Repens Aquarium Plant: A Versatile Addition to Your Aquascape

Staurogyne repens is a remarkable plant that has gained popularity among aquascaping enthusiasts due to its adaptability and unique characteristics. Unlike carpet plants such as Utricularia graminifolia, Staurogyne repens grows taller but still maintains a compact size, making it an ideal choice for intermediate placement between carpeting plants and taller mid/background plants.


Originating from South America, Staurogyne repens is a short green stem plant that forms dense bushes under higher light levels. Its ability to be pruned into beautiful contours and maintain its short height makes it perfect for aquascaping. The plant effortlessly blends with other aquatic plants, creating a natural and harmonious appearance. Higher light levels encourage lateral growth, causing the plant to spread sideways with creeping stems. In contrast, lower light levels stimulate vertical growth with longer internodes, resembling a typical stem plant. Under crowded conditions, the plant adapts by growing more upright.

To ensure optimal growth, Staurogyne repens requires unobstructed light. It is best positioned in the middle or foreground of the aquarium, allowing it to receive ample light without being overshadowed by more aggressive growers. Although not as demanding as other aquatic plants, Staurogyne repens thrives in CO2-injected tanks. However, it is commonly used in non-CO2 injected tanks as well, where it develops a more vertical form and less dense growth.

Staurogyne Repens

Staurogyne repens rot/melting

One issue unique to Staurogyne repens is the occurrence of rot/melting. When conditions in the aquarium are unstable, or the plant is acclimatizing to a new environment, it becomes susceptible to melting. This condition can spread to adjacent plants, including other Staurogyne species. The cause of this phenomenon, whether it be viral or bacterial, remains unconfirmed. However, we have observed its general progression and impact on a tank. It typically starts with pale, translucent brown patches on the leaves, which then spread to surrounding plants, ultimately resulting in the melting of whole leaves. This melting can also extend to other plant species. Although there is currently no known cure for this issue, maintaining stable growth conditions can expedite the recovery process. Tank instability and significant parameter shifts, such as ammonia spikes, can trigger the melting. This occurrence is more common in new setups and newly planted plants, while established plants are less affected.

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If early signs of melting are detected, it is recommended to remove the affected leaves entirely. In some cases, this action alone can limit the spread of the condition.

Staurogyne Repens Rot
Early stages of Staurogyne repens melt; removing all affected leaves can halt the spread.
Staurogyne Repens Rot

Key success factors

To ensure the healthy growth of Staurogyne repens, certain factors should be considered:

  • Sufficient light: Staurogyne repens thrives under light levels ranging from 70-90 umols of PAR. Higher light levels promote lateral growth, while at least 50 umols of PAR at the substrate level is recommended.
  • Tank stability and biological maturity: Maintaining overall tank stability and allowing the aquarium to mature biologically can prevent melting issues.
  • CO2 injection: Injecting CO2 into the tank enhances the density, leaf size, and overall health of Staurogyne repens.
  • Water parameters: Staurogyne repens can tolerate a wide range of water parameters and can thrive even in hard water conditions.
  • Fertilization: Inadequate fertilization can lead to patchy or pale-colored leaves. Regular fertilization should be conducted through either the root zone or water column.

Staurogyne Repens

Trimming and propagation

Staurogyne repens responds well to pruning. The creeping rhizome or stem can be cut at a leaf node, and new shoots will sprout from the remaining stem. This attribute makes Staurogyne repens suitable for low-maintenance aquascapes, as it can grow large and dense over time without significant issues. However, overgrown bushes may experience deteriorating lower portions, resulting in bare stems at the lower levels. To address this, aquarists have two choices: frequently trim the Staurogyne repens bush, allowing it to rejuvenate itself, or perform infrequent trimming, which may require replanting the tops of the stems when the bottom portions start to deteriorate.

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Propagation of Staurogyne repens follows the same method as other stem plants. Simply cut a length of the top shoot, preferably an inch or longer, and plant it directly into the substrate.

Staurogyne repens is a versatile plant that can enhance the beauty and natural aesthetic of any aquascape. Its compact size, adaptability, and unique growth patterns make it an excellent choice for both beginner and experienced aquarists alike. Consider adding Staurogyne repens to your aquarium and witness the vibrant life it brings to your underwater world.

For more information and to purchase Staurogyne repens, visit the Ames Farm Center.