Rotala Rotundifolia Care Guide – Planting, Growing, and Propagation

Rotala Rotundifolia

Guide to the Rotala Rotundifolia

The Rotala Rotundifolia is a genus of aquatic plants that has more than 100 species that belong to the Lythraceae family. They are plants that grow both emerged and submerged, some of which are used in aquariums. Planted in the aquarium, the shape of its leaves changes to a lanceolate shape and somewhat rounded at the tip, they do not exceed 1.5 centimetres in length. When growing in the aquarium, the rattan acquires an intense green or olive green colour, which can become pinkish or even intense pink in its upper parts if we use good lighting.

Its emerged form receives the name of rotala Rotundifolia since the name of Rotundifolia means rounded leaves. In its wild state, it thrives in hot climates and cannot tolerate low temperatures.

Common NameRotala Rotundifolia
Other NamesThe dwarf rotala, Round-leaf toothcup, Pink sprites
Scientific NameRotála rotundifólia
DifficultyEasy to Medium
LightingMedium to High
Optimal pH6.0 – 8.0
Optimal GH2 – 12 (1 – 30)
Optimal Temperature20 – 28 C (68 – 82 F)
Growth FormStem
Growth RateModerate to fast
Placement in TankMid-ground or background
Heightup 5 – 30+ cm (2 – 12+ inches)
Fertilizers Not needed to low
CO2Not needed to low
PropagationHead Cuttings or Runners

Rotala Rotundifolia care

The rotala Rotundifolia is capable of withstanding a temperature range between 20 degrees and 32 degrees,  although the ideal range is between 23 and 26 degrees.

Although it tolerates pH ranges between 5 and 8 and cache ranges between 1 and 8,  it develops better in acidic waters and with a KH between 4 dGH and 6dGH.

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As is the case with all the plants of its species, the rattan requires high lighting close to watt / l and if it also has an adequate spectrum, the plant will take on spectacular red, purple and even violet colours.

Its leaves in the shade usually lose their colour a little, and if it is for a long time, they can fall off, leaving their leaves on the lower stem peeled.

In your case, it is not entirely necessary that you have a nutritive substrate, but it is quite appreciated to provide fertilizers at the root level. We will see a healthier plant with spectacular colours, it will also have a better shape and the plant will be stronger. If it does not receive enough nutrients in the substrate, the rotala will get them in the water column, taking out adventitious roots to benefit from these.

It is a plant with medium requirements. Therefore its maintenance is of medium difficulty. If the lighting conditions we provide are not correct, the leaves will turn greener. And if your subscriber is not the right one, it will show its deficiencies in an obvious way, and we will notice it uglier.

Like all red plants, it appreciates a good supply of nutrients and CO2, it will look healthy, although the main factor for them to turn red or bright pink seems to come from the correct lighting.

It is considered a fast to the very fast-growing plant, and it is one of those recommended to start and stabilize an aquarium planted in its early stages because it is a great consumer of excess nutrients.

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Southeast Asian.

The name refers to the emerged form of this amphibian plant; When growth is like this, a different morphology is detected in the wider and less elongated leaf that will change over time to a more or less elongated leaf once inside the aquarium. In nature it is a marsh plant, reminiscent of the coin grass (Lysimachia nummularia), but when placed in the aquarium, it hardly shows a tendency to rise above the water surface.


Delicate stem plant with elongated and elliptical leaves, which do not exceed 1.5 cm in length and have a green color that turns to red or pink towards the tips. It gives rise to emerged forms with terminal flower buds.


Between 40-60 cm in height by approximately 3 cm in width.

Form of propagation:

Multiplication by cuttings or by lateral shoots. Even if it is left floating for a while, it will quickly generate several lateral shoots at the nodes, giving a more leafy appearance.


Between 20ºC-28ºC.


Soft waters, pH: 5.0 – 8.0 Hardness: 4 ° dGH- 6 ° dGH.


Medium to very intense. It should be avoided that other plants cast their shadow on it since it is a plant that can acquire a strong reddish hue with enough light. Minimum light requirement of 0.3-0.5 W / l.

Substrate type:

Indifferent to the type of substrate.


Moderate The addition of CO2 greatly increases growth. If it lacks nutrients it produces degenerated leaves. Ideal for the aquarist who only has a small aquarium, forming groups. But it can be given other destinations in large aquariums forming colorful groups, to animate the foreground.

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As for the cultivation, it is one of the least demanding and “most comfortable” plants, since on the one hand it is well preserved and, on the other hand, it does not grow so fast that it requires trimming and clarification.

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Rotala Rotundifolia care

The main thing that we must take into account with this plant is to avoid putting it in the shade of other plants or shading itself, as we have said before, it needs good lighting and a correct fertilizer since it stops its growth with ease.

Rotala is usually planted in groups with several stems as it is widely used to create clumps through pruning. It is usually used as visual focuses in planted aquariums since if I achieved an intense colouration, it easily attracts attention.

In landscaping or aquascaping, it is planted in the rear parts of small aquariums or in somewhat larger Aquarius rear socks, and this is due to the size of its leaves and the height they can reach.

Rotala wallichii

The wallichi rotala is a more demanding variety of medium-slow growth, it can reach 30 cm in height and 2 to 6 cm in width, if we provide good lighting, we will get needle-shaped leaves with a colouration that goes through pink to gold, orange or red. It is a plant with which we will obtain a note of colour in the aquarium.

Its most striking effect can be achieved by planting a good stem bed in a group. The Wallichi rotala is ideal as a ground or medium ground plant, we even recommend it for small aquariums, due to its ease of pruning if it grows too large.  We do provide a good amount of CO2 to increase growth considerably. It also prefers a soft, slightly acidic water.

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