Ammania gracilis plants have radiant red-pink leaves to give your aquarium a beautiful, mesmerizing background. Ammania gracilis is easy to grow but has some unique requirements.
If you are considering adding this plant to your setup, continue reading to learn the water, nutrient, and light requirements of Ammania gracilis.
Ammania gracilis: What’s So Special About this Plant?
Ammania gracilis is also known as Large Ammania, Pink Ammannia, and Delicate Ammania. This plant is a top choice for planted aquarium lovers, as its red and pink colors in the background complement the greener plants in the midground. What is the origin of this plant?
– History and Origin of Ammania Gracilis
Ammania gracilis was first described and used by P.J. Bussink, an aquarist who found them in Liberia. Pink Ammannia plants are native to the swampy parts of West Africa, where they usually grow in the sand. This plant can thrive even in environments with poor nutrients. Submerged by water or not, Pink Ammannia can grow tall and healthy.
– How to Identify Ammania Gracilis
Here are some features of Pink Ammannia:
- Stem and root: This plant has a fleshy stem with opposing leaves. The stem has nodes at the joint of every leaf cluster, from which roots can develop if buried in a substrate.
- Leaves: The submerged leaves of Ammania gracilis have red and pink patches when the conditions are just right. The leaves can grow over 1 inch long. Pink Ammannia’s leaves could have either blunted or round tips.
- Flowers and Fruits: The flowers of Ammania gracilis are inconspicuous and can be found around submerged parts of the plant. The flower has four purple petals and either four or eight stamens. Ammania gracilis’ fruits are spherical and have rounded seeds.
- Ammania gracilis size: Ammania gracilis can grow over 20 inches tall. If given the chance, the Ammania gracilis can grow even taller than the aquarium. A single Pink Ammannia plant can grow more than 5 inches wide.
- Ammania gracilis growth rate: Pink Ammannia has a very fast growth rate in bright light. When planted right, Ammania gracilis can give your aquarium a bushy, colorful background.
What are the uses of Ammania gracilis that are making it more popular? Find out in the next section.
– Uses of Ammania Gracilis
Here are some cool benefits of Pink Ammannias:
- Background plant: Due to the size that they grow to, Pink Ammannia plants are best planted in the background of the aquarium. They can complement green plants such as Heteranthera zosterifolia or Vallisneria nana.
- Aeration: Like other hydrophytes, Pink Ammannia can aerate your aquarium. They release dissolved oxygen into the water through photosynthesis. So, as long as your plants are healthy and there is enough light, your aquarium will have sufficient oxygen.
- Water purification: As fast-growing plants, Pink Ammannia plants absorb nutrients quickly, freeing the water from unwanted substances that could damage your fish.
- Shelter: Pink Ammannia plants have been observed to be hiding spots for various fish and shrimp species. Fishes can also rest on Ammania gracilis, given their ideal position as background plants.
- Food: Ammania gracilis makes a delicious meal for aquatic snails and some shrimp species.
As you can see, Ammania gracilis is a beneficial aquarium plant. Do you want to grow some? You’d surely need some care tips. Read ahead to discover everything you need to take care of this plant.
Ammania Gracilis Care Tips: Getting Vibrant-Colored Plants
– Optimum Aquarium Size for Ammania Gracilis
Growing Ammania gracilis is easy as long as you give the plants what they need. Pink Ammania plants can grow big, so you should grow them in large aquariums, ideally over 70 gallons. Most people plant Ammania gracilis in their aquarium because of the pink and red colors. The plant may appear yellow or green if it grows higher than the water surface.
This is why you need to plant your Ammania gracilis in a large aquarium and prune it regularly.
– Introducing Your Ammania Gracilis Into the Aquarium
The first step in growing Pink Ammannia is to plant it into the aquarium. The nodes of the Pink Ammannia stem can develop roots when planted, so all you have to do is plant a stem into the substrate. Ammania gracilis prefers well-aerated substrates, so sand and pebbles are okay.
You can buy Ammania gracilis from aquarium shops. You can even buy it online if you prefer getting your products from the internet and know a reliable supplier.
– Ammania Gracilis Light Requirements
Pink Ammania plants need very bright light. The aquarium lamp power should be 0.4-0.5 watts per liter. Besides the aquarium, you should install another 25 to 40-watt lamp.
Give your plants at least 12 hours of light daily. The more light you expose your plants to, the more radiant their color will be.
Why do Ammania gracilis plants need a lot of light for their pink-red colors? The green color of leaves is produced by chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a pigment in plants that traps sunlight to produce energy through photosynthesis. Plants have other pigments, but chlorophyll traps the most sunlight.
Anthocyanin, instead, is a pigment in plants that produces red, blue, and purple colors. Anthocyanin, however, is only effective in bright light. In the absence of bright light, your chlorophyll will trap all of the light, turning your Ammania gracilis green.
– Optimum Water Conditions for Ammania Gracilis
Water is essential for Pink Ammania plants. While Pink Ammania plants are hardy and can withstand a wide range of water parameter fluctuation, they will only show their bright coloration in the best environment. Here are some preferred water quality parameters for Ammania gracilis:
- pH: Ammania gracilis prefers slightly acidic to neutral water. The optimum pH for the plant is 5-7.5.
- Hardness: Your aquarium water should be soft. A GH below 10 is optimum for the growth of Ammania gracilis.
- Temperature: The temperature of your aquarium should be stable. 72°-82°F (22-28°C) is recommended for Ammania gracilis. The temperature should never go below 59°F (15°C).
You should replace 40-50 percent of your aquarium water weekly for your fishes and plants. Seven days after planting your Ammania gracilis, you should replace 100 percent of the aquarium water. This will help your plant to acclimatize to its new environment.
Every organism needs nutrients to grow. Ammania gracilis, for its part, could survive in a nutrient-depleted aquarium, but you should provide it with fertilizer for it to grow better. Here are some nutrients that your plant will need:
- Carbon Dioxide: Dissolved CO2 is very important for Ammania gracilis as it cannot photosynthesize without it. You should inject some CO2 into your aquarium after a water change.
- Nitrate: Nitrate is the absorbable form of nitrogen. You should use only a small dosage for your plants, as too much nitrate can encourage your Ammania gracilis to produce green leaves. Use a fertilizer free from nitrogen if there are fish in the aquarium.
- Potassium and Phosphorus: You should inject a liquid fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorus for your Ammania gracilis. These nutrients help brighten the red-pink color of your plants.
- Micronutrients: The most important micronutrient for Ammania gracilis is iron. Always make sure that there is sufficient iron for your plants to thrive.
– Pruning Ammania Gracilis
If you want your Pink Ammania to appear bushy, you should prune it regularly. When any stem or branch reaches the water surface, cut it in half. New branches will grow from the pruned point and will give your plant a bushy appearance.
Propagation of Ammania Gracilis: Getting Even More Plants for Your Aquarium
It is easy to propagate Ammania gracilis. After pruning your plant, you should not dispose of the pruned stem or branch. Remember that roots grow from nodes in the stem, so cut portions of the plant that present at least a few nodes. To get new Ammania gracilis plants, replant the pruned stem or branch in your preferred location in the aquarium.
Problems You Can Encounter When Growing Ammania Gracilis
Growing Ammania gracilis is fun and easy. Just make sure that you avoid the potential problems that you can face. Some examples of such problems are:
You may notice that your plant leaves are becoming yellow or otherwise pale. This is usually caused by a lack of light or nutrient deficiency. In bright light, Ammania gracilis produces red-pink leaves. In mid-light, they produce green leaves. In low light, Ammania gracilis produce yellow or pale leaves, and their growth rate drops.
You should provide bright light to your plants. Also, make sure that they have enough nitrogen.
If you notice that the leaves of your plants are withering, you should change the water, remove affected leaves, and provide sufficient nutrients to the plant. Also, check the roots to make sure that there is no root rot. You can recognize it from the brown spots on the roots.
– Sickly Leaves
The leaves of Ammania gracilis usually appear wavy in the water and firm on the surface. If, however, you notice that the leaves appear sickly or are wavier than they should be, you should properly aerate the water and give your plants enough iron and other micronutrients.
Growing Ammania gracilis seems easy, right? Here are some reminders of what you have learned so far:
- Ammania gracilis can also be called Large Ammania, Pink Ammannia, and Delicate Ammania.
- Ammania gracilis’ leaves are only bright red-pink when they are exposed to high CO2, bright light, and are immersed in water.
- Roots can develop from the nodes of Ammania gracilis stems, so it is very easy to plant and propagate this plant.
- You should change 40-50 percent of your aquarium water weekly for optimum growth of Ammania gracilis.
- The optimum pH for Ammania gracilis is 5-7.5. Recommended temperature is 72-82 °F
You’d agree that the bright red coloration of Ammania gracilis leaves is worth the time and attention. Will you grow some? You sure can after reading this guide!
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