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Success growing Hygrophila Pinnatifida low tech in hard water


19 Feb 2010
Hi everyone. Hope you are all doing OK

A while ago I asked about growing Hygrophilia Pinnatifida low tech as I was struggling and several of you gave me advice. I wanted to share my recent success.

I’d tried several pots of established plants that just dropped leaves and melted away. I upgraded to much larger 120l tank when my 30l leaked and I needed extra plants.
I went for in vitro plants for cost reasons and I saw they had Hygrophilia Pinnatifida so I got a cup.

It is thriving in my low tech low budget tank. It’s stuffed into crevices in wood. Not glued or tied. It’s greener than I’d hoped but I’m not bombarding it with light, CO2 and ferts. It was in liquid rather than gel in the pot and didn’t struggle when submerged.

I have a low budget led planted tank light running 12 hours but only between 20% and 50% intensity.

No CO2.

The tank is jungle style. Heavily planted with fast growing plants. It’s a bit messy and wild but gives hiding places for shrimp and fry. About 85% of the substrate is planted and there are houseplants growing in hang on the back breeder boxes powered by air-pumps acting as filters

I add 10ml of both ferts solutions made from EI salts (aquarium plant foods recipe) twice a week when I do a 30% water change. I occasionally add more of the floating plants or house
Plants look pale

The substrate is John Innes No3 mixed with the sand and gravel from the old tank and capped with more sand

Stocking levels are low.
15x ember tetras
10 pygmy cories at last count - maybe more. I only bought 6
Loads of cherry shrimps

Food is mainly live baby brine shrimp, daphnia and any mosquito larvae in the water butt. Shrimp get occasional homemade shrimp lollipops and a couple of pellets of Hikari Crab cuisine every other day

Really hard London water

Hope this info helps someone


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22 Feb 2021
Really interesting!

My experience with this plant in hard water is that it grew well once, in a high tech nano tank, planted in the substrate.

The other times I've tried to grow it as an epiphyte, I've always ended up with black holes in the leaves and it kinda hanging on for a while but slowly but surely dying off. I wonder what the difference is!


28 Oct 2021
I've tried it in 3 tanks so far and had the most success in the water section of my rainwater bog. That said, I seem to be managing to keep it alive in the high humidity terrestrial section too 🤷‍♀️. Of the 5 or so stems I had, one disintegrated entirely, whilst the one next to it dropped its leaves and took 2 months to suddenly spring back to life.