Probably the most famous of all stem plants commonly used in aquascaping is Rotala and out of all the Rotala varieties nothing is easier than Rotala Rotundifolia. Its small pink/peach leaves with compact growth are very attractive to both amateurs and professional aquarists alike. Of course, it does not hurt that it is robust and easy to care for as well. If maintained well, they are the perfect background plants providing height and color to a planted tank.
Through the years many varieties of this species have appeared in aquarium trade. A lot of them display stunning, vibrant hues of red, orange, green and pink. None of those variants though can surpass the original when it comes to ease of care.
Rotala Rotundifolia belongs to the high light group of plants. They simply will not survive under low light conditions. If given the right light, Rotala will captivate every time. Like most stem plants they grow upright but will grow sideways as well if given too much light. It is as the plant will be trying to stay away from the very strong lighting. Rotala will grow very small, green new shoots when lacking light. Give it enough light and it will turn pink.
Since Rotala requires higher lighting, it is advisable to grow them with CO2 injection. Although Rotala has been observed grown using the “Walstad Method” it is so much easier to grow them with CO2. Like Pearlweed the growth rate doubles with CO2.
This plant can survive on slightly harder water although it displays its best foliage and form under soft water. When grown on harder water it will have rounder, harder leaves. Temperature should be around 26-28 degrees. It can survive on 30 degrees Celsius but best results are achieved within the recommended temperature range.
Planting and position in the aquarium
This plant is commonly used for the background. It is not uncommon to see a nature style tank using Rotala Rotundifolia or some other Rotala variant as its background. There is one famous Aquascaper though who used a Rotala Rotundifolia varian as a carpeting plant and it is absolutely stunning.
Rotala can be trimmed to form bushes due to its compact growth. After a few trimmings though, the plant will begin to look unhealthy. When this happens, after its sixth or perhaps seventh trim, it is advisable to collect the trimmings, pull out the plants and then replace it with the trimmings. The top portion of the plant is always the most robust.