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HELANTHIUM BOLIVIANUM 'ANGUSTIFOLIUS'

Synonyms: Echinodorus angustifolius
Hardiness: Easy
Light Needs: Medium
Plant Structure: Rosette
Family: Alismataceae
Genus: Helanthium
Region: Central/South America
Location: Brazil
Size: Height: 12-18 inches (30-40 cm)
Growth Rate: Fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes

Description:

Helanthium bolivianum 'Angustifolius' is a tall chain sword native to the Mato Grosso region of Brazil. It is a relatively recent introduction to the hobby, but will undoubtedly become common before long. At present, it can only be obtained by American hobbyists through other aquatic gardeners. In Europe and elsewhere, it is available through nurseries like Tropica in Denmark.

The light green leaves of H. bolivianum 'Angustifolius' are about as wide as a shoe lace and as tall as eighteen inches, but usually stay shorter under good light. It is by no means a demanding plant, but does require ample amounts of micro nutrients to look its best. Without sufficient iron, it often takes on a pale cast. Root feeding with micro nutrients and lots of water column supplementation eliminates that problem. Strong light and carbon dioxide certainly contribute to its rapid growth, but are not necessary, making it a good candidate for tanks with lower light and slower growth rates.

As mentioned above, Helanthium bolivianum 'Angustifolius', like others in the resurrected genus Helanthium, propagates by runners. Once established, it can be very invasive, so care has to be taken to keep it in check. Plants up to eight inches tall can literally appear overnight.

Unlike most others of its genus, this species is not suitable for foreground carpets. Instead, it is an excellent plant for areas in the middle, back, and sides of the aquarium. It makes a good alternative to the more commonly used Vallisneria spp. used in these positions.