|Growth Rate||:||Medium to Fast|
|Care||:||Medium to Difficult|
Rotala Macrandra is also known as “Giant Red Rotala” or “the king of the reds” is an aquatic plant species belonging to the Lythraceae family. India can be said as the natural habitat of the plant, but it lives in a wide range of wetlands in the Asian geography extending to Japan. Although it is very similar to the Rotala Rotundifolia, it was determined that they are two different species as a result of studies in the 1970s and 1980s.
Rotala Macrandra commonly found in ponds, lagoons, marshy lands, or areas covered by waters. This plant which contains all kinds of shades of red on its leaves attracts the attention of aquarists with its beautiful image.
Rotala Macrandra has small leaves that are in green or red color depending on the submerged or emerged situation. Emerged leaves are usually green and 2-3 cm in length and 1-2 cm in width. On the other hand, the submerged leaves have a color scale from green to red-brown depending on the light. Submerged leave can reach 3-5 cm in length. The total height of the plant can reach up to 60 cm.
This plant is not an easy-to-grow species and generally recommended for more experienced aquarists. Water with a pH of 6.0 – 7.5 and a temperature of 19-26°C are suitable conditions for optimum growth. Due to the high light demand, it is better to grow in aquariums with high-intensity lighting. It is not proper for shady and low light environments if the red coloration is wanted. Under low-intensity lighting, the leaves remain green, growth and plant health will reduce.
The carbon dioxide supplement is not mandatory in a low lighting environment, but CO2 injection in the ideal amount with high-intensity lighting ensures the healthy and faster growth of the plant with a red stunning coloration. Iron and trace elements are also playing an important role in coloration and growth. Under high-tech conditions, the growth and mineral demands of the plant will increase, and dosing fertilizers including macro elements will be necessary.
Fluctuation and instability in aquarium parameters affect the growth of the plant negatively. On the other hand, Rotala Macrandra has a fragile leaf structure and therefore needs to be careful to care. If the optimal conditions are provided for the plant to grow healthy, the weekly growth rate can reach up to 8-10 cm. If a more intense red appearance in the plant is desired, increasing the phosphate level in the aquarium by a certain amount will help to reach that goal. Also, the nitrate level must be under the usual levels in this case. Inaccurate amounts of nutrients cause the plant to show the desired color. Due to its delicate and attractive leaves for the fish, it is not proper to keep with herbivorous fish.
The most convenient and easy method for propagating this plant is the stem cutting way. The roots of the plant will grow faster and reach the required size in a short time by replanting the cut parts and providing the appropriate water parameters. Rotala Macrandra can make the aquarium look much more beautiful with its intense red structure. But it is difficult to care for due to reasons such as high-intensity lighting requirement, being easily affected by changes in water and supplement levels, and fragility of the leaves.
Image Source: DNTAqua