Rotala rotundifolia - Immersed Potted Plant

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Rotala Rotundifolia, often referred to as the "Roundleaf Toothcup," is a popular and versatile aquatic plant appreciated for its vibrant coloration and graceful appearance. Belonging to the Lythraceae family, this species is commonly utilized in aquascaping due to its ability to add lushness and visual interest to freshwater aquariums. With its unique growth form and striking hues, Rotala rotundifolia is a favoured choice among aquarists.

Physical Characteristics:

  1. Leaf Structure: The leaves of Rotala rotundifolia are narrow and lance-shaped, exhibiting varying shades of green, orange, red, or pink. The coloration intensifies under optimal conditions, creating a visually dynamic and appealing display.

  2. Growth Form: This plant is known for its bushy and branching growth habit. In favourable conditions, it can develop dense clusters of stems, creating a lush and captivating midground or background display in the aquarium.

  3. Stem Structure: The stems of Rotala rotundifolia are thin and delicate, allowing them to sway gracefully in the water. This characteristic contributes to the plant's overall aesthetic charm.

Aquarium Requirements:

  1. Lighting: Moderate to high lighting is recommended for Rotala rotundifolia to encourage robust growth and vibrant coloration. Adequate light helps maintain the plant's health and intensify the red or pink hues.

  2. Substrate: A nutrient-rich substrate is beneficial for this plant, as it absorbs nutrients through its roots. However, it can also thrive in aquariums with inert substrates when provided with liquid fertilizers.

  3. CO2 Injection: While not strictly necessary, the addition of carbon dioxide (CO2) can enhance the growth and coloration of Rotala rotundifolia, especially in setups with higher lighting.

  4. Water Parameters: Maintain water conditions within a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5 and a water hardness level of soft to moderately hard. The temperature should ideally be between 22 to 28°C.

Propagation: Rotala rotundifolia is easily propagated through cuttings. Simply trim the tops of healthy stems and replant them in the substrate. The cuttings will develop roots and continue growing, allowing for the expansion of the plant.

Maintenance: Regular pruning is necessary to control the growth and maintain the desired shape of Rotala rotundifolia. Trimming also encourages the development of lateral shoots, resulting in a bushier and more visually appealing appearance.

Aquascaping Use: Rotala rotundifolia is commonly used in aquascaping layouts, especially in the midground and background areas. Its vibrant colours and delicate stems create a sense of movement and add a dynamic element to the aquarium design.

Challenges: Maintaining the intense coloration of Rotala rotundifolia may require careful attention to lighting and nutrient levels. Inadequate lighting or nutrient deficiencies can lead to subdued colours and slower growth.

Rotala rotundifolia is a versatile and captivating plant that brings vibrancy to freshwater aquariums. Its unique coloration and graceful growth make it a valuable asset for aquascaping projects. By providing the appropriate care and conditions, aquarists can enjoy the dynamic beauty and visual impact that Rotala rotundifolia contributes to their aquatic displays.