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Water Sprite

(Ceratopteris thalictroides)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Lighting:Medium   • Maximum Size: 12"
• Placement: Midground   • Water Conditions: 70-84° F, pH 5.5-7.0, KH 3-8
• Propagation: Adventitious Plants   • Color Forms: Green
Supplements: High Quality Aquarium Fertilizer
• Origin: Widespread Pan-tropical   • Family: Parkeriaceae

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Water Sprite native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Ceratopteris thalictroides, also known as Water Fern, Indian Fern, and Water Sprite, is native to slowly moving, calm, or still waters in tropical regions throughout the world. Having a poor root system, the Water Sprite absorbs nutrients directly from the water column, which also makes Water Sprite an excellent species to anchor to rocks and driftwood, or leave to floating on the surface.

Water Sprite also does well at the aquarium substrate if it is loosely rooted or if the roots are anchored by rock, wood or a small weight. Its sturdy, bright-green, forked leaves provide an attractive contrast to other leaf shapes and make excellent cover for invertebrates and fry.

This is an ideal plant for those new to keeping planted aquariums, as it can tolerate a variety of water conditions and can thrive under a variety of conditions. Water Sprite is also popular with hobbyists experienced with keeping live plants due to its brilliant coloration, unique leaf pattern and diverse planting options.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Water Sprite in the home aquarium.

Water Sprite requires regular dosing of high quality, liquid nutrients, as well as moderate lighting of 2 to 3 watts per gallon from full spectrum (5000-7000K) bulbs. Water Sprite will grow vigorously under optimal conditions (even more so with CO2 injection), which makes this species very effective for inhibiting algae growth and removing excess nutrients and organic waste from the water column as well as releasing plenty of oxygen.

In an open environment, Water Sprite can eventually grow out of the aquarium and start to form attractive surface leaves. Snails tend to find Water Sprite very appetizing and it's recommended that snail eating fish species (such as Loaches) be introduced into the tank.

Propagation Information

How to propagate and grow Water Sprite.

Propagation occurs via adventitious plants forming on the outer leaf margins, making Water Sprite very easy to reproduce. Simply use sharp scissors to clip the newly formed baby plants and they can either be floated or planted in the substrate.

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