Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides)

How to Grow and care Water Sprite in Home Aquarium

Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides)

Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides)

What is Water Sprite?

With the exception of duckweed, water sprite is probably the easiest of all aquarium plants the grow. It is hardy, tolerates a wide range of temperatures and lighting, removes ammonia and nitrates from the water and provides hiding places for young fish.

Method and benefit of growing them?

It can be grown as a rooted plant or left to float on the surface where it will send up leaves above the water and send long, branching roots down into the water column.

It is one of the best choices for the basic community aquarium that was set up without fertilizer or special lighting.

Water sprite can grow well utilizing the fish waste, and as long as there is some light source over the tank, it will be fine. There are a few exceptions to its uses, though.

Goldfish and some cichlids love to graze on the soft leaves of the water sprite. And of course, like all plants, you should not attempt to raise it with most lake cichlids. They will just tear it up out of spite.

Where is it not recommended?

I do not recommend water sprite for a carefully planned aquascape. That is because it grows too quickly and would soon crowd out the other plants without constant pruning. It takes quite a bit of effort to actually kill your water sprite, but there are some was. One way is to start with. An unhealthy plant.

Where to Buy?

If you are buying it in a fish store, and most fish stores regularly carry it, do not purchase one that has brown leaves or stems. Those have probably been sitting in a fishless tank at the dealer’s tank for a while without access to any nutrients.

How it looks When Healthy?

Water sprite should be light green when healthy. Another way to kill it is to use the copper based medication in your tank such as those used to treat ich. Of course, that will have a negative effect on most plants.


Water Sprite

Water Sprite

It is present Worldwide in tropical countries where the all twelve months the temperature has the mean value of at least 18-degree Celsius.

Growth & Size of the Plant:

Growing in full natural sunlight, water sprite can reach 100cm/ 36″, but in the aquarium, they are usually half that size. Feel free to trim without harm to the plant.

Temperature Limitations:

Most sites say 20-28°C/ 68-82°F. However, I keep some growing in my indoor swamp which is on an unheated balcony. The temperature drops to the single digits Celsius, upper 30s/low 40s Fahrenheit.

The aerial stems and leaves turn a dark chocolate brown (and would probably look nice in a dried arrangement) but I don’t cut them.

In the spring, each stem develops a dozen or so bright green plantlets. These can be removed and planted in the soil, or the entire stem can be laid on top of the water and each plantlet will rapidly develop roots.

Habitat & Living Place:

As long as its wet, they are not picky. When grown in boggy conditions or floating, they show what the really are; ferns. New leaves emerge in the typical fiddlehead style as terrestrial ferns.

They do not hold up well in hillstream tanks. If the water is too strong, pieces will break off and either clog the intake of your filter or float at the top developing roots there.

Propagation & Movement:

If you have a plant from the store that has roots, you can either drop it in the tank and let it float (which is a great option for livebearers, betta, and gouramis), or root it in the soil. If you are rooting it, be sure not to bury the crown of the plant.

Reproducing the plant is easy, Just cut off a leaf, the bigger the piece the better, and let it float. It will soon put out roots and new leaves. If you do that once in a while, you will soon have enough plants for all your friends.

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Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo best water growing houseplant for tank

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo

The lucky bamboo plant is a perfect example of false advertising and an example of how the market can sometimes intentionally deceive consumers to sell a product.

In the case of Lucky Bamboo, which also goes by the common names Chinese Water Bamboo, Friendship Bamboo, and Ribbon Dracaena, the deception goes far beyond calling this plant a “bamboo.” It is not a bamboo, nor is it from China or anywhere else in Asia. Dracaena is all from Africa and this one, in particular, is from Cameroon in western Africa. But there is a bigger problem with the marketing than just the name and that is the fact that it is sold to people as a water-loving, sometimes fully aquatic, plant. It is not.

If you attempt to grow this plant fully submerged, it will live approximately two months before the stem turns to mush and the leaves rot. It will fare better if grown with the leaves above water as shown in the picture or in the filter material of a hanging filter. It may last over a year in those conditions. However, so will many other houseplants.

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  1. Water Sprite Aquarium Decorative Plant with beautiful Leaves

I have often used an aquarium to root cuttings of plants like coleus, geraniums, philodendrons, pothos, spider plants, etc. However, that is meant to be a short-term situation. The plants are supposed to be removed from the water once the roots are well-developed. The same is true for the lucky bamboo.

If you want it to live longer and reach its full potential, take it out of the water and pot it up. After adjusting to the soil, they no longer tolerate soggy conditions. While the solid green form is the one most frequently sold to aquarists (because it is not really that attractive when compared to other forms), houseplant growers can buy Dracaena sanderiana with attractive white or lime green margins.


  • Cameroon

Size of Bamboo:

It can grow easily 1.5m/ 5 ft as normal but the figures can be varied if you care them properly.


They can bear and tolerate the water temperature of 15-32°C/ 59-90°F in the aquarium. But if you are using the heater in your tank you must care about it.


Dracaenas do not like too much fertilizer. Fertilize only once or twice a year. An overfertilized plant turns yellow. This will also happen if kept in water containing fluoride.


Dracaena sanderiana likes bright indirect light. In nature, they grow in forests and receive strong but filtered light. Their soil should be neither wet nor dry. Wet soil makes the roots and stem rot. Dry conditions will cause the tips of the leaves to dry and turn brown. Keep their soil moist by watering once a week and must the leaves with bottled water twice a week. Tap water contains fluoride and chlorine which causes yellow spots. While the chlorine can be removed by aging the water 24 hours, the fluoride remains.


Divide by cutting anywhere on the stem. The cuttings of any type of Dracaena are easily rooted in water.

Important Note: If you want to buy a dracaena (and in my opinion Dracaena marginata, the Dragon Tree, is best), purchase it at a garden shop, not a fish store. If people continue buying them there, the stores will continue to sell them and more people will be deceived into planting them in their aquariums.

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