How to Grow and Decorate with Watersprite 
The Indian water fern, Ceratopteris thalictroides

 
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Watersprite

Different Watersprite

LA
Rooted watersprite will grow to the top of a 29-gallon tank in good light.

LA
Watersprite grows fastest floating at the surface where it gets more light.  Those smaller "flakes" are duckweed, a strong competitor.  Any floating plant will steal light and nutrients
from your other plants.  Their roots provide excellent security for baby livebearers.

LA
Watersprite plants also make a nice personal floatation device for newts.

LA
Watersprite will grow up out of the water (emersed).  In shallow water where its roots 
reach your substrate, it will grow way out of the water.  It grows in its emersed form
best when kept in a high humidity covered tank.

LA
The emersed leaves of watersprite grow like this.

LA
And keep growing like this.

LA
... and keep on keeping on.

LA
The emersed form looks nothing like watersprite.


LA
You can sometimes find the emersed form of watersprite in pots.

LA
Which looks like this underwater.

LA
Under the surface, floating watersprite grows a healthy root system.

LA
And you can see how the fronds start out like other ferns.

LA
You can plant the little floaters in two seconds -- exactly how long this one was planted.
Plant them with gentle, community fish.  Forget cichlid tanks -- except for floating sprites.  Severums, for instance, enjoy shredding watersprite.

LA
Pick out the nice green ones with longer roots for best results.

LA
Watersprites reproduce from new plants that grow in their leaf notches.

LA
You can see the new plants starting in the notches.  Do not pick these babies yet.

LA
You can pick some good starters off this small "mama plant."

LA
Even more babies on this mama.

LA
Watersprite covering half the top of a 55.

LA
Give water sprite lots of light and it grows like a weed.

LA
Here's the emersed form in a two-gallon bowl.  Probably not grown in there.

LA
Here, a watersprite found a notch in this wood and grew out of the water on its own.

LA
If your watersprite grows too well, feed it to your iguana.

Last Words.  Watersprite grows better in some tanks than in others.  Some people just cannot grow watersprite.  Others grow it by the bucketsful.  We know because they keep bringing in buckets of the stuff.  It will put up with some salt in the water.  Watersprite usually grows great in livebearer tanks.  Guppies hide in the roots.  Black mollies stand out from the light green leaves.  LA 

We Lost the Whole Batch.  Sometime in 2011 we "lost" all our what we call normal watersprite.  All the new watersprite we order is a spindly emersed farm.  We'll try to cancert some of these plants to the submerged form. 

LA
Starting over again with an emersed form of watersprite -- looking very ferny.

LA
After being submerged a couple weeks, April, 2011.

LA
Some moved to different tank because it's further along.

LA
Trying to adapt a new batch, June, 2011.

LA
Maybe the lower part of tis crown is starting to change?

LA
Mother plant discovered July 8, 2011

LA
Revisited July 27, 2011.

Eureka.  Totally covered with duckweed in an unused former goldfish tank we found this mother plant.  It's about 6-inches in diameter.  In its crown you can see some tiny daughters.  We pulled off several similar daughters and placed them in a few fallow aquaria.  We put this momma plant on the top row in a 20H illuminated 24 hours.  We'll check its progress periodically.  Right now we're squishing the young snails in that tank.  This takes a while.  You never get them all in a single day.  Plus, we enlisted a small clown loach to help in snail eradication.  LA

LA
July 24, 2013, watersprite makes a nice display plant.

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