Scientific name: Alternanthera reineckii
Usual maximum size in aquariums: 25 - 50 cm (9.84 - 19.69 inch)
Recommended pH range for the species: 6.2 - 7.1
Recommended water hardness (dGH): 4 - 12°N (71.43 - 214.29ppm)
0°C 32°F30°C 86°F
Recommended temperature: 23 - 30 °C (73.4 - 86°F)
Reproduction of the plant: Cuttings
Origin (in the wild): South America
How fast these plants grow: Slow
Recommended substrate: Fine gravel
Demands on lighting: Bright
Ideal placement in a fish tank: Middle
Magenta water hedge
South America, Alternanthera reineckii are found in the Amazonian waterways. In their natural habitat they are often submerged as the river banks flood so have adapted to either method of growing them.
Alternanthera reineckii should be planted in midground and background areas of a fish tank depending on other plants species that are grown in the same tank. If used in small aquariums they can be planted in the centre of the aquarium to provide a specimen plant display, do not overplant though limiting swimming space for the fish.
Medium to high amount of light is required, if kept under low lighting the growth rate will be slowed down.
Very easy plant to propagate, remove the middle shoot and plant straight away in the substrate. This will help to make the mother plant bush out. Cuttings can also be taken from the side shoots. The substrate needs to be enriched with plenty of nutrients to ensure healthy growth and form a strong plant, root tabs are the easiest method to use to keep the substrate rich but dosing the water column will also aid the growth rate.
Medium - if correct lighting is used, Alternanthera reineckii are relatively easy to look after.
Alternanthera reineckii make an excellent plant for blending in with green foliage. Their red leaves offer a contrast against the green and they are also useful for filling out any gaps in the foliage. This plant species will require nutrients in the form of root tabs or liquid feeds to keep them in top condition.
Because of their smaller size they are also suitable for the smaller aquariums and can also be used effectively in larger aquariums as part of a contrasting display. They are quite a slow growing plant, using lower lighting levels will also slow down the growth even more. A sure sign that the lighting is too low is when the lower leaves detach themselves and drop away from the mother plant, once the lighting level is increased, this tendency should cease in a very short time.
They look their best when planted in small groups and are just as happy growing submerged as emersed where they are found in their natural habitat.