Ludwigia Arcuata Care Guide (Needle Leaf Ludwigia)

Common Name(s)Needle Leaf Ludwigia
Scientific NameLudwigia Arcuata
OriginSoutheastern United States
Ease of GrowingEasy
AquascapeMid-Ground or Background
Height10-20 inches
Temperature68-82°F (20-28°C)
Growth RateModerate
PropagationCutting Stem
Light RequirementModerate to High
CO2 RequirementNot required
Ludwigia Arcuata
Needle Leaf Ludwigia (Ludwigia Arcuata)

Whether you are an experienced aquarist or starting out, you’ll need to find the right plants to fill your aquarium! One of the most popular aquatic plans for fish tanks is the beautiful ludwigia arcuata (needle leaf ludwigia).

The ludwigia arcuata is a very popular plant that, when properly cared for, will add some vibrant color to your fish tank. It has thin, pointed green and red leaves. If it receives the correct light and nutrients, it can also have yellow, orange, and deep red colors. 

If you have already bought or are planning to buy a ludwigia arcuata, read on to discover more about how to care for it properly.

Ludwigia Arcuata Care

Generally speaking, the ludwigia arcuata is an easy plant to care for, requires moderate to high lighting requirements and basic fertilization, and can grow emersed or submersed. It is a good plant for a beginner just starting their aquarium and doesn’t want any plants needing significant specialized care.

The ludwigia arcuata will thrive under moderate to high lighting, though it will grow redder with higher light. It grows in temperatures between 20-28°C/68-82°F and a pH level of 5.5-8. These are both standard levels for most aquariums, so just keep an eye out that your aquarium stays within these levels.

The ludwigia arcuata grows slowly, which can be helped by regular pruning and propagation. Doing so will help it grow fuller and bushier, making it more attractive in your aquarium.

Ludwigia Arcuata

How to plant Ludwigia Arcuata in an aquarium?

While the ludwigia arcuata is a delicate-looking plant, it is actually very hardy and easy to grow. To plant a ludwigia arcuata in an aquarium, place the stem of the plant directly into the substrate at the bottom. Any standard aquarium substrate will work for this plant.

This is a fairly slow-growing plant, so regular pruning can help promote growth. You can also take your cuttings to propagate the plant. Simply cut off a section of the stem from the last node and plant it directly into the substrate. This can help achieve a bushier, fuller look that is more attractive in your tank.

Can Ludwigia Arcuata grow emersed?

There are a few ways to grow your ludwigia arcuata, depending on your end goal and what you want it to look like in the tank. A ludwigia arcuata can be grown emersed, resulting in round, green leaves growing above the water line. To grow it emersed, you will need to plant it on a substrate that is submerged in water, but the foliage remains outside of the water. This would be ideal for a terrarium.

Ludwigia arcuata can also be grown submersed, leading to thinner leaves that can turn yellow, orange, and deep red under the right conditions. Think a little bit about what you want your fish tank to look like, and then you can decide if you want to plan your ludwigia arcuata emersed or submersed.

Because these plants are also pretty easy to propagate, you might choose to grow new plants from some cuttings and replant them into the new substrate, therefore growing the ludwigia arcuata in different areas of the tank.

How to make Ludwigia Arcuata grow dark red?

While green leaves can be very attractive, one of the main reasons for planting a ludwigia arcuata in your fish tank is to get the beautiful deep red color. This provides a lot of visual interest in your fish tank.

To make the ludwigia arcuata grow dark red, it needs to have exposure to the red/blue light spectrum, high light levels, and low nitrates. To achieve stronger light, make sure you have a light with a high PAR value. You can also look for a light that has a stronger red/blue light spectrum. This will help achieve optimal lighting conditions for your ludwigia arcuata to grow into a deeper red.

The other way to promote the dark, deep red color in a ludwigia arcuata is to limit the nitrates it receives. Ensure you are not over-providing nitrates as part of fertilization to promote the development of red leaves.

Lighting Requirement

The ludwigia arcuata requires medium light requirements, between 35-50 PAR, to achieve optimal growing conditions. This makes it a fairly easy plant to grow and maintain, as high light is unnecessary. When purchasing lights for your aquarium, ensure that you check the PAR and make sure it matches the light requirements for your plants.

If you have a mix of low, medium, and high-light plants in your aquarium, you will find it challenging to take care of them all. The ludwigia arcuata is a medium-light plant, so it is best to use it in a tank with other medium-light plants that need 35-50 PAR.


To get the optimal growing conditions, it’s important to have the right temperature. The ludwigia arcuata is tolerant of temperatures ranging between 68–82 degrees Fahrenheit (20–28 degrees Celsius). This is within the normal temperature range for most fish tanks, which is usually in the low 70s (°F).

So, as long as you check the temperature occasionally of your tank to ensure it’s within this range, you will have the optimal growing temperature for your ludwigia arcuata to thrive.

Water pH

The Ludwigia arcuata requires a pH range between 5.5-8, which is within the normal maintenance range for a fish tank. Since the pH of an aquarium will become more acidic over time due to organic material dissolving and breaking down, it’s important to keep checking the pH level of your tank.

The best way to keep it stable and not drop too low is to change the water, clean it regularly, and prepare your water with calcium carbonate substrates, which will buffer the pH.


The ludwigia arcuata is a popular aquatic stem plant for a reason! It’s easy to grow and care for and adds beautiful, colorful foliage to your tank. Because it can grow emersed or submersed and takes on colors of green, yellow, and red, it has a diverse look that you and your fish are sure to enjoy!

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