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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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