|Asia and Africa
|Ease of Growing
|Foreground and Mid-ground
|Low to medium light
|Grows slowly, approximately 10 cm (4 inches) a year
|Low to medium light
|Not required, but additional Co2 injection may increase the growth rate
Table of Contents
Subwassertang (Lomariopsis Lineata), also known as Susswassertang, is a popular aquarium plant that was discovered in the early 2000s. Ever since Christel Kesselman propagated it and gave it out to some fellow aquarists, it has established itself in the aquarium hobby. It is unknown how Kesselman originally acquired the plant; there is still a lot left unexplored about Subwassertang.
To this day, even biologists are still unaware of any record where gametophytes of Subwassertang grow in natural aquatic environments. Biologists assume that Subwassertang originates in tropical parts of Asia and Africa. We know that it can grow by attaching itself to trees and rocks, even in dry rivers.
The one thing that the whole aquarium community can agree on is that this plant is beautiful, easy to care for, and provides many benefits to the aquarium ecosystem.
The name “Subwassertang” stems from the German words “süßwasser” and “tang,” which means “freshwater seaweed.”
It is theorized that because there is only one known introduction of Subwassertang into the aquarium hobby, every plant that is currently being sold is an exact clone of each other and has reproduced entirely by continuous meristematic growth.
Even though they may be clones, these plants have shown their adaptability. In fact, they’ve been grown in a variety of tanks. This includes nano tanks to large-scale aquascape setups.
In terms of growing conditions of Subwassertang, it prefers low to medium light and temperatures of 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit. The water pH should be maintained between 6.0-8.0. When it comes to the hardness of the water, the plant can tolerate a wide range. However, soft water has the best growth at around 0-8 dGH.
Too much aquarium light can cause the Subwassertang to melt. Too little light will result in slower growth and a dull appearance.
This aquatic plant is unique because it doesn’t need as much maintenance as other plants. Some aquarists don’t even bother attaching it to anything. They simply allow the Subwassertang to float in the tank, and it will find a spot it likes and grow. Pruning is only required when the clumps get too dense or grow out of shape.
Regarding CO2 injection for Subwassertang, it is not a requirement. Subwassertang will grow fine without it. However, some people like to use C02 to increase the growth rate.
Planting Subwassertang in Aquariums
The plant is very easy to grow in an aquarium. It will grow as a free-floating plant or can be attached to different objects. It can be secured to a crevice of wood or rock. This will help create a natural look in the aquarium.
Some aquascapers like to create a Subwassertang carpet as well. They do so by tying the plant to a slate and placing them on the substrate. This is often easier than just planting them directly on the substrate.
Some aquascapers like to overlap Subwassertang pieces on chunks of driftwood and use fishing lines or another aquarium-safe string to secure them all together. This method can be used to create a Subwassertang tree or even a dense wall. The possibilities are endless with this diverse plant.
Subwassertang does not require a lot of water flow to grow. Only enough water flow to keep the detritus off of it will be enough. Too much water flow will cause the plant to blow around the tank, resulting in a mess. If there is water flow in the tank, be sure to secure the plant until it is able to attach itself to an object.
Since Subwassertang doesn’t have any roots, it can be challenging to attach to things. It uses small rhizoids when it anchors to hardscapes or decorations. Therefore, tying the plant loosely to an object will ensure it stays put and won’t be crushed when it grows.
Subwassertang Melting, Dying, and Other Problems
Even though Subwassertang is relatively easy to care for, there are some problems that they could encounter. Keep in mind that they grow very slowly and take a while to adapt to their surroundings. In many cases, it could take weeks or months to establish the plant in a new environment. Until the plant is well-established, do not expect it to grow very much.
Subwassertang may be a hardy plant, but it doesn’t react well to sudden changes in water parameters. Drastic changes will result in the plant melting, and its thin structure often starts to turn brown. In contrast, maintaining stable water parameters will result in consistent and healthy growth.
One of the biggest issues to watch out for is algae development on Subwassertang. They are susceptible to hair algae, especially in hard water environments.
When adding Subwassertang to an aquarium, be sure to quarantine the plant. Like any live plant, it can come with pests and parasites, which can harm the fish and the plant itself.
While chemical treatment is often used before introducing new plants to an aquarium, this may not be the best solution for Subwassertang. Since Subwassertang has thin cell walls, they are sensitive to chemical treatments. If chemical treatment is necessary, dilute the solution as much as possible. With that said, treatment with a diluted solution may be ineffective. Therefore, placing the live plant in a separate quarantine tank for a period of time is always recommended.
Subwassertang for Aquarium Fish and Invertebrates
When choosing suitable tank mates for Subwassertang, it’s best to avoid fish that will eat the entire plant. This includes Oscar fish and Silver Dollars, as they will eat Subwassertang rather quickly. Many invertebrates, such as crayfish and crabs, are known to uproot and eat Subwassertang as well.
Fish that will not destroy Subwassertang include neon tetras, guppies, and pygmy cory catfish. Many shrimp species will thrive in a Subwassertang tank as well. They like to roam freely near it or hide in the plant to avoid predators.
Snails should be introduced to tanks with Subwassertang with caution. Many snail species will feed on Subwassertang. Mystery snails, Malaysian trumpet snails, or Nerite snails will most likely not destroy the plant.
Benefits of Keeping Subwassertang
There are many benefits to growing Subwassertang in an aquarium.
One benefit is its use as an aesthetic plant for an aquascape. It can be used as a foreground plant, mid-ground plant, or a plant to create a wall. It is versatile.
Subwassertang is a great alternative to aquatic moss such as Java Moss, Christmas Moss, and Weeping Moss. While this aquarium moss is popular, some find Subwassertang easier to grow. Some aquascapers simply prefer the unique look of this plant over the other moss species.
Another benefit to planting Subwassertang is that they provide a habitat for small fish and invertebrates. The plant creates a perfect environment for small fish, including fry. They often use the plant to forage for food and hide if necessary. The plant is also a favorite amongst shrimp as well. They often congregate near the plant in large groups.
Planting Subwassertang can improve the water quality of the aquarium as well. First, the plant releases oxygen into the water. Second, it absorbs nitrates and heavy metals in the water. This helps the fish and invertebrates in the aquarium greatly.
Subwassertang, Java Moss, and Pellia
Java moss is very popular among aquascapers, and it’s often compared to Subwassertang. It’s easy to grow on substrate, rock, and driftwood. It can also be propagated by cutting and planting very easily. Like subwassertang, Java moss is versatile and easy to grow. While they are clearly different in appearance, they share many desirable characteristics of an aquarium plant.
Pellia is often confused or mislabeled as Subwassertang. While their differences are distinguishable, they are similar in appearance. Besides their ribbon-shaped leaves, both plants grow relatively slowly. They are both susceptible to algae growth. Subwassertang is often labeled as “Round Pellia” in stores as well, which adds to the confusion. To clarify, Pellia is a part of the Liverwort family, and Subwassertang is not a part of the Liverwort family. In fact, Subwassertang is the gametophyte form of a species of Lomariopsis, making it a fern. Therefore, these are very different plant species.
Subwassertang is an interesting plant that can bring almost any tank to life. Even though not much is known about it, it’s interesting to see how adaptable it is to various aquarium environments. However, since it is relatively new to the aquarium hobby, it can be difficult to find. Not many local fish stores will carry it. Online stores are most likely where Subwassertang can be found.
While there is much to learn about Subwassertang, it is interesting to uncover the full potential of this unique plant.