Ceratopteris cornuta, commonly known as Water Sprite, is probably the easiest aquarium plant to grow, at least when left floating, and because of its rapid growth it quickly assimilates nutrients including ammonia/ammonium and is therefore quite useful in new tanks. It absorbs nutrients primarily through the leaves rather than the roots.
It is a versatile plant that can be grown either emersed or submersed, rooted in the substrate or floated in water column. When left floating will grow well under any light that is not too bright; submersed plants grown in the substrate require moderate to high light.
The leaves, or more correctly fronds, since this is a true fern, can be somewhat variable in shape due to light, nutrients and water parameters. This makes identification of this species difficult.
Daughter plants are readily produced from the sporangia on the older and alternate fronds. When left floating, the fronds may extend up to 50 cm across, and will block light from entering the aquarium; this is particularly useful to provide a darker environment such as for spawning fish.
Soft to moderately hard (hardness up to 18 dGH), acidic to basic (pH 5.4 to 8) water, temperature 18-28C/64-82F. Does not like sudden significant changes in water parameters.
|Type:||Floating or Planted Fern|
|Place of origin:||Tropical Africa|
|Maximum height:||Up to 50 cm floating, up to 30 cm planted|
|Lighting:||Moderate to High|
|Position range:||Floating or Middle to Background when planted|
|Substrate:||Fine grained sand or nutrient-dense soil to thrive|
|Propagation:||Adventitious Plantlet / Cutting|
|Temperature range:||18 – 28°C|
|pH:||5.4 to 8|
|Hardness:||up to 18 dGH|