Phyllanthus fluitans

Red root floater

Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Water surface
Difficulty: medium
Growth: fast

Common names: 
  • Red root floater

Habit, plant type:

  • stem
  • free-floating (surface)
Botanical name [?]: Phyllánthus flúitans Benth. ex Müll.Arg.

Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Phyllanthaceae
Genus: Phyllanthus


This nice little floating plant originates from the American tropics and is traditionally counted among the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). Recent research has shown, though, that the genus Phyllanthus better be placed in its own family, that of Phyllanthaceae.
Phyllanthus fluitans looks pretty similar to a floating fern of the genus Salvinia, however, instead of two floating leaves it has just one on each node (alternate leaves).
The thin submerges stem has tufts of red roots and round, water-repellent floating leaves with a heart-shaped base that hide the stem more or less completely. The leaves often possess a convex centre, whereas the leaf margin is even with the waterline.
Under favourable conditions, tiny white flowers with six petals appear in the leaf axils.

Leaf colour depends very much on light intensity - the more intensive the light, the deeper the brown-red hue the leaves get. It has been observed to do well in hard water when the light is intensive (i.e. full sun outside), whereas softer water (approx. 7° dGH) is better if the light is weaker (B. Wallach).
Like other floating plants, P. fluitans needs ample macro- and micronutrients for healthy growth.
Emersed cultivation is also possible, then the substrate needs to be wet and rich in nutrients (e.g. loam).

Propagation is very easy, like in Salvinia species, too. The plants branch out readily and the floating population divides easily into parts as the stems are quite fragile.

References and further reading:
  1. follows
Light medium to high 
Temperature tolerance 18 to 30 °C
Optimum temperature 24 to 28 °C
Carbonate hardness 0 to 14 °dKH
pH value 5 to 8 
Carbon dioxide (CO2) 0 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: Fragmentation, Cuttings, Splitting, cutting off daughter plants

Can grow emersed?: yes

Suited for outdoor cultivation / ponds: unknown

Winter hardiness: not hardy in Germany

There is no detailled information for cultivating this plant yet.
There are no further design information for this plant yet.
There are no images in this gallery.
You can embed this entry directly into another web site or forum. Just copy and paste the following code:

Embed as HTML code

<a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Phyllanthus fluitans" title="Phyllanthus fluitans" src="" /></a>

Embed as BB code


Embed in Flogrow Forum

[widget=aquaticplants/phyllanthus-fluitans]Phyllanthus fluitans[/widget]


There are no reviews so far. Do you want to write the first one?
TODO Phyllanthus fluitans is also known as Red root floater. 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.