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Last update: August 27, 2021

Water Wisteria: Features, Care And Much More

Having the right plants in your aquarium is a no-brainer from every possible aspect. These plants can double as a source of shelter and oxygen in your fish tank. Of course, if you know how to make the right pick, your tank will also look impressive. If you have checked the most popular aquatic plants in the market, you might have come across water wisteria already. It is one of the most widely used aquatic plants you can get today, but many people are confused about caring for water wisteria.

Unlike what you may think, water wisteria is a simple thing to maintain in an aquarium. You do not have to spend a lot of time looking after the plant. It does not need heavy maintenance or nutrition, either. Anyway, we wanted to explore these aspects from different viewpoints. In the following guide to water wisteria, we have discussed the aquatic plant’s features, caring routine, and other factors you should know. First, of course, we will get started with a detailed introduction to water wisteria.

What Is Water Wisteria?

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Water wisteria is a freshwater aquatic plant that belongs to the Acanthaceae family. As we said earlier, it is one of the most widely used aquatic plants you can find for your aquarium. These plants are noted for their low-maintenance nature and other easy-to-handle features. As a result, water wisteria plants can be spotted in aquariums across the world.

Even though the plant comes from the Indian subcontinent, which includes countries like India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, water wisteria has made it to other countries and continents thanks to its effectiveness as a freshwater plant. Therefore, no matter where you live, it will be easy to find water wisteria plants from a nearby aquatic plants shop or an aquarium shop. Depending on your expertise in fishkeeping and aquarium management, you can use water wisteria plants for various needs, including carpeting and floating. We will talk more about these in the following sections.

From a botanical point of view, water wisteria is easy to maintain. It is scientifically known as hydrophilia difformis and can grow up to a maximum size of 20 inches. The plant grows best under the temperature level of 70 Degree Fahrenheit to 82 Degree Fahrenheit, and the ideal pH levels would be 6.5 to 7.5. However, the plant can grow with moderate to high heat, and the growth rate is comparatively faster.

The freshwater plant does not cost much, either. So, now that you know the basics about water wisteria, shall we answer some of the queries you may have about using the same in your aquarium? First, we will explore whether water wisteria is harmful to the other things you have in the fish tank, including aquatic plants and fish.

Is Water Wisteria Invasive?

Before we determine whether water wisteria is invasive, we must consider what the label ‘invasive’ means in different spaces. A plant is deemed invasive when its growth is so uncontrolled that it disrupts the eco-balance of a habitat. For instance, if we consider a pond, an invasive plant species will take up so much space and resources that other plants cannot survive in it. In countries where the plant originated, water wisteria is considered an invasive species. Therefore, authorities may try to remove water wisteria from water bodies in Bangladesh, India, and Bhutan. However, things are a little different when we consider the United States of America.

Even though water wisteria is not native to the US, the plant has become quite common. But, since it is a non-native plant, it tends to undermine native plants in a waterbody. Therefore, authorities in the US believe that water wisteria must be treated as a weed with the help of an herbicide. But it is not illegal to possess the plants — unless and until you introduce the plant to water bodies like ponds or rivers. Nevertheless, you do not have to worry about these aspects when introducing water wisteria to your fish tank. However, even though it is a plant-and-forget species, you should watch how the plant interacts with other aquarium elements.

 In short, even though water wisteria is considered invasive in the United States, it should not stop you from using the freshwater plant in your aquarium. As long as you maintain the optimal growing conditions, it will not affect other plants/fish in the tank.

Is Water Wisteria Good for Aquariums?

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The short answer to this question is Yes.

If you need a lengthy answer to this question, you should first consider some of the unique features of water wisteria plants. Some of them are:

  • Water wisteria plants are effortless to take care of. Many call this species a plant-and-forget plant for aquariums for all the good reasons. Moreover, unlike other aquarium plants, water wisteria does not require constant care from you. Instead, it can adapt to the situations and grow.
  • You do not have to worry about compatibility when introducing water wisteria plants to an aquarium. The plant is proven to grow fine along with a variety of plants and fish types. So unless you grow some unique fish species, compatibility would not be a problem with water wisteria.
  • Even though the United States considers water wisteria to be an invasive species, it does not impact the ecological balance of an aquarium. On the flip side, you may appreciate the high growth rate of the plant in many instances.
  • Compared to other freshwater plants for aquariums, water wisteria takes only a little time to grow into a fully-fledged form. As a result, it helps you in many ways, including arranging the fish tank to look good.

If you look at the advantages of using water wisteria for aquariums, you can see that the plant is a dream-come-true for many fishkeeping experts and beginners. For instance, if you have just gotten into aquariums and fishkeeping, water wisteria is one of the best options for the aquarium. Instead of worrying about how the plant may turn out and the required nutrition, you can focus on how the main elements of the fish tank will function. We believe that is a huge timesaver for those getting their proper ground with their fishkeeping endeavors.

How Fast Does Water Wisteria Grow?

We already mentioned that water wisteria has a comparatively higher growth rate. It means the plant does not take as much time as other aquatic plants may need for complete growth. For the most part, it can be a noticeable advantage, especially for beginners. For one, you do not have to worry about additional nutrients or care tips. But, more importantly, you can use your spare time to focus more on fish and other species in your tank.

If we talk about numbers, you should not expect to see sudden growth with water wisteria. That is, you may have to wait for a few days until you see noticeable growth on the plant. Nevertheless, provided that you give the plant enough sunlight and nutrients, you can expect a growth rate of 2 inches to 3 inches per week. It means the plant would reach its fully-fledged form before you know it. Of course, we cannot state the same about other plants.

In short, if you want the plant to reach its maximum size, you may have to wait around a month. Then, based on the size of the aquarium and the strategy that you have, water wisteria can be optimized in terms of size and aesthetics. We will talk more about this part soon.

Can You Float Water Wisteria?

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Yes, you can float water wisteria.

Floating is one of the many methods you can use to grow water wisteria in your aquarium. The other option, as you can guess, will be rooting the plant. However, if you want to float the water wisteria plant, it should not be a problem, either. In this case, the leaves of the plant would float on the surface of the aquarium while you can see the roots hanging in-between. However, the choice between floating and rooting water wisteria must be made carefully.

Here is an example. When you root the water wisteria plant, it does not impact the light distribution or other aspects of the aquarium. Given that its roots can spread evenly, the plant would have a commendable base as well. On the other hand, if you decide to float the plant, the aquarium’s exposure to light will be lower. It can be a boon or a problem depending on the fish/plants inside the tank. Some fish species love to get shade, where the floating water wisteria plants would help.

On the other hand, if the plant/fish species in the tank require direct sunlight, you should not try floating the water wisteria plant. Having said this, there could be many exceptions based on the aquarium you build. For instance, if you can arrange supplementary light, water wisteria in the floating mode would not harm other species. On the bright side, however, we should appreciate that you can set and care for the plant in the way most suitable for your fish tank.

What Is the Difference Between Water Wisteria and Water Sprite?

Even though they may look similar from a distance, water wisteria and water sprite are different. Some of the noticeable differences are:

  • While water wisteria is a flowering plant, water sprite is not. Therefore, it is one of the reasons water sprite does not become as lush as the other one. This difference is essential when you want to use any of them in an aquarium.
  • The plant form of water wisteria and water sprite is also different. While water wisteria is known for its narrow and non-bushy design, water sprite will attract attention due to its dense growth. It also tends to be bushier in the completely grown state.
  • Another aspect of difference will be the morphology of both plants. Even though water wisteria and water sprite have a bright green color, water sprite lacks a proper structure for its leaves and stem. Therefore, arranging water wisteria could be easier and optimized to grow in a particular direction.
  • There are also some noticeable differences in the growth pattern. For example, compared to water wisteria, water sprite has a more rapid growth pattern. Sometimes, it is uncontrollable and can cause problems for fishkeeping professionals.
  • Even though both plants are considered invasive in the United States, water sprite seems to cause more damage to water bodies when compared to the other one. The higher growth rate that we mentioned earlier often causes the plants to subdue to the growth/existence of different species.

You should also keep in mind that the compatibility of water sprite with fish types is different from that of a water wisteria plant. Therefore, it is not the best idea to throw fish into a tank filled with water sprite. You will have to check some expert opinion before you do so.

Despite all these differences, water sprite is a good plant you can consider for your aquarium. The caring and setup method might vary a bit, but that will not be an issue if you can dedicate some time learning the different aspects of the freshwater plant.

Also, when most aquariums use water wisteria for their sheltering/aesthetic needs, your tank with water sprite will stand out for sure.

Water Wisteria Care

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Now, we will explore how you can offer the best care for water wisteria plants.

Growing Requirements for Water Wisteria

In the introduction, we mentioned that water wisteria is great at adapting to different situations. Therefore, you would not have any trouble setting up the ideal growing environment for the plant. As long as the tank has access to plenty of sunlight and water, the plant would grow. Therefore, you can use the following tips to optimize the growing conditions for water wisteria.

  • The fish tank must be the right size for the water wisteria plant. As you may have noticed, the growth rate is high, and the plant can grow into size. However, we recommend keeping a tank with a minimum capacity of 10 gallons. In this way, you can ensure ample growing space for the plant.
  • You can choose between sandy substrate and gravel if you want to root the water wisteria plant. Both these mediums provide the best environment for growth. However, if you’re going to float the plant, you can do that with little effort. If you want to experiment with different types of growth mediums, water wisteria will quickly comply.
  • Last but not least, the plant must maintain a temperature between 70- and 82-Degree F. You should also make sure that the pH value of the water does not go beyond the 6.5 to 7.5 limit. The plant may find it challenging to grow in hard water. Therefore, you should set up some way to soften the water.

If you maintain these conditions, water wisteria would not have any problem growing in your aquarium.

Nutrients

You must be careful while using nutrients for water wisteria. It is perhaps the most vital part of caring for an aquarium housing water wisteria. As we mentioned, water wisteria is a fast-growing plant, and it tends to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from the medium. Unfortunately, in some cases, this tendency means that other plants in your aquarium do not have access to the right amount of nutrition. Therefore, while you do not have to worry much about the nutrition requirements of the water wisteria plant, you have to keep other plants/fish species under watch.

For instance, if you think the water wisteria plant is not growing at the recommended rate, you can use one of the growth supplements. These supplements will help the aquarium in two ways. First, if the wisteria plant indeed has a deficiency, the supplement will enhance the growth process. Second, if the plant seems to consume so many nutrients from the medium, the supplement will become a rescue mission for other plants in the tank. You may have to continue this method until you see that the water wisteria plant has reached an optimal growth level.

In other cases, you do not have to provide specific nutrients for the water wisteria plant.

Best Breeds for Water Wisteria

We want to repeat that water wisteria is an adaptive and highly compatible freshwater plant. It means the plant does not harm the fish/plants in your aquarium. Therefore, you do not have to worry about which fish breeds you are using in the tank. However, there is another aspect to this question.

For example, some fish breeds like Goldfish and silver dollars tend to eat plants in the aquarium, and water wisteria could be easy prey. On the other hand, if your tank consists of fish breeds like Gourami, Guppies, cherry barbs, tetras, Rasboras, and bettas, you do not have to worry at all.

Similarly, some snails may cause problems with the growth of water wisteria. Experts recommend that you put assassin snails to reduce the chances of the water wisteria plant getting eaten. As long as you keep these in mind, you can use almost any breed for water wisteria.

Conclusion

We believe we have cleared all your doubts about planting and caring for water wisteria plants. However, while it is an easy plant to take care of, you should not forget it after planting. As mentioned, it could be a little invasive during the first few weeks. After that, of course, it will become a natural part of the aquarium.

https://www.fishkeepingworld.com/water-wisteria

https://www.aquariumcoop.com/blogs/aquarium/water-wisteria

Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here.

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