An In-Depth Plant Care Guide

Moneywort is a popular plant for aquariums, and the reasons are obvious. This plant looks great, can improve the health of your aquarium, and is easy to care for!

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about caring for moneywort in an aquarium.

Species Summary

Moneywort (Bacopa monnieri) is a beginner-friendly aquatic plant that can work wonders for enlivening tropical freshwater tanks. He has many names. In some parts of the world it is called water hyssop or coastal hyssop. Some hobbyists call it the “creeping plant”.

This cultivar is one of the most popular in the aquarium trade. It is not difficult to understand why. Not only is this plant beautiful, but it is versatile and surprisingly hardy.

A moneywort plant growing out of an aquarium

Moneywort grows in all corners of the world. It grows everywhere, from the marshes of Asia and South America to the wetlands of Africa and Australia! The plant’s wide natural distribution makes it very adaptable and forgiving in not-so-perfect water conditions.

The benefits of having it in your tank

Having live plants like moneywort in your aquarium can enrich underwater environments in several ways.

Not only do plants better replicate the natural habitats of the fish you are keeping, but they can also improve aquarium conditions. Moneywort uses nutrients produced by fish waste and organic debris. It takes advantage of the biological load of the aquarium to flourish!

Plants help control ammonia levels and make it easier for you to maintain safe water conditions. Moneywort also helps stabilize pH levels and infuses water with much needed oxygen.

From a enrichment perspective, moneywort has a lot to offer. It is a versatile plant that you can use in many ways. Whether it’s a background plant or a lush carpet, your fish will use the foliage for shelter.

It is especially beneficial in breeding tanks as it gives fry a safe place to hide and grow.

Appearance

Moneywort is a stem plant. A long, sturdy stem grows from the roots. Nodes grow along the stem, sprouting thick leaves. The leaves are about an inch long and grow on both sides, making moneywort a relatively slim two inches wide.

The leaves are thick and fleshy. They are similar to those of terrestrial succulents. But despite the weight of those leaves, the moneywort is known to stand upright, even in aquariums with considerable water flow.

A healthy moneywort is light green all over. In great light conditions, it can even produce flowers!

Small white flowers bloom from the nodes of the leaves. Sometimes the flowers will have hints of pink or purple, giving the plant a soft, colorful appearance.

Size and growth rate

Moneywort can grow on the water surface and beyond. It grows submerged or fully submerged.

In an aquarium, most moneywort reach about 12 inches in height. However, they are quite capable of growing longer under the right conditions. In the wild, it is known to grow several feet tall.

Author’s note: This plant requires regular pruning. It has a relatively fast growth rate of about one inch per month. Of course, the exact rate will depend on water and light conditions, but one inch per month is standard.

Moneywort Care

Compared to other commercial aquatic plants, maintaining moneywort in an aquarium is quite easy. It is a hardy plant that will continue to grow in most tropical freshwater conditions.

Follow the care guidelines below and you’ll have a lush tank full of healthy argentina in no time.

tank size

This factory does not have strict space requirements. Remember: it’s only about two inches wide with leaves.

The most important thing to consider when it comes to tank size is the type of fish you plan to keep with your moneywort. Generally, aquarists recommend keeping the plant in an aquarium of at least 10 gallons in volume. That’s more than enough for a few silver plants and small fish.

But if you want a thriving multi-species aquarium with lush habitat, go bigger. Higher reservoirs will facilitate the continued vertical growth of moneywort. However, larger reservoirs give you the versatility to use this plant in more ways.

Water parameters

Moneywort plants typically grow in swamps, marshes, and wetlands. You will most likely see the plant’s green leaves sticking out of muddy lowlands or pushing up against rocks.

It thrives in warmer conditions, but the plant is tougher than most realize. Moneywort tolerates slight fluctuations in pH, hardiness and temperature. However, staying within the preferred ranges below will give you optimal growth and color.

You will find that moneywort plants have similar water parameter needs to many species of tropical fish. That’s a big reason why they’re so popular. Instead of prioritizing the needs of the plant, you can model your aquarium habitat based on the fish you keep and rest easy knowing the moneywort has what it needs to stay healthy.

  • Water temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 7.5 (close to neutral is ideal)
  • Water hardness: 5 to 20 KH

Lighting

Plants need light to thrive, and moneywort in an aquarium is no different. This specimen can do well in moderate lighting but does best when it has 10 to 12 hours of light per day.

Low light conditions will cause the moneywort to stretch on the surface. Instead of focusing on compact, bushy growth, it will grow towards the surface and may look a bit thin for your liking.

Moneywort thrives when it receives about two to three watts of light per gallon of tank volume. Set your light fixture on a timer and you can take a hands-off approach to caring for your plant.

Author’s note: You don’t have to invest in a fancy lighting system. The standard LED lighting works very well.

Substrate

The moneywort plant does not have strict aquarium substrate requirements. However, the best choice is aquarium-safe plant soil. Sand and gravel work well too.

Most aquarists will use a combination of these materials. The ideal setup is about two to three inches of soil. On top of that, you can add a thin layer of sand and gravel to keep the floating plant anchored.

How to plant it

Planting moneywort in an aquarium is child’s play! This plant is one of the most tolerant in the hobby. Plus, you have plenty of options!

Silver does well virtually anywhere in the tank. You can use it as a decorative background feature, plant it in the middle of the tank for fish to swim through, and even as a foreground bush. Believe it or not, the plant is often used as a carpet-like ground cover!

How it grows depends on your placement and size. More on that in a moment.

To establish the plant, place a single stem about an inch into the ground. Tweezers work best for this job. The plant is tough, but be gentle so as not to damage the root system and stem.

You will notice that the moneywort wants to float to the surface. Use gravel or small pebbles to anchor it in place. Over time the roots will grow and spread, creating a firmer grip on the substrate.

Author’s note: It is best to plant moneywort about two inches apart to avoid overcrowding.

If you don’t want to deal with anchoring, consider using moneywort as a floating plant! The leaves are naturally buoyant and the roots don’t need soil to suck up nutrients. When floating, it is closer to the light and can reduce exposure below.

Trimming and pruning

The fast-growing nature of moneywort will require frequent trimming. This is especially true if you have the right lighting that facilitates growth and good health.

However, how often you prune depends on where you place the plant and what you expect from it. For mat or bush arrangements, you will likely need to prune the plant every two weeks to maintain its shape.

For background placement, you can let the moneywort grow to the surface. Once it reaches the top, it will continue to grow horizontally. Trim the plant to keep it just below surface level, creating a curtain of foliage at the back of your tank.

The best way to prune moneywort is with sharp pruning shears. Position the shears on the stem between the leaf nodes. The plant will continue to grow, but it can focus its energy on healing the cut first. As a result, you may notice slower growth after pruning.

tank mates

Moneywort is an excellent plant for most freshwater tanks. Many fish and invertebrates love it!

The most important thing to avoid is known plant eaters. For example, the Buenos Aires tetra and some larger uproot species may be too much for the moneywort.

Interestingly enough, most types of goldfish usually leave this species alone. The leaves are too thick and fleshy, so they go to other plants instead.

Here are some good tank mates to consider for the moneywort plant:

Spread

Moneywort may or may not produce flowers, but it’s fine. You don’t need it to propagate this plant!

Like other species of aquatic plants, it is as simple as using cuttings. The cuttings will develop root systems over time, creating whole new plants. You can use cuttings at least one inch long.

Anchor them in the ground and the plant will begin to grow.

If you want to be more strategic, wait for your mature moneywort to produce side shoots. Lateral shoots grow from leaf nodes and emerge horizontally. Let these shoots grow to at least an inch long before cutting them close to the node.

Wrap

Moneywort care is simple enough for aquarists of any skill level. If you are looking for a plant to add life to your aquarium, this is definitely the one to consider!

If you have any experiences with this plant that you would like to share, let us know! We love to hear from our readers.

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