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Synonyms: Pellia endiviifolia (erroneous)
Hardiness: Easy
Light Needs: Low
Plant Structure: Moss / Fern
Family: Monoseleniaceae
Genus: Monosolenium
Region: Asia
Location: Asia
Size: Size: Infinite
Growth Rate: Medium
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


Monosolenium tenerum is a naturally rare sinking liverwort native to Asia. It was introduced to the hobby by Tropica as Pellia endiviafolia in 2002 and immediately became quite popular. Only later was it discovered that the plant is in fact M. tenerum. Although it is available commercially in the rest of the world, it remains a plant best obtained from other hobbyists in the United States.

M. tenerum could be described as a larger, darker, sinking version of Riccia fluitans. It is not difficult to grow and does well under a wide variety of conditions. However, it will grow much more robustly and look far more attractive in setups with ample light and carbon dioxide. It has no apparent sensitivities but does tend to do better with moderate temperatures and a generous level of phosphate.

M. tenerum can be propagated without any problems through division. Of more interest and concern is the method of pruning. Unfortunately, M. tenerum does not attach to any substrate particularly well. While it can be simply turned loose in the aquarium (where it can become a major pest), it is far better to contain it in the same way one would Riccia. A good way to do that is to pile some on a flat stone and wrap with hairnet or thin fishing line. The finished product may not look nice at first, but will soon grow into an attractive and uniform shrub that can be easily trimmed. It is recommended that this be done outside the aquarium if at all possible. If not, try vacuuming excess bits away while trimming. Because M. tenerum is a popular hiding place for shrimp, be sure to examine the clump before passing some on (laying the whole thing down on a white styro lid works well). If the Monosolenium stone is allowed to grow too large, lower portions can die back. Since M. tenerum sinks naturally, it will not detach and float to the surface like Riccia.

M. tenerum is relatively versatile and can be used for fore and midground plantings. Its dark green coloration provides a great contrast with lighter green foreground plants like Glossostigma elatinoides and Eleocharis parvulus. It looks good interspersed among such plants as variably sized hedges. Alternatively, it can be used as a true foreground plant, although that use is probably best reserved for larger tanks.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2004 by Daniel Larrsen All Rights Reserved.