Complete Overview of Bacopa Plants for your Aquarium

bacopa plants

Find out all about the Bacopa plants and how well they suit your aquarium

The Bacopa plants have their main distribution in the tropics and subtropics of the desert areas of South America.

With the exception of the small fatty leaf Bacopa monnieri, which is now spread almost all over the world through displacement and reintroduction, the species suitable for aquariums occur exclusively in America.

Bacopa Plants: Types

There are about 60 to 100 species belong to the genus Bacopa. The following are widely found in aquariums:

  • Bacopa australis
  • Bacopa crenata
  • Bacopa caroliniana
  • Bacopa lanigera
  • Bacopa madagascariensis
  • Bacopa monnieri
  • Bacopa myriophylloides

Bacopa australis  – Southern fat leaf

bacopa plants
Bacopa australis

Origin: South America (southern Brazil)

Name: The scientific species name “australis” means “south” and does not refer to the continent of Australia.

Appearance: The plants creep over water and rise only a little. The stems are well branched. The leaves are cross opposite, ovate to round. They are bright green. In strong light, the leaf becomes reddish starting from the midrib. The flowers sit individually in the leaf axils on stems up to 3 cm long. It has 5 green sepals and 5 light pink petals, of which the two lower ones are fused to form a lip. The inside of the tube is yellow and has a reddish border at the top.

Above water the leaves are somewhat fleshy and slightly greasy and shiny. The leaves are a little stronger in the open air than in the greenhouse and are reddish in color. There are 4 stamens and the stigma is deeply split into two branches. The capsule fruit is about 3.5 mm long.

The stems can reach a height of 30 cm under water. The leaves are then thinner and 1-1.8 cm long and about 0.8 to 1.3 cm wide.

Temperature: 10-35 ° C immersed, optimal in the aquarium 20 – 26 ° C

pH value: 5.5-7.0

Water hardness: 2-12 ° KH

Light: medium – much

Other: Easy to cultivate, undemanding species.  They are also suitable for small aquariums. With a good supply of nutrients and sufficient light, the plant grows very quickly. Carbon dioxide fertilization is not necessary.

Bacopa caroliniana – Large fat sheet

bacopa plants
Bacopa caroliniana

Synonyms: Obolaria carolineana , Bacopa amplexicaulis, Hydrotrida caroliniana , Hydrotrida caroliniana, Monniera amplexicaulis , Moniera caroliniana, Moniera caroliniana, Septilia caroliniana, Septilia caroliniana,

Origin: South and middle of the USA, Mexico

Appearance: The richly branched, round stem becomes up to one meter long. The fleshy leaves are entire, ovate, light green, 2-2.5 cm long and 1-1.5 cm wide. Their base includes the stem (sessile). You sit cross-opposite. The emersed leaves in particular have a greasy shine. The sap smells aromatic. The stem is woolly hairy, especially on the tip of the shoot. The flowers are tubular, with 5 green sepals . Two of the blue or purple petals are fused together. The stylus is about 6 mm long.

The hair is missing under water and the plants are somewhat softer. Otherwise the appearance hardly changes.

Temperature: 18-28 ° C pH value: 5.0-7.5 hardness: 5-18 ° KH light: medium to much

Other: good aquarium plant. They are also suitable for initial planting and for reducing nitrate and phosphate (combating algae). If the lighting is too low, the internodes become longer and the leaves smaller. A good supply of macronutrients is necessary for lush growth. This is why the plants develop best in typical beginner fish aquariums.

Bacopa crenata – Notched fat sheet

bacopa plants
Bacopa crenata

Synonyms: Herpestis crenata, Herpestis calycina, Herpestis thonningii, Bacopa calycina, Monniera calycina

Origin: Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Togo and Northern Nigeria

Appearance: The plants grow crawling over water. The stems are 2 to 5 mm in diameter, twisted, fleshy and hairless. The leaves are cross and sessile. The leaf blade is lanceolate to ovate, 1.5 to 6 cm long and 0.5 to 2 cm wide. Above water the plant is grass green. The flowers stand individually on 2 to 4 mm long stems. The 5thSepals are green. There are two or three of the five white to pink petals fused together. The three-lobed lower lip is yellowish in the throat. The scar is deeply split.

Under water, the leaves are bright green in color and sometimes form 3 to 5-fold whorls. The leaf edge is then more or less serrated.

Temperature: 15-29 ° C

pH value: 5.0-7.5

Water hardness: 5-18 ° KH

Light: medium

Other: The plant grows in swamps and ditches. It is unusual for us in retail.

There is little literature on the species. The information on temperature information about the culture is very different with 15-29 ° C or 22-26 ° C. Carbon dioxide and iron fertilization are recommended.            

Bacopa lanigera – Brazilian fat leaf

bacopa plants
Bacopa lanigera

Origin: Brazil

Appearance: The round stem is covered with fine, white hair. The egg-shaped leaves are cross-opposite , short stalked, sessile or slightly encompassing stems, 2 to 3 cm long and 1.5 to 2.8 cm wide. The leaf blades are light green with whitish veins. The top and bottom are bare, but the leaf margin has white hairs. The flowers are solitary on stalks up to 1.5 cm long in the leaf axils. The stem and the 5 green sepals are densely hairy. The 5 purple petals form a typical pharynx flower with a two-lobed upper lip and a three-lobed lower lip. There is a yellow spot in the throat. Of the the stylus is about 5 mm long and ends in a double-lobed scar.

Light: a lot

Other: Not a good aquarium plant, but well suited for the terrarium or paludarium. It needs a lot of light and a nutritious soil.

Bacopa madagascariensis – Malagasy fat leaf

Synonyms: Herpestis madagascariensis

Origin: Madagascar

Appearance: The stem is up to one meter long and can reach a diameter of 5 mm. It branches little. The fleshy leaves are oblong elliptical. They are light green, 1-3 cm long and 0.5-1.5 cm wide. Their base does not entirely encompass the stem. The leaf margin is roughly serrated. The flowers are tubular, with 5 sepals. The two upper blue or purple petals are fused with each other; the lower lip is three-lobed. The stylus is about 6 mm long.

The plants are more delicate under water. The leaves are oval and almost entire.

Temperature: 24-28 ° C

pH value: 5.0-7.5

Water hardness: 2-12 ° KH

Light: medium – much

Other: The plant grows slowly under water and is only suitable for bright locations in the foreground. It is very brittle and the stems break easily. In the swamp culture it grows heavily and quickly forms a lot of mass. Nice plant for warm and humid terrariums. A good supply of macronutrients promotes growth.

Bacopa monnieri – Small fat leaf

bacopa plants
Bacopa monnieri

Synonyms: Lysimachia monnieri, Gratiola monnieri, Herpestris monneria, Bacopa monnieria

Origin: Florida, Ecuador, Argentina, in the subtropical and tropical regions of Africa, Australia, Asia and America, naturalized in Portugal and northwestern Spain

Appearance: In swamp cultures, the stalk becomes up to 50 cm long. It is round, glabrous and branches heavily with roots at each leaf node. Outside the water, the shoots crawl and only the top 10 to 15 cm of the shoot tips stand up. The fleshy leaves are oblong oval to obovate , entire, rarely weaknotched . They are light green, 1-2.5 cm long and 0.3-1 cm wide. The flowers are white, pink or light blue. They have 5 sepals. The two upper petals are fused with each other. The diameter of the corolla is about 7-10 mm. Only one flower is ever formed per leaf node. This stands on a 1 to 5 cm long stem.

The leaves are thinner, narrower and longer under water. They are lanceolate to linear and up to 3 cm long. The shoot hardly branches under water.

Temperature: 15-30 ° C

pH value: 6.0-8.0

Water hardness: 2-18 ° KH

Light: medium to very much

Others: The plant grows slowly under water and hardly branches out. It is therefore particularly suitable for the foreground and middle ground. The demands on the water values ​​are low. it should grow stronger in harder water. It is important that the plants get enough light.

The species should also grow with chloride contents of 90-100 mg / l and is therefore also suitable for light brackish water .. Cadmium contents in water of 25 µmol / l reduce the growth in length and the fresh mass compared to plants in cadmium-free water to 44 % and 81%, respectively. At concentrations of 50 mmol and more, the plants die within a few weeks

Fruits and seeds can be formed in the garden. Bees and bumblebees serve as pollinators.

In India, extracts of this kind are used to promote brain performance, much like we do with garlic coated tablets (natural remedies ).

Bacopa myriophylloides  – Thousand-leaf-like fat leaf

bacopa plants
Bacopa myriophylloides

Synonyms: Herpestis myriophylloides

Origin: Brazil

Appearance: The stem becomes up to 20 cm long. The fleshy leaves appear to be arranged whorls around the stem. In fact, there are two deeply incised, opposite leaves that divide into 5 to 7 linear, awl-like segments. These are light green, 3-6 mm long and 0.5-1 mm wide. The flowers are tubular with 5 sepals. The two upper, white to pale blue petals are fused together. The throat is yellow with a reddish ring.

The sprouts become softer and the leaves even finer under water.

Temperature: 24-28 ° C

pH value: 5.0-7

Water hardness: 2 – 6 ° KH

Light: a lot

Other: Underwater the plant grows only slowly and hardly branches. It is therefore particularly suitable for the middle ground. Soft, acidic water, lots of light and a good supply of nutrients are important for the culture.

Bacopa Plants: Appearance

The fatty leaves of the genus Bacopa belong to the Plantaginaceae family (plantain family).

There are more than 60 species, but very few of them are suitable for cultivation as submerged aquarium plants.

Most fatty leaf Bacopa species live terrestrially or as swamp plants.

  • Bacopa plants are herbaceous and un-wooded stem plants. The stems grow upright or crawl close to the ground
  • The leaves are arranged opposite to one another on the stem, the small leaf blades have a more or less round or broadly egg-shaped shape
  • Depending on the intensity of the lighting, the leaf color varies from light green to red-brown.
  • The Bacopa plants that reach above the water level or that sit on land on moist soil form flowers that sit in the leaf axils
  • Depending on the species, the flower color can be white, light or dark blue
  • From the fertilized flowers capsule fruits are formed, which contain many, very small seeds

Bacopa Plants: Best conditions in the aquarium

  • The treated Bacopa species can all be classified as easy to care for
  • They are very adaptable and grow up quickly if there is sufficient light
  • Water hardness and pH values, on the other hand, do not seem to play an important role
  • They are temperature tolerant – with the exception of the large fatty leaf Bacopa caroliniana, which cannot tolerate higher water temperatures
  • Bacopa are among the medium-sized aquarium plants with heights between 20 and 50 cm
  • They are best kept in a larger group in the foreground or middle distance of the aquarium
  • Bacopa can be propagated quite easily with the help of head cuttings

Bacopa Plants: Aquarium stem plant guide

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