Cabomba furcata

Red Cabomba

Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Accent (red), Background, Midground
Difficulty: difficult
Growth: fast
Range and localities: 

Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana, Trinidad, Cuba (Isla de Juventud)

Common names: 
  • Red Cabomba

  • Cabomba piauhyensis Gardner
  • Cabomba warmingii Casp.

Habit, plant type:

  • stem
Botanical name [?]: Cabómba furcáta Schult. & Schult.f.

Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Nymphaeales
Family: Cabombaceae
Genus: Cabomba


The difficulties many hobbyists are faced with when cultivating Cabomba furcata are probably the reason why it is not very popular in the hobby. Native to Central and South America, C. furcata prefers slow-flowing waters with a slightly acidic pH. There it forms literal carpets with red to purple flowers. Its lineal floating leaves are shield-shaped (peltate). C. piauhyensis and C. warmingii are synonyms for this species.

As for most Cabomba species, light is also the primary factor for this fine-leaved reddish stem plant. In many cases C. furcata requires 0.8 watts per litre or more for stable growth. If the light is insufficient, the shoots grow weak and tend to decompose. A substrate enriched in nutrients, like e.g. ADA Aquasoil, can significantly enhance growth. C. furcata requires micronutrients and nitrate as well as phosphate, best added as liquid fertiliser, as it is highly susceptible to a lack of nutrients. Symptoms are darker leaves, reduced growth and long internodes. Careful nitrate limitation may enhance coloration towards golden or pinkish hues. A fertilisation with CO2 is responsible for a healthy appearance and enhanced growth significantly. C. furcata cannot be cultivated above the waterline, and in the aquarium, it is only rarely known to form floating leaves and flowers. During the summer months it may be cultivated outside, where the formation of flowers is possible.

C. furcata is easiest propagated by terminal cuttings. If you leave the lower part of the plant in the substrate, normally a new shoot forms from the uppermost node. When cultivated in good conditions, this plant is a fast grower and needs to be cut back frequently.

Red Cabomba is difficult in cultivation. However, if you keep it at optimal conditions it harmonised beautifully with other fine-leaved or bright green plants in the middle- or background of your aquarium. It contrasts especially nicely against driftwood.

References and further reading:
  1. follows
Light medium to high 
Temperature tolerance 20 to 35 °C
Optimum temperature 24 to 30 °C
Carbonate hardness 0 to 7 °dKH
pH value 5 to 6.8 
Carbon dioxide (CO2) 20 to 40 mg/l
Nitrate (NO3-) 10 to 50 mg/l
Phosphate (PO43-) 0.1 to 3 mg/l
Potassium (K+) 5 to 30 mg/l
Iron (Fe) 0.01 to 0.5 mg/l

Growth: fast

Propagation: Cuttings, Splitting, cutting off daughter plants

Can grow emersed?: no

Suited for outdoor cultivation / ponds: unknown

Winter hardiness: not hardy in Germany

References and further reading:
  1. follows
Aquascaping: fine-leaved, very colourful plant for accents

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References and further reading:
  1. follows
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TODO Cabomba furcata is also known as Red Cabomba. TODO

Wasserpflanzen sind ein fester Bestandteil der meisten Aquarien. Beim Aquascaping, dem Naturaquarium, Biotop-Aquarium oder dem Gesellschaftsaquarium sind Wasserpflanzen nicht nur für die Wasserqualität entscheidend, sondern sorgen auch stets für eine optische Aufwertung des Aquariums.