Staurogyne Repens Care | The Ultimate Guide

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Staurogyne Repens is a hardy freshwater plant in the Acanthaceae family. There are approximately 2500 species in this plant family around the world. Staurogyne Repens originates from the Cristalino River in Mato Grosso in South America. It is a small river plant that grows between rocks on the shores of this fast-flowing river.

Staurogyne Repens is classified as needing medium maintenance in the aquarium. It grows at a moderate rate and will need some light pruning occasionally. Staurogyne Repens looks similar to the invasive Hygrophila genus, but these plants grow taller and have bigger leaves.

This plant is a bright green color with stiff stems to keep it steady in fast-flowing waters. The leaves are densely packed. This gives them the appearance of being a carpet plant, and many sources will list them as a carpet plant, but they are a stem plant. The leaves are raindrop-shaped with a broad base and a point at the tip. The roots are thin and white and will mostly be buried in the substrate. Sometimes they will grow up to gather nutrients from the water. They are great to use as a shelter for bottom-dwelling fish. Average plant sizes are about 2-4 inches.

Staurogyne Repens provide shelter and spaces for bottom-dwelling fish to explore. It will increase the water quality in the aquarium and help keep the tank clean by removing some of the nitrates and other toxins dissolved in the water. Like all plants, it will also provide oxygen to the water.

There is no common name for Staurogyne Repens.

The native people use Staurogyne Repens to cook with. It is said to add a good flavor to rice. 

Staurogyne Repens Care

Staurogyne may be a hardy plant, but it has very specific water conditions it needs to live. This plant is not found globally. It is not even found in most of Brazil. The plant will need at least a 10-gallon tank to give it room to grow. Successful aquarists will work to recreate the conditions of the Cristalino River in their tank at home.

staurogyne repens
Staurogyne Repens. Edited. Lennart Jöhnk, CC BY-SA 4.0

Lighting Requirement

These plants need medium light for about 10 hours a day. Most standard aquarium lights should work fine. Avoid natural light if possible since it can promote algae growth.


Staurogyne Repens like the water to be warm. The temperature should be kept between 68 and 86°F. The temperatures on the higher end of this scale will promote growth. Water hardness should be between 3 and 10 KH.

Water pH

Staurogyne Repens can live in a large pH range. It can tolerate anything between 5.0 and 8.0, but the optimal pH values are between 6.0 and 7.0.

Growth Rate

This plant grows at a moderate pace and is not particularly high maintenance. The stems will most likely grow at different rates. For a carpet look, cut back the faster-growing stems.

Growth Height

Staurogyne Repens will grow to a maximum of 4 inches tall. The plants usually grow to be between 2 and 4 inches.

Is Aquarium Co2 Injection Necessary to Grow Staurogyne Repens?

Staurogyne Repens can live without Co2, so they can be planted in low-tech aquariums. However, the addition of Co2 and liquid fertilizers gives the plant ample nutrients in the tank and prevents a variety of issues such as nutrient deficiency and poor health. Adding Co2 and liquid fertilizer can also help accelerate plant growth and development too.

Thin stalks that are stretching vertically are a sign that the plant needs more light. Thin leaves could mean the water needs more Co2. Yellowing leaves may indicate a nutrition deficiency.

Tanks that incorporate Co2 and fertilizers containing copper are not the best environment for shrimp. High levels of these substances are extremely dangerous to shrimp.

Staurogyne Repens Propagation

Propagating this species is a rather straightforward process. The plant’s natural reproductive process involves the stems producing side shoots that fall off of the parent plant, float to the bottom, grow roots, and develop into a separate plant.

Staurogyne Repens is easy to propagate at home. Cutting it and letting it grow is the main part. Stems should be between 3 and 4 inches tall before they are propagated. Cut 1 to 2 inches off of the plant and replant it into the tank’s substrate. The cutting does not need to be buried too deep. Half an inch into the substrate is the best for their overall health.

The cutting needs leaves, but it will not need to have roots before planting. The leaves are needed to allow the plant to photosynthesize, but the roots will form as it grows. This cutting should grow roots and develop into a healthy plant.

Is Staurogyne Repens a root feeder?

Staurogyne Repens has a large root system. This species feeds from the root system and water column. Liquid fertilizers, root tabs, and Co2 will help this plant grow to its full potential. The Co2 can be from a pressurized Co2 system or liquid Co2.

Do Staurogyne Repens spread?

This species will spread if allowed to grow naturally. Technically, Staurogyne plants are not carpet plants, they are stem plants, but they can be trimmed and planted to give a carpet effect. They will develop shoots that creep along horizontally and form a covering on the tank’s floor. 

Clipping decaying leaves and stems will give a more attractive look to the plants in the aquarium. Regular water changes and making sure the water is clear will also help these plants thrive. They live on the lower level of the tank and they need light. Having clean water will ensure these plants get what they need.

Does Staurogyne Repens grow emersed?

This species is an adaptable, hardy plant. They can be grown and thrive in submerged and emersed environments.

Can you grow Staurogyne Repens in gravel?

Staurogyne Repens can be grown in gravel. Smaller gravels will allow their roots to push down and spread out.

Can you grow Staurogyne Repens in the sand?

Sand is also a great substance for this species to live in. Like small gravel, sand is an easy substance for the roots of this plant to push through too.

How to use Staurogyne Repens in an aquascape?

Bottom-dwelling fish get the most enjoyment out of Staurogyne Repens. The plant stays on the bottom of the tank and is considered one of the best foreground plants for aquascaping. The number of plants in the tank will depend on the size of the tank and personal style preferences. Typically, the rule is one stem for every 2 to 3 gallons of water.

The substrate should be small gravel or sand and the plants should be planted about a half-inch deep. The roots will form around rocks or decorations if they are planted too close. This is fine unless the objects need to be moved later on. They need quite a bit of light. Decorations should not be placed where they cast a shadow on these plants.

The stems should start growing within a couple of weeks. The roots may get tangled in nearby stems and might grow up out of the substrate to take nutrients out of the water.

This species cannot be used as a floating plant in an aquarium.

Why is my Staurogyne Repens melting?

This plant is hardy but does not like dramatic changes to its living space. Melting is a common problem seen when a plant has been first moved into a new tank.

If a plant is grown in an emersed environment and is submerged in an aquarium, the original leaves may melt or die off. As long as the stems stay green, the plant should resprout leaves and grow just fine.

Sometimes Staurogyne Repens will start to melt after months of growing beautifully. Aquarists call this Staurogyne Melt Syndrome. Currently, no one knows what causes it.

Where can I find Staurogyne Repens for sale?

Staurogyne Repens is becoming a commonly-sold plant in the aquarium world. They can be found in most fish stores and at a variety of places online. Before purchasing, check the stems for damage since damaged plants may not handle the transition into another tank. Stems should be green and firm enough to support the plant’s weight.

This is not an expensive plant. A fair number of stems can be purchased for $10. These plants will grow and spread, so starting with a couple of plants is recommended to avoid overcrowding. If there is more space to cover in the tank, propagating these plants is easy and will save money.

These plants need a quarantine period before being added to an established tank. They can have parasites, pests, or even predators attached to them. If they are treated with chemicals to remove these creatures, those pesticides are extremely poisonous to fish, shrimp, and other invertebrates.

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