Ammannia gracilis originates from swampy areas in West Africa. The first specimens of the African hygro were brought into the hobby by aquarist P. J. Bussink who found them in Liberia. Ammania gracilis is probably the most popular of the genus due to its beauty and its moderate requirements.
Although A. gracilis may be an uncomplicated stem plant, it only shows its full potential under strong lights; moreover, it needs sufficient amounts of CO2 (25-30 mg/l). It prefers soft and slightly acidic water, but adapts well to more extreme water parameters. Nitrate and phosphate should be added to the tank, as well as iron and other micronutrients. A lack of iron shows in fading leaf colour, whereas too ample a provision leads to longer stems and a less intensive red (a high nitrate content also leads to the leaves turning green). A. gracilis shows its most intensive colouration when nitrates are low and, at the same time, the content of phosphate and micronutrients is high.
When kept under good conditions, this large, colourful stem plant soon grows to the water surface. If you cut the upper part with a pair of scissors and replant it you get robust, beautiful African hygro plants. A. gracilis can also be propagated by cutting off its lateral shoots which are then replanted.
Its size makes A. gracilis a plant for the middle area or the background of aquaria with a volume of over 76 litres, where its cognac-coloured hues contrast beautifully against bright green plants like e.g. Heteranthera zosterifolia.
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