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Ceratophyllum demersum

 Age of Aquariums > Aquarium Plants > Hornwort - Ceratophyllum demersum

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Ceratophyllum_demersum_1.jpg (20kb)
Photo Credit: Cristiano Souza

Name: Ceratophyllum demersum
Origin: Cosmopolita

Care Gravel Lighting
Easy None Medium


Hornwort is a floating plant with no roots. It does not need bright lighting and can be anchored with a plant anchor as long as you don't put it into the substrate/gavel. I found it very hardy and it is growing at a breakneck pace in my 8 L Eclipse with 6 Watts and no CO2 - I do however use Flourish Excel. In that tank it looks a nice dark green and will develop a brighter redish-brown coloration under very high light. This plant looks great and I use it in all of my freshwater aquariums; my betta escpecially loves this.

Contributed by Marko

I have a few hornwort plants growing in a couple of my 40 L aquariums. I think it's a very hardy plant as long as you give it light. When we didn't have the light on it, it started to die. As soon as we put light on them they started to sprout like crazy. They grow very long on the top of they tank so make sure you prune them to give the other plants light. We didn't do so many water changes and used no fertilizer or CO2 and they still grew. We are going to try the fertilizer now to see how they do. I think it's a great background and floating plant.

Contributed by Danna Andrade

Hornwort is a fast growing, hardy species. I can grow it in 0.4 W/L and I think it can grow in less than that. It has no roots, you can use a plant weight to anchor it, or bury the very tip in the ground. The buried part will die eventually, but that takes a while. It doesn't float very well, easily moves about the tank if it is left to float in the current. A small fragment with a few whorls of leaves is enough to start a collection. It usually stops growing at its old growth point if something changes, and produces new side shoots instead. I had a huge amount of it in my old goldfish tank a while ago, but I left for vacation and left someone in charge of the fish. The hornwort had almost completely died back (due to leaving the lights off a lot), but I managed to save a tiny stem. This plant is very easy! It is NOT eaten by goldfish! If you are new to aquatic plants, get hornwort now. It encourages beginners because it grows fast enough for you to notice new growth every few days, which is exciting for a newbie (from personal experience). It is not as herbivore safe as some make it out to be: tinfoil barbs and some other fish still eat it.

Contributed by Chris Peterson

Personally I find that hornwort is a great freshwater plant for beginners. There is no need to take extra care of it. Currently I am using a bright lighting with no CO2 and the plant is growing well and almost emerges from the waterline. It is growing pretty fast and if you like to keep Cabomba, you may like to have hornwort as well.

Contributed by John

Hornwort (also known as Foxtail) is a great plant that when arranged properly floating around driftwood is a beautiful plant and easy to keep alive. It is a little sensitive to pH swings but other than that it grown like bamboo. The only drawback is that you have to prune it regularly because it will grow to a point of critical mass explode with new shoots in every direction and die because of the rapid use and depletion of nutrients. Anacharis and Java fern 'buds' do well when floating with it in a clump.

Contributed by Andrew

Hornwort is nice grows easily and fast, however no one has mentioned its negative side yet, so I will. Its needles tend to fall off rather readily and can be a bit of trouble to clean up. I haven't had much trouble with the plant, but if one should die the mess, if not caught early, could be quite troublesome.

Contributed by Robert Kennedy

Hornwort is a very easy floating plant to keep. Water quality is not as much of an issue but you should have good lighting. If it's high enough you could possibly get some red tips on your plants if you use enough fertilizer. I used to have it anchored to the bottom in my flourite planted tank. It still grew a few strands up to about 30+ cm but they never filled out. When I let them float they grew out much bushier. They are growing at a rapid rate now and I'm starting to get some red tips with Flourish Excel and an iron supplement.

Contributed by Joe Walczak

I have hornwort growing in my tank. It looks beautiful and is a great alternative for green cabomba. It is hardy and grows well without any special care. My serpae tetras like to swim around it.

Contributed by Bukhari

I have hornwort in my tank with just a regular white fluorescent bulb and a Flourish fertiliser a couple times a week and it is growing very fast, I keep having to prune it. It is taking over my tank. If you have a brown thumb, buy a hornwort! It is so easy to keep.

Contributed by Kathy

Hornwort is the latest addition in my aquarium. A very fast grower, it was all I needed to cover a new internal filter in my 200 L tank. At first a bit brownish in the lower parts of the stems, but now green and lush covers the entire left corner of my tank. A good choice for all aquariums.

Contributed by Christos Koutalis

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