Flame moss) Taiwan […]

How to grow Cabomba furcata

Cabomba furcata, also known by the name Cabomba piauhyensis, is a red stem plant with finely divided leaves. It is much more difficult to grow compared to green Cabomba species such as Cabomba caroliniana. Cabomba furcata can be found in nature in Central and South America. It has attractive reddish foliage when grown well, but isn’t a […]

How to grow Mermaid weed (Proserpinaca palustris)

Proserpinaca palustris, which is commonly called Mermaid weed in the industry, can be found in nature in both North and South America. Though it has been in the hobby for a long time, the plant has never been very popular among hobbyists – perhaps due to its large size or difficulty in growing it to […]

How to grow Java fern (Microsorum pteropus)

Java fern originates from various locations in Asia and has been a long time staple in the hobby. It grows emersed in damp forests, but can also be found completely submerged in some locations. Java fern is a rhizome plant that grows dark green leaves along a creeping rhizome. As there are many varietals of […]

How to grow Hygrophila sp. chai

Hygrophila sp. chai is a mutation of Hygrophila araguaia that occurred in South Island’s farm (Singapore). It takes on a distinctively pink coloration, with occasional white streaks. The growth form is similar to Hygrophila araguaia – it is a stem plant but creeps along the substrate when lighting levels are high. It is generally very […]


Above: Syngonanthus ‘Lago grande’ has light green foliage that contrasts well with red/orange colored plants. Syngonanthus macrocaulon Syngonanthus macrocaulon is found in the Amazon in very soft blackwater rivers. It was initially introduced into the hobby as “Tonina sp. belem” but was later verified by botanists to belong to the genus Syngonanthus. Some traders erroneously call […]

How to grow Ludwigia senegalensis

Ludwigia senegalensis comes from African where it is widespread. It first entered the hobby under the name Ludwigia ‘Guinea’, and has since become popular in the hobby due to its distinctive red leaves. It is a small sized stem plant with reddish leaves that have a distinct red web pattern when grown in optimal conditions. […]

How to grow Hemianthus glomeratus ; Pearlweed/Baby tears/Hemianthus micranthemoides

Hemianthus glomeratus has been in the hobby a long time and is known by many names. Shops often call it ‘Baby tears’ or ‘Pearl weed’. Botanically, it was named Hemianthus micranthemoides  “HM” and Micranthemum micranthemoides “MM” before but it was discovered in recent years to be neither of those plants. Its true name is Hemianthus […]

How to grow Anubias species

How to grow Anubias species Anubias have been a long staple in the aquarium hobby. This shade loving genus is named after the Egyptian god Anubis, lord of the underworld/shadowlands. Anubias originate from Africa – and there are many different species and varietals in cultivation. Anubias nana petite – a smaller varietal of Anubias, attached […]

How to grow Pogostemon erectus

Pogostemon erectus is originally from India. It is a green stem plant with a tinge of yellow at the needle thin leaf tips when grow in higher light with sufficient nutrients available. It grows vertically in neat upright fashion with relatively compact form. Its green needle leaves contrast well with colored plants. Its neat growth form […]

How to grow Limnophila aromatica

Limnophila aromatica / hippuridoides is an easy stem plant that originates from Asia. It is often found as a weed in Asia rice paddy fields and is used as an aromatic herb (Ngò om) in some Vietnamese soups. There is some confusion between L. aromatica and hippuridoides and you can read about the differences here. […]

How to grow Cryptocoryne “Flamingo”

​Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘flamingo’ is a cultivar of Cryptocoryne wendtii. Full sized adult plant leaves are around 10cm long, which makes it great for mid/foreground placement. The leaves are distinctively pink which makes it hard to match in many aquascapes. It does stand out a lot in most aquascapes and works well as tonal contrast to clusters […]

How to grow “HC Cuba”

Hemianthus callitrichoides (HC) ‘Cuba’ is one of the smallest ground creepers available in the hobby. It is popular as a carpet as its small size makes for a very fine carpet and contrasts well with even other small leaved plants. HC Cuba is notorious for being one of the harder carpeting plants to grow well […]

How to grow Bucephalandra

Bucephalandra are endemic to Indonesia and are found on the island of Borneo. They are slow-growing, hardy and are especially well suited to grow attached to hardscape (rock / wood), as in the picture above and below. They can also be grown on the substrate as long as the rhizome is not buried. Due to their […]

How to grow Rotala macrandra & its varietals

Variegated Rotala macrandra is shown above; it has a more magenta red compared to regular red Rotala macrandra with distinctive white veins. Similar size to regular Rotala macrandra, but more difficult to grow well. Introduction Rotala macrandra originates from India and has been cultivated in aquariums since the early days due to its attractive foliage. […]

How to grow Hygrophila pinnatifida

This plant originates from India and has become quite common in the hobby in recent years (2010 +) as it is stocked and farmed by most large aquatic plant nurseries. Hygrophila pinnatifida’s fern-like appearance allows it to blend well with mosses and wood. It requires very frequent trimming to prevent it from shading the rest of […]

Why are my plants melting? Are plants melting in a new planted tank normal?

Why do aquatic plants melt? Melting in this scenario refers to aquatic plant losing some or all of its leaves; this usually happens to older leaves first, which lose color and become transparent before disintegrating. Melting occurs due to adaptation changes in plant cells due to new environmental variables; the plant channels energy into new […]

How to grow Ludwigia sp. ‘Super red’

Introduction Ludwigia sp. ‘Super red’ is actually a varietal of Ludwigia palustris. It is know under many trade names such as Ludwigia ‘mini super red’ and Ludwigia sp. ‘red’ and they all refer to the same plant. There isn’t a mini version – plants grow under lean conditions are just smaller in size compared to […]

How to grow “AR”

The red Alternanthera reneckii (AR) comes in different varietals, with the AR “mini” gaining popularity these days because it is shorter and redder than the other varietals. In the picture below, we have the shorter “mini” in the foreground and the slightly taller variegated “Rosanervig” behind it. The ‘mini’ varietal is a good foreground/midground plant, […]

How to grow red aquarium plants

‘Red plant’ is a generic term we use for non-green plants in this case. If you look carefully at the picture above, each species has different color tones. Too many hobbyists make the mistake of thinking that more fertilizer is better. Not necessarily so. we dose less than 0.1ppm of Iron a day in our 2Hr […]

How to grow Eriocaulon ratnagiricum

Introduction Eriocaulon ratnagiricum is an endangered species that originates from India. It has been in the aquarium trade among hobbyists for sometime although it has not been commercially propagated at scale. Its distinctive spiky look differentiates it from other species of plants. Eriocaulon ratnagiricum is one of the smallest Eriocaulons, with an adult size of around […]

Propagating Eriocaulon species

Eriocaulon species have become more common nowadays as their requirements have become better understood. Soft water ( For many Eriocaulons the roots can be longer than the leaves. (note the bright white roots) The light green Eriocaulon cuspidatum stands out among the red Eriocaulon quinguangulare, and a foreground of Centrolepis drummondiana “Blood vomit”. All share […]

How to quarantine new plants

Many aquarists worry about introducing algae and snails to their planted tanks, and sometimes people use a dip solution to burn off algae and snails. Depending on how robust the plant is, dipping them can be damaging. I don’t usually dip my plants at all; I usually just rinse them under running water. I find that […]

Top 5 Aquarium plants that grow well with no soil

Java fern (Microsorum pteropus) & its many variants. Java fern can be found in various tropical and subtropical regions in Asia. There are many variants available – Needle leaf variant (long, thin narrow leaves >40cm), Philippine variant (shorter leaves Microsorum pteropus develops a creeping rhizome on which the roots and leaves grow from. The rhizome […]

How to grow Ludwigia arcuata

Ludwigia arcuata has attractive reddish foliage and is easily trimmed to form dense bushes. Tank example above by Thomas McCowan. Introduction Ludwigia arcuata is a delicate stem aquatic plant that originates from the US. It is often confused with Ludwigia brevipes, which is similar, but slightly larger with broader leaves. It is also similar to Didiplis […]

VIDEO: How to make a moss tree

  This is a short video on how to create a ‘moss bonsai’ or moss tree in your planted aquarium, using the following: Wood branches Super Glue (gel type: Ethyl Cyanoacrylate) Sponge (can be natural or synthetic) Moss: Weeping Moss or Christmas moss  

Best carpet plants for planted tank

The term ‘carpets’ are usually applied to shorter plants that spread across the soil surface using runners. The shorter, finer carpets usually require CO2 to grow well. Because they are small and grow at the substrate level, they tend to be furthest away from the light source and most of them spread faster and grow […]

Video: how to grow Eriocaulons and “Blood Vomit”

This is a short video on how to grow the red Eriocaulon quinquangulare and Centrolepis Drummondiana (often erroneously, labeled as “Eriocaulon Blood vomit” or “Trithuria blood vomit”. Enjoy!

How to grow Eriocaulon quinquangulare

This reddish Eriocaulon originates from India and is a recent addition to the aquatic hobby. It is farmed as an emersed grown bog/terrarium plant in some plant nurseries. The submerged forms can be relatively short with adult plants around 2.5 – 3 inches tall. It is reddish at the base of the plant with leaves […]

How to grow Rotala Rotundifolia

Rotala rotundifolia ‘red’ in a tank above with NO3 levels measuring less than 3ppm or so, using APT Complete / APT 3 as fertiliser. Enough to induce significant redness but not so much as to stunt other more demanding plants in the same tank. Introduction Rotala rotundifolia (variants include Rotala Colorata, H’ra, Ceylon, etc) is […]

How to grow “blood vomit”

Centrolepis Drummondiana originates from Australia and has been around the hobby for many years. It is commonly, erroneously, labeled as “Eriocaulon Blood vomit” or “Trithuria blood vomit” in the trade. Later on the name was changed to Trithuria lanterna. However, recently (2019) botanists have yet changed their mind and now its classified as Centrolepis Drummondiana. […]