Name: Rotala rotundifolia|
Origin: Southeast Asia|
I think this is the most suitable plant for anyone wanting to start out with a nicely coloured red plant in the aquarium. From a couple of stalks, I now have an entire "street" of them, and they grow well with or without CO2 addition, and in medium to high lighting. When they get too tall, I just cut them to the desired height, and replant the cut tops, ending up with a denser bunch of plants. Their rosy red is very rich, and they fold up their leaves to 'sleep' when it gets dark.
This is an incredibly easy plant to grow in sub-optimal lighting as well as well-lit tanks. I have found them to be susceptible to harboring growths of green hair algae. The SAE's and Oto's clean everything else but leave these to their own devices.
This is the easiest variety of Rotala that can be planted in any aquarium without problems. The requirement is only strong lighting, not less than 0.6 W/L. It needs to be pruned when it reaches the surface. For better decoration, a group of 20-30 is needed. Propagation is easy by cutting from the middle point of the body and planting it again in the gravel. Rotala do not grow so fast as Limnophilas, so be careful the other plants are not shading it. I have had Dwarf Rotala for more than a year in my 180 L Low-Tech Angel-Discus Aquarium. With sufficient lighting it grows well in Low-tech without CO2 and any chemicals. I recommend both for beginners and experts for a nice scene.
A member of this site's forum came to visit me and he was nice enough to bring a small sample of this plant. I placed the little plant in my 40 L, and it was growing too fast, so I moved it to my 180 L. That tank was giving me some problems with algae, so I moved it once more to my 340 L. Now the 340 L had very poor lighting, but the Rotala kept fighting. It became a floating plant, and was looking very sad. I had to make a decision, should I trash the plant or give it another chance? Well, I cut the bad parts and placed some of it back in the 40 L and some in the 180 L. The plant now is doing great and I am so glad I did what I did, because now, with good care it's looking at it's best. With good trimming and care the plant gives a special look to any aquarium. When the lights go off and you see how the leaves close to sleep it is very nice. To me after all the changes it has become a super plant. Give it try, you won't regret it.
I didn't get the RED out of this plant until I upgaded my lighting from 96 W to 144 W and CO2 injection in my 150 L tank. I also get constant pearling and it just looks great with the small bubbles on red leaves.