Hygrophila Pinnatifida: Aquarium Plant Care Guide

Common Name(s)Dwarf Hygrophila
Scientific NameHygrophila Pinnatifida
Ease of GrowingMedium
Height5-8 inches
Temperature70-80ᵒF (21-27°C)
Growth RateModerate growth rate
PropagationPropagation by cutting stems or lateral shoots.
Light RequirementA medium level (0.5 W/L) of light is recommended.
CO2 RequirementA medium level (6-14 mg/L) of CO2 is recommended.
Hygrophila Pinnatifida
Hygrophila Pinnatifida

Hygrophila Pinnatifida Care

Hygrophila pinnatifida is a lovely and intriguing Indian stem plant. The leaves of this plant have a brown-green tone on top and a unique burgundy color beneath. Bottom stems may produce runners, which aid in the rapid development of new plants, while tops may be clipped to promote more compact growth. Under bright light and increased CO₂, red coloration intensifies. Once they’ve adapted to the tank environment, their growth is moderate to fast and may need to be trimmed frequently. The combination of leaf shape and color gives this stem plant a distinct and unique appearance and aquascape potential. The leaves have been described as fern-like by some. This plant is native to India and has grown fairly popular in the hobby recently, with most large aquatic plant nurseries stocking and farming it.

The fern-like look of Hygrophila pinnatifida allows it to blend in nicely with mosses and wood. It must be trimmed on a regular basis to avoid shading the other plants in the area. On the underside of the leaf, this plant appears to be redder.  Because it does not require a substrate, it is frequently planted higher up on the hardscape, providing us with a beautiful view of the underside of the leaves. It can tolerate a wide range of water conditions and is a simple plant to grow with CO₂ injection, yet it may also be utilized in low-tech tanks (but success is less certain). If you’ve tried buying emersed growth forms from dealers and they’ve all melted, seek submerged grown growth forms instead. Some people experience issues with the plant throughout the conversion process; however, the submerged forms are stable and grow quickly.

Hygrophila pinnatifida is a popular epiphyte in aquascaping circles because it can grow well without being planted in the substrate, it quickly adheres to rocks and wood, and its reddish hue and distinctive leaf shape provide a nice contrast to green plants. It can be planted in bunches in the middle of the yard or affixed to any hardscape with super glue, thread, or cable ties (later on, it can be removed as the plant attaches readily to surfaces). It’s an aggressive and fast-growing plant that constantly sends out runners; with enough CO₂ and nutrients, it can grow to be fairly huge, with a width of 25cm or more. This plant can be aggressively clipped to keep it at a smaller size and prevent it from shadowing other plants nearby. If you don’t want this plant to take over the tank, clip the runners on a regular basis. The plant sends forth runners often, making propagation simple. At regular intervals, these will spawn plantlets that can be clipped and sown elsewhere.

Hygrophila pinnatifida

Where Does Hygrophila Pinnatifida Grow in the Wild?

The aquatic plant Hygrophila pinnatifida was introduced from India. It grows in streams in the tideland at the bottom of the Western Ghats. Hygrophila pinnatifida is a popular epiphyte in aquascaping circles because it can grow well without being planted on a substrate. It quickly adheres to rocks and wood, and its reddish hue and distinctive leaf shape provide a nice contrast to green plants.

Lighting Requirement

Under moderate aquarium light, Hygrophila Pinnatifida will thrive, but intensive lighting will aid compact development. However, if you overexpose the plant to light, it will shrink in size.


Hygrophila Pinnatifida survives in temperatures ranging from 70-80ᵒF (21-27°C). Temperatures above 80ᵒF are generally not recommended in aquariums because oxygen drops rapidly above this temperature, which is harmful to most species. On the other hand, this plant appears tolerant to temperatures above 80ᵒF.


Hygrophila pinnatifida prefers water with a pH of 6 to 7.5 and mild hardness. The majority of water in the United States has a higher pH and is harder, but it appears to be safe. On the other hand, hygrophila pinnatifida plant thrives in an aquarium with 100% RO water, which has a pH of 6 to 6.5 and very little or no hardness.

Growth Rate

The rate of hygrophila pinnatifida growth is determined by the tank’s environment and the stage of the plant’s development. Hygrophila pinnatifida develops and reproduces slowly under moderate illumination and with a restricted amount of nutrients and CO₂ in the water. However, with enough intense sunlight and nutrients and CO₂, its vertical shoots may reach the water’s edge. In this situation, you should keep the shoots trimmed on a regular basis.

Growth Height

When planted in small groups with a plain background, the growth is modest, with stems 15-40 cm tall and 10-20 cm wide. Due to the plant’s modest to medium growth pace, intense lighting ensures compact growth.

CO₂ Requirement

In a planted aquarium, CO₂ is undoubtedly the most crucial element. All aquatic plants require it for respiration and growth, which is used in photosynthesis. Plants need a continual supply of CO₂ during daylight hours, or they will suffer. CO₂ is combined with water and light energy to form oxygen and carbohydrates, which allows them to grow. CO₂ is obtained in enormous quantities by plants in the wild from the substrate (mud) and decaying plants. CO₂, on the other hand, is extremely limited in an enclosed aquarium. When compared to nature, tap water is devoid of CO₂, and plant degradation in an aquarium is low. This is why many aquarists have discovered that adding CO₂ to their plants helps them grow much better and stronger. 

Is Aquarium CO₂ Injection Necessary for Hygrophila Pinnatifida?

Whether or not you require CO₂ injection and how much you need is determined by the amount of light you provide and the plants you want to grow. However, introducing CO₂ is always recommended for a more effective planted aquarium. CO₂ is not usually required in low-light aquariums. Because plants are less motivated to grow in low light, more CO₂ injection is unnecessary because there is already adequate CO₂ supply from surface agitation, fish respiration, and the biological breakdown of dead plant materials. However, adding CO₂ to a low-light tank will improve the quality of your plants’ development and health. CO₂ injection is essential in aquariums with medium to high illumination. Plants grow faster when there is more light available to them. As a result, the plants’ requirement for CO₂ increases. As a result, the plants’ requirement for CO₂ increases. The aquarium gets CO₂ constrained under medium to high lighting. To meet the plants’ demands, the aquarist must add CO₂. Your plants will suffer from growth shortages if the CO₂ level in the aquarium remains low, and you will see algae formations as a result.

How to Grow Hygrophila Pinnatifida in an Aquarium

Hygrophila pinnatifida is a popular epiphyte in aquascaping circles because it can grow well without being planted in the substrate, it easily attaches to rocks and wood, and its reddish hue and distinct leaf shape provide a nice contrast to green plants. It can be planted in bunches in the middle of the yard or affixed to any hardscape with super glue, thread, or cable ties that can later be removed as the plant attaches readily to surfaces. 

How to Grow Hygrophila Pinnatifida On Driftwood

Hygrophila Pinnatifida is a one-of-a-kind aquarium plant that thrives amid gravel, rock, and driftwood. They are well-known for their beautiful color. They seem green, brown, or red, depending on the water and lighting circumstances. They can also flower and produce purple flowers, adding to your aquarium’s aesthetic appeal. It’s not difficult to attach them to driftwood, and you can do it with fishing lines. Use fishing lines, cotton strings, and adhesive to tie the rhizomes at the start. They will secure themselves with rhizomes after a few weeks. Remove the ties once they’ve been connected to the driftwood. However, it is preferable to keep them linked with fishing lines. Potassium deficiency affects Hygrophila Pinnatifida. Supplementing with potassium-rich fertilizer is the best approach to keep them growing. CO₂ injection can improve their coloring and make it more appealing. Moderate lighting is required for their major growth, while excessive light causes them to produce a red hue.

Can You Grow Hygrophila Pinnatifida Emersed?

Hygrophila pinnatifida can be grown emersed on a moist substrate with sufficient illumination and a plentiful supply of nutrients. Its emersed shoots acquire glandular hairs and grow upright. The emersed leaves have a medium green color and are wider and shorter than the underwater form. Plants that are grown under daylight conditions start blooming in the spring.

Do Hygrophila Pinnatifida Flower?

Hygrophila pinnatifida is a stem plant that continues to grow higher toward the water’s surface. It will eventually break the surface and sprout emersed leaves and little purple blooms if permitted to reach the water’s surface. 

Hygrophila Pinnatifida Propagation

The lateral branches with runner-like characteristics are ideal for propagation. When compared to lateral shoots, top shoot cuttings might be slow to develop. Hygrophila pinnatifida can already produce roots or tiny plants from emersed cultivation, which establish faster than rootless cuttings.

How To Trim Hygrophila Pinnatifida

One of the easiest plants to trim is Hygrophila Pinnatifida. The plant will grow smaller plants at the remaining internodes if the above stem, the slender part between two nodes, is cut off. You should cut that plant on a regular basis if you don’t want it to take over your tank. Plantlets can be easily replanted, even if they are little.

Why Does Hygrophila Pinnatifida Change Colors?

On the surface of the tank, this lovely plant has brown patched leaves with a distinct red color underneath. Also, because this plant produces vertical side shoots, the top shoots must be removed in order to maintain compact and appealing growth. Horizontal shoots are typically attached to rocks or wood. The stems grow 10-40 cm tall and 10-20 cm broad on average, and if planted in small groups with a clean background, they have appealing hues. The bright light ensures the plant’s sluggish to medium development rate. When the nitrogen levels are really low, they have a very appealing deep red color. If the plant is exposed to low light, it will remain green; if it is exposed to higher light, it will become red.

Why Is My Hygrophila Pinnatifida Melting?

It is natural for plants to “melt” as their environment changes. Different water parameters could be one of the reasons behind this. Because your water is likely to differ from ours, the plant will need to reorganize and establish roots to absorb nutrients. Because of the latency, the plant may consume itself in order to survive the change. Another reason could be that a plant is transitioning from emersed (growing out of water) to submerged (growing in water). This occurs because the plants are grown above water in extremely humid settings at the plant farms. We start growing them underwater as soon as we obtain them. How much the plant has converted will depend on how long it has been in our care. In your home aquarium, the plants will always complete this conversion and be regarded as normal. Plant leaves might wither as a result of a lack of nutrition. Make sure your plants are fertilized. Finally, there is a condition known as Anubias rot. The rhizome of an Anubias gets mushy at this point. This can occur if an Anubias is planted too deeply in the substrate, causing it to decay. This can occasionally be rectified by correctly planting it on wood or rock. Then there’s the instance where the plant is harmed, and rot sets in, eventually consuming the entire plant.

Where Can I Get Hygrophila Pinnatifida For Sale?

There are many physical and online stores where you can get hygrophila pinnatifida. You can order hygrophila pinnatifida online and get it shipped to your location or visit a nearby aquarium store.

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