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Rotala macrandra
Giant Red Rotala

 Age of Aquariums > Aquarium Plants

Photos & Comments

Rotala_macrandra_1.jpg (16kb)
Photo Credit: Gianmarco Bertaccini

Name: Rotala macrandra
Origin: Southeast Asia

Care Gravel Light
Hard Rich Bright


This is the best plant I ever had in my 2 aquarium tanks. They really require a lot of light to grow and if the condition is really good, they can also be planted closely. Another plus point by using bright light is the red leaves with bubbles underneath the leaves. It can really be rewarding to plant this plant as a background and after weeks, they will occupy the whole background with really larger and healthier leaves!

Contributed by a visitor

A nightmare plant for me! Even with CO2 and fertilizer and bright lights and iron supplements, something was still wrong! I kept on buying, they kept on dying...

Contributed by Stylus

The pink champagne color strikes a nice contrast in the tank, although it may not be the easiest thing in the world to keep it that color. The plant thrives best in high light, CO2 enriched waters. The pinkish color is best brought out with low amounts of nitrogen (nitrates), between 5-10 ppm. When your pink plant starts to go green, you might be due for a water change. The stems should not be planted closely together, as the shading will cause the lower halves of the stem to lose leaves and possibly die. It will grow bushy if you keep trimming away, so normally I trim the tops, pull out the bottom, then replant the tops. Otherwise, the bushy tops may shade the bottom of the stems, causing the same problems as planting too closely.

Contributed by Jason Wessendorf

Visually stunning plant, but leaves are very fragile. Seems to strive on nutrient rich and bright light. I encounter a small problem though, the stem in the subtrate keeps thinning out. Might be water. Keeping mine in neutral. Hope you guys have better luck, but well worth the effort.

Contributed by Michael

Known as red butterfly in Chinese, this plant is very difficult to cultivate successfully because the implanted section of the stem often decay at a faster rate than the sprouting of roots which is necessary for the plant to take hold to live. The trick is to purchase plants already sprouting internodal roots which often reach the gravel fast to secure a life-line to ensure survival of the plant.

Contributed by Siew Liew

Many aquarists find it difficult to grow this species of rotala. I have been growing it for many years and have been selling it to aquarium shops for some considerable time. There's no real secret to it, it is not complicated. You need a deep tank, mine is 75 cm deep with fine clean gravel substrate. Good lighting is essential if you want nice red leaves of a good size - again nothing complicated, I use 6x40 W cheap grolux fluorescent tubes above a 150 cm tank. I find that Rotala Macrandra likes a long day to thrive, say ten hours or thereabouts. Water must be free of nitrates and phosphates. Do frequent water changes, I normally change a third of a tank each week. Water should have a neutral pH, water temperature doesn't seem important, mine ranges anywhere between 26 and 31C. I wouldn't have a clue as to how hard the water is, but I think it is reasonably soft. Use a good quality chelated iron plant food and be wary to those rubbish brands that are high in phosphates and other undesirables! Sera or Dupla are my preferred plant foods. Plant HEALTHY top cuttings of rotala into the substrate and they will normally grow quite quickly. Mine grows to the surface of the tank in about 3 to 4 weeks with magnificent scarlet red tops. If you allow the plants to reach the surface and float, I have found that the tops spoil and die back, so take regular cuttings and plant back into the gravel. After a couple of months you'll have more Rotala Macrandra than you know what to do with. Tetra and Discus fish look magnificent in a tank densly planted with Rotala.

Contributed by Ken Newstead

I tried this plant a few times before I got it to grow in my 100 L tank. It finally grew lush and red with 60 Watts of light over the tank, CO2, and DuplaPlant 24 fertilizer. The water was rather hard, so this plant doesn't require soft water. The other thing I had to do was plant the stems healthy in Plant Plugs, a fertilized rock wool product. They rooted into the rock wool and then grew very quickly. I wish I could find this plant again.

Contributed by Elaine Thompson

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