Common name: Blue water hyacinth Origin: Tropical and subtropical America Maximum height 18-24 in (45-60 cm) Growth rate: Medium Area: Background, Midground, Specimen, or unusual Light: Very Bright Temperature: 75-82T (24-28°C) Propagation: From cuttings Difficulty: 3, 4
The leaf shape of this plant makes a good contrast with many other aquatic plants. The leaves are long (4-6 in/10-15 cm) and thin (0.3 in/0.7 cm). To minimize the need for frequent cutting back, keep it in a fairly deep aquarium so that it does not reach the water surface. It also requires a strong source of light and a low carbonate hardness to keep it in perfect health. Plant it In small groups of three or more, allowing plenty of room between the stems.
Common name: Dwarf hairgrass Origin: Cuba, Europe, Africa Maximum height: 6 in (15 cm) Growth rate: Medium Area: Midground, Foreground Light: Strong lighting Temperature: 68-82°F (20-28"C ) Propagation: From runners Difficulty: 2
This foreground plant has an attractive grasslike appearance and under ideai conditions will spread across the substrate, creating a "lawn" effect. As with other fine-leaved, foreground plants, bright lighting is required for healthy growth. A taller variety, Eleocharis acicularis (hairgrass), is also readily available in the aquarium trade.
Synonym: Eleocharis proliféra Common name: Umbrella grass Origin: Eastern United States Maximum height: 20 In (50 cm) Growth rate: Fast
Area: Midground, Foreground, Specimen, or unusual Light Bright
Temperature: 72-82°F (22-28°C) Propagation: By adventitious plantlets Difficulty: 2
This grasslike plant can be used as a specimen or midground plant and may reach up to 20 in (50 cm) in length. New plantlets are created at the top of the leaf, giving the plant its "umbrella" appearance. Good lighting and soft water will both prove beneficial when caring for this plant. In the best conditions it may spread quickly, so allow plenty of room for growth.
Common name: Hairgrass
This commonly available grasslike plant will vary in height depending on light conditions; brighter lighting will produce a shorter plant. Although easy to care for, good fertilization and a clear, debris-free environment will prevent the plant from dying back. Dense plants can be separated and replanted, which will encourage new growth.
Maximum height: 10 in (25 cm), but usually 6-8 in (15-20 cm)
Growth rate: Medium
Area: Midground, Foreground Light: Bright Temperature: 64-82°F (18-28°C) Propagation: From runners Difficulty: 2
The fine grasslike leaves collect undesirable floating waste from the aquarium water, but scavenging fish, such as corydoras catfish or kuhli loaches, will disturb the plant leaves and remove the debris.
Area: Background Light: Moderate to Bright
Temperature: 50-68°F (10-20°C) Propagation: From cuttings Difficulty: 1, 2
Origin: Australia, Asia
Used in well-spaced groups and given good conditions, this plant can become part of a stunning midground display. Unfortunately, it is not too easy to care for. A softwater, nutrient-rich environment, combined with strong lighting and a good supply of C02, will help to keep it in good condition. Taking cuttings will result in side shoots and a bushier plant. Even with the best care, growth may slow down or even stop.
Maximum height: 12-16 in (30-40 cm) Growth rate: Varies depending on conditions Area: Background, Midground, Foreground
Light: Bright to Very Bright The star rotala is a very
Temperature: 72-82°F (22-28°C) attractive plant, although it is
specimen will make a fine Difficulty: 3, 4 addition to any display.
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