Red Root Floater: Taxonomy, Care, and Propagation

The Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus Fluitans) is an aquatic plant, teeming with extraordinary attributes, that makes waves in the aquascaping realm. Our journey will explore its taxonomy, care requirements, and propagation methods. Get ready to dive deeper into the aquatic marvel that is Red Root Floater.

red root floater phyllanthus fluitans

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What is Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus Fluitans)?

The Red Root Floater, or Phyllanthus Fluitans, is a type of aquatic plant that’s highly sought-after by aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. Native to South America, it’s known for its red roots and appealing foliage, making it a stunning addition to any freshwater habitat.

Many people are riveted by the Red Root Floater’s ability to change hues. Depending on exposure to light, its leaves can turn from soft green to vibrant red. However, the most arresting feature is its root structure. It possesses deep red roots that hang beneath the water’s surface, creating a beautiful contrast with the green or scarlet leaves above.

Although predominantly an aquatic plant, it’s important to state that the Red Root Floater is also capable of subaerial growth. Its leaves and stems can grow above the surface, making it a great choice for open-top aquariums. This alongside the fact that the Red Root Floater is a floating plant means it can provide ideal conditions for shy or nocturnal aquatic wildlife who find comfort in darker, sheltered environments.

This plant is culturally significant in Brazil, where it is often used for medicinal purposes. Locals prize it for its healing properties and believe it can help with ailments like inflammation or high blood pressure.

In the context of care and propagation, it’s worth noting that Red Root Floater is quite finicky. It likes a pH between 6.5-7.5, general hardness between 0-30 dGH, a temperature range of 18-30 degrees Celsius (64-86 degrees Fahrenheit), low carbon dioxide, and carbonate hardness between 0-14 dGH. Attending to these specific conditions will help the plant thrive.

On the whole, the Red Root Floater is a captivating, vibrant, and flexible plant- making it an appealing choice for aquarium enthusiasts.

Where Does Red Root Floater Fit in the Plant Taxonomy?

Understanding Red Root Floater’s (Phyllanthus fluitans) position in plant taxonomy offers greater insight into its characteristics. Encompassed in the botanical world’s Eukaryotes domain, it falls within the Plantae kingdom. Here we delve into the plant’s classification.

  • Phylum: The Red Root Floater aligns with Magnoliophyta, a vast collection of flowering plants.
  • Class: It is part of the Magnoliopsida class, comprising dicotyledons. These plants typically have two embryonic seed leaves.
  • Order: Nestled in the Malpighiales order, a diverse group brimming with many essential plant families.
  • Family: Phyllanthaceae, a large plant family that the Red Root Floater belongs to.

This plant falls under the Phyllanthus genus, a subset known for herbs, shrubs, and trees dwelling in tropical and subtropical climates. More specifically, it is part of the Fluitans species, a unique aquatic species best recognized for its splendid red roots, which it is aptly named.

Knowing the plant’s taxonomy is crucial, as it helps trace the plant’s evolutionary journey and better understand its specific needs. Moreover, identifying the Red Root Floater in the plant taxonomy provides valuable information about its morphology and growth patterns.

What are the Natural Habitats of Red Root Floater?

Red Root Floater, scientifically known as Phyllanthus fluitans, is quite adaptable in its natural habitat. Originating from the swamplands, riverbeds, and wetlands of South America, it flourishes with abundance in somewhat static or slowly moving bodies of fresh water.

Here are some key aspects regarding its habitat:

  • Water Temperature: Red Root Floaters favor a temperature range of 18-30 degrees Celsius (64.4-86 degrees Fahrenheit). They are quite tolerant of environmental changes but thrive best within this range.
  • Water Parameters: They need a PH of 6.5-7.5. This is slightly acidic to slightly alkali, indicating a versatile ability to adjust.
  • Water Hardness: The ideal general hardness (dGH) of the water for these plants is 0-30 dGH. Additionally, the carbonate hardness should be 0-14 dGH.
  • Carbon Dioxide Levels: Red Root Floaters can thrive under low carbon dioxide levels.

From these points, you can infer that Red Root Floaters are quite flexible in their habitat preferences. This makes them an ideal, low-maintenance choice for aquarists and hobbyists.

Their relatively simple requirements for temperature, PH, hardness, and carbon dioxide levels reflect their suitability to various ecosystems. Despite their adaptability, giving them the optimal conditions will enable them to grow healthy and bright, a sight to behold with their reddish roots draping like ripples in the water body.

What are the Morphological Characteristics of Red Root Floater?

The Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus Fluitans) is a fascinating specimen, exhibiting a number of unique morphological features. Let’s delve into its characteristics:

  • Leaf Structure: They possess distinct small, round and fleshy leaves. The leaves tend to be green in low light but can turn to an appealing red under brighter conditions.
  • Size: Red Root Floaters can grow from 0.5 to 2 inches in diameter (approximately 1.3 to 5 centimeters). Their size can be influenced by various factors, such as light intensity, nutrient availability, and space.
  • Root Appearance: Most striking are the plant’s roots which, true to its name, are a vibrant red. These visually appealing roots typically extend 0.1 to 0.4 inches (0.25 to 1 cm) from the underside of the leaf.
  • Flower Formation: The plants can produce tiny white flowers. They’re not a common sight in aquarium conditions but if you spot one, it’s a sign of a healthily growing plant.
  • Color Changes: One of the unusual aspects of this plant is its ability to change color. Depending on light exposure, it can range from green to reddish hues, giving the aquarium an aesthetic appeal.

Achieving these best color displays requires optimal conditions. The plants thrive in a pH range of 6.5-7.5. They require a low level of carbon dioxide, general hardness between 0-30 dGH, temperature ranging from 18-30 degrees Celsius (or 65-86 degrees Fahrenheit), and a carbonate hardness of 0-14 dGH.

How Do Red Root Floater Plants Grow?

When you start cultivating Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus Fluitans), there’s a certain joy in seeing its growth process. Here’s the lowdown on how these alien-like floating plants develop.

First, light plays an integral part in the plant’s growth. Ideally, your Phyllanthus Fluitans should be exposed to medium to high light intensity. A planted aquarium light can do the trick if natural light isn’t very strong where your aquarium is set up. Remember, expose the plants to light for at least eight hours a day.

But Phyllanthus Fluitans isn’t all about light. Water parameters are equally crucial. Your plant will thrive in the following conditions:

  • PH: between 6.5 and 7.5
  • General hardness: from 0 to 30 dGH
  • Temperature range: between 18-30 degrees Celsius (64.4-86.0 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Carbon dioxide: low
  • Carbonate hardness: 0-14 dGH

Gradually, the leaves will turn from green to a beautiful red, and the root structure will expand. Remember, if you keep the plants densely packed, then its leaves will stay green; it’s all about limiting access to light.

One final piece of advice – Although these plants can survive a broad temperature range, it’s best to stay between 22-28 degrees Celsius (71.6-82.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Keep the hardiness parameters within range as well.

In reality, it’s a balancing act between light, temperature, and water parameters when growing Red Root Floater. By observing its growth habits and adjusting your care tactics, you can ensure your “floating ruby” is always at its healthiest.

Being part of the aquarium hobby, you might have seen or heard about the Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus Fluitans). This plant is in high demand among enthusiasts and beginners alike.

  • Easy to Grow: One of the main reasons is its easy care. The Red Root Floater is a robust grower. It can tolerate a range of 18-30 degrees Celsius (64.4-86 degrees Fahrenheit). It does not need a high level of nutrients or specific pH levels – it thrives well in pH between 6.5 – 7.5.
  • Eye-catching Appearance: This plant stands out due to its vibrant red roots. The leaves also turn reddish when they absorb sufficient light. Its exceptional look adds unique beauty to any aquarium.
  • Shade Provider: Another function of the Red Root Floater is that it provides shadow on the water surface. It thereby reduces the intensity of light reaching the bottom of the tank. This feature is beneficial for fish and plants that prefer less light.
  • Nitrate Remover: Its quick growth means it effectively absorbs nitrates from the water. This absorption helps maintain water quality and balance in the aquarium. It works as natural water conditioner.

The adaptability and beauty of the Red Root Floater are convincing reasons for its popularity in the aquarium hobby. With such great benefits, it becomes an ideal addition to your setup.

What are Some Common Species of Red Root Floater?

Let’s dive into learning about some common species of Red Root Floater. These species are each uniquely beautiful, and each one can add a splash of color to your aquarium.

  • First and foremost is the Phyllanthus fluitans. This is the most common and recognized species of the Red Root Floater. It signifies with its distinctive red roots and round, floating leaves.
  • Another one is Phyllanthus niruri, so named for its greenish-red color. It’s a robust plant that’s often adapted to a variety of water conditions.
  • Lastly, we have the Phyllanthus tenellus. This species stands out due to its larger leaves and ability to thrive in both water and land environments.

Here’s a quick comparison of these species:

Species Name Color Habitat
Phyllanthus fluitans Reddish-green Water
Phyllanthus niruri Greenish-red Water, Land
Phyllanthus tenellus Bright green Water, Land

These are just some of the main species of Red Root Floater. Each one has unique attributes and they all thrive under similar water conditions. These conditions include low carbon dioxide levelsa PH of 6.5-7.5, and a temperature range between 64.4-86 degrees Fahrenheit (18-30 degrees Celsius).

The Red Root Floater community is indeed diverse, and each has its own preference when it comes to water conditions and habitats. Just like you and me, each one has its own individual character and playing field. Yet, they all unite under the category of being a stunning and beneficial addition to your aquarium.

How is Red Root Floater Propagated?

Propagation of Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus Fluitans) is simple and direct. This plant naturally takes up vegetative propagation – that’s its primary mode of reproduction.


This is an effortless process with the Red Root Floater. It occurs when a part of the mother plant becomes detached and starts a life of its own. You’ll often notice new plantlets forming alongside the parent plant – that’s fragmentation at work.


Although rare in captive environments, fertilization could occur if there are both male and female flowers present. The male flowers release pollen that finds its way to the female counterparts, resulting in seed formation. However, this is a less reliable method than fragmentation.


Once you have your plantlets from fragmentation, transplantation is as easy as moving the new growths to another location. This would be either a new aquarium or a different spot in your current setup.

It’s crucial to keep an eye on changes in PH, carbon dioxide, temperature range, and hardness levels during the propagation process. Specifically, PH should be in the range of 6.5-7.5.

Carbon dioxide should be low, with hardness ranging from 0-30 dGH (general hardness) and 0-14 dGH for carbonate hardness. The ideal temperature should be between 18-30 degrees Celsius (64-86 degrees Fahrenheit).

Proper transplantation and management ensure your Red Root Floater’s overall health and propagation success. That’s why attentive care makes a significant difference in this aquatic plant’s propagation. Remember, your root floater is a hardy plant, but delicate to handle during propagation and transplantation steps. Maximum caution should be employed in every step.

Growing a thriving aquarium replete with Red Root Floaters is truly rewarding, and with these propagation guidelines, it’s totally within your reach.

What are the Health and Maintenance Requirements of Red Root Floater?

To thrive and maintain good health, Red Root Floater plants need proper care and the right conditions. Let me guide you through the main aspects of their maintenance.

Water Conditions:

The first step for healthy Red Root Floaters is ensuring optimal water quality. These plants have a preferred pH range of 6.5-7.5. It means the water should be slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. Also, they adapt to low carbon dioxide conditions.

Hardness and Temperature:

Next, pay careful attention to water hardness. With a general hardness of 0-30 dGH and a carbonate hardness of 0-14 dGH, they accommodate a wide range. Temperature is equally vital, keeping your plants in a range of 18-30 degrees Celsius (64.4 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit) will ensure they remain healthy.

Light Intensity:

Red Root Floaters prefer high light intensity. Under the right lighting, their leaves can turn a beautiful red color. However, be cautious about excessive light, as it could lead to leaf burn.

Nutrient Requirements:

These plants are pretty low-maintenance when it comes to nutrients, they mostly take what they need from the water column. Supplementation of macro and micro-nutrients could further boost their growth.


Ensure regular trimming as it stimulates denser growth and prevents overgrowth, which can lead to lower oxygen levels for aquatic animals.

What Makes Red Root Floater a Unique Plant?

The Red Root Floater is renowned for its stunning, scarlet roots and its exquisite, vermillion hues on the underside of its leaves. A few distinctive characteristics set this plant apart:

  • Distinctive coloration: Unlike many aquatic plants, Red Root Floater takes on a radiant red color when it receives adequate light. This is more noticeable than the greens and yellows seen in many other aquatic plants.
  • Rapid growth: It thrives in conditions with lots of light and nutrients and can cover the water’s surface quickly.
  • Easy propagation: It’s a high-yielding plant. A small cluster can spawn a flourishing mat under favorable conditions.

One striking peculiarity of the Red Root Floater lies in its response to the environment. The plant’s color and growth can be a useful indicator of your tank’s health. When they’re radiantly red and growing rapidly, it likely signifies that the tank’s condition is optimal.

Besides its unique appearance, the Red Root Floater also has a positive impact on water quality and tank inhabitants. Remember it consumes high amounts of nitrates and phosphates, which play a crucial role in reducing the risk of algae outbreak. Your fish will also appreciate the subdued lighting and sense of security they give.

The Red Root Floater, so called because of its red roots and its ability to float, stands out from other floating plants. It’s not just a plant, but an effective means of aquarium management.


Red Root Floaters are unique and fascinating aquatic plants that will add color and texture to your aquarium. Their care and propagation are straightforward, making them accessible even to beginner aquarists. Have you had any experiences with Red Root Floaters in your tank? Drop a comment below.

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