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The Shrimp Farm, Aquariums  Dealers, Bloomington, IL



Growing water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)

Water sprite, also known as Indian water fern, is a popular aquarium plant. It's appreciated by aquarists for its lace-like, decorative appearance and relatively easy care. It can reach quite the size (up to 23"), which makes it a great centerpiece plant for larger aquariums, and grows very quickly when its requirements are met.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about water sprite and growing water sprite in your own aquarium!


Water sprite is not a demanding plant at all and beginners shouldn't have trouble growing it. Lighting is not much of an issue; although water sprite will grow faster when plenty of light is provided it can also be maintained in low-light setups. The same thing goes for Co2, which is not a necessity but will definitely help.

Water sprite is very versatile and can be grown planted, floating, or attached to rocks or driftwood. If you'd like to place your water sprite in the substrate, be sure not to bury it too deep. Only cover the roots and keep the crown exposed. If planting is too much of an issue, just toss the plant into your tank and leave it to do its thing. Floating water sprite will develop a system of floating roots and absorb nutrients from the water. Lastly, you can attach water sprite to a porous surface like lava rock or driftwood using some fishing wire or even superglue. The plant will quickly anchor itself and should grow as it normally would!

Keep in mind that, as mentioned earlier, water sprite can be a very quick grower. It's also prone to leaf browning, which is not something to worry about but can look a little ugly. If your water sprite is starting to take away too much light from other plants or if it's starting to look a little too brown, just snip off any excess stems.

Difficulty: Easy

Lighting: Low to medium

Placement: Backgound

Temperature: 68-80 °F

pH: 6.5-7.5


Uses in aquascaping. Water sprite is a very decorative plant with lace-like leaves that add a lovely texture to the aquarium. It works well as a background plant; with its large size it's an easy way to add a lot of green to your tank. Try combining water sprite with red or pink plants for an extra spectacular effect.

Foraging grounds. Water sprite works well in shrimp tanks because its textured leaves offer the perfect foraging location. A large surface area means plenty of space for biofilm to grow and edible particles can easily get stuck in the feathery leaves. Its dense growing pattern also makes water sprite a great hiding place.

Nitrate buster. An advantage of fast-growing plants like water sprite is that they need a lot of nutrients to sustain their growth. One of the nutrients used by plants is nitrate, the by-product of the nitrogen cycle that we can usually only remove by doing water changes. Although you'll still need to do these regularly, plants like water sprite can help keep nitrates under control and stabilize your water values.


Water sprite is very easy to propagate. Much like Java fern it will actually produce baby plants by itself and shoot them off into the tank! If you find one of these baby plants floating around, just replant it to multiply your water sprite. If your water sprite isn't growing any babies yet you can also replant stem trimmings - or even leave them floating. They will develop their own root system and continue to grow like a new plant.

Many sources report that water sprite is a favorite among herbivorous fish and snails. If you keep these then water sprite may not be the best plant for you: it might fall prey to hungry mouths.

Buying water sprite

Water sprite is a common aquarium plant and you should be able to find it in most aquarium stores. You can also order it online: The Shrimp Farm sells water sprite and ships it right to your doorstep! You can buy your water sprite here.

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