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When keeping fish in your aquarium, one of your primary objectives is to mirror their natural environment as much as possible.

This way, the fish do not feel as if they are in captivity and can thus thrive. Plants are among the essentials of your fish tank in this regard.

Floating plants are the best choices for aquariums. They are easy to grow, have low maintenance needs, keep your tank’s water clean, and fight algae overgrowth naturally.

The roots of floating plants also provide plenty of hiding spaces for fish species that are shy without the danger of injuries.

The red root floater is among the common floating plants used in aquariums nowadays. It belongs to the Phyllanthaceae family and the Phyllanthus genus.

This informs its scientific name, Phyllanthus fluitans. The plant is also called the floating spurge since, in the past, it was classified under the Euphorbiaceae family.

Here are tidbits that will ease the growing of the red root floater in your aquarium.

Red Root Floater Origin

The red root floater is native to the temperate climate of South America, where it grows in the Amazon River basin. Its growth in this region extends into Central America.

In its origin, the floater thrives in stagnant waters. Owing to its ease of growth, the plant is now cultivated worldwide in places where it is cost-effective to grow.

Red Root Floater Appearance

Red Root Floater

Red Root Floater

The red root floater is so-named because of its typically red roots. The plant has round, water-repellent, light green floating leaves.

The water-repellent nature of the leaves means that they will survive even if they dip in the water.

The leaves might turn deep brown-red under a limited supply of nitrogen and intense lighting.

These leaves often have convex centers while their margins are even with the waterline. Under favorable growth conditions, leaf axils will have tiny white flowers

The red root floater is smaller compared to other floating aquarium plants. Its stems are brittle with diameters of 1-1.5 mm and lengths of 130 mm.

The heart-shaped base of the leaves slightly hides these stems. All the stems of this floater have foliage leaves, unlike other Phyllanthus plant species in which the leaves are confined to the lateral branches.

Most people confuse the red root floater for a floating fern that belongs to the Salvinia genus.

The red root floater has one leaf on each alternate node, unlike the latter that has two leaves. Its leaves reach maximum sizes of 2.5 cm (1 inch).

Red Root Floater Water and Light Requirement

The red root floater is a hardy plant species. This makes its care quite easy even for beginner aquarists. The plant’s main specific requirements are its lighting and surface agitation.

Do not expose it to too much or too little light but rather adjust it according to the type of water in your aquarium. If your aquarium has hard water, you will need more light than when dealing with soft water.

It is best to use artificial lighting since this is easy to control and does not emit heat that will melt the plant.

The water surface in your aquarium when dealing with red root floaters should be calm. This mirrors the gentle water flow in its natural habitat. The following are the other care requirements for the plant:

  • PH: 6.5-7.5
  • Carbon dioxide: low
  • General hardness: 0-30dGH
  • Temperature: 18-30 degrees Celsius
  • Carbonate hardness: 0-14dGH

Red Root Floater Maintenance

The roots of the red root floater need enough iron for them to develop their red coloration. It will help if you supplement the iron levels in your aquarium’s water with fertilizers.

Be careful to avoid the excessive use of chemicals since they will cause your plant to die quickly.

Remember to weed out the surplus red root floater when it starts multiplying. Failure to do this might lead to the overcrowding of your tank and the plant completely covering your water surface and affecting the flow of environmental elements.

Overcrowding also causes the plants to start fighting for nutrients and causes them to die slowly. When trimming your red root floater, start with the leaves that are submerged.

Red Root Floater Propagation

The red root floater is propagated from its stalks. You will propagate one plant by pinching or cutting its stalk by half between the clusters of the leaves and roots.

Cutting off daughter plants and fragmentation are also ideal options for the propagation of the red root floater.

The plant grows pretty fast when under the right conditions as the plants branch out and divide into multiple parts. During propagation, you can choose to throw the red root floater stalks in water.

Provided they are vertical and well-adjusted to their environment, the plants will grow. In this case, the leaves will increase in size and might at times reach sizes that need trimming.

In most instances, the failure to propagate in a red root floater is linked to too much or too little light and the lack of enough iron.

Wrapping Up

For any aquarist looking for a floating plant, the red root floater is a must-try. Its bright red roots will look like they glow against the backdrop of green floating plants like the water lettuce, frogbit, and duckweed.

Most aquarists opt to mix the red root floater with the frogbit. This is because the two plants have the same care requirements and will thrive under the same conditions. The frogbit, however, grows faster than the red root floater and will thus need more frequent weeing compared to the latter.

Even with the above guidelines at your fingertips, you should be sure that the red root floater is safe and will match the needs of your fish before choosing it.

For instance, the plant thrives in the same water conditions as those needed for the betta fish. As such, its care will not be too hard and will not conflict with the requirements for your fish’s growth.

As long as you take care of them, red root floaters are beautiful plants that make lovely additions to open aquariums.

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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