Water Sprite Plant: Best Care Guide Explained in Details (2022)

By: Martin McAdam
Updated: December 27, 2021

Water sprite is a beautiful flowering aquatic plant that adds elegance to any aquarium, but it can be difficult for beginners to keep. When water sprite plants are growing well, they look fantastic and also help oxygenate the tank. The following guide will help you with all aspects of keeping this plant in your aquarium.

Water sprite is a plant species in the genus Ceratopteris. It will grow either fully submerged or emerge depending on conditions. The scientific name has been changed over time, and you may see it referred to as Ceratopteris thalictroides, Osmunda Ceratopteris, or Ceratopteris cornuta.

Water Sprite Plant Overview

Water Sprite Plant

Species Summary

  • Common Name: Water sprite plant, Ceratopteris thalictroides (especially in older articles), Ceratopteris cornuta, or Osmunda Ceratopteris.
  • Varieties: There are only two main varieties that are commonly traded- emersed and submersed forms. The emersed form has green leaves and grows in water that is high in CO2. The submersed form has darker green leaves and does not require high levels of CO2.
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Light Needs: Medium-high
  • CO2 Needs: High for emersed form, medium for a submersed form
  • pH Range: 6-9
  • Tropical or Temperate: Tropical
  • Origin: Southeast Asia, India, and parts of Africa
  • Family: Pteridaceae
  • Water Temperature: 22-28C
  • Ceratopteris is closely related to Drynaria. It is one of the most commonly available aquarium plants that are traded under different names. The submersed form can be confused with Elodea or Anacharis.

How to Grow Water Sprite Plant?

Water sprite plants can be a little tricky to keep, but with the right conditions, they can be very easy to grow. The biggest challenge is providing enough light and CO2 for them to thrive.

Adding a nitrogen-rich fertilizer is beneficial as it will give the plant protein, which helps with photosynthesis. A good liquid fertilizer for this would be Seachem Flourish Nitrate and Iron or Brightwell Aquatics Florin-Iron (if you can't get hold of either, then Miracle Grow All Purpose Liquid Plant Food will work well).

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Fertilizer can be administered once every week or once every two weeks, depending on the strength of fertilizer.

Water sprite will benefit from liquid CO2 if you can keep it steady at around 25 ppm. For more information on how to do this, please see our article How To Set Up A Planted Aquarium.

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If you're not confident in providing your CO2, then you can purchase a CO2 injection system or use an aquarium plant fertilizer like Seachem Flourish Comprehensive.

Water sprite plants will do best in a tank that is pH-neutral to slightly acidic, with a water temperature of 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Characteristics of Water Sprite Plant

The characteristics of Water Sprite plants are as follows:

How Does Water Sprite Plant Look Like?

Delicate, fern-like leaves with light or dark green color, depending on the variety. It can grow up to 18 inches long. The emersed form has green leaves; the submersed form has darker green leaves. Stems have nodes where new growth will emerge if given ideal conditions; easily broken off if tugged on.

What is the Growth Rate of Water Sprite Plant?

Water sprite plants have delicate, fern-like leaves that can grow up to 18 inches long. The leaves are either light green or dark green, depending on the variety. The emersed form has green leaves, and the submersed structure has darker green leaves.

When they are happy, water sprite plants will grow out of the water and produce a long stem that can reach up to 3 feet in length with small white flowers on top.

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The stems have nodes where new growth will emerge if given ideal conditions. The nodes are easily broken off if you simply tug on the stem. This can sometimes be used to propagate this plant. However, you need to ensure that there's not a flower on top first.

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If you have ever seen an emersed form of water sprite in a garden center or greenhouse, it may have appeared bushier than the submersed form. This is because the submersed form has evolved to grow with minimal light exposure.

From Where to Trim And Prune Water Sprite Plant?

Water sprite plants don't need to be trimmed or pruned, but you can if you want. Trimming will help keep the plant bushy and prevent it from becoming leggy.

If the plant becomes too tall, you can cut it back to where the stem is still green and healthy. Just be sure not to cut off any nodes as they will be where new growth will emerge.

How to Propagate Water Sprite Plant?

Water sprite plants can easily be propagated by taking a cutting from the stem. Simply cut off a stem (with at least one node) and place it in a jar or vase of water. Within a few days, you will see new roots forming, and the plant will begin to take root in the vase.

Water Sprite Plant

If you would like to grow your water sprite emerged, then place it outside during summer and bring it indoors before fall. The leaves of the submersed form will disappear once a temperature change is detected due to a disruption to their natural photoperiod. Once this happens, it's time to grow the emersed form.

Who Can Be The Tank Mates of Water Sprite Plants?

Water sprite plants can be used in both freshwater and saltwater tanks, but they should not be placed in tanks with herbivorous fish. Some good tank mates for water sprite plants include other types of aqua plants, small peaceful fish, and shrimp.

If you are looking for a versatile plant that's beautiful and easy to care for, you should consider water sprite plants. They can be grown emersed or submerged, and they will not interfere with the growth of other plants.

Water sprite plants are an excellent choice for any aquarium and can be used in both community tanks and betta tanks.

They will grow in most water conditions, but they do best in a pH-neutral to slightly acidic tank with a water temperature of 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit. They do not require CO2 injection to grow properly, but it will help them grow faster and bushier.

Aqueon has a wide variety of water sprite plants available at great prices, so you can find one that fits in perfectly your current setup.

What are the Benefits Of Having Water Sprite Plant In Your Tank?

  • They can help cycle your tank since they are living aquatic plants.
  • They don't require special lighting conditions, unlike other live plants.
  • They look great alone or with other types of aquarium decor.
  • They provide hiding places for small fish and shrimp to swim among its leaves .
  • They are very easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginner aquarists.
  • They help oxygenate the water, making it healthier for your fish.
  • They can also be used in goldfish bowls to help keep the water clean and fresh.

How To Take Proper Care Of Your Water Sprite Plant?

Care for water sprite plants is relatively easy. It does well in most aquarium setups; however, it will need CO2 injection to grow correctly.

If you are growing your water sprite plant emersed, then you should keep the temperature at around 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit with high levels of carbon dioxide. If you cannot provide these conditions, then you shouldn't.

The water sprite plant is a great choice for any aquarium setup, whether it be a community tank or a betta tank. Their delicate leaves and stems add interest to any aquarium while enjoying the benefits they provide for your fish.

At Aqueon, we have a wide variety of water sprite plants to choose from, so you can find one that fits in perfectly with your current setup.

The given conditions should be followed for the proper care of the plant.

Lighting

Water sprite plants do not require special lighting conditions, but they will grow more quickly under high-intensity light sources. If you would like, you can use a CFL bulb to provide high-intensity lighting for your water sprite plant.

Carbon Dioxide

CO2:  For higher growth rates, CO2 injection is recommended. This can be done using a pressurized system with a solenoid valve or by injecting dry carbon dioxide into the aquarium through an airstone.

Water Conditions

The optimal water temperature for water sprite plants is 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit. You can grow water sprite plants in a variety of aquarium conditions, but the ideal water parameters are a pH of 5.8 to 7.8 and a hardness level of 1-10 dGH. You should also have moderate lighting.

Feeding

Water sprite plants do not require special feeding, but they will benefit from a liquid plant food or fish food that sinks to the bottom of the tank.

As you can see, water sprite plants are a great choice for any aquarium and offer a variety of benefits to your fish.

They are easy to care for and do not require any extra equipment or lighting conditions. If you're looking for a great way to add some color and life to your tank, then be sure to add a water sprite plant today!

Substrate

Water sprite plants can be grown in a variety of substrates, but they do best in nutrient-rich soil. You can either use potting soil or a substrate specifically for aquatic plants.

Tank Size

Water sprite plants can be kept in aquariums of any size. Requires CO2 injection using a pressurized system with a solenoid valve or by injecting dry carbon dioxide into the aquarium through an airstone.

Special Points To Keep In Mind While Keeping Water Sprite Plants

  • Water sprite plants will die back and go dormant if the water temperature changes too drastically.
  • You can propagate water sprite plants by dividing the rhizomes (roots).
  • They do best in nutrient-rich soil and should be fertilized regularly.
  • Water sprite plants are a great choice for any aquarium and can be used in both community tanks and betta tanks.
  • They will grow in most water conditions, but they do best in a pH-neutral to slightly acidic tank with a water temperature of 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • CO2 injection is recommended for higher growth rates, but it is not necessary.
  • Water sprite plants should be fertilized regularly with liquid plant food or fish food that sinks to the bottom of the tank.
  • They make a great addition to any aquarium and are easy to care for.

Conclusion

Water sprite plants are a great choice for any aquarium and offer a variety of benefits to your fish. They are easy to care for and do not require any extra equipment or lighting conditions.

If you're looking for a great way to add some color and life to your tank, then be sure to add a water sprite plant today!

Disclaimer

AquaMarinePower.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help users better understand their aquatic friends. However, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

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