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Need information on Hygrophila species......

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Hi all, so recently I wanted to start a new 10 gallon tank, and I'm really eyeing on using Hygrophila to fill the background.

However, after days of Google and Youtube, I can't seem to gather much comprehensive information on this species in general.

All the information I found either missed certain data, or had conflicting info with another source.

The only thing consistent across the board is that they are fast growing weeds. So I decided to come to the nerms for help!

Here are some species/variations that caught my attention:

Hygrophila Corymbosa

Hygrophila Stricta

Hygrophila Compacta

Hygrophila Siamensis and Siamensis 53b (this one I'm most interested in)

Hygrophila Angustifolia

Hygrophila Salicifolia (Hygro Blue?)


Some questions I have in mind:

1. Key appearance differences? (many species just look similar to me, or I don't know how they'll look once established)

2. Plant height and suitable tank size? (have a 10 gal, 12" tall tank)

3. Growth when dosed only with Easy Green and no root tab?

4. Some species say they make many "offshoots," does this mean runners, or the stem branches out?


Many thanks in advance!



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Most stem plants are fine in any tank size, but smaller tanks may require more trimming. I've personally only kept Hygrophila corymbosa and Hygrophila pinnatifida and ultimately passed both on because I didn't enjoy them. Hygrophila compact is a cultivar of H. corymbosa so will have almost all of its characteristics at a smaller size and with denser foliage.

Most Hygrophila species are water column feeders and will get most of their nutrition from the water column, though personally I like to use both EG and root tabs. Most stem plants will produce lateral shoots when you trim them (ex: you cut off the top, two more will grow from where you trimmed). You can also propagate them by planting those tops in substrate and allowing them to take root.

First impressions of the species that you mentioned:

Hygrophila corymbosa - Nice, broad-leafed plant. Very easy care in my experience but not something that I personally enjoy.
Hygrophila corymbosa "Compact" - Cultivar of H. corymbosa. Similar care, may require more light because the distance between it and the light is greater compared to H. corymbosa. Cool looking but not my cup of tea.
Hygrophila corymbosa "Siamensis" - Another cultivar. This one has much denser foliage and appears to have narrower leaves.
Hygrophila corymbosa "Stricta" - This is similar to Siamensis however it has more red/brown tones in the submerged photos that I was able to find.
Hygrophila angustifolia - This one has similar foliage to Siamensis and Stricta however they're arranged in a different pattern. It's a different species than all of the other plants above.

I wasn't able to find any photos of submerged H. salicifolia. Personally none of these plants are my cup of tea so I can't really make any comment as to what I think would look good. They're all very similar, partially due to the nature of cultivars.

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16 hours ago, ange said:

Most stem plants are fine in any tank size, but smaller tanks may require more trimming......

@ange wow first of all thanks for the detailed answer!

I'm pretty new to stem plants, and after some Google on stems in general, seems like people say stems plants grow "indefinitely," which does make sense when I think more about it.

My concern is choosing a variety that is just physical too robust (which I think Angustifolia may fall under......)

I'm narrowing down to these 3 cultivars (they seem to have smaller foliage and remain green) - Compact, Siamensis, and Salicifolia. But finding places that carry them AND have in stock has been a challenge so far......

People say Compact generally doesn't grow above 6", but user experience also seems inconsistent......

This is the tank that inspired me btw (credit to George Farmer's video). I really like the dense green and narrow foliage in the back.


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Generally speaking if you want a plant to stay small, you have to prune it regularly until eventually it is "trained" to not go so high. It's possible to stunt a plant's growth in doing so and it doesn't hurt the remaining foliage.

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