Phyllanthus fluitans

9. Jul 2020
By: George Farmer

History and origins

The unique and beautiful Phyllanthus fluitans is a floating plant that is found in the wild widespread across South America. It is characterised by small round and water-repellent leaves that can vary in colour from light green/brown to a deep red depending on the lighting and water parameters. It is similar in appearance to Salvania auriculata but only has one leaf per node and in the right conditions will produce tiny white flowers. It’s roots are often red in colour giving it its common name “reed root floater” and it is especially popular in open top aquariums or paludariums.


Plant Overview 

Phyllanthus fluitans is an Easy category plant in Tropica’s 1-2-Grow range meaning you get many guaranteed plants guaranteed to be free from algae, pest snails, pesticides and disease in the one pot. Although it is an easy plant it does best in strong lighting with good nutrients in order to get the best red colouration in the leaves and roots. With lower lighting levels and nutrients the plant tends to remain a light green/brown colour. Some reports suggest that the plant does better with softer water if the lighting levels are lower, and harder water if the light is more intense. Propagating the plant is easy with the plants branching out readily with floating portions becoming easily detached from their fragile stems.

Check our plant profile video dedicated to the Phyllanthus Fluitans


Preparing the plant 

  1. Peel of the lid from the 1-2-Grow cup
  2. Remove the plant in one clump and rinse of the liquid growth media in fresh water
  3. Divide up the plant mass into as many portions as you like.
  4. Place the portions on the surface of your aquarium water.


Where to use the plant

As with all floating plants it can be a great addition to open topped aquariums where the plant can be appreciated fully and any heat build up from the lighting and aquarium can escape without damaging the plant. It does best in aquariums with lower levels of surface movement to allow the plant to spread most effectively.


Maintaining the plant

Due to it’s relatively close position to the light source and access to CO2 in the air, Phyllanthus fluitans can grow quickly and soon block light from the plants underneath. Simply scoop off excess plant growth and dispose of responsibly. Do not allow it to enter any natural waterways. Feed the plant regularly with Tropica Premium or Specialised Nutrition and ensure you supply enough light if you wish to get the best colouration.



Phyllanthus fluitans is a beautiful floating plant that is perfect for adding some interesting colour and impact to the surface of your planted aquarium. In the right conditions it can reward you with intense deep red leaves and roots that you will find especially unique and enjoyable.

More details about the plant

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