Limnophila aquatica: A Species Care Guide

Limnophila aquatica is commonly known as the giant ambulia which belongs to the family Scrophulariaceae under order Lamiales. It is a tropical freshwater aquarium plant that has become popular in recent years. It is native to Southeast Asia and parts of India, but can be found in many other parts of the world due to its popularity as an aquarium plant. It is an ideal candidate for the novice aquarist because it is easy to care for and propagate.

This plant does not require a lot of light or nutrients to thrive. It is used to provide shade for fish and other aquatic creatures. It helps control algae growth, and improve water quality by absorbing nitrates and other pollutants. This plant is also effective at removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from aquariums, making it an excellent choice for tanks with low oxygen levels.

In order to keep your Limnophila aquatica healthy and looking its best, follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Provide your plant with plenty of light. It will grow best if you place it near a window or use an artificial light source.
  2. Keep the water temperature between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Add appropriate fertilizer to the water regularly to provide your plant with the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Systematic Position

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Order: Lamiales
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Genus: Limnophila
Species: Limnophila aquatica

Physical Appearance

Limnophila aquatica is a small and fast-growing herbaceous plant that can reach up to 12 inches in height. The stem is green and slender that contains lance-shaped small leaves with dark green and a reddish hue.

The flowers of this plant are small and white with four petals, and they bloom in clusters on long stems above the water surface.

Limnophila aquatica produces flowers from late spring to early summer. The plants will start to flower within 2 to 3 months of being planted, and will continue to produce flowers every 2 to 3 weeks if conditions are favorable.

Limnophila aquatica
Limnophila aquatica

Limnophila aquatica Quick Facts

Sccientific name: Limnophila aquatica
Common Name: Giant Ambulia
Adult Size: 12 inches tall
Origin: South-East Asia
Growth Rate: Fast
Substrate Requirement: Gravel
Lighting Requirement: moderate to high light levels
Water pH: 6-8
Water Hardness: 5-15 dGH
Water Temperature: 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit
Placement in tank: Background
Propagation/Reproduction: Runners, Cuttings
Care Level: Intermediate

Limnophila aquatica Housing and Care Facts

Water Quality Requirements

Water quality requirements of Limnophila aquatica are specific and must be met in order for the plant to thrive. In order to keep this plant healthy in an aquarium, it is important to maintain water quality at levels that are as close to neutral as possible.

The water should have a pH level between 6 and 8, a hardness between 5 and 15 dGH, and a temperature between 68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant is known to be intolerant of high levels of ammonia and nitrite.

Besides, you should keep ammonia levels below 0.5 mg/L and nitrite levels below 0.05 mg/L. Additionally, the water should be well-oxygenated with high levels of dissolved oxygen.

In order to maintain these conditions, the plant should be kept in an environment with consistent water parameters and regular fertilization. If the water temperature or pH fluctuates beyond the acceptable range, Limnophila aquatica may experience stunted growth or even death.

Fertilizer Requirements

This plant can be grown in a wide range of water conditions, but it does have some specific fertilization requirements. Proper fertilization is critical for keeping your Limnophila aquatica healthy and looking its best in your aquarium. Adding fertilizer (particularly nitrogen) may help it grow more rapidly.

First and foremost, Limnophila aquatica requires high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. These nutrients are essential for the growth of plants and development. In most cases, you can provide these nutrients by using a standard liquid fertilizer or fish food pellets.
Second, Limnophila aquatica also requires moderate levels of potassium and magnesium. Potassium is important for photosynthesis, while magnesium helps with chlorophyll production. You can provide these nutrients by using a water-soluble fertilizer that includes those elements or by adding Epsom salt to the tank water occasionally (1 tsp per 10 gallons).

pH Requirement

Limnophila aquatica requires full sun to grow well and prefers nutrient-rich water with a pH between 6 and 8.

Temperature Requirement

Limnophila aquatica is a tropical plant that requires a temperature range of 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water Hardness

This plant requires a hardness between 5 and 15 dGH for proper growth and development.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) Requirements

This plant requires carbon dioxide (CO2) for optimal growth in the aquarium. In an environment without CO2, Limnophila aquatica will grow very slowly or not at all.

The best way to provide CO2 for Limnophila aquatica in the aquarium is with a pressurized CO2 system. This can be done by using a bottle of compressed gas or by using an electronic controller to release small amounts of CO2 into the water as needed. If you are not able to use a pressurized system, you can also add baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to the aquarium water to increase the level of carbon dioxide present.


Tankmates of Limnophila aquatica are important to consider when keeping this plant in an aquarium. The best tankmates for Limnophila aquatica are those that share its peaceful nature and do not require a lot of maintenance.

Some good choices include other small, herbivorous fish like neon tetras, guppies, danios, rasboras and hatchetfish or platys.

Cory catfish make excellent tankmates for Limnophila aquatica because they help keep the aquarium clean by scavenging for food particles on the bottom of the tank.

It is important to avoid aggressive fish like cichlids or barbs as they may harass or eat the delicate plants.

If you’re looking for a bottom feeder that can take care from time-to-time on any algae growth (or uneaten food bits), then adding a few Corydoras catfishes would be an excellent idea; their presence usually indicates a healthy ecosystem where detritus accumulation is low.

Alternatively, some small snails such as Mystery Snails or Nerites work great too since they won’t uproot nor damage your plants while grazing on algae films during the day. Snails also help keep the tank clean by eating uneaten food and decaying matter.

Benefits of Limnophila aquatica

Limnophila aquatica is a great choice for anyone because it has multiple benefits. It can help improve the water quality in your tank, act as a natural filter, and help to control algae growth.

The plant helps remove toxins from the water, making it safer for fish and other inhabitants of the aquarium.

This plant has small leaves that provide excellent hiding place for fish and other tank inhabitants which reduces stress levels. It also helps to oxygenate the water, keeping the aquarium healthy and thriving.

It helps to improve water quality by removing nitrates and phosphates from the water. It also helps to provide oxygenation to the aquarium environment, which is important for fish health. Additionally, dense foliage of this plants can help control algae growth in the tank by competing with algae for nutrients.

Limnophila aquatica is also known for its ability to reduce the levels of ammonia and nitrite in aquarium water, making it an important part of any healthy tank ecosystem.


Limnophila aquatic is a popular aquarium plant and it is easily propagated by stem cuttings taken from the mother plant. It can also propagate by dividing the rhizomes. It can also be propagated by producing seed. In this case, you should take rhizomes or stem cutting from new growth tips in late spring or early summer time.

To propagate, take a sharp knife and cut off a 6-inch section of stem just below the water surface. Remove all but two leaves from the cutting and place it in a container filled with fresh water. The new cutting will form roots in 2 to 3 weeks and can be transplanted into an aquarium or garden pond.

It also reproduces by sending out runners from the main stem along the surface of the water or by forming new plants from fragments of its stem or leaves, which can then be planted into new areas of the aquarium.


Pruning is an important part of plant care, and it is especially important for Limnophila aquatica. Pruning helps to keep the plants healthy and looking their best. It also helps to promote new growth and flowering.

The best time to prune Limnophila aquatica is when the plant is in its active growth stage. This typically occurs in spring or summer. You should prune any dead or damaged branches, then trim back the healthy branches by about one-third. Be sure not to cut any of the leaves off, as they are needed for photosynthesis.

Prune off the top two or three leaves to encourage new growth. As the plant grows older, you will need to prune more often to keep it under control; remove any stems that are growing too tall or that have outgrown their space. It will also help prevent the plant from becoming overcrowded and taking over your tank.

Problems with Limnophila aquatica

The aquarium plant Limnophila aquatica is a great choice for beginner aquarists, as it is easy to care for and tolerant of a wide range of water conditions. The popularity of Limnophila aquatica as an aquarium plant has led to problems with its distribution in the wild. This plant often grows too quickly and takes over the tank.

Limnophila aquatica loves bright light and will grow rapidly in tanks with plenty of it. It can easily become invasive if you do not keep under control. As a result, it can quickly spread over an entire body of water, which can lead to the death of other plants and fish. In addition, this plant tends to release a lot of algae-promoting nutrients into the water column, which can make keeping your tank clean more difficult.

Despite its problems, Limnophila aquatica is still an excellent choice for many hobbyists’ tanks and is well worth considering if you have room to keep it under control. With regular pruning it can be kept from becoming too invasive, while its high tolerance for varied water conditions make it adaptable to many different setups.

Besides, Limnophila aquatica has been known to cause diseases in fish including ichthyophthirius multifiliis (ICH), bacterial gill disease (BGD), and columnaris disease.

Diseases and Control Measures

Limnophila aquatica is a hardy, fast-growing plant that can be grown in a variety of water conditions. However, it is susceptible to several diseases, including root rot and fungal infections.

Root rot is caused by bacteria or fungi that invade the roots of the plant and destroy the tissue. The leaves will turn yellow and wilt, and the plant may die if left untreated.

Fungal infections are caused by fungi that infect the leaves or stems of the plant. The leaves will turn yellow or brown, and may fall off prematurely. The infection can spread to other plants in the aquarium if not treated quickly.

The most common fungal infection affecting Limnophila aquatica is downy mildew (Peronospora sp.). This infection appears as small, black spots on the leaves and stem of the plant. The spots may enlarge until they cover the entire leaf or stem surface. Downy mildew can be treated with fungicides such as copper sulfate or potassium permanganate.

Another common disease, known as columnaris (Flavobacterium columnare). This bacteria causes lesions on leaves and stems which may eventually lead to death of the infected tissue. Columnaris can be treated with antibiotics such as erythromycin. In this case, prevention is often easier than treatment because these products can be harmful to fish and other inhabitants of the aquarium.

Both downy mildew and columnaris are caused by bacteria or fungi that are present in all aquaria systems. These organisms are typically kept under control by good water quality practices.

Concluding Remarks

Limnophila aquatica is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making it an ideal choice for beginner aquarists. It is found in fresh water habitats such as ponds, ditches, and slow-moving streams. It is a great choice for any aquarium, pond, or water garden. It is an easy plant to care for and it grows quickly, making it a perfect choice for beginner aquarists.

This plant requires warm temperatures and a pH of 6.0 to 8.0 for optimal growth. In the wild, it is found in slow-moving or still water bodies such as ponds, ditches, and canals. It grows best in nutrient-rich water with a lot of dissolved oxygen, so it may not be suitable for all aquariums.