Crystalwort (Riccia Fluitans) has a very mossy and vivid look that helps accentuate any tank. Most hobbyists use Crystalwort either as a floating or carpeting plant. This plant is an excellent alternative to mosses like Java Moss. The fact that it does not require an expert level of care is one of many reasons it’s popular today.
Crystalwort, also known as Ricca fluitans, is a floating plant that can be found all around the world. It belongs to the Ricciaceae family and was made popular by the famous Japanese Aquascaper Takashi Amano. Although it had already been previously discovered and cataloged by Linnaeus in 1753, Takashi was the first to keep it submerged in one of his tanks. There are actually four different varieties of this species that originate from Thailand, Singapore, Europe, and Japan. However, only the strain that comes from Japan can thrive fully submerged.
Riccia fluitans will usually grow into thick clumps of short vivid green threads. These threads appear to be clumped together and will grow into a ball-like shape if it is not trimmed. Much like moss, Crystalwort does not have a true root structure, but it can still anchor itself to other surfaces over time. To keep it from floating away, many hobbyists will tie the plant down using a fishing line or a thin thread. After about a week or two the new growth will hold the plant down on its own. At this point, the thread can either be cut off or simply left there. The Crystalworts’ fullness and thickness will hide away any unwanted string. In the end, it will aesthetically lean towards looking something like a beautiful cultured lawn or a rich bed of moss.
Riccia Fluitans does not require very specific water conditions. In fact, the water can be anywhere from very soft to really hard. The PH value requirements also allow for some flexibility since they can vary from 6.0 to 8.0. This is a particular trait that makes it easy for many different species of fish to live amongst such a plant.
The lighting requirement for Crystalwort will vary depending on where it is located in a tank. If the plant is left floating, then it will not require much light and can grow in rather low conditions. Exposure to higher levels of carbon dioxide will make up for the lack of light. On the other hand, the deeper in water that Crystalwort is located, the more light that it will require. Clumps that have been attached to surfaces all the way at the bottom of a tank will need very bright lights to reach its full potential. A lack of proper lighting can cause the plant to begin browning and dying off in different spots.
This plant is grown locally (Malta) by one of our partner aquarium plant keepers/breeders. You are buying the equivalent of a tub of 5cm full of crystalwort.