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Growing the Bacopa Plant in an Aquarium Environment

Brief Description

Of the many beautiful plants you can choose to enhance the color of your aquarium, those of the stemmed variety provide the widest variation in colors and leaf shapes as well as ease of care. The Bacopa plant in an aquarium environment is one of the most popular. In need of regular and relatively strong lighting to thrive, the plant will cost from $3.00 to $5.00 at your local garden center, pet stores or even online.

When planting the Bacopa in an aquarium environment, it should be taken into account that any stemmed plant will grow to a good height, meaning that regular trimming should take place to prevent the plants from getting out of control, which will considerably reduce its allure and prevent the free flow of light to the bottom of the tank.

On the upside these plants are simple and friendly to trim. Once you have a good and healthy growth of Bacopa plants in your aquarium, their continuation is guaranteed because they are one of the easiest plants to propagate. Although Bacopa in an aquarium will give the impression that it is a large single mass, in actual fact the plant grows in small masses which are easily separated for propagation.

Having the pleasure of Bacopa's in your tank for company does not come without its levels of responsibility. It is very important to fertilize the plant regularly as well as to make sure that they receive sufficient dosages of Carbon Dixide (CO2). If the Bacopa plant is provided with enough of these staples, and is exposed to enough light, they will put on a show in your aquarium that will be very invigorating.

The lighting

Remember that lighting is a very important part of growing aquarium plants. If you only have a single florescent tube, which is standard in most aquarium covers and hoods, then you will be limited in the plants you can grow. Very few of the varieties of Bacopa's will grow in a hooded tank with incandescent lighting fitted. To get the best from your plant, the aquarium will need stronger than average lighting.

The species

The Bacopa plant has originated from several points on the World map. Although there are around seven varietals available, there are three which are well known among the aquarist community and some details or their individual characteristics are listed below:

  • Bacopa australis, although it has only recently come to the fore as an aquarium plant, has gained tremendous popularity among aquarium owners and operators because the plant is easy to grow, control and propagate. The plant was first discovered in Brazil less than ten years ago, its reputation has spread very quickly and the plant can be found in aquariums all over the World.

    Remarkable for its intense green color, australis will form very rapidly into a bush like growth, and is less in need of a strong light than some of the other varieties of Bacopa as is the case with the supplementation of CO2 into the tank. Recommended to be situated in the middle and front of the aquarium, the rich green of the Bacopa australis will act as an excellent backdrop for more exotically colored plants and fish. Bacopa Australis reacts well in temperatures ranging from 15-32°C and has a tolerance to pH ranging between 6-8.

  • Another version of the Bacopa plant that has been around a lot longer than the Australis is the caroliniana. The caroliniana comes around in a few formats, either with a cascade of very small leaves or fewer larger ones. What characterizes the caroliniana in any form is the very strong yet pleasant aroma of lemon which it gives of. Originally emanating from the deep south of the United States of America, it first drew attention when discovered growing in the marshes there. Growers discovered that caroliniana would grow very well either fully immersed or above the surface of the water. A lot less active than the australis, and consequently less popular, caroliniana also requires stronger light although less dependant on CO2 and fertilization, although if treated will respond favorably. Bacopa caroliniana boasts a very interesting color combination, dependant on the level of phosphates in the water ranging from copper to pink to purple, dependent on the phosphate and light levels, and where the caroliniana is situated in the tank.

    In order for the caroliniana to perform at its best the substrate should be a mixture of sand and clay. Either in an open aquarium or even in a open pond caroliniana will grow fairly rapidly and if allowed to reach bloom, will send out some enchanting blue flowers.

    Bacopa caroliniana reacts well in temperatures ranging from 15-28°C and has a tolerance to pH ranging from acid to basic.

  • Bacopa monnieri, popularly known as “moneywort” in the aquarist community, is a plant that takes its origins from the tropical regions of the World. Also a veteran in the aquarium plant scene, monnieri, is popular due to its ease of growth, training and propagation.

    To the experienced aquarist, monnieri is dream to work making very few demands. Basically all it needs to thrive is strong light, (no less than two watts per gallon) Access to CO2 will be welcome but not critical. Fertilization is a necessity with regular dosage of nitrate and phosphate in relatively small doses needed to spur on plant growth. To make the monnieri growing process even more successful an occasional dosage of micro elements, especially iron, will do the plant’s appearance some good.

    The monnieri varietal will gown vertically either immersed or above the water surface, and with its light green foliage lends itself very well to being a background or middle ground in the aquarium tapestry of color.

    Bacopa monnieri reacts well in temperatures ranging from 15-28°C and has a tolerance to pH ranging from acid to basic.

While there are other varieties of Bacopa available they have been found to less in demand in an aquarium setting as the varieties detailed. As further information emerges we will do our utmost to keep our readers informed.

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