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Cabomba Aquatica (Fanwort)


Cabomba (or Fanwort) comes in a variety of forms ranging from green, and through red and purple.

Cabomba is an oxygenating plant that also provides an excellent egg-laying area for fishes but Cabomba can be more difficult to grow than other oxygenating plants because it tends to prefer more light.

Planting Cabomba

Cabomba should ideally be planted as a bunch of four to six stems of around six-inches in length. Under ideal conditions, Cabomba can grow around an inch per day and will thrive in environments ranging from six-inches in depth to three-feet in depth.

Apart from growing at the crown, Cabomba will also branch from the stem so that a clump of stems can become a perfect haven for small fishes. It’s foliage also provides an excellent hatchery for egg-layers and nursery for baby fish (fry).

Temperature tolerances of Cabomba

Cabomba prefers a warmer temperature range and will thrive when the temperature is in the range of 68-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

When considering Cabomba it is worthwhile considering the amount of light in the tank, as Cabomba prefers more light than the average aquarium plant. The foliage of Cabomba should be a vivid green and can even turn a reddish or purplish color. If the foliage seems dull then this is a sign either that there is insufficient light in the tank or that the plant is getting insufficient nutrition.

Propagating Cabomba

Cabomba is very easy to propagate because it is equally happy as a floating plant as it is planted in the substrate.

If you purchase Cabomba it may be supplied as a clump of stems held together with a rubber band. If this is the case then I would recommend cutting off the stems above the rubber band, as the stems may be crushed quite easily. Strip off the foliage from the lowest inch of the plants and clump them together carefully so that the stems are not damaged if you are planting them in the substrate.

If you are propagating from your own plants then trim off stems of around six-inches in length, remove the lowest inch of foliage and clump around six stems together as detailed above,

Disposing of Cabomba

My general advice regarding all non-native plants is to compost all excess plant material removed from your aquarium. Once removed from the water, the plant can die in as little as one hour so disposal by composting should present few issues.

Cabomba – Video

Image courtesy of: Alex Popovkin

Mike Wheeler

I started keeping freshwater tropical fish in 1972 and it has been something of a passion ever since. In this website, my aim is to build up an everyman's guide to help the everyday aquarist get the best from this inspiring and entertaining hobby.

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