Cabomba Plant Care: Growing Cabombas in an Aquarium

Cabomba plants are gaining popularity in freshwater aquariums. You can find them in fish stores online or at brick & mortar stores. Other names include Green Cabomba, Carolina Fanwort, Brazilian Fanwort, or Fanwort. Green Cabomba plants are the most common, while the reddish-purple ones are rarer.

A Purple Cabomba is a type of plant that you can find in the market. People might also call it a Red Cabomba. Under the right conditions, a Cabomba plant can do an excellent job as a background plant.

How To Buy A Healthy Cabomba Plant

A Cabomba plant is a stem plant often sold in bunches. You will more than likely see it with rubber bands to hold the stems in place in the fish store.

The most common way to grow Cabomba is in gravel. But, sometimes, they will be floating. Look for Cabomba plants with many green stems that are at least 6 inches long.

Cabomba leaves should be green or reddish-purple and bushy. They may also have roots growing from the stem (new growth). If they do, then the plant is healthy. And if you’re lucky, you might even see tiny buds or flowers on it!

Cabomba Plant Appearance

Cabomba plant stalks grow long and bushlike leaves when under the right circumstances. The leaves look somewhat like a bottle brush. Cabomba plant leaves are delicate, soft, and silky. When Cabomba plant leaves grow, aquarium shrimp use them as scavenging grounds. The roots of Cabomba are white, thin, and string-like. If you pull up a Cabomba root, it may break or tear.

Cabomba Plant
Lush Green Cabomba Plant

If you must move the plant, do not pull the planted stem out of the substrate. Instead, scoop up a substrate section around the buried stem. Allow the substrate to fall back to the bottom. This way, you can avoid root damage. Cabomba roots may grow into sizable networks compared to the size of the plant when left unchecked.

How To Care For Cabomba Plant

Green Cabomba plants may be difficult to care for. Red and Purple Cabomba care is more complex.

As a result, Cabomba plants are not the best choice for novices. Especially if you are attempting to maintain it in low-light, low-tech tanks, still, despite ideal conditions, some aquarists have a hard time growing Cabomba plants.

A Cabomba plant can look nice for a few days in low light, but the plants will soon begin to break apart and die. Green Cabomba plants need more lighting than standard freshwater community tank lighting hoods.

Red Cabomba and Purple Cabomba need more lighting than those Green Cabomba. Providing extra low light for more extended hours won’t help your Cabomba to thrive. For longer hours, Cabomba plants need more watts of light per gallon, not less. Brighter lights!

A Cabomba plant may need liquid fertilizer or root tabs to boost iron and other essential minerals. CO2 supplements, while not required, would be beneficial to a Cabomba plant. These care requirements added together make Cabomba care more complicated than other beginner plants like Anacharis.

Another thing to consider for Cabomba maintenance is which fish species you keep. It’s not a good choice for cichlids, goldfish, or other rough types because it’s delicate. Some Apple Snails may also eat it.

Ideal Water Conditions For Cabomba Plants

Another Cabomba care problem is aquarium water quality control. A Cabomba plant thrives in clear, softly moving clean water. Swift moving aquarium water can shake and uproot the plant.

The perfect water condition for Cabomba plants is 6.8 to 7.5 on the pH scale. Some hobbyists claim that a lower pH level is acceptable as well.

Optimal Water Temperature: 72° -82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Aquarium Size: Large aquariums.

How To Plant Cabomba Plants In The Substrate

Remove the rubber band from the plants when you get them home. Be gentle because you might damage the plants. Once the stems are free, you can swish them in a bucket of aquarium water. It helps the Cabomba plant shed any weak leaves.

It is better to let the loose leaves of the Cabomba fall off before you put them in the tank. The loose leaves can make a mess on your filters and tank decor.

Examine the Cabomba plant stems where the rubber bands were after swishing away loose leaves. If you see damaged stems, remove the damaged part using a trimmer.

Trimming a quarter to a half-inch or more away from numerous stems in a cluster isn’t unusual. But it’s not very often that you’ll have to trim much more than that. If you put broken or cracked stems into the tank, they will decay and cause the plant to die. So it’s best to remove them before introducing the Cabomba to your aquarium.

Place Stems In Substrate

Gently set each stem in an inch or more of nutrient-rich plant substrate, one inch between stems. It’s best to set the stems farther apart, so they have room to develop.

Make sure the soil is not crammed too tightly around the planted stem since it may break. Cabomba plants also have a propensity to float about, so make sure the stem is secure.

It’s good to grow the taller stems in the back rows and the shorter ones in the front. Cabomba plants may create a lovely “dense forest” aesthetic if planted correctly. The plant takes root after approximately a week or so. By then, your Cabomba will be stronger and more self-sufficient.

You can use Cabomba plants as an accent plant near midground decorations. They look nice next to some other plants. Hobbyists get the hang of planting them with a bit of tinkering, but it takes some time and effort.

How To Use Cabomba As A Floating Plant

The Floating Cabomba Plant: It is also possible to keep Cabomba as a floating plant. Floating plants are simple. Drop the stems into the aquarium, and they will float near the water’s surface. 

Stems closer to the light source may develop quicker while floating than planted. They may even bloom while doing so. A floating Cabomba plant does not have the same look like a planted one. Some argue that the plant looks its best while rooted in the substrate.

Trimming And Reproduction Of Cabomba Plants

For many amateurs, cultivating Cabomba plants is difficult. But, when you succeed with growing Cabomba plants, you must control the rate. Otherwise, the plant may soon outgrow the tank. Cabomba plant leaves that rise above the water column also block light for plants below. Without light, other Cabomba clusters may split apart and die.

Trimming Cabomba stems is not tricky. The secret to trimming Cabomba plants is to cut the stems gently. Tugging the plant causes excess shedding, breaking, cracking, or uprooting. If the trimmings are three inches or more and appear healthy, you can float or re-plant them in the substrate. They will develop into new plants on their own over time.

Final Thoughts

Cabomba plant care is not complex, but the plant does need regular attention. The most important things you can do for your Cabomba plants are keeping them in a well-lit area, giving the roots some space, and trimming any leaves shading others. If you follow these guidelines, your Cabomba plants flourish without too much trouble!