Amaranth (Alternanthera aquatica)
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Alternative Names & Variants
- Mogiphanes aquatica, Alternanthera hassleriana, Alternanthera aquatica "Chodat"
- Alternanthera aquatica can be found growing along riverbanks, lake margins, and marshes in Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. This massive floating plant tends to root in the bottom muck and spreads its several meter long shoots across the water's surface. Described as perennial, prostrate and branchy,presenting a circular to polygonal stem in transection, long internodes and swollen nodes, at which opposite leaves attach. The inflorescence is cymes, composed of hermaphrodite, actinomorphous and monocyclic flowers.
- Other than requiring a great deal of space, A. aquatica is not a very demanding species for the very large aquarium. Intense, direct lighting is the most important factor for long term success, followed by heavy fertilization of nitrate, phosphate, potassium, and traces either through the water column or substrate to spur faster, more vigorous growth and larger, more verdant stems.
- A content specimen of A. aquatica will quickly try to grow out of the confines of even the largest aquarium, making frequent pruning of the floating stalks necessary. For propagation, these stalks can be planted in the substrate or left floating. Either way, they will soon take root and commence rapid growth.
- This enormous floating plant is not suitable for the typical garden aquascape. However, it is highly desirable for the extremely large South American biotope aquarium, especially those which try to imitate the Pantanal region. In such a setup, one can easily recreate the biologically diverse floating communities found in the wild and provide a sense of security for the various Characins and Cichlids that share this plant's native range.
- A rich green in colour with oval waxy leaves.