Rotala Macranda “Red”
This demanding plant displays undulating teardrop shaped leaves that are orange to bright red in appearance and densely packed on the stem.
Clusters of Rotala Macranda “Red” make perfect midground focal points due to the intense colour and texture of the leaves.
It is a difficult plant to grow with several requirements for healthy growth and not recommended for beginners. Rotala Macranda “Red” needs intense lighting, low nitrate levels, high phosphate, iron and micronutrient levels, with CO2 injection highly recommended for optimal growth and colouration. Under these conditions, growth will be fast and easily propagated via replanting tops.
R. macrandra is an excellent indicator plant in the aquarium due to its sensitivity to poor conditions and normally fast growth. Lighting should be strong (at least 2 watts per gallon with power compact bulbs for an aquarium of 40-60 U.S. gallons). When lighting is poor, the lower stems of this plant often deteriorate. CO2, although not completely necessary, is highly recommended for this plant for it to reach its full potential. NO3 and PO4 levels play a major role in the appearance of this plant. High NO3 levels (10 ppm or more) coupled with low PO4 levels (less than 0.5 ppm) lead to leggier growth and large, light orange leaves. If nitrate is pushed too high (20 ppm or more), the plant may actually stunt. Low NO3 levels (10 ppm or less) coupled with high PO4 levels (1.5 to 2 ppm) lead to very compact, lush, bright red growth. Heavy iron and micronutrient dosing is required. If the plant is looking pale red or showing white markings, then the plant is not getting enough iron.
R. macrandra should be pruned by removing the rooted portions and planting the tops. Individual stems should be spaced far enough so that light can reach the lower leaves. As it grows in, the bunch will fill in the spaces with a profusion of side shoots. To propagate, simply snip off one of the side shoots and replant into the substrate. Allowing the plant to grow up to and spread along the surface encourages each stem to produce a side shoot at each internode.
This Rotala species is popular in both Dutch and Nature Aquarium style layouts. Dense, bright red bunches are great as red accents or focal points in an aquascape. This plant adds sparkle to an aquarium by the way it pearls when in good conditionï¿½a multitude of glistening, pearly white orbs cover the lower surface of each leaf of this plant a few hours after the start of a photoperiod.