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Shaving Brush Plant

(Penicillus sp.)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Lighting: Moderate   • Placement: Substrate
• Maximum Size: 12"   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
• Propagation: Division   • Coloration: Green   • Supplements: Trace elements, iron
• Origin: Global tropics   • Family: Bombacaceae   • Species: Macroalgae

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Species Information

Shaving Brush Plant native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Shaving Brush Plant (Penicillus sp.) is a popular plant species amongst marine aquarium hobbyists both for its hardy nature and filtration capabilities. Named for its unique shape that looks similar to a brush used for applying shaving cream, the Shaving Brush Plant has proven itself to be useful in both refugiums and within the display aquarium.

Shaving Brush Plants should be planted in the sand bed of the aquarium or refugium and provided with both moderate lighting and water flow. The tubular stalk and long thin leaves give the plant the appearance of a plant as opposed to many other forms of macro algae that grow in clumps or long strands. Unlike many species of marine plants that quickly become fish food if placed within the display aquarium, the Shaving Brush Plant is not often consumed by fish or other tank inhabitants.

Hobbyists should ensure that the plants remain rooted in the sand bed and are placed where they can receive both moderate water flow and lighting. While the plants are adept at removing nitrates and phosphates from the water column for food, they should also be provided supplemental iron and trace elements in order to maintain good growth. The Shaving Brush Plant also makes an excellent addition to vegetable sump filters and refugiums, where it will work towards removing excess nutrients from the aquarium water.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Shaving Brush Plant in the home aquarium.

Marine aquarium hobbyists have found the Shaving Brush Plant to be both an excellent chemical filtration tool and an attractive aquarium decoration. Whether used in the display aquarium or refugium, Shaving Brush Plants are excellent at removing excess nutrients from the aquarium. Unlike many other forms of macro algae, this species both looks attractive when rooted in the aquarium substrate and will not be eaten by the vast majority of aquarium inhabitants.

Moderate to high lighting should be provided, along with plenty of indirect water flow. The addition of trace elements via water changes and iron supplementation should be provided for good long term health. Overall this is an excellent plant species for all levels of marine aquarium hobbyists and for both FOWLR and reef aquarium environments.

Growth and Feeding

How to properly feed & supplement Shaving Brush Plant and provide a healthy environment.

Shaving Brush Plants grow in sandy shallow water fields in the wild. In nature they utilize both sunlight and nutrients found in the water for food and depend on water currents to remove waste products away from the plant. Hobbyists should be sure that they provide plenty of high intensity lighting and at least moderate water flow in order to provide proper care for this species. For the best care, plant them in aquarium or refugium substrate in an area that is well illuminated and receives plenty of laminar or varied water flow.

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