Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hygrophila polysperma

     Hygrophila polysperma, a beautiful aquarium plant that originates in India, is a really popular plant among aquarium hobbyists. It is extremely easy to grow but to have great success, you need adequate lighting and nutrients. The addition of homemade CO2 is going to insure that this plant thrives in your aquarium. This is one of the main plants in my tank and probably the fastest grower. If you're looking for a plant that will add a thick bushy garden look to your aquarium this is the plant for you.
     It's really easy to grow and it will multiply just by putting the clippings back into the gravel, even a free floating leaf of this plant will make an entire new plant. If you want it to branch intensely it's best to let it float for a while, in straight horizontal growth it branches and roots at almost every leaf point. This plant needs to be pruned regularly to maintain its health. It reproduces from both cuttings and side shoots. The cuttings can even be as small as a single leaf in nutrient-rich environments.
     Hygrophila polysperma tolerates temperatures between 70 - 80°F   (21 - 26°C), and a wide variety of water conditions, but the best temperature has proven to be 78°F (25°C). Prefers fresh water with a pH between 7.0 -7.4. The only thing I have found that can damage this plant is when it ends up in a tank infested with snails.
     There are several man-made varieties of this plant. The wild variety has light green leaves that can acquire a reddish tinge and more compact form as the plant pushes toward the surface. It can also flower if allowed to grow past the water's surface.

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