Rotala wallichii Beginner’s Guide

Rotala wallichii is one of the fascinating aquarium plants available on earth. The eye-catching sweet hues of pink and purple are sure to heighten the aesthetic standard of your fish tank.

The unique combination of fluffiness and spiky structures of the Wallichii Rotala has made it a popular plant among aquarists. 

This plant is also known as Whorly Rotala. Do you know why? This is because its charming leaves grow in whorls. Whorls imply the growth of leaves from just a particular point, and this is precisely where the leaves take up a circular pattern. And, thus the name- whorly!

rotata wallichii

If you are a beginner, managing Rotala Wallichii will be difficult, but it is not impossible. This is because it requires quite a great deal of care and various needs to be duly catered.

To keep the rotala species plants healthy and ensure that it is thriving well inside the aquarium, many precautions must be taken, and a good rotala plant care guide must be followed. 

This article will focus on everything about the Rotala wallichii and discuss every facet of this demanding aquarium plant, starting from its origin, species profile, the substrate to parameters, and several other things pertinent to plant health. With proper guidance, you can keep Rotala at your home and take good care of it.

Origin Of The Plant Name Rotala Wallichii 

This aquarium plant got its name of Wallichii Rotala from an eminent Swedish botanist named Carl von Linne.

Yes, this is the other name of that very famous scientist Carl Linnaeus who gives the world the system of binomial nomenclature to all the living organisms dwelling on earth. 

rotala wallichii

The Rotala Wallichii belongs to the genus Rotala and is a member of the Lythraceae family. Did you know that this rotala plant of the aquarium often bears similar features to those of the plants belonging to the family of loosestrife? It is a flowering plant, amphibious in nature.

It is a herbaceous plant that grows by creeping and crawling. It has sharp spikes in its stem and has gorgeous flowers that are pink and purple-hued.

A fantastic thing about this aquatic plant is that its stem alters its colors. No wonder why the plant adds elegance to the aquariums!

The stem plant of Wallichii Rotala is indigenous to the tropical waters of Asia. This aquatic plant is native to the countries of Southeast Asia. These include India, Thailand, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

At first, this plant was brought to the USA by enthusiastic aquarists. Gradually, it spread to other parts of the world. You can spot this plant as a submerged form in the areas where rice paddies are grown and cultivated in Southeast Asian countries. 

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Features Of Wallichii Rotala 

Rotala wallichii is very delicate and sensitive in nature. Its leaves are primarily wine-colored and have a stem that is covered with spikes. Its leaves can either be red, brown, pink, or purple, depending upon the amount of light that it receives. 

The leaves appear pretty thick and round when the plant floats above the water and is emersed. When the wallichii thrives in a submerged state, its leaves don’t look thick anymore but appear narrower and oval. 

Aquarium plants

As an aquarist, you might want to achieve both types of Rotala growth in your aquarium.

If you have got a giant fish tank at home and if the water surface gives space for the aquatic plants to grow and thrive above the water surface, you can fulfill your aim of attaining both kinds of leaf patterns in the plant. 

The stems give a wholesome look when they are present near the water surface. The plant may grow to 10 to 15 inches, on average. Within just 60 days of planting the Rotala, the stems attain a width of 2 to 5 centimeters. 

Since the Rotala Wachilli is a susceptible plant, you need to be careful while placing it in the fish tank and violent and aggressive fishes.

Either those fishes will munch upon the Rotala or try to uproot it from the aquarium’s substrate. Therefore, you need to be quite meticulous while selecting its tank mates. 

Appearance Of Rotala Wallichii 

Being a red stem plant, Rotala wallichii has a stem that varies from a slight orangish to pink. If exposed to proper lighting conditions, the shoots of the plant may acquire a deep red color.

The leaves grow in a whorl or circular pattern. The stem may witness the growth of several side shoots where the spikes usually grow.

The remaining part of the plant has a super fluffy, pinkish look. While the plant may grow up to a height of 10 to 15 inches, the leaves’ size ranges from 0.6 to 1 inch. 

Rotala Wallichii

Do you know what the most fantastic thing about these beautiful plants is? Rotala wallichii has multiple vibrant looks in its stems and leaves, so using various lighting techniques, you can bring out any outcome you like in the plant.

The aquarists can give any color to its stems, leaves, and shoots as they can experiment a bit and make it receive light to the extent that they wish to ensure it gets a splendid look and enhances the beauty of the aquarium. 

The Rotala can also give your fish tank a thick, bushy appearance if you choose to plant 3 to 5 stems together by clubbing it. You can also make the plant have several plentiful sides shoots sprouting from the main stem of the bunch of Rotala wallichii. 

Nutrition & Light Requirement Of The Stem Plant 

Rotala wallichii draws nutrition mainly from water rather than from the soil. Selecting a gravel substrate is preferable as it has a depth of about 2 inches, thus letting the plant grow appropriately by offering space to spread the roots wide.

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If you use fertilizer, you should make use of a proper water supplement. Provision of co2 supplementation is also necessary to make these gorgeous aquatic plants derive adequate nutrition. 

Avoid placing the plant too deep into the gravel substrate. Just securing the plant into it will do. Light is the other significant source of nutrition for the Whorly Rotala. These bushy aquatic plants require about 2 Watts per gallon of water.

Always remember that proper exposure to light can make your Wallichii Rotala obtain a bright red or wine color on its shoots and leaves. Therefore, setting up adequate lighting is essential to ensure the plant acquires a beautiful, bright hue of red.

If you own a vast aquarium, selecting the midground for growing the Whorly Rotala is a good idea. Many aquarists are fond of giving their fish tank a bushy look.

You can do that by grouping about 3 to 5 stems of the Whorly Rotala and then growing them together. Make sure to leave adequate space between each branch of the Wallichii. In this way, you will be sure to make the entire plant receive sufficient light and thrive. 

Water Requirements/Conditions Of Whorly Rotala

Rotala wallichii prefers soft and a bit acidic water. While taking care of Rotala, you need to ensure that you are very particular about the water hardness and pH levels, as the plant wants everything to be precise. 

The water pH level has to be about 5 to 7 for the Whorly Rotala. The water hardness or dKH level has to be maintained somewhere around 12. Make sure that the water temperature falls in the range of 18 to 28 degrees Celsius. 

Equip your aquarium with a proper filtration system so that algae growth is regulated to some extent.

Moreover, the filtration system is also beneficial to remove any kind of impurities present in the aquarium water. Make sure that you add co2 to the aquarium as it acts as a very important fertilizer for the growth of this plant with delicate leaves. 

What is ironic is that the plant prefers soft water, but this very soft water can affect its leaf health. The water might get clogged and will create dangerous conditions for the plant and the other fishes present in that same tank. 

The presence of phosphates, iron, and nitrates in the water is beneficial for this beautiful pink rotala plant. The ideal nitrate level in the water is 1 to 15 mg, and that of the phosphate level is 1 to 2 mg.

It is better to keep a regular check on the appearance of the plant from time to time. In that way, if you spot anything strange with your wallichii, you can look for remedial solutions to the problem. 

Tank Size Requirements 

A fantastic thing about the Rotala Wachilli is that it can grow well in small and nano tanks. Make sure that the rotala is planted against a proper background in the aquarium if it is small in size.

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Larger fish tanks can also be used for growing rotala wallichii, but in such a case, you need to keep it planted at midground. You can also save some other plants with the rotala wallichii to give a more vibrant look to your aquarium. 

Growing Rotala Wallichii

Planting, pruning, and propagation are the three main processes involved in growing rotala wallichii. At the time of purchasing, you will probably get a bunch of 5 or 6 stems.

While developing the plant as a group and creating a bushy appearance, spare space of at least 2 to 4 cm in between each plant as algae formation can be prevented then.

This space between the stems also ensures the light reaches the plant’s roots, thus ensuring that the shoots acquire a bright hue. 

Pruning has to be done, depending upon how dense the leaves and thick the bush-like plant has become. Keep a good watch over the Wallichii and prune the plant regularly. The best thing to do is trim the upper part of the plant at approximately 5 cm.

You may consider permitting the cuttings and other left-out stalks and stuff to fall on the substrate. As a result, new shoots may grow in the coming days. 

Suppose you have cut off a considerable part of the plant; you can replant it again in the substrate with tweezers to make way for new roots sprouting. This is the propagation technique of the Whorly Rotala.

You may also chop off the side shoots and stalks and plant those in the aquarium substrate. You will continue to get new roots, shoot tips, and stalks. Thus a new plant will arise from it. 

Is Rotala Wallichii Apt For Your Fish Tank?

Rotala wallichii is a fascinating aquarium plant, and it will enhance the beauty of every fish tank in which it was put. However, its delicate and sensitive nature makes it extremely important for you to take proper care of the plant and meet its requirements.

Note that this plant is not compatible with all the fishes but goes well with only a particular fish species. Avoid keeping fishes such as Goldfish, Silver Dollars, Scats, Mono Fish, and Oscars with this plant.

To conclude, you can keep this fluffy yet spiky plant in the tank if you manage to take proper care of it. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which rotala is easiest to grow? 

Dwarf rotala is easiest to grow as it can tolerate a wide range of extreme circumstances and is not demanding. 

Can rotala grow without Co2? 

Though Rotala can grow without Co2, it is advisable that you provide sufficient co2 to the plant to ensure it grows appropriately, with the proper density. 

How do I get rotala red? 

By exposing the rotala to extreme lighting conditions, you can make your rotola attain a red color. 

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Gulshan
Hi, I am Gulshan, a pet blogger, and author. I've been working with the local pet groups for the past five years. I have been fascinated by our pets and am here to share that wonder with you.