Care Level: Easy
Water Conditions: Soft to Moderately Hard
Lighting Requirements: Low
Temperature: 68 to 82 F (20-28 C)
Maximum Size: 24 Inches (60cm)
The Brazilian pennywort (Hydrocotyle leucocephala), also known as Brazilian water ivy, or simply as pennywort, is an easy to grow, beginner plants for aquariums. It is native to much of South America and Central America, and can be found all the way from Argentina in the south, to Mexico in the north.
It is primarily found in wetlands and marshes, though it can also be found in slow moving rivers and flooded areas during the wet season. It can survive in both aquariums and bog setups, and it will thrive in most moist conditions.
Brazilian pennywort will grow to a maximum height of 24 inches (60 cm) in a home aquarium, and it will grow to about 6 inches (15 cm) in width. If it reaches the surface of the water, it will produce small white flowers.
Brazilian pennywort is a very easy to care for plant, that will thrive in most water types and in low light conditions. When provided with proper lighting and nutrients, it can grow several inches in a single week.
It can be grown planted in the substrate, or it can be left to float in the aquarium. When floating, it makes a perfect refuge for newborn fry, though its growth will generally be less than when it’s planted in the substrate.
This plant can also adapt to a wide variety of water conditions, and is one of the few plants that is suitable for even very hard water in an aquarium. With that being said, its growth will be somewhat slowed in a hard water aquarium, and should be provided with warm temperatures and proper nutrients to truly thrive.
Brazilian pennywort may require some iron supplementation in the aquarium, and you can determine if there is an iron deficiency through inspecting its leaves. If there is any yellowing of the leaves, then it is likely suffering from a lack of iron.
When choosing lighting, a high quality LED light, or speciality plant bulbs should be provided for optimal growth. Unlike many other plants, algae is not much of a concern due to its fast growth, so high lighting is rarely a problem.
Propagating Brazilian Pennywort is extremely simple, and can be done through cutting or pinching off cuttings that includes healthy leaves. The new cutting can then be planted in the substrate, and if sufficient lighting and nutrients are provided, it should take root within a few days.
The Brazilian pennywort is compatible with most species of fish, though large digging fish such as cichlids should be avoided. Also, goldfish will quickly destroy this plant even if it is left floating.