12 Tropical Aquarium Plants From the Cuttings and Floating Types Are Recommended

Rotala macranda
Rotala macranda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Recommendations are given for a selection of tropical aquarium plants from the cuttings and floating plant types available. 12 are recommended with four described in detail.

A cutting, the Red Rotala (Rotala macandra) has soft delicate leaves that could easily be damaged if they are situated in strong water currents. In order to maintain the red color, this plant needs a bright light on a regular basis.

A temperature range of 22 to 28 degrees centigrade and pH range of 5 to 6.5 is suitable. Fast growing, the Rotala likes to go up to the surface and then goes on to grow with leaves floating at the surface. The leaves appear to get bigger and redder the nearer they get to the light.

A cutting, the Giant Hygrophila (Nomaphila stricta) is also known as the Indian Water Star. It has broad lance-shaped leaves, is great for fish to shelter in and is also useful as sites for spawning. Prefers slightly hard water and a strong light.

It appears that snails like this plant so look out for them. A temperature range of 20 to 28 degrees centigrade and pH range of 5 to 7 is suitable. Another plant that grows fast and will need trimming regularly.

A floater, the Butterfly Fern (Salvinia auriculata) is also known as the Eared Watermoss and is really easy to keep and grow. Bubble nesters can use the plant for their nest and fry can shelter and hide underneath in the roots that dangle down in the water.

But remember that, as with all floating plants, do not let them cover too much surface area as this will restrict light getting to plants lower down the tank and they will die off.

It is related to the Salvinia molesta which out in the wild can grow like mad and cause lots of problems in waterways as it doubles its size over a few days. In fact, they are prohibited from entry into Tasmania and cannot be sold or distributed there as they have been declared weeds under a Weed Management Act (1999).

Java moss
Java moss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A floater, the Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana) is very common in freshwater aquariums. Like Riccia, it attaches itself to driftwood, rocks, and roots. Java Moss has no onerous requirements or any special attention as it will survive in varying water conditions, even weakly brackish, and under all sorts of light levels.

But it thrives better under low to moderate light conditions and a temperature range of 21 to 24 degrees centigrade but it can survive temperatures of up to 29 to 32 degrees centigrade.

As you do not plant the Java Moss, you will need to fix it temporarily, for example, to a rock with some fishing line. Then, when it has used its own tiny roots to adhere to the rock you can remove the fishing line. You can also produce a moss wall effect by adding the moss to a net which is fixed to the tank wall by suction devices and nylon string.

It is an excellent plant in which spawning can take place and in which the hatched fry can shelter and hide. Egg-laying fish that scatter their eggs would benefit most from this plant. From a maintenance point of view, you need to keep it clean of algae which will have a detrimental effect on it.

Other recommended cuttings plants are;
* Cabomba caroliniana 
* Bacopa caroliniana 
* Hygrophila salicifolia 
* Ludwiga repens
Other recommended floating plants are;
* Ceratophyllum spp.
* Ceratopteris thalictroides
* Pistia stratiatos
* Riccia fluitans

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