Bacopa Caroliniana is an exceptionally beautiful plant you can grow in your aquarium. This plant has been in the aquarium hobby for a long time and is still a trendy plant. Its sturdy stem structure, ease of care, and hardy nature make this plant to be a very sought-after species for beginner to advanced aquarists.
In this article, you will learn how to care for and look after Bacopa Caroliniana as well as lots of other information to fully understand this plant. So let’s get to it!
Bacopa Caroliniana is a stunning aquatic plant that grows natively in North America. They have deep green leaf coloration that will make any tank look more natural and alive. This plant is a flowering type of plant that can grow submerged or emersed.
This plant tolerates a wide range of water parameters and can grow in any water and substrate conditions. They will easily adapt to any lighting and water parameters which makes them one of the hardiest aquarium plants.
As mentioned, Bacopa caroliniana is native to North America but it’s often found in Florida and several other states in the US. They grow in almost any body of water but they are often found in areas where the water is shallow and light can easily reach the plant.
Depending on the area you find this plant in, they are known by one of the following names: Bacopa amplexicaulis, Herpestes caroliniana, Obolaria caroliniana, Herpestes amplexicaulis, or Lemon Bacopa.
Because Bacopa Caroliniana can grow fully submerged or emersed, this plant is often used to create Paludariums. Many nurseries growing this plant emersed, as it will grow faster and better in the presence of air, and then place it in the water.
Note: The leaves of this plant can create a lemon or mint scent if crushed. The emersed plants seem to have a stronger scent in comparison to the submerged grown leaves.
Bacopa Caroliniana is a perennial creeping stem plant that grows roots at its nodes. This plant can grow emersed and submersed and have dark green leaves. Some variants can develop yellowish leaves with a touch of pink.
The leaves grow in pairs on each node on the stem. They usually have an oval shape and are less than half an inch separated from each other. Leaves are thick and wide and well spaced from other leaves which gives the plant a unique look.
Bacopa caroliniana is a flowering plant that can produce flowers underwater as well. Flowers are usually bright blue but some can look whitish as well. They usually last a few days underwater before melting. The submerged flowers will not be able to pollinate and therefore they can not contribute to the reproductive cycle of the plant when underwater.
The stems are usually thick and succulent and have multiple nodes. At each node, this plant can grow new root structures and continue to creep and grow. Roots are white in color and will grow to a few inches when kept above the substrate.
Size & Growth Rate
Bacopa caroliniana grows at a slow rate which makes them easier to maintain. You can boost its growth rate by increasing the light intensity as well as injecting CO2. However, it will still need some time to grow new stems and leaves.
Bacopa Caroliniana can grow from 6 inches up to 3 feet. In an aquarium environment, they usually stay at around 10 – 12 inches. If you have a tall tank, this plant will grow taller as they try to reach the light source. Because they grow slowly, it might take some time before they grow that tall.
Because of its size, you can plant it near Filters and other equipment so it can grow and hide them.
Bacopa Caroliniana Care
This plant is super easy to care for and will not require a lot of attention or maintenance. Because of their relatively slow growth rate, they can be great low-maintenance aquatic plants that you can own.
This plant can grow densely but the leaves grow far from each other and the light can easily reach the lower leaves. This means fewer leaves will die at the bottom section of the stems and thus no special treatment or care will be required.
However, this plant loves to creep and spread. So at some point, you will need to trim the sides so it stays within the boundaries where you want it. Since they have thick stems, you will need to use sharp aquascaping scissors to trim this plant.
Bacopa Caroliniana can grow in 10 gallon tanks or larger. Since this plant has the potential to grow large we recommend using it in larger tanks if you want to lower the amount of time you will have to spend on maintaining it. When Lemon Bacopa is kept in smaller tanks, it can easily outgrow the tank if not trimmed regularly.
Bacopa Caroliniana plant is hardy and can adapt to most aquarium conditions. Under high lighting conditions and with sufficient fertilizer, this plant will develop beautiful and shiny leaves. This plant thrives in aquariums with moderate and slow water flow.
The ideal range of water parameters for Bacopa Caroliniana:
- Temperature: 62 – 82 Degrees Fahrenheit
- PH: 6.0 – 8.0
- TDS: 50 – 200 PPM
These are the Ideal parameters you will want to keep your plant in. This plant can also tolerate colder temperatures but might not grow as good as it can grow in a tropical environment.
Bacopa caroliniana will thrive without CO2 injection. This plant can grow in and out of the water and the amount of carbon dioxide in water or air will affect its growth rate. Usually, your fish will provide just enough CO2 so this plant can grow. But if you want your bacopa to grow even faster and healthier you can inject carbon dioxide into the water column of your tank. Just make sure to adjust your lights and fertilizer as per the amount of CO2 you are adding to your tank to prevent algae bloom.
This species of plant is hardy when it comes to light requirements, but they still need a good planted aquarium light to thrive. This means Bacopa caroliniana needs medium to high lighting conditions to be able to thrive.
Avoid planting them in shaded areas as the plant might not grow very well or might even melt. Under low-intensity lighting conditions they remain green but if you use a good full spectrum light the leaves near the surface will start to develop reddish colorations. This can create a beautiful hue from green to yellow and red which makes your tank look extremely beautiful.
Under the right conditions, this plant needs 8 – 10 hours of light on a daily basis.
When placed underwater, the Bacopa caroliniana does not require planted substrate. The roots are fully able to absorb nutrients from the water column or the substrate. This makes them super easy to grow as well as very helpful for the fish. They will constantly remove toxins from the water making your tank a healthier place for your fish.
Planting & Placement
Bacopa caroliniana grows tall and will easily reach the surface of the water. So the ideal place to plant them is in the background of the tank. They can be great plants to hide filters and heaters or any other equipment you wish to hide.
Since Bacopa caroliniana can grow with or without a substrate you can plant it in the substrate or attach it to decorations. However, for optimum growth, you will need to place them in the substrate. Planting them in the substrate will help the plant to stay in place but also absorb any nutrients available in the substrate.
Make sure to leave some space between the stems when planting them. Your bacopa will need enough water movement and light when you first plant them. As soon as they establish themselves, they will start to grow new stems and fill in the gaps.
Propagating Bacopa Caroliniana
Bacopa Caroliniana is a stem plant so it is easy to propagate it. When the stems grow and reach the surface you can cut them in half and plant the new cutting in a separate place in your tank. These cuttings will continue to grow and become new mother plants.
When Cutting the stems, make sure to leave at least 3 – 4 inches of stem on each side and each side should have at least 4 to 5 leaves. This is to ensure both sides of the stem can grow without any issues.
It is best to cut the stem right under the nodes that have developed roots. This will fast track the growth of the new cuttings. The cuttings with roots will establish themselves and will start to grow faster than a cutting without any roots.
Maintenance & Fertilization
As mentioned, Bacopa Caroliniana grows slowly in comparison to other types of aquarium plants. This means less maintenance and pruning time for you!
They are also not very demanding species when it comes to fertilizer and other water parameters. This makes Caroliniana species a super easy plant to care for.
However, if you want your Bacopa Caroliniana to grow at a faster pace and look healthy you can add liquid fertilizers weekly or as per your tank’s conditions. You can use fertilizers that have iron and potassium to enhance the plant’s coloration. Strong lighting with liquid iron supplements and lower nitrate levels will help this plant to become redder.
Make sure not to use too much fertilizer at once as it can cause algae growth in the tank. Only add low quantities of fertilizers and as per recommendation on the packaging to prevent algae growth. Weekly water changes are also crucial to the health of this plant and any other inhabitants that you might have in your tank.
Some of the most common problems your Bacopa Caroliniana might face are melting, algae growth, and loss of lower leaves. All these problems happen when there is an imbalance between light and fertilizer (including fish waste). So it is important to monitor your water parameters to make sure they are in balance at all times.
Bacopa caroliniana is a sturdy plant and can share a tank with most fish, invertebrates, and plants. Most fish and invertebrates will appreciate having this plant in their tank and will not eat or disturb it.
Here are our top choices of tank mates for Bacopa Caroliniana:
- Guppy Fish
- Molly Fish
- Gold Nugget Pleco
- Freshwater Snails
- Platy Fish
- Discus Fish
- Zebra Pleco
- Leopard Frog Pleco
- Neon Tetra
- Freshwater Shrimp
Benefits and Uses of Bacopa Caroliniana
Bacopa caroliniana is a tall plant so it is an ideal plant to cover the parts of the tank that are not very pleasant to viewers. You can hide your filter intakes, heaters, and any other equipment that takes away the beauty of your tank.
They will also provide a lot of natural hiding spots for your fish to comfortably hide when they are under stress. Both larger adult fish, as well as fry, can take refuge in the dense jungles this plant can create.
At the same time because this plant can feed off the water column of the tank it can actively remove the nitrates and other toxins from the tank. This makes your tank stay more stable and become a healthier environment for its inhabitants. However, this plant grows slowly, and therefore it uses fewer nutrients so removing toxins should not be the main reason you are buying this species.
Bacopa caroliniana is an easy-to-grow and easy-to-maintain plant. They can make any tank look 10 times more beautiful and colorful. Their hardy nature lets you keep them in most aquarium conditions without any major issues. With all the benefits and its beautiful looks, we truly can’t find any reason not to try this plant.