Hygrophila sp. 'Red'

Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Foreground, group, Foreground, ground cover
Difficulty: medium
Growth: slow
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Habit, plant type:

  • stem
Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Lamiales
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Hygrophila

Description: 

Hygrophila sp. 'Red' has recently been imported from South-East Asia by the aquatic plant nursery Oriental Aquarium in Singapore to the USA, where it is not very widely spread in the aquarium hobby yet. It seems to be unknown in Europe. This plant has not been closer identified yet, and it is possible that it is not even a Hygrophila but it might belong to the genus Staurogyne. However, this probably cannot even be verified, as the plant seems to have disappeared from the hobby again already.
It is possible that the rather unspecific name Hygrophila sp. "Red" is used for other aquarium plants than the one described here in trade.

H. sp. 'Red' is a strongly ramified creeping, ground-covering plant with a reddish to brownish colour. It tends to form very long leaves. It is relatively undemanding, however, a nutrient-rich substrate and good lighting lead to larger and faster growth. The addition of nitrates and phosphates accelerate growth even more and help prevent the formation of green spot algae on the leaves. It does not require a CO2 injection. Lower nutrient concentrations seem to induce the most intensive colouration in this species. H. sp. 'Red' develops an impressive root system.

Propagation is easy, as this plant throws many lateral shoots, which may be cut off and replanted in the substrate. New shoots will also grow from all stem parts that remain in the substrate.

Hygrophila sp. 'Red' is primarily a foreground plant for medium to large tanks. It is one of the few foreground plants that are not green, and groups of this plant contrast impressively against neighbouring plants with light green or light red colours.

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