[Updated 2022] Rotala indica Care Guide: Planting, Growing, and Propagation

Rotala indica Care Guide

Rotala indica Care Guide: Rotala indica is a rapidly growing stem plant that has been a staple in aquarium plants for a long time now. It is capable of surviving in an extensive range of water parameters and is easy to grow. Its hardness is remarkably high even in aquariums where carbon dioxide is not added. Having sufficient light and CO2 allows growth with better density and coloration. The plants grow continually and will reach the top of the tank. When it gets to the surface, it must eventually break through and form emerged leaves and flowers.


Rotala indica is a dense plant that has large fleshy leaves and grows toward the light. Some varieties have a grasslike leaf that is long and pointed. The plants may alter color depending on their environment. The plant may remain completely green or become pinkish brown at the top of the stem. If you are lucky, there may be pink flowers growing on the top of the stem, but it’s a rare feature in a simple home aquarium.

Rotala indica Care Guide

Prominent Characteristics

Rotala indica is one of the mainstays in aquascape as it is a plant that exudes beauty. It stands upright from behind and creeps upward with shiny green leaves and pink flowers. Its soft stem may grow to a maximum length of 60 centimeters, and in certain conditions, you will notice the branch turning reddish at the topmost; the leaf colors may vary in light intensity, CO2, and nutrients. The highest part of an axil is where flowers appear.

Rotala Indica

Rotala Indica is a popular aquatic stem plant that grows tall and thick, making it a suitable background plant in planted aquariums. The stem tip can become reddish-green when developed by CO2 and fertilization. Round leaves grow horizontally from thick stems and can dazzle when they grow in dense shrubs. Cutting branches from new lateral shoots is like any stem plant as they just cut the stem and replant plant. The plant’s perfect pH is 6-7.5, and Co2 is recommended for the reddish coloring on the tips.

Size & Growth Rate

Rotala indica is usually sold at pet stores. They can get relatively big and are commonly found in larger tanks and ponds. When properly managed and without trimmings, these plants can take over an entire aquarium. They need regular trimming to remain manageable. The plant is a moderately fast grower and can shoot up new plantlets quickly.

How do I plant Rotala indica?

Rotala indica can be a complicated plant to keep in small spaces due to its verticality. Typically, the aquarist purchases a young plant that grows about 6 inches tall that will quickly rise and fall out of the water surface in little time. Place your plant in the background and provide a good quality substrate; the use of pots with a fertile substrate is welcome. We recommend giving your plant plenty of time to grow before introducing fish that accidentally mess with the plants.

Quarantine the Rotala plant

Don’t forget to quarantine your newly acquired Rotala plant before introducing it to the Aquarium. Quarantine is the best way to remove contaminant species (like shrimp and snails) and some diseases.

Placing tips

New flowers will appear on the leaf’s left lateral area. Place the plants spacing them half an inch and leaving space for side shoots. There should be enough space between the bottom layers, even if you prefer a thick canopy at the higher levels. If your goal is for dense plants, the plants should be between two-inch intervals to permit more new shoots to sprout from the base of the plant and into the center of the stem.

Benefits of having it in your tank

Rotala indica can improve water conditions in your freshwater tank. The plant absorbs carbon dioxide and converts it into usable oxygen; it also can help remove some nitrogen contaminants from fish waste. Turning toxic wastes in the water into plant food enhances the underwater environment and plays a crucial role in keeping water quality good. The long and flowing stems provide thick vegetation in which timid creatures can hide. The plant offers a splendid shelter that makes the fish feel safe and relaxed.

Buying Rotala species

Rotala is a cheap plant species that is widely available in pet shops. The leaf should be bright green or reddish, avoid discolored plants. Plants with healthy stems and roots have a better chance of survival in the tank.

Trimming Rotala indica

Rotala indica requires regular trimming to gain density (form dense bushes). It would be best to trim at the initial level around 10 cm (4 inches) below the final height you want the plant to reach. As the top is removed, the new plant shoots begin to branch. Disposing of trimmed parts or replant them is your choice.


This section provides a thorough evaluation of the Rotala indicas’ needs. The time for trimming depends on the size of the plant. Lighting and fertilizers help control plant growth. Some aquarists like to wait before they reach the surface. Others will cut them before they can get to the surface. Be gentle with pruning and remove anything that can be left out.


It can be trimmed numerous times over many cycles. Trimming makes it useful for aquascaping, where ridge lines must be maintained at a certain height. This work starts about 4 inches under the final size where you want the top located. As the tops grow out, keep cutting back the shoots, which grow slower than the others – this makes the sprouts below the branch and a canopy gain density as it grows higher. Suppose a canopy rises for a while after long periods of no trim and that it will need to be reset.

Rotala indica Care and Propagation

Rotala indica is a beautiful aquarium plant species that adjust naturally and is accessible to many environments is suitable and effective in many aquariums. It is fun and easy to keep up with and is very good for your tank. It is one of the more widely used aquatic plants for aquariums. As such, there are some general guidelines about ensuring optimum health. Luckily, there can be no problem satisfying these basic needs. The plant is easy to care for and easy to adapt to whatever environments you wish. This guide teaches you everything you should know about plants and their care. These are plants that you certainly should consider purchasing!

Propagation of Rotala species

Rotala has a propagation process via cuttings when you have to remove the lower portion of the stem with a pair of sharp scissors. The cuts should be 4 inches long (10 cm); this size improves the success. Make a small hole into plant soil, put the cut plants, and cover with the substrate. That’s it.

Propagation Process

Please remove all of the leaves from the freshly cut stem by cutting them and planting them on the substrate. Over time you might notice that the new plants have roots on their nodes. Keep the baby plant upright while in the soil will assist it to stay fixed to a firm surface. You may prune the flower regularly to achieve a clean and proper arrangement. Constant trimmings let the plant use its energies for new sprouts in its lateral buds.

How can I propagate it?

The easiest way of spreading the plants’ growth is via propagating. Rotala indica propagation is very simple. You just must cut away half an inch of stem. The cut stem will start forming roots and growing into new plants. It’s possible to do it even when it’s just trimmed! All you need to do is insert the original plant into the soil with the help of cutting off any leaves to make it grow into an actual plant.

Problems associated with Rotala Rotundifolia

Chlorosis and necrosis at leaf margins is a condition where plant leaves cannot produce a sufficient amount of chlorophyll. The primary cause of this condition is a low synthesis of iron, nitrogen deficit, and high acidic pH. To remedy this condition, dose the plant with chelated iron and ensure that the tank’s ideal pH level remains constant. The plant exhibits signs of stunting once nitrate levels are too short or when you don’t mix enough trace elements. Loss of lower leaf is a good sign that Rotala not having adequate sunshine in its home soil. If planted too thick, it may also lack light and lose the foliage.

Water parameters

Rotala indica thrives well in almost any freshwater situation. Make sure that you are constantly testing water parameters; get a precise test kit. Keep the conditions within the covered ranges in this article and ensure that the plant does not suffer significant fluctuations that negatively affect your tank. The plant is adaptable and amazingly stout and has a quick adaptation to any tropical water parameters.


Rotala indica plants are versatile in light requirements. They require light on a standard day/night cycle. However, you can choose the amount of light you provide depending on your desired results. Less light would encourage a small plant to grow in a compact shape, preventing invasive behavior. At high light, the tips of the plant can become yellow and leaves reddish. Higher light conditions improve growth. The plants will grow non-stop and continue to grow leaves. The leaves can get bigger in low light environments; to capture the lightest possible. You might experience color change as well.


Rotala sp could best thrive in nutrient replete substrates such as ADA Amazonia soil, Caribsea Eco-Complete Aquasoil, etc. This fertile substrate will allow plants to remain firmly rooted and maintain their natural architecture. When you use sand or gravel, you must use roots tabs to provide the necessary nutrients to the plant occasionally.

Layouts containing this plant

This Rotala species is relatively undemanding and doesn’t need light for the formation of red flowers. It develops side shoots, eagerly becoming dense and thick and expanding if required; it can get tricky for the sight to reach the lower part of the plant; one of the reasons why to prune frequently.

Tank Size

The plant is more effective when kept within medium-sized tropical aquariums. The plant can thrive in the background and expand to create significant density. If possible, go for tanks that are bigger than 10 gallons. The water conditions should be stable. This particular species can easily overcrowd the space and would need constant trimming when in confined spaces.


After water, light, and proper substrate adjustment, Rotala indica does not require CO2 injection at all as a low-tech plant. A fertilizer application is also not primordial to maintain this species. Reducing the ratio of nitrate to phosphate is expected to improve the thick red appearance. Additional CO2 is also improving density and coloration. Although dispensable, fertilization and application of CO² will do some beautiful things in the tank, like change the structure and colors of the plant; we recommend its use for planted aquariums.

How do I make it redder?

Rotala is one of those plants that shows red colors and tones when ideally in conditions. Some keepers debate that lowering nitrate levels to below 5ppm and offer the bright plan light will increase the reddish tone in Rotalas. The plants are far more tolerant to low nitrogen levels than other nutrients. When running low levels of nitrate in a tank, make sure to choose a collection of plants that are adaptable to lean dosage configurations.

Key success factors

The optimal light is required from this point (from medium to high) to make a very cool and bright color. CO² injection, additional fertilization, and P : N ratio maintenance will do wonders for your Rotala. Maintain accuracy tests and check parameters regularly. I kept an eye on the other plants in the same tank; they may require other parameters for their perfect maintenance.

Rotala indica and Tankmates

Rotala indica is a hardy, durable plant and the growth rate is relatively quick. It would be best if you did not let some hungry tankmates eat your plant. Be cautious about the fish and inverts that may damage or try their hardest to eat the plant. Avoid fish that dig into the substrate, causing damage or uproot plants; some aggressive fish can destroy the plants when fighting. You need to pick plants that won’t compete with Rotala to live well under the same conditions. For compatible plants, you can use Anubias, Anacharis, Java fern, and Water Wisteria.

Tank Mates

Rotala indica enjoys when kept with docile fish. Leaves are a little more delicate for energetic species. The last thing you want is pairing it with fish which consistently pulls roots off the substrate. Keep an aquarium with slow-motion fish will also be safer.

Summary of species

Rotala indica is a beautiful background plant used by aquarists to enhance their decoration. It is native to India and Southeast Asia. It is amphibious and grows along rice paddies and river banks. The flowers rise above the water surface. The vertical-shaped growth arrangement makes it an ideal selection for décor backgrounds. Rotala leaves add tons of versatility to plants’ smooth foliage, and thick bush look.

Decorating with Rotala indica

Rotala Indica is a favorite aquarium plant that can grow tall and firm in the background. It has round leaves that can grow horizontally on strong stems creating a thick clump that you should periodically trim. The rounded leaflets in the stalk are dense and provided a perfect ornamental appearance. Rotala can also be cultivated in vitro. Some are grown in bonsai form. It even fits tiny aquariums called “nano.”

In conclusion

Rotala indica plant aquascapers suggest this species due to its resistance, quick adaptation to different water parameters, versatility, fast growth, and low maintenance needs. The emphasis of aquarists is ensuring that all living organisms in the Aquarium are healthy and free of threats. The aquascaping should be well balanced, where the characters of fish and the plants are the centerpieces. Rotala grows upright and can occupy large amounts of space. Possibilities to use plants as ideal decorations for Aquarium are endless.