Hygrophila polysperma – Dwarf Hygro: Aquarium Background Plants

Hygrophila polysperma

The Hygrophila polysperma is also referred to as:

  • Dwarf hygrophila
  • Dwarf hygro
  • Miramar weed
  • Indian swampweed
  • Indian waterweed

The Hygrophila polysperma is definitely one of the plants for the aquarium that aquarists usually find out about when they start their new hobby.

This is mainly due to the fact that the Hygrophila polysperma thrives very easily in the aquarium and beginners generally do not have to deal with complicated topics such as CO2 fertilization and Co. with this plant.

Presumably, its frugality also earned it its name: According to this interpretation, the plant is a water lover because it can cope with very different water conditions.

The fact that the Hygrophila polysperma can be cultivated in the aquarium without much prior knowledge does not mean that this plant does not cause any work. In the following, you will find out why you have to make a little effort so that this plant can be kept in shape and what the Hygrophila polysperma looks like and can be included in the design of an aquarium.

Hygrophila polysperma in the Aquarium

Hygrophila polysperma: Quick facts

Popular names: Hygrophila polysperma, Dwarf hygrophila, Dwarf hygro, Miramar weed, Indian swampweed, Indian waterweed

Synonyms: Adenosma polysperma (Roxburgh) Sprengel, Hemiadelphis polysperma (Roxburgh) Nees, Justicia polysperma Roxburgh

Difficulty: very easy

Use: As a background plant

Growth: very fast

pH: value 5 – 8

Temperature tolerance: 4 – 35 ° C

Carbonate hardness: 2 – 21 ° dKH

Total water hardness: 0 – 30 ° dGH

Propagation: cuttings

Can grow immersed? Yes

Hygrophila polysperma comes from tropical Asia and is one of the most frugal aquarium plants. The Dwarf hygrophila forms 25-40 cm high and 4-8 cm wide shoots. It is particularly suitable for beginners as it grows in almost all conditions. It is also recommended for the initial planting of aquariums because it absorbs excess nutrients quickly and thus offers competition to the algae.

Because of its rapid growth, the Hygrophila polysperma (Dwarf hygrophila) can quickly overgrow other plants and therefore often has to be shortened.

Like other stem plants, Hygrophila polysperma can be easily propagated by cuttings. A small new plant will even form on severed leaves that are floating in the water.

Hygrophila polysperma is a very variable species with different leaf shapes and colors, both of which also depend to a certain extent on the lighting. “Normal” H. polysperma forms oval to lanceolate, light green to slightly brownish leaves under water.

Hygrophila polysperma
Hygrophila polysperma

Hygrophila polysperma: Dwarf hygrophila as a beginner’s Aquarium Plant

The Dwarf hygrophila also forms long stems in the aquarium on which the leaves grow close. Although these leaves are rather elongated, they also have a certain width so that they do not appear grass-like. The plant can branch out in the aquarium and thus ensure dense vegetation.

The Hygrophila polysperma is green, sometimes also slightly reddish – the key to which of these two colors the plant has is probably the nutrient content in the aquarium.

In particular, the leaves that are closest to the surface of the water in the aquarium can be reddish and sometimes brown in color. But there are also other color variants, sometimes even different leaf shapes on this plant, so that even such a well-known plant for the aquarium as the Hygrophila polysperma  can still surprise many an aquarist.

Hygrophila polysperma care | Advantages and Disadvantages | Indian Waterweed

It is also impressive that the Hygrophila polysperma can grow very large in the artificial biological system that an aquarium represents. Even with this plant, heights of about half a meter can sometimes be reached. The width of the plant is not that generous, but it can sometimes be about half as wide as it is high, as the Hygrophila polysperma can develop many side shoots. These shoots can also be used by aquarists who cannot get enough of this plant to propagate the plant. They are then simply planted back into the substrate in the aquarium, although it may be necessary to provide temporary attachment so that everything really stays in its assigned place.

The Dwarf hygrophila is not only a very frugal plant that can grow very large in the aquarium over time; it is also characterized by its rapid growth. Such rapid growth, as displayed by the Dwarf hygrophila, should be particularly desirable if, for example, you want to green a new aquarium quickly. In this case, the growth of the Dwarf hygrophila can also be increased by offering intensive lighting in the aquarium.

However, it should not be overlooked that the rapid and abundant growth of the Dwarf hygrophila also entails a certain amount of effort for the aquarist: He has to prune the plant regularly so that the intended design is retained in his aquarium.

If one were to forego such maintenance, it would also be possible that the Dwarf hygrophila would outgrow the aquarium over time. This should be undesirable in particular if the aquarium has a cover in which the lighting material is usually also housed.

Hygrophila polysperma: In the aquarium

The use of Dwarf hygrophila friend in an aquarium can only be regarded as extremely effective: The aquarist can achieve a lot with this plant with little effort.

Since the Hygrophila polysperma can become very large and also grows quickly, it is advisable to select it only for a slightly larger aquarium, so that the plant does not have to be pruned too often and it can at least develop relatively freely. Even in a larger aquarium, the Dwarf hygrophila will tend to be placed in the background. It is good if you not only use a single plant to upgrade your own aquarium, but several at the same time.

These can be planted in groups without major problems in order to be able to create a beautiful, dense greening in the aquarium. This type of greening is particularly beneficial for aquarium inhabitants who are always looking for hiding places. In addition, it can be assumed that fast-growing plants such as the Hygrophila polysperma do good service for the water quality, which can ultimately also benefit the aquarium inhabitants, but sometimes also other plants that are in the aquarium.

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