Not all aquarium plants are easy to maintain, but all of them are beautiful. Some have strict requirements and if not followed, you will not be able to grow the plant successfully. Ludwigia Repens is, luckily, fairly easy to maintain, but it is one of the most beautiful plants. It is extremely versatile and it will look good in any tank, no matter what kind of decoration you want to use.
The Ludwigia Repens originally comes from Mexico and the United States and is extremely common, especially among beginners. This is because you don’t have to follow strict rules to grow it, quite the opposite actually.
It is a medium plant, so it is better to grow it in medium to large aquariums. Putting it in a small tank might occupy too much space and you will not have room. In general, it grows up to 20 inches and each stem has about 2 inches in width. Naturally, it can take months or even years for it to reach to its maximum size, so you have plenty of time to enjoy your decorations before you have to change the landscape.
When you first buy the plant, make sure it has a reddish color and the leaves are not damaged in any way. It is well known that parasites or a disease can actually infect a plant that looks “broken” or damaged and this is something you don’t want to place in your tank. It is recommended to get the plant as early as possible, when it’s still young, to give it time to adapt properly to the conditions in your tank.
The Ludwigia Repens has very strong roots, so you can use almost any kind of substrate. However, it is better not to use sand, as this can suffocate the roots. Also, if your substrate does not have nutrients you have to consider using chemicals to “feed” the plant, at least in the first few months. This will help it create a strong root system and you will not have to struggle with its maintenance in the future.
Buying more than a few stems in the beginning can be a mistake, especially if you do not have a large aquarium. This plant will propagate very quickly, so from a few stems you can grow dozens of small plants with patience and good conditions. To plant it, simply put the roots in the substrate and make sure more than one inch from the root is in the substrate. If the plant is already mature, you can also trim it to encourage producing new stems.
The red coloration of the plant is probably what attracts most people. To encourage and keep this, you have to be extremely careful with the lighting system. The more light this plant has, the more intense its color will be. Therefore, to keep it healthy and growing you should provide at least 2.5 watts of light per gallon and make sure the plant does not stay in the shade. To take things even further, you can keep the nitrate levels at approximately 5 ppm and high phosphate levels. This will help with the pigmentation of the plant and it will grow much faster.
While the color of the plant is what makes it attractive for aquascapers, this is also what makes it attractive for fish. Very often small, aggressive fish will try to eat from the plant and after a while the leaves will be completely destroyed. You have to put it in tanks where the fish will not have the chance to eat it.
A very interesting thing that many people don’t know is this plant can also grow on the surface of the water. Of course, it will not be as luxurious and it will take more time for it to reach its maximum size. On the other hand, it will create many side shoots that will create a very interesting look in your tank. If you have small plants on the bottom, you might want to think about growing Ludwigia Repens on the surface, while still providing the others with natural light.
Once you put this plant in your tank, you will not have to take care of it unless you want to trim it or change the water. It is a great addition to your aquarium and your fish will love it!