A moss speciality from Brasil, 1-3 cm tall, called “Christmas tree moss”, because of its side branch structure which distinguishes it from ordinary Vesicularia dubyana and looks like fir tree branches. It is more demanding than ordinary Java moss and grows more slowly. It attaches readily to roots and stones, and as it spreads in the water it needs pruning to keep its shape attractive.
Vallisneria spiralis ‘Tiger’ from Asia is an excellent plant for beginners, growing in virtually all light and water conditions. The name ‘Tiger’ is due to its striped leaves (30-50 cm long, 1-2 cm wide). The relatively short leaves make it suitable for small aquariums, and the leaves are also narrow so they do not overshadow smaller plants. Forms runners easily, and is thus easy to propagate.
Vallisneria sp. Gigantea from Asia is an easy plant that grows fast, suitable for large aquariums. In most aquariums the leaves grow so long that they float on the surface (50-150 cm, 2 cm wide). So the plant needs pruning to stop it taking too much light from plants growing beneath.
Vallisneria sp. Asiatica has twisted, green leaves that make a beautiful contrast when planted in groups. Its shorter leaves (20-30 cm) differ from most other Vallisneria species and do not overshadow other plants in the aquarium. An easy plant that readily propagates via runners.
Utricularia graminifolia from Asia belongs to the bladderwort family. All the plants in this family are insect eating, perennial water and marsh plants. Bladder traps are a unique feature of this family, which Utricularia graminifolia forms after a short period of time in the aquarium.
Taxiphyllum barbieri from South-East Asia is a hardy plant which makes few demands on the water or light. The moss becomes 3-10 cm thick and grows willingly on any surface, so it is ideal for decorating stones and tree roots or concealing installations in the aquarium.
Asian Flame moss got its name from its form of growth. Tight, vertical growing and light undulating shoots give the impression of a deep green camp fire, 5-15cm high. The very special form makes Flame moss extremely suitable for horizontal surfaces and it only spreads slowly horizontally.
Staurogyne repens is a fresh green, compact and hardy plant for the foreground of the aquarium and it was found in River Rio Cristalino in the southern Amazonas. Its nearest relative in the aquaristic is Hygrophila but Staurogyne is different with its marked compact, low and bushy stature (5-10 cm) and small green leaves (each stem is 3.4 cm wide).
Variety of Shinnersia rivularis, distinguished by the white veins on the leaves, 30-60 cm long and up to 10 cm wide stems. This colour mutation was discovered at the Dennerle aquarium plant nursery. The plant grows rapidly and soon reaches the water surface, but shoots can simply be pinched off and planted back on the bottom.
Salvinia auriculata is a cosmopolitic floating fern, 1-3 cm, that grows quickly if there is sufficient nutrition and light. Light leaves are a sign of a shortage of micronutrients. It tends to shade light from the plants at the bottom. Salvinia varieties have small hairs on their leaves, making them water resistant.
Rotala wallichii is a demanding plant that develops red shoot tips in good light conditions. The most decorative effect can be achieved by planting a large number of stems in a group. Rotala walichii is good as background and midground plant and suitable even for small aquariums, because it is easy to prune if it grows too tall. CO2 addition boosts growth considerably.
The asiatic Rotala sp. ‘Green’ is very similar to Rotala rotundifolia, but its leaves remain fresh and bright green, even with intensive light. Stems becomes 40-50 cm long and 2-3 cm wide. The plant forms many side shoots willingly and obtains a beautiful, bushy and “hanging” growth.
Japanese Takashi Amano has inspired many aquarium owners to keep the 1-5 cm tall cosmopolitic moss, Riccia fluitans, submerged. It can be kept down by tying it to a stone with a piece of fishing line, but new shoots always grow towards the surface, so it may be necessary to prune it with scissors.
Coral moss – thick and compact moss species with an intense, deep green colour from Asia, 1-3 cm tall. Riccardia is specially suited for attaching to branches and stones. The moss grows slowly and is easily overgrown by algae or other mosses. Riccardia requires more light than other moss species.
Proserpinaca palustris, or mermaid weed, is distributed in the entire east and south-east of the USA, on some islands of the Caribbean as well as in Central and parts of South America in ditches, ponds, rivulets and swamplands. Throughout its wide area of distribution, this plant has developed many different varieties, depending on the region.
Pogostemon stellata from Asia and Australia is distinguished by its beautiful shape and colour. Stems from 20-60 cm and up to 10 cm wide. It is difficult to grow in aquariums. It requires intensive light and the addition of CO2 to grow well. The shortage of micronutrients leads to pale leaves, which may be an indication that the aquarium needs fertiliser.
This plant was discovered by aquarists in Thailand, close to the border with Burma. It is called ‘Downoi’ (little star) in Thailand, and it is easy to see why (5-10 cm tall and wide). Pogostemon helferi is an unusual and distinctive aquatic plant with a compact habit, curly leaves and a strikingly beautiful green colour.
The Indian Pogostemon erectus forms compact groups of bright green, conifer-like stems, 15-40 cm tall and 1-3 cm wide. Pogostemon erectus is suitable as a background plant and creates a wonderful focal point in both smaller and larger groups. Intense light helps the plant to stay compact for a longer period. Moderate growth and vigorous roots.