I have been growing Dwarf Hygrophila for ~10 years and have enjoyed it very much. The drawback to owning this plant is the constant need of pruning and the crashing of buffer capacity. Due to the high rate of growth, Sunset strips the minerals out of the water causing a very low pH and the need for bicarbonate supplementation.
I've had the same group of hygro in my tank for several years, through four different locations. With hard, alkaline water, it survived and grew, but with long thin looking leaves that were quite far apart on the stem. As soon as I got it to a spot where I had softer water I saw it's growth get much denser, with smaller leaves of a more brilliant green that were much closer together on the stem. It looks wonderful now, glowing from the tank. Another thing I've noticed with hygro is it's peculiarities in rooting. It takes a while to make the transition from free floating roots to thinner, more robust roots in the sediment, but eventually it will do this. Keep in mind that if you want it to branch intensely it's best to let it float for a while, in straight horizontal growth it branches and roots at almost every leaf point. Smaller floating pieces may grow into odd shapes resembling spokes on a wheel. My female betta and sword tail fry love the floating tangle, and it provides an endless stock of new planting material
This stuff is amazing. When carpeting out an aquarium floor, you only really need to buy two bunches and plant them, and then let your water start cycling. By the time your water is mostly cycled, this plant will be tall enough to clip and replant the rest of your aquarium. You can save money with this plant by only buying enough for half of your aquarium and then clipping and replanting the rest. Definitely a must have. Cheap too. Easy to care for.
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