Overview: Hygrophila balsamica is a beautiful aquarium plant that is native to India and Sri Lanka. It can be used in aquariums for aquscaping in different ways. For instance, you can remove the side shoots and give space to the stems to grow straight. This way, it will not get crowded, and your typical ‘Dutch Style’ aquascape is ready. In another way, you can remove the crown of a mature stem and let the side shoots form a large bush that looks very attractive. The bright green colour of the leaves of Hygrophila balsamica makes the tank look beautiful. It is a versatile plant that needs good space to show good growth. It is advised to trim the plant in regular intervals, or else it grows very large. You can use it as a mid-ground in large tanks or background plant in medium and large size tanks.
Appearance: Hygrophila balsamica is a lush green aquarium plant that has a large, strong stem with finely feathered light green leaves. With good growth, the plant takes good space in the tank; therefore, regular trimming is a must. You will notice bushy growth after trimming. If you are using it as a mid-ground plant, group planting will give the best view. The finely divided leaves give a beautiful look to the entire tank. The light green colouration of the stems and leaves bring amazing contrast to the dark-coloured substrate.
Hard/soft Plant: Hygrophila balsamica is a relatively hardy plant that shows faster growth under suitable water conditions. It belongs to the Acanthaceae family.
Ideal water temperature: Temperature range from 18 to 30 degrees Celsius is most suitable for Hygrophila balsamica to get good growth. It can tolerate minor fluctuations in temperature.
Lighting and other requirements: Abundant light and good carbon dioxide supplementation will ensure the plant’s proper growth and development. Under less light and carbon dioxide, the leaves get dull and become less pinnate. Also, they lose size. Apart from light and carbon dioxide, iron supplementation is also necessary. The general hardness of water could range from 0 - 30°dGH, while the carbonate hardness could be 2 - 12°dKH. A nutrient-rich substrate is another demand of Hygrophila balsamica.
Ideal pH level: The ideal pH for Hygrophila balsamica is 5 to 7. It is an easily adjustable plant; therefore, it can survive even if there is a minor fluctuation in pH.
Do you know: Although Hygrophila balsamica has long been known but is rarely used for aquarium décors as it is believed to be poisonous to fish. However, it happens only when the emersed shoots are directly planted in the aquarium. It can be used in the stock tanks without causing any problems.