Hygrophila Pinnatifida Care Guide (aka Fern hygrophila, Miramar Weed, Indian Swampweed)

In the world of aquascaping, few aquatic plants offer the unique appeal and versatility of Hygrophila Pinnatifida. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with a deep understanding of how to care for this common freshwater plant.

So if you’re wondering whether this fern is the right plant to add a splash of red to your aquarium, you’ve come to the right place!

Hygrophila Pinnatifida Leaf Structure

Hygrophila Pinnatifida Facts, Origins & Overview

Ever wondered where Hygrophila Pinnatifida comes from? It hails from the vibrant streams of India’s Western Ghats. Clinging onto rocky riverbeds, soaking up the sun and cleaning nutrients from the flowing water.

Want a slow growing Hygrophila Plant? Check out – 16 Awesome Low Light Aquarium Plants Guide!

This natural habitat is pretty unique. It’s here that Hygrophila Pinnatifida learns to be flexible, growing both underwater and above it. When you add this plant to your aquarium, you’re bringing a slice of its wild, adaptive nature into your home. Cool, right?

Hygrophila Pinnatifida under different lighting

Types of Hygrophila Pinnatifida

Hygrophila Pinnatifida is unique and doesn’t have recognized variants. However, slight differences in leaf color and shape can be observed, based on varying light and nutrient conditions.

Hygrophila Pinnatifida attached to driftwood

Appearance & Max Size

Hygrophila Pinnatifida’s alluring appearance lies in its pinnately cut leaves, which may vary from dark green to brown or even red under optimal lighting conditions. The plant grows horizontally, with the stem reaching a height of 10-20 cm and a width of 15-20 cm.

Pros & Cons


  • Versatility: Can be used as a centerpiece or background plant and can be planted in various ways (in the substrate, attached to hardscape, or even floated).
  • Unique Appearance: Offers a distinct look with its fern-like leaves and various shades of green, brown, or red.
  • Wide Range of Water Parameters: Can tolerate a broad range of water parameters, making it adaptable to different aquarium setups.
  • Moderate Growth Rate: Allows for easy management and predictable growth patterns.


  • Light Requirements: Needs moderate to high light conditions for optimal growth and coloration.
  • Sensitivity to Hard Water: May experience growth issues in excessively hard water conditions.

Hygrophila Pinnatifida Nano Tank

Tank Size, Water Parameters, Temp, Lighting, PH

Hygrophila Pinnatifida is adaptable to a wide range of tank sizes, from nano tanks to larger aquascapes. Ideal water parameters include a temperature range of 22-28°C, pH of 6-7.5, and a GH of up to 30. While this plant can tolerate low light,the vibrant coloration and growth rate are significantly enhanced under moderate to high lighting conditions.

Hygrophila Pinnatifida Propogation

How to Plant Hygrophila Pinnatifida


Plant Hygrophila Pinnatifida into a rich nutrient substrate. The stem should be inserted deep enough to prevent it from floating away but not so deep that the lower leaves are buried.


This plant can also be attached to rocks, driftwood, or decor using a cotton thread or a plant glue. Over time, it will anchor itself using its roots.


While not a common practice, Hygrophila Pinnatifida can be allowed to float in the aquarium, leading to an intriguing and unique aesthetic.


Growth and Propagation (Breeding)

How fast does it grow?

Under optimal conditions, Hygrophila Pinnatifida exhibits a moderate growth rate, with new leaves sprouting every week.

How to propagate?

Propagating this plant is simple – cut a healthy stem and plant it into the substrate or attach it to hardscape. The cut stem will grow into a new plant.

CO2 and fertilization

While the plant will grow without added CO2, the supplementation of CO2 and micronutrients can significantly enhance growth and coloration.

Hygrophila Pinnatifida Carpet

Tank Mates

Suitable Tankmates

Hygrophila Pinnatifida is compatible with a wide range of fish, shrimp, and snails that do not have a tendency to nibble on plants.

Unsuitable Tankmates

Avoid housing this plant with species like goldfish, cichlids, and large plecos, which are known to uproot or eat aquatic plants.

Hygrophila Pinnatifida Plant

Care and Maintenance

Is Hygrophila Pinnatifida low maintenance?

While this plant is relatively easy to care for, its requirement for moderate to high light and its sensitivity to hard water mean that some degree of maintenance is necessary.

Trimming And Pruning

Trimming the plant regularly will promote bushier growth. Make sure to remove any yellow or decaying leaves to maintain plant health.

Signs Of Good Health

A healthy Hygrophila Pinnatifida exhibits vibrant coloration, new leaf growth, and strong root development.

Signs Of Poor Health

Warning signs include yellowing leaves, slow growth, and weak root systems. These signs may indicate issues with water parameters, lighting, or nutrients.

Hygrophila Pinnatifida Red Healthy with Fish

Is Hygrophila Pinnatifida Suitable for Your Aquarium?

If you’re seeking an aesthetically pleasing, versatile, and relatively manageable plant to enhance your aquascape, Hygrophila Pinnatifida is a fantastic choice.

Remember, while it demands certain conditions for optimal growth, the breathtaking beauty it offers in return makes the effort worthwhile.

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