Looking for a splash of red color in your tank? Ludwigia Peruensis is a great mid-ground aquarium plant which is capable of bright red coloration given proper care. This isn’t the easiest plant to grow for most hobbyists. But those with more experience and high tech tanks which include bright lights and CO2 injection will enjoy this plant’s bright red coloration and bushy growth when properly trimmed and maintained. This plant is somewhat brittle and needs extra care when trimming during shaping or propagation. This brittle nature means it isn’t the best plant to include in aquariums with more aggressive plant-nibbling fish species. If you have the setup and patience, Ludwigia Peruensis can be a wonderful addition to your planted aquarium. When you’re ready to add this species to your collection, there are a few things you’ll need to be aware of to properly care for it. We’ve put together this guide with everything you’ll need to know to get great results with this colorful aquarium plant!
Ludwigia Peruensis Care
Ludwigia Peruensis can be somewhat complicated to care for. Best growth and coloration is only achieved with bright lighting, added nutrients (including iron), and CO2 injection. Hobbyists who are looking for bright red colors will need high tech tank setups and some experience with other advanced plant species. Those who are satisfied with slower growth and red-tinted olive-colored leaves can grow this plant without too much difficulty.
Are Ludwigia Peruensis easy to care for in an aquarium?
Ludwigia Peruensis is easy to grow in an aquarium but will need extra care for the best growth. This plant can survive in many different tanks but needs experienced care to really thrive.
Ludwigia Peruensis needs bright light to encourage robust growth. It can survive in low light environments but this can lead to slow growth and lack of strong red coloration. Under bright light this plant’s upper leafs will take on deep red coloration while lower leafs will tend towards olive green. This pattern results from the upper areas being closer to a light source. If you are wanting the deepest red coloration across the widest area of the plant this will require bright light and trimmed growth which allows light to penetrate to the lower foliage. If grown in thick bunches it’s difficult to ensure enough light gets to the lower parts of the plant which would allow them to turn fully red instead of reddish olive green. When this species is given sufficient light to develop deep red color this can also lead to increased algae growth in the aquarium. In high lighting setups you’ll need to take extra precautions to limit algae growth. This can include CO2 injection and the addition of algae eating tank inhabitants such as the Amano Shrimp.
The best light sources for Ludwigia Peruensis are full spectrum grow lights. Full spectrum LED aquarium lights are available which can provide all the light colors needed for best growth. Many also have adjustable brightness controls along with timers allowing you to precisely control intensity and duration. This flexibility is important when trying to balance ideal plant growth and coloration against the need to limit the spread of algae.
Ludwigia Peruensis prefers water temperatures between 72° and 82° F. This is a great match for most freshwater aquariums allowing this species to thrive along with most common fish and plant species.
Ludwigia Peruensis prefers slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range between 6.0 and 7.5. Common growing substrates such as ADA Aquasoil will buffer acidity, helping to keep pH in a healthy range for this and other common aquarium plants. It’s important to avoid substrates which contain crushed coral or aragonite sand. Not only will these substrates not provide proper nutrients, they also dissolve over time increasing water alkalinity. If your tank setup uses injected CO2 you’ll also need to check water pH carefully. Added CO2 will decrease pH and may make your water too acidic at high concentrations. It’s best to test water chemistry often to ensure that pH and other parameters stay at healthy levels.
Ludwigia Peruensis grows at a medium rate and isn’t likely to take over aquariums like certain other high-growth plant species can. Growth will get a boost with bright light, CO2 injection, and added fertilizer. If you are trying to encourage fastest growth consider adding a balanced liquid fertilizer or inserting root tab fertilizer in the soil near this plant’s roots. Adding additional iron can increase growth and may encourage development of red coloration.
Ludwigia Peruensis grow to an average height of six inches in most aquariums. This makes them a good choice for mid-ground or background plants. With excellent light and nutrient availability, this species is capable of growing up to 21 inches tall. If allowed to grow above the water’s surface it can produce yellow flowering blooms. At these heights upper foliage can block light to lower leafs which can reduce their red color. For best overall coloration you’ll want to trim this plant down to encourage a short, bushy growth pattern.
While Ludwigia Peruensis doesn’t require additional CO2 to grow, adding CO2 injection can help increase growth rate and encourage the best red coloration. Coloration is mostly related to light levels with long periods of bright light resulting in deep red foliage color. However this amount of light can also cause large amounts of algae to grow, leading to an unattractive tank. CO2 injection can not only help plant growth, but can also help reduce the spread of algae. If you’re wanting your Ludwigia Peruensis to have vibrant red coloration it may be necessary to add CO2 injection to your aquarium.
If you decide to add CO2 injection to your aquarium it’s important to monitor levels with a CO2 drop checker or an electronic measuring device. Drop checkers are cheap and common, with CO2 concentration shown as a color change in a small quantity of test liquid. Added CO2 will displace oxygen and at high concentrations can suffocate fish. It’s best to watch levels with a drop checker rather than waiting until fish move to upper tank areas trying to catch a breath.
Propagating Ludwigia Peruensis
Ludwigia Peruensis can grow from seeds, but the easiest and most common form of propagation is through cuttings. As this plant grows it will form side shoots which grow from the main stem’s roots. Its possible to trim these off close to the soil line and then replant in substrate, allowing a few weeks for roots to form. However, it may be better to wait until side shoots form and then remove the larger, central stem for replanting. This allows the new shoots to grow with an established root system and gives you a good excuse to trim down the tallest portion of the plant. Removing and rooting the oldest and tallest stem can help your Ludwigia Peruensis patch maintain short, bushy growth. Be extra careful when taking cuttings and only use sharp trimming scissors or a razor blade. This plant is very brittle and it’s easy to crush a stem during trimming and replanting. Crushed stems won’t allow nutrients to pass effectively and may cause wilting above the crushed section.
Can you grow Ludwigia Peruensis emersed?
Ludwigia Peruensis is capable of growing emersed and can even produce yellow flowers above the water line. This flexibility means this plant can be used in a range of different environments including terrariums and paludariums.
Where can I find Ludwigia Peruensis for sale?
Ludwigia Peruensis is available for purchase from many online sources and some local fish stores. In most cases you can expect to pay under $8 USD per bunch.
Ludwigia Peruensis Types
Ludwigia Peruensis is available in different varieties which can have different coloration. If getting bright red foliage is important, take a look at some of the different varieties available. Be cautious as some sellers will attach names for marketing purposes that don’t accurately reflect the variety they are selling. Let’s take a look at some plants which can be sold as Ludwigia Peruensis varieties.
Ludwigia Peruensis Diamond
Ludwigia Peruensis Diamond is an uncommon variety which grows with darker red on upper leafs, changing to green on lower portions. The lower portions tend to keep their green tint even under bright light. This variety can add a great splash of color when used as a mid-ground plant.
Ludwigia Peruensis Red
Also sold as Red Star Ludwigia, Ludwigia Peruensis Red can grow with red coloration across the entire plant. While regular Ludwigia Peruensis can get very red under bright lighting, this variety can achieve the same look with moderate lighting. This is a good variety for hobbyists who are looking for deep red coloration without high light intensity.
Ludwigia Peruensis Super Red
Plants sold as Ludwigia Peruensis Super Red are often simply the “Red” variety while some may be a different species entirely. Some sellers will label their plants with different names for marketing purposes. If you want to be certain you’re getting a genuine Ludwigia Peruensis variety, only buy from reputable sellers.