Ludwigia Repens

Mastering Ludwigia Repens Care: A Beginner’s Guide

Ludwigia repens, a vibrant, beginner-friendly freshwater plant works great in the background of your aquarium thanks to having both red & green leaves in one plant.

It’s easy to take care of, making it a hassle-free plant for beginners to add to your aquarium.

In this quick care guide we’ll get you started with Ludwigia repens natural habitat, water & nutrition requirements, planting, maintenance and propagation techniques.


Quick Notes about Ludwigia Repens

  • Basic Info: Ludwigia Repens, a vibrant, beginner-friendly freshwater plant native to North and Central America, known for its fast growth and ease of care.
  • Appearance: Stems can reach 20 inches, with leaves transitioning from green to red depending on light levels.
  • Ideal Conditions: Prefers moderate to high light, temperatures of 60-86°F (16-27C), and pH between 5.0 and 8.0.
  • Propagation: Easily propagated via stem cuttings.
  • Compatibility: Works well with all freshwater fish
  • Benefits: Enhances oxygenation, provides shelter for aquatic life, and adds vivid aesthetics to tanks.


Origin and Habitat of Ludwigia Repens

Ludwigia Repens is indigenous to North and Central America, predominantly thriving in wetland areas and marshes. Its adaptive qualities allow it to flourish both in submerged and emersed conditions.


Ludwigia Repens, or Red Repens, is a striking aquatic plant with sturdy stems reaching up to 20 inches. Its oval leaves, 2-4 cm in length, display a vibrant red top and deep green underside under ideal lighting.

Emersed growth yields small yellow flowers. Its fast growth, adaptability to various water conditions, and vivid aesthetics make it an excellent choice for both novice and advanced aquarists, enhancing any aquarium with its dynamic presence.

Tank Requirements and Water Parameters for Ludwigia Repens


Tank Size

Ludwigia Repens is a fast-growing and robust plant that can reach up to 20 inches in height.

Consequently, it is best suited to medium to large aquariums.

A minimum tank size of 10 gallons is recommended to accommodate its growth, although larger tanks will allow the plant to truly flourish.

Water Type, Temperature, Hardness, and pH

Water Type: Freshwater, ideally with some degree of mineral content for healthy growth.

  • Temperature: Prefers warm conditions, with a range of 60-86°F (15-30°C).
  • Hardness: Thrives in soft to moderately hard water, general hardness (GH) ideally between 4-12° dH.
  • pH: Adaptable to a wide pH range from 5.0 to 8.0, but optimal growth usually seen in slightly acidic to neutral conditions (6.0 – 7.0).

Lighting Conditions

  • Light Intensity: Moderate to high (around 30 to 50 PAR) for optimal growth and red coloration.
  • Light Spectrum: Full spectrum aquarium lights are preferable.
  • Light Exposure: Consistent exposure for about 10-12 hours per day promotes healthy growth.
  • Dark Periods: Despite its light needs, Ludwigia Repens also requires periods of darkness for overall well-being.

Ideal Substrate

  • Type: Nutrient-rich substrate is ideal, such as aqua soil or clay-based substrates.
  • Depth: A substrate depth of at least 2-3 inches is recommended for proper root development.
  • Nutrition: Additional root tabs or fertilizer can be used to supplement nutrients, promoting healthy growth.
  • Stability: The substrate should be stable enough to anchor the plant and withstand its rapid growth.


CO2 and Fertilization Requirements

  • CO2: Supplemental CO2 is beneficial but not mandatory; levels of 20-30 ppm promote vibrant color and robust growth.
  • Macronutrients: Regular dosing of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K) is essential for growth.
  • Micronutrients: Trace elements such as Iron (Fe) are necessary for maintaining the plant’s vibrant red coloration.
  • Fertilization: Use of a comprehensive aquarium plant fertilizer can ensure necessary nutrients are provided. Regular dosing, following product guidelines, is recommended.

Planting and Propagation of Ludwigia Repens

Planting Ludwigia Repens involves anchoring its stem into a nutrient-rich substrate, while propagation is typically achieved by cutting the stem near a node and replanting the cut piece.

How To Plant Ludwigia Repens

Planting Ludwigia Repens is a relatively straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Preparation: Start by thoroughly rinsing the Ludwigia Repens under running water to remove any loose debris or potential pests. If the plant has been grown emersed (partially out of water), you may notice that it has smaller leaves and might even have flowers. These will eventually fall off when the plant adapts to being fully submerged.
  2. Cutting the Stem: If your Ludwigia Repens is quite tall, you might want to cut the stem down to size before planting. A good starting height is around 5 to 7 inches. Make the cut just below a node (where leaves branch out).
  3. Planting the Stem: Take the prepared stem and push it into the substrate, making sure it’s embedded at least an inch deep to ensure it’s well anchored. If you’re using a soft or sandy substrate, you might find it easier to use a pair of tweezers to insert the stem.
  4. Spacing the Stems: If you’re planting more than one stem, ensure they’re spaced out sufficiently to allow for growth and spread. Around 2 to 3 inches apart is usually a good starting point.
  5. Maintenance: Once planted, Ludwigia Repens requires little maintenance apart from regular trimming to control its height and promote bushier growth.


Propagation Techniques

  • Cutting: Use sharp, clean scissors to cut a stem from the parent plant, preferably just below a node where leaves branch out.
  • Length: The cut stem should be at least 3-5 inches long to ensure it can develop properly.
  • Planting: Push the cut end of the stem into the substrate, ensuring it’s at least an inch deep for stability.
  • Spacing: If planting multiple cuttings, space them 2-3 inches apart to allow for growth and spread.
  • Care: Provide the new plant with the same care as the parent plant, including good lighting and nutrient-rich substrate.

Trimming & Pruning

  1. Monitor Growth: When it reaches the water’s surface or looks overgrown, it’s time to trim.
  2. Choose a Point: Identify a node (where leaves branch out) at your desired height.
  3. Cut: Cut the stem just above the identified node. The remaining bottom part will sprout new branches, while the cut top part can be replanted.
  4. Replant: Push the cut top part into the substrate, ensuring it’s well-anchored.
  5. Regular Maintenance: Repeat this process regularly to control the plant’s size and promote bushier growth.


Problems Associated with Ludwigia Repens

While Ludwigia Repens is generally an easy plant to care for, there are a few potential issues that aquarists may encounter:

  • Lack of Red Coloration: If Ludwigia Repens is not displaying its characteristic red color, it may not be getting enough light or nutrients. A deficiency in iron, in particular, can affect the plant’s color. Increasing light intensity and ensuring the plant is getting the nutrients it needs can help enhance coloration.
  • Melting: Like many aquatic plants, Ludwigia Repens can sometimes ‘melt’ or lose leaves, especially when first planted or if conditions in the tank change suddenly. Usually, the plant will recover on its own once it adjusts to its new environment.
  • Overgrowth: Ludwigia Repens is a fast grower, which can be an issue if it’s not pruned regularly. Overgrown plants can overshadow smaller plants and take up too much space in the tank.
  • Pests: Ludwigia Repens can occasionally be affected by pests, such as snails and certain types of algae. Regular inspection of the plant and the use of safe treatment methods can help control these issues.
  • Plant-Eating Fish: Some fish species are known to eat or damage aquatic plants. Care should be taken when selecting tank mates for Ludwigia Repens.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies: If Ludwigia Repens starts to show signs of poor health, such as yellowing leaves, it may be lacking necessary nutrients. Regular dosing with a comprehensive plant fertilizer can usually address this issue.


Ludwigia Repens in a Community Tank

Compatibility and Tank Mates

  • Compatible Fish: Small to medium-sized fish that do not nibble on plants are typically good companions. Examples include tetras, rasboras, guppies, mollies, platies, danios, and many species of dwarf cichlids.
  • Invertebrates: Ludwigia Repens is also well-suited to tanks with invertebrates such as shrimp and snails. Both cherry shrimp and nerite snails are excellent choices.
  • Aquatic Plants: Ludwigia Repens can be combined with a variety of other aquatic plants for a more diverse and attractive setup. Just make sure that it doesn’t overshadow smaller, less robust plants.

Remember, Ludwigia Repens is a fast-growing plant that can quickly take up a lot of space, so be mindful of its potential size and growth rate when deciding on tank mates.

Buying and Quarantining Ludwigia Repens

When buying Ludwigia Repens, choose plants with healthy, vibrant leaves and stems. After purchase, it’s recommended to quarantine the plant, keeping it separate in a controlled environment, to prevent any pests or diseases from being introduced into your main aquarium.

After a few days without signs of issues, it can be safely introduced to your tank. Ludwigia-Repens-hand

Ludwigia Repens FAQs

Is ludwigia easy to grow in?

Yes, Ludwigia Repens is considered easy to grow. It’s a robust plant that adapts well to a range of water conditions, and it has a fast growth rate, making it suitable for both novice and experienced aquarists.

Is Ludwigia A Root Feeder?

Yes, Ludwigia Repens primarily absorbs nutrients through its roots, emphasizing the need for a nutrient-rich substrate. While it can also uptake nutrients from water via leaves, its main feeding happens at the root level.

Why is my ludwigia dying

Your Ludwigia Repens may be dying due to insufficient light, nutrient deficiencies, or unsuitable water parameters. Other potential issues include pests, disease, or damage from plant-eating fish. Regular care and maintenance can help address these issues.

Does ludwigia repens need C02

While Ludwigia Repens can grow without added CO2, supplementing CO2 often promotes healthier, more vibrant growth and better coloration. However, good lighting and nutrient availability are also crucial for this plant’s wellbeing.

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