Staurogyne repens is a great freshwater aquarium plant choice for aquarists of all experience levels.
It’s a plant that is easy to care for and does a great job of adding to the aesthetic 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 awesome look it brings to your tank, it also provides the expected plant benefits 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 your tank. By the time you’re done, you’ll be an expert!
Table of Contents
Staurogyne repens is a freshwater plant that originates from South America. There are a number of rivers that this plant can be found in, but the river Rio Cristalino and Tapaluna River are two hotspots in the southern Amazonas.
Staurogyne repens comes from the plant family Acanthaceae, which is a big one. There are almost three thousand different plant species in this family, with Staurogyne repens being one of the most popular for aquarium use.
It’s known for being extremely hardy (just like hornwort) which makes it a fantastic choice for aquarists looking for a low-maintenance plant to add.
Author Note: As we hinted at earlier, it really shines when used as a carpet plant. You can grow it easily over your substrate and the bottom of the tank will quickly be covered in green!
It’s also great for the health of your tank. Just like most aquatic plants, it can oxygenate the water and knock down the number of nitrates that are found in your water.
This can make a massive impact on the health of your tank and the fish inside it. It will also help reduce wear and strain on your filtration and water treatment equipment.
This means that exercising good Staurogyne repens care is not only fun but incredibly practical.
How It Looks
Staurogyne repens has a look to it that you can’t really miss, which makes it perfect for aquascaping (it’s the perfect foreground plant). It grows in a nice thick carpet that can reach up to four inches in height. This means it won’t take up too much space in your tank despite covering the substrate.
One of our favorite things about this plant is the color. The green is quite bright and it can really change the color dynamic of your tank.
We’ve talked to a handful of owners who were blown away when they looked at before and after pictures of their tank when adding Staurogyne repens. It has the ability to make your tank look totally different!
If you’re 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 the actual look of the leaves and roots, it’s rather easy to identify once you know what to look for. In fact, it looks a lot like Hygrophila which is a close relative.
You can barely see the roots when looking at the carpet from above, but if you dig away at some of the substrate and peek underneath you’ll see they are small and pale.
The leaves are thin and fairly long. The base of the leaf is where the stems start, and the width of the leaf tapers off as it reaches the end.
How To Plant It
A crucial part of Staurogyne repens care is making sure you plant it properly initially.
The first thing to remember is that you’ll want to get the stem count right. The magic rule is to aim for a 3:1 gallon to stem ratio when doing your initial planting.
It’s a common beginner mistake to overplant and throw in a ton of stems just to “play it safe.” This is a mistake because there might not be enough room for each stem to grow and thrive. You can always include a few extra later if needed!
The actual planting process is pretty easy to manage. All you need to do is take each stem and make sure it’s buried roughly .75 inches into the substrate.
This will allow your S. repens to root itself into the substrate and begin growing on a stable base. This is incredibly important to the long term health of 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 on the slow side so the progress might sneak up on 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 that you follow the recommended guidelines that allow it to thrive.
Keep in mind that the health of your plants directly impacts the health of the rest of the life in your tank. We’re of the mindset that any extra step you can take is always worth it!
While a lot of 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’re going to consider planting S. repens. Anything smaller won’t provide enough room for your plant to root itself comfortably and account for future growth.
Even though Staurogyne repens is a very durable and hardy plant, you should still 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 range from 68°F to 86°F. The warmer the tank, the more it will accelerate the growth rate.
- 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 proper amount of light is incredibly important if you want to provide good care for your Staurogyne repens.
With that being said, you don’t need to run out and purchase a fancy or expensive lamp to keep this plant happy. A basic aquarium lighting setup will do just fine. This is great because it saves you a little money and also means you can run with a kit lamp if you have it already.
You’ll want to make sure your light is on for 9-11 hours each day. This will help facilitate growth and ensure that your Staurogyne repens continues to oxygenate the water in your tank.
Maintaining Your Plant
The slow growth rate of Staurogyne repens means it’s pretty 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 do some pruning and trimming from time to time. There isn’t a set rule on the best way to do this so use your best judgment. Keeping things nice and tidy will keep your plant healthy and maintain that nice carpet look. If you’re a fan of dwarf hairgrass then you’ll like this plant as well.
When it comes to gauging the health of Staurogyne repens you’ll want to keep an eye on the obvious stuff. Weak or faded colors and droopy leaves are two big signs that you have an issue.
One of the common tank issues that can impact its health is the clarity of the water. If light can’t make it through then your plants will suffer. If you notice any concerning signs make sure to consider that first.
You can also add liquid nutritional supplements to the water that will help encourage plant growth if you think it needs a little extra boost. In our opionion S. repens will usually grow just fine in the proper tank conditions though, so we always recommend addressing those first.
If you’re thinking about propagating your Staurogyne repens then there are a couple of things to remember. This process isn’t too challenging and you’ll find success more often than not, but you’ll want to have an understanding of how they grow and spread in the wild.
Normally, Staurogyne repens will simply grow and drop shoots that grow off the side of its stem. These shoots will then settle into the substrate and start to grow!
If you’re going to propagate Staurogyne repens you’ll basically be mimicking this process. Instead of waiting for this to happen naturally you’ll be clipping the stems and replanting it.
You should wait for the stems to reach their ideal height (about 4 inches) and have their own leaves before you propagate. Once it’s ready, clip off a couple inches and plant it about three-quarters of an inch in the substrate!
Ideal Tank Mates
Even though Staurogyne repens is a pretty easy fish to manage, you’ll want to make sure you pair it with the right tank mates.
A lot of new aquarists forget that certain plants are a better fit with certain fish than others, and they end up watching all their plants get eaten.
Since Staurogyne repens is a carpet plant fish that hang out near the top of your aquarium won’t interact with it too much. It’s 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 most popular tank mates that pair well with Staurogyne repens:
- Betta fish
- Cory catfish
- Dwarf Gourami
- African cichlids
- Cherry barbs
- Neon tetra (and other tetras too)
- Molly fish
You can also keep Cherry shrimp and Amano shrimp with Staurogyne repens as well if you want. Various kinds of shrimp do quite well with this plant and will actually help keep the water clear to bring in more light!
Staurogyne repens is a great plant for pretty much 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 go for it. There are very minimal downsides if you decide you don’t like it, or if you underestimated how tasty it might be to a fish in your aquarium.
There’s not a lot of good information out there about Staurogyne repens but we hope we addressed the essential in this care guide. If you have any lingering questions that we didn’t answer feel free to contact us and we’ll help you out!