Staurogyne repens is an excellent freshwater aquarium plant choice for aquarists of all experience levels.
It is a plant that is easy to care for and does a great job of adding to the aesthetics of your tank. In fact, Staurogyne repens is one of the best carpet plants out there.
And that’s not all. In addition to the stunning appearance it gives your tank, it also brings the expected benefits of plants to your water and tank.
To be honest, getting it for your aquarium is a no-brainer.
In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Staurogyne repens care and the benefits it can bring to your tank. When you’re done, you’ll be an expert!
Staurogyne repens is a freshwater plant that originates from South America. There are several rivers where this plant can be found, but the Cristalino River and the Tapaluna River are two critical points in the southern Amazon.
Staurogyne repens comes from the Acanthaceae family of plants, which is large. There are nearly three thousand different plant species in this family, with Staurogyne repens being one of the most popular for aquarium use.
It is known for being extremely hardy (just like the hornwort), making it a fantastic choice for aquarists looking for a low maintenance plant to add.
Author’s Note: As we hinted at earlier, it really shines when used as a carpet plant. You can easily grow it on top of your substrate and the bottom of the tank will quickly turn green!
It’s also great for the health of your tank. Like most aquatic plants, it can oxygenate the water and reduce the amount of nitrates found in the water.
This can have a massive impact on the health of your tank and the fish that inhabit it. It will also help reduce wear and stress on your water treatment and filtration equipment.
This means that exercising good Staurogyne repens care is not only fun but incredibly practical.
How it looks
Staurogyne repens has a can’t-miss look, making it perfect for aquascaping (it’s the perfect foreground plant). It grows into a nice thick mat that can reach up to four inches in height. This means that it will not take up too much space in your tank despite covering the substrate.
One of our favorite things about this plant is the color. Green is quite bright and can really change the color dynamics of your tank.
We’ve talked to a handful of owners who were impressed when they looked at before and after photos of their tank adding Staurogyne repens. It has the ability to make your tank look totally different!
If you are someone who likes a nice clean tank with minimal decorations and distractions, Staurogyne repens is definitely a plant for you. You can get an interesting and prominent natural feel without it taking over your aquarium.
When it comes to what the actual leaves and roots look like, it’s pretty easy to identify once you know what to look for. In fact, it closely resembles Hygrophila, which is a close relative.
You can barely see the roots when you look at the mat from above, but if you dig up some of the soil and look underneath, you’ll see that they are small and pale.
The leaves are thin and quite long. The base of the leaf is where the stems begin, and the width of the leaf decreases as it reaches the end.
how to plant it
A crucial part of Staurogyne repens care is making sure you plant it correctly at first.
The first thing to remember is that you’ll want to get the correct stem count. The magic rule is to aim for a ratio of 3:1 gallons per stem when doing the initial planting.
It’s a common beginner’s mistake to overplant and shed a ton of stems just to «play it safe.» This is a mistake because there may not be enough room for each stem to grow and thrive. You can always throw in some extras later if you need to!
The actual planting process is quite easy to handle. All you need to do is take each stem and make sure it is buried about 0.75 inches into the soil.
This will allow your S. repens to take root in the substrate and start growing on a stable base. This is incredibly important for the long-term health of the plants.
Once you’ve completed the planting process, you’ll need to wait 2-3 weeks before things start to happen. The growth rate is a bit slow, so the progress might surprise you!
Staurogyne Repens Care
Staurogyne repens care is fairly easy due to the hardy nature of the plant. However, you’ll want to make sure you’re following the recommended guidelines that will allow you to thrive.
Keep in mind that the health of your plants directly affects the health of the rest of the life in your tank. We are of the mindset that any extra step you can take is always worth it!
While many new aquarists think that minimum tank size is something that only applies to fish, that’s actually not the case.
You want a tank size of at least 10 gallons if you are going to consider planting S. repens. Anything smaller will not provide enough room for your plant to comfortably root and allow for future growth.
Although Staurogyne repens is a very durable and hardy plant, you should try to keep the water parameters within the recommended limits. This will help it grow, thrive, and positively impact the rest of the life in your tank.
- Water temperature: This should be between 68°F and 86°F. The warmer the tank, the faster the rate of growth.
- pH levels: Between 6 and 8 seems to be the general consensus.
- Water Hardness: Aim for a number between 3 and 10 KH.
Like any plant, getting the right amount of light is incredibly important if you want to provide good care for your Staurogyne repens.
That said, you don’t need to run out and buy a fancy or expensive lamp to keep this plant happy. A basic aquarium lighting setup will work just fine. This is great because it saves you a bit of money and also means it can work with a kit lamp if you already have one.
You’ll want to make sure your light is on for 9 to 11 hours each day. This will help facilitate growth and ensure that your Staurogyne repens continues to oxygenate the water in its tank.
Maintenance of your plant
The slow growth rate of Staurogyne repens means that it is fairly easy to keep under control. It’s not like other aquarium plants that can get out of control if you ignore them (like Java moss).
Despite this, you’ll still want to prune and trim a bit from time to time. There is no set rule on the best way to do this, so use your best judgment. Keeping things neat and tidy will keep your plant healthy and maintain that nice carpet look. If you are a fan of dwarf hair grass, you will also like this plant.
When it comes to measuring Staurogyne repens health, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the obvious things. Faint or faded colors and fallen leaves are two big signs that you have a problem.
One of the common tank problems that can affect your health is the clarity of the water. If the light can’t get through, your plants will suffer. If you notice any worrying signs, be sure to consider them first.
You can also add liquid nutritional supplements to the water that will help stimulate plant growth if you think they need a little extra boost. However, in our opinion, S. repens will generally grow well in the right tank conditions, so we always recommend tackling them first.
If you’re thinking of propagating your Staurogyne repens, there are a couple of things to remember. This process is not too challenging and you will find success more often than not, but you will want to understand how they grow and spread in the wild.
Normally, Staurogyne repens will simply grow and drop shoots that grow up the sides of its stem. These sprouts will settle into the substrate and begin to grow!
If you are going to propagate Staurogyne repens, you are basically mimicking this process. Instead of waiting for this to happen naturally, he will cut the stems and replant them.
You should wait for the stems to reach their ideal height (about 4 inches) and have their own leaves before propagating. Once it’s ready, cut back a couple of inches and plant it about three-quarters of an inch into the soil.
Although Staurogyne repens is a fairly easy fish to handle, you’ll want to make sure you pair it with the right tank mates.
Many new aquarists forget that certain plants are a better fit for certain fish than others, and end up seeing all of their plants eaten.
Since Staurogyne repens is a carpet plant, fish hanging near the top of your tank won’t interact with it too much. It is the fish that spend their time near the bottom and middle of your tank that you need to think about.
Here are some of the more popular tankmates that go well with Staurogyne repens:
- Betta fish
- cory catfish
- dwarf gourami
- african cichlids
- cherry picks
- Neon tetra (and other tetras too)
- molly fish
If you like, you can also keep Cherry Shrimp and Amano Shrimp with Staurogyne repens. Several types of shrimp do quite well with this plant and it will actually help keep the water clear so more light gets in!
Staurogyne repens is a great plant for virtually any freshwater aquarium (assuming you have the right kind of fish). It looks great, is easy to care for, and will significantly benefit your tank as a whole.
Honestly, if you’re even remotely considering getting this plant, we think you should. There are minimal downsides if you decide you don’t like it, or if you underestimated how tasty it might be for a fish in your aquarium.
There isn’t much good information out there about Staurogyne repens, but we hope we’ve covered the essentials in this care guide. If you have any outstanding questions that we have not answered, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will help you.