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Hardiness: Moderate
Light Needs: High
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Hydrocharitaceae
Genus: Lagarosiphon
Region: Africa
Location: Madagascar
Size: Stem width: 2-4cm (1-1.5in)
Growth Rate: Fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: No


Lagarosiphon madagascariensis, once a staple in many of Takashi Amano's layouts, grows in bodies of water on the island of Madagascar´┐Ża large island just off the southeastern coast of Africa. It is not too common in the trade, although it can occasionally be purchased from stores that regularly import plants from southeast Asia. Trading with other hobbyists is another option.

L. madagascariensis is a fast-growing weed if the hobbyist meets the necessary requirements for growing this plant. It grows best in warm, soft water that is rich in CO2. Injection of this vital gas is essential for optimum growth. Lighting should be intense (3 watts per gallon or higher), as this is a very light demanding plant. The water should be rich in macro and micronutrients: NO3 (5-15 ppm), PO4 (1-2 ppm). A liquid fertilizer rich in iron should be added regularly to help maintain its beautiful emerald green color. If all of these needs are not met, the plant will disintegrate in short order.

This translucent stem plant, when its needs are met, will grow at a very fast rate and will be highly invasive. It will constantly be sending out side shoots into surrounding plant groupings. It will not form a dense, attractive bush without intensive pruning as it has a rather random, weedy growth habit. Fortunately, it is rather easy to prune. Cut off all excess cuttings with a pair of scissors and either replant or discard.

L. madagascariensis is an excellent candidate for the background of small aquariums where its size and shaping can be more easily controlled. The translucent emerald green color and beautiful bubbles of oxygen that form on the leaves adds sparkle to any layout.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2004 by Tula Top All Rights Reserved.

Photo #2: US and International Copyright 2004 by Tula Top All Rights Reserved.