Alternanthera Reineckii (Scarlet Temple): Care and Types


Common Name(s)Scarlet Temple
Scientific NameAlternanthera Reineckii
OriginSouth America
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate
AquacapeMidground or Background
Height4-12 inches
pH6.5-7.5
Temperature72-82°F
Growth RateModerate to Fast
PropagationCut the stem and replant
Light RequirementMedium to High
CO2 RequirementCO2 is not required, but it will help with their growth.
Alternanthera Reineckii
Alternanthera Reineckii

Alternanthera Reineckii (Scarlet Temple) is a popular aquatic plant that is typically kept as a midground or background plant in aquariums. The red colored growth on this plant makes them very attractive. Since they are relatively easy to take care of, they can be grown by beginners in the aquarium hobby as well.

Alternanthera Reineckii Care

Alternanthera Reineckii are adaptable plants that are relatively easy to take care of. In fact, they can be grown as either a submersed or emersed plant. With that said, proper care for the plant is important for best growth rate and vibrant growth.

There are a few key factors to consider while growing Alternanthera Reineckii:

First, these plant require stable water parameters. Instability in the water parameters can result in the plant melting or rotting. It is best to maintain a water temperature between 720F and 820F (about 220C and 280C) and a water pH of 6.5-7.5.

Next, these plant are slow growers until they get established. After they are transplanted, the growth rate will most likely decline. Until the roots are able to grow in the new environment, the plant will not grow very fast. Since this process can take some time, it is best to avoid moving the plant as much as possible. If you must replant an uprooted plant, it is recommended to not plant the tops. Instead, trim the tops and leave the bottoms only. The side shoots will grow from the bottom of the plants. If there are any leaves covered in algae, remove them from the plant as well. Pruning the plant will it for more dense growth.

Lastly, provide good substrate, sufficient nutrients, and sufficient lighting. Managing algae growth is important as well. The growth rate of the plant will be highly depend on the condition of the tank.

Aquarium Substrate

Use a nutrient based substrate. Fine substrates such as aquarium soil, sand, and gravel will allow the roots to secure itself.

Nutrients & Fertilizers

Alternanthera Reineckii prefer high nitrates and high phosphates, adding quality aquarium plant fertilizers can be beneficial. This will allow for optimum growth rate. Aquarium plant fertilizers with Iron (Fe), such as Seachem Flourish, will encourage the red color to show more vibrantly.

Aquarium Lighting

For the best colors, good aquarium lighting is required as well. Medium to high levels of light is recommended. Keep in mind that excessive light may lead to algae growth. If there is an algae problem in the tank, adjust the light intensity or duration.

CO2 Injection

CO2 injection in the aquarium will help the plant grow faster and more robust. While Alternanthera Reineckii can be grown in low tech environments without CO2, it will help grow a more vibrant plant.

In the right environment, Alternanthera Reineckii can grow quite fast and robust. The average growth height of the plant is 4-12 inches, but it can grow up to 20 inches. However, these plants are usually trimmed to a certain height in an aquarium. Most aquascapers wish to keep this plant as a compact bush.

If the plant is healthy, it will additional stems from the main stem. These stem can be trimmed off at the base to propagate a new plant.

Types of Alternanthera Reineckii

There are several variations of Alternanthera Reineckii with different coloration and characteristics. Here’s a list of some varieties of Alternanthera Reineckii:

  • Alternanthera Reineckii Rosaefolia
  • Alternanthera Reineckii Rosaefolia Mini
  • Alternanthera Reineckii Lilacina
  • Alternanthera Reineckii Cardinalis
  • Alternanthera Reineckii Mini
  • Alternanthera Reineckii Rosanervig

Alternanthera Reineckii Rosaefolia & Alternanthera Reineckii Rosaefolia Mini

Alternanthera Reineckii Rosaefolia and Alternanthera Reineckii Rosaefolia Mini are popular variants of Alternanthera Reineckii. The top of the leaf is generally olive colored, and base is red. This plant is commonly used in Dutch aquascapes for its bright and vibrant red colors. It can be characterized by the white vein-like patterns on the leaves. Like other stem plants, it requires medium to high light with the addition of CO2 for optimum growth.  It can be grown emersed or submerged and reaches up to 8 inches tall.

Alternanthera Reineckii Lilacina

Alternanthera Reineckii Lilacina stems are a striking reddish-purple color that contrast well against their brownish green leaves. Compared to other types of Alternanthera Reineckii, Alternanthera Reineckii Lilacina has narrower and longer leaves. When grown under ideal conditions, new leaves will have hues of pink to red color. Being a stem plant and due to its growth patterns, Alternanthera Lilacina is best suited as a mid or background plant. Like other varieties of Alternanthera Reineckii, the captivating red coloration will add a refreshing change from the usual green aquascape. The plant can also grow beyond the water surface, and produce a flower as well.

To promote healthy growth, Alternanthera Lilacina should be planted in a tank with high quality plant substrate and a strong light. CO2 injection is highly recommended to achieve the most vibrant colors from this plant. Regular trimmings will help maintain compact and healthy growth. These trimmings can then be replanted as a form of propagation.

Alternanthera Reineckii Cardinalis

Alternanthera Reineckii Cardinalis is characterized by its compact growth, wavy and wide leaves, and dark red coloration. Similar to other variants of Alternanthera Reineckii, this plant also benefits from strong lighting, CO2 injection, and a consistent nutrient supply. The stems of the plant will grow quite strong, and it is easily propagated by cuttings off stem tips and side shoots. The plant is well-suited as a midground or background plant. Since it is dark red in color, it provides an excellent contrast when planted alongside other light green plants.

Alternanthera Reineckii Mini

Alternanthera Reineckii Mini is a dwarf variant of Alternanthera Reineckii, and it grows up to 8 inches in length. This plant is commonly used in Dutch aquascapes for its bright and vibrant red colors. Its miniature growth allows it to be used in both large and small aquariums as either a foreground or midground. In a small aquarium, it may be suitable as a background plant as well. Similar to other varieties of Alternanthera Reineckii, it requires medium to high light with the addition of CO2 for optimum growth.

Alternanthera Reineckii Rosanervig

Alternanthera Reineckii Rosanervig features vivid pink leaves with lightly colored veins. Like other species in the Alternanthera family, this aquatic plant will grow best when provided with good aquarium lighting and a consistent fertilizer regiment. This species is slightly more sensitive and has a softer stem, so care should be taken when handling this aquatic plant. If well taken care of, this aquatic plant can grow into an attractive background plant. During planting, be sure to remove the lead weight and sponge from the stem of each plant carefully.

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