Water sprite is a plant common in a lot of aquariums. It is best in freshwater, and is easily available for purchase in local stores or at online retailers. You might find it sometimes sold under a different name like Water Fern or Indian Water Fern.
Water sprite can either be planted or it can float. We’ll take a look at which is the best option for you in your aquarium. You’ll want to ensure your tank conditions are optimal for the growth and health of your plant. Light, heat, and even what types of fish are in your tank will all affect the growth and reproduction of water sprite.
Overall, it is a quite versatile plant, and it’s a great option for you to use in your aquarium. It also makes it a great ground cover in your aquarium, as it has lacy leaves that provide good coverage in your tank.
Planted Water Sprite
Water sprite can either float or be planted. Floating might be easier. If you wish to plant it in one spot, consider maybe using suction cups and some fishing line to latch it into position. Water sprite is a great option to plant on the bottom of the tank and provide a green ground cover.
Give some thought as to where you want your water sprite to be planted, put some suction cups on the sides of the tank, run the line between the two cups, and use that to hold down the plant.
Keep in mind that water sprite typically grows fairly quickly. Remember that you’ll want to trim it every couple of weeks. Even if you want the water sprite to grow and spread, trimming it ensures it will stay healthy and grow the right way.
For planted water sprite, you’ll want to make sure the roots can attach to the ground. You can add some rocks on gravel on top of the roots to help encourage their attachment.
As your plant reproduces and spreads, if you want any new offshoots to be planted, you’ll likely need to manually plant them under gravel. Typically, offshoots end up as floating water sprite instead of planted, unless you physically go into the tank and plant them.
Water sprite can work in the background to just add some greenspace to your tank. You might want to plant it on 2 or 3 inches of gravel, in order to make sure it flourishes. In no time at all you’ll soon have ground cover in your aquarium.
Floating Water Sprite
Water sprite is known to be a great option for floating in your tank. Floating is probably preferred to planting, as it should be easier to manage, and new offshoots will grow regularly as floating water sprites.
It might be easier to keep your plant floating instead of trying to actually plant it in the ground, since the roots are intended to collect a bunch of nutrients from the water column. This means it doesn’t function optimally when it’s buried. Sometimes, when it’s planted it might get spindly leaves, which aren’t great either.
Floating water sprite can either grow on top of the water’s surface, or it can also grow deep inside the tank. To get your floating water sprite deeper into the tank, just drop the leaves and stem into the water. In a few days you’ll notice that the roots are getting nutrients directly from the water, and they don’t need to be rooted into the ground.
If you want more water sprite, you can just snip a stem off your current water sprite, drop it in the water, and watch it grow and flourish. If your water sprite is getting too long, you can trim some of the bottom of the roots off and discard them. Overtime, the water sprite will end up growing more roots.
Lighting Required for Water Sprite
Your water sprite needs some specific conditions. If everything is right, it can flourish and be a bright, beautiful plant. For lighting, the leaves are going to end up going close to whatever light source you have, and that’s ok.
Water sprite can also be used to provide shade for some areas of your tank. If you have some fish that prefer cooler waters, they might like to dive under the water sprite and sit down there to rest. Both planted and floating water sprite can be used to create shade.
Water sprite thrives best in medium to high light conditions (it loves sunlight), but it will grow in low light. If you have low light, the water sprite will just grow much slower than if you have high light, and this can be used to influence how fast your water sprite grows.
You can use light to control how slow or fast your water sprite grows. If you find that your water sprite is growing too quickly and getting out of hand, dim the light around your tank, so the water sprite is exposed to darker conditions. If you’d like to speed up the growth of your water sprite, do the opposite, and ensure that the water sprite is exposed to lots of warm light.
Trimming Water Sprite
Water sprite is sometimes too easy to grow, and it can spread like a weed. That said, make sure you give it the right nutrients so it can grow the right way, and trim it back when it needs it.
You want to make sure you don’t tug and the plant and tear it out by the root when you do decide to trim Water Sprite Plants. Carefully snip any growth that is beyond what you want, and anything that is dead. Be sure to not tear the plant while you trim it. Do not pull the plant so that the roots start to loosen.
It’s probably a good idea to trim it down to the stem and plant base as close as you can. If you don’t, the remaining portion might end up dying off anyways.
You can trim your water sprite to encourage faster growth and reproduction. If you want more water sprite, trim some off your existing plant and use that to plant or float new offshoots in your tank.
Don’t be afraid to trim the bottom of the roots of your plant. This can help shorten it and clean up your tank. Sometimes trimming off some of the unhealthy parts can foster growth and improve your plant.
Types of Fish that like Water Sprite
The good news for water sprite is it is a very common plant that can be used in almost any aquarium. It is not harmful to any breed of fish, and it can be universally used in every aquarium!
While it’s compatible with all fish, some large fish might eat the water sprite. This is ok for the fish, but it does mean your plant might diminish quickly.
Cichlids and goldfish are fish that also like to eat water sprite. Water sprite will not harm the fish, but if you have a lot of goldfish, you probably won’t have any water sprite left. Your aquarium will probably be find if you have only 1 or 2 goldfish, as they won’t destroy all the water sprite. However, if you have an abundance of cichlids or goldfish, don’t bother planting any water sprite.
Shrimp and water sprite are quite compatible. They get nutrients from the plant, but don’t eat it and destroy it. Shrimp also like to hide, and the water sprite can provide them with good cover.
Water sprite cannot live in the same tank as snails. Snails are notorious for destroying water sprite, and will ruin it completely. Do not put water sprite in the same aquarium as snails.
Tank Conditions for Water Sprite
Since it’s so versatile, water sprite can grow in different temperatures. Your tank can be anywhere between 68 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure you keep the Water Sprite in a large tank because it does grow quickly. The bigger the tank, the better off you will be. It can grow in smaller tanks, but you will need to trim it much more often. The minimum size your tank should be is 10 gallons.
If your tank is uncovered, water sprite can even grow shoots that stick out of the tank. This is ok, and it can look nice. It’s also possible that what started out as a planted water sprite can grow off shoots that become floating plants.
Like other plants, adding CO2 to your tank will help water sprite grow. While it will grow without additional CO2, it will grow faster and better if you add CO2 to the tank.
Having this plant in your tank actually helps to clean your tank, and you might find that you don’t need to clean your aquarium as often if you have water sprite. The shade the plant provides helps keep algae out of your tank, which means less cleaning for you.
Water Sprite Colors
Think of Water Sprite like a fern. It almost always grows green, and you should never see a color besides green unless it is dead or dying. Typically, the stem will be a darker green than the leaves, but the whole plant should be green in color.
If your water sprite is turning brown, it is decaying. Not only should you trim off the brown parts, but you’ll also want to find out what caused the brown parts. Do you need to change any conditions in your tank to ensure your water sprite continues to flourish? Make sure the tank conditions are optimal for your water sprite to grow, so that you don’t have more decaying plants in the future.
The stem will likely be a darker shade of green than the leaves. The roots will also be a darker color and can even be brown. Floating water sprite are also likely to grow roots that offshoot from the primary roots.
Floating water sprite might take on a different appearance than planted water sprite because they tend to float closer to the surface, which means they are exposed to more light. The leaves might be wider and greener than the leaves on a planted water sprite.
Water Sprite Propagation
Water sprite spreads like weeds in your garden. You won’t need to do much to encourage your water sprite to reproduce and grow rapidly. If you’re happy with the rate they spread, you don’t need to do anything at all to encourage reproduction and growth.
Little plantlets will soon offshoot from the original water sprite. You shouldn’t need to do anything; soon, these offshoots will begin growing roots and planting themselves in the tank. They also might not plant, but float.
If you do want to hasten the growth and reproduction of your water sprite, you can trim a piece of stem with some leaves from your water sprite and drop it directly into the tank. Within a few days, this stem will begin growing root and it will be a new floating water sprite in your tank.
If your plant is growing too fast you could also consider adding larger fish or goldfish to your tank, which are known to eat the water sprite and keep it under control.
By choosing to plant water sprite, you probably wanted it to act like ground cover and spread. With the right tank conditions, it will grow and reproduce all by itself.
Is Water Sprite Right for your Aquarium?
Water Sprite is a great choice for almost any aquarium, and can survive in most tanks including both fresh and saltwater, and a mix in between like brackish. You don’t have to worry too much about lighting or food, as it’s a very versatile plant.
Since it’s so easy to maintain, you can float it or plant it in the bottom of your aquarium. In either case it should thrive, and you’ll be well on your way to a happy, healthy fish tank!