Water Sprite Plant: Care Guide, Planting, Growing, and Propagation

Water Sprite Plant

In this article is covered everything you need to know about Water Sprite Plant including how to take care of the plants, dissemination, aspects and plant’s reviews, tank conditions and much more.

The most common aquarium plants is Water Sprite. It’s leaves resemble fern leaves and has different names like Water Fern and Indian Fern. The plant will tolerate the most freshwater tank conditions and is easy to care for.

Water Sprite can be both planted or floating to make a great addition to the mid or background of freshwater tanks.

The bright blades of the plant provide a place to hide for a shy fish when threatened and makes a lot of shade for the tank. Also, for some types of fish it is an ideal place to lay eggs.

Freshwater tank keepers enjoy having these plans around for the cover they provide.

Water Sprite Plant get along well with other types of plants like the Anacharis. The roots of the plant wrap around the Anacharis’s stem to create a wonderful combination.


Table of Contents

Category Rating
Family: Pteridaceae
Growth Rate: Low to Moderate
Care Level: Easy
Maximum Size: 13.5 inches or 34.29 cm
Water Conditions: 68-82°F/20-27.8°C, pH 6.0-7.5, KH 3-8
Minimum Tank Size: 10 Gallons or about 38 L
Placement: Mid to Background
Lighting: Low to Moderate
Dissemination: Rhizome Division/ Adventitious Plantlet


Water Sprite Review

Water Sprites belong to the family Pteridaceae. It’s a great choice for freshwater public tanks, because of plant’s bright green colour make tanks full of abundant presentation. This plant is a great for not only to share it’s colour to your tank, but to create a shade. Also, there is no need to clean the tank in the long run, while the provided shade by this plant helps to control algae.

Some interesting genetic and other studies used Water Sprite Plant for they have a short germination period. This feature of plants helps scientists to get faster results of their explorations.

Water Sprite Introduction


Water Sprite has a green colour and the leaves is more bright green than the stem. Usually, their central stem is darker green and the leaves developed in a finger like pattern.

Under favorable conditions, this plant can develop a complex system of stems, leaves and roots when floating. Normally, they grow to around one foot in length. The leaves look like an ordinary fern, simulating their land family. Once the plant grows and becomes larger, leaves begin to overlap and fan out the stem creating some fascinating patterns.

Their roots are long helping the plant to hold in the ground or be free floating. A healthy and strong plant is characterized by heaving long roots.

Receive much space, the Water Sprite will cultivate out of the tank, like it would in its natural environment.

It is important to pay attention to the colour when buying a Water Sprite. If the plant’s leaves and stem has any colour other than green, it could determine that something is wrong. Brown or yellow colour indicates that something is wrong with the tank conditions or the plant.


Buying & Taking care of Water Sprite Plant

When buying Water Sprite Plant, it is essential to know exactly what you are looking for, while it’s tagged like Water Fern and Indian Fern in the market. To avoid buying a sick or injured plant, which will die in a few days, the most important part to know is what not to buy. The best way to buy a healthy plant is to choose plants green in colour and strong enough to keep their own weight by standing upright.

Paying attention to the colour will help to buy a healthy plant, while it’s important indication if the plant is in a great condition or not. The leaves will change colour from yellow to brown. It’s absolutely normal for the stem to be slightly darker.

Be convinced of the integrity of the plant, it shouldn’t be damaged. The leaves must be whole without cuts or holes and should be fern-like and plentiful.

It is also important to check the roots of the plant. They should be long and plentiful.

It is not a problem to find Water Sprite in most aquarium stores as it’s a very common plant. Another pleasant part is the price. The plant’s price very from just a few dollars to about $10 for more entrenched larger plants.

Water Sprite Tank Conditions

Before purchasing the Water Sprite Plant it’s vital to prepare the right water conditions to keep the plant healthy.

In the nature, this plant can grow in moderately deep slow-moving water, which supports its elegant leaves gently. The areas with high light are perfect for this plant to grow fast creating a nice outlook.

To create the natural habitat for the plant in the tank it’s crucial to keep it away from direct water flow, for it can damage this delicate plant.

The healthy and strong plant can survive in most water conditions. However, the perfect water parameters are:

  • pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Temperature: 68-82°F/20-27.8°C
  • Hardness: KH 3-8
  • Low to medium water movement
  • Medium to high light levels


It is important to inspect the plant often especially during each water change to make sure it feels comfortable and stay healthy. The plant shouldn’t be damaged and its leaves are nice green colour and there are numerous of long healthy roots.

Maintenance and Care


Growing the Water Sprite doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. The main part to is to control the size of the plant.

It grows fast and occupies a lot of space, so the outer stems must be trimmed, but it’s vital to keep safe the main stem, which is growing from the roots. Cutting the main stem will harm it and may cause the plant to die.

Another important part is to remove all separated stems from the tank, as they will grow into a new plant by forming roots.

In the process of growth these plants taking up a lot of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and may cause a nutrient deficiency. That’s why some supplements should be added to prevent this. There are different varieties of liquid or powdered supplements, which will work fine with the plant.


What to choose: To Plant or Float Water Sprites?


There are two methods of growing Water Sprites: to plant or left to float. Each method is unique and full of advantages.

Floating pants is a great filling for the tank. They have lager leaves because they are closer to the light and create a lot of colour at the surface of the tank. The plants roots need to soak up all nutrients from the water itself so they grow long, fine and thin. It ‘s a great place for water creatures, including shrimps, to feed and hide.

Also, one of the biggest advantages of floating plants is they create shade, which is very important for different aquatic plants. It helps to keep algae leaves down in the tank. It’s a great idea to add Water Sprites to the aquarium if there are some issues with algae, including blooming.

Planting is the other way to keep the plants in the tank. It gives the opportunity to design the space in the tank by choosing the right location to plant Water Sprites, while with floating plants this is not done.

By making decision where to plant the plants it’s important to make sure the plant has enough space to grow to prevent overcrowding and the tank looks well organized.

Before choosing the suitable method to organize the Water Sprites in the aquarium it is important to think about the design preferences in the tank. Floating the plants provide the shade for other plants and creates nice general colour and organizes some activity in the tank.

On the other hands, by choosing the specific design for the tank and felling an exact place with plants, the planting method will be the best option.

More to read: 15 Gallon Fish Tank: Reviews and Beginner Guide, 5 Best Tanks for 2021


Planting Water Sprite

  1. Cover the ground with 2 or 3 inches of gravel or sand.
  2. Make a hole in the gravel and place the plant into it. The roots should be covered completely and barely be visible. The base of the stem should be slightly covered.
  3. Almost any substrate will work well with plant depending on how hardy the plant is. However, it is better to use nutrient rich plant substrate instead of aquarium gravel to keep live plants healthy and strong.
  4. The best place to plant the plant in the mid to background of the tank. Please avoid planting it in a direct water flow to make sure the leaves are saved and not damaged.

Water Sprite Plant will do well in most community tanks. This plant is a great benefit for invertebrates, other plants and fish in the aquarium.

As mentioned above, one of the main benefits of the plant is ability to create the shade, which builds a great home and place to hide for shy fish like Cherry Barbs.

There is an example list of most peaceful community tank fish for building a great partnership with the plant:

  • Platies
  • Tetras
  • Mollies
  • Corydoras
  • Bettas
  • Guppies
  • Glass Catfish
  • Killifish


Also, Water Sprites have great relationship with shrimps. The shrimps can catch their food and other particles in the fine plant leaves and can eat them there.

Goldfish and Cichlids will eat the plant leaving the tank without the plant destroying nice look and colour of the tank. So, it is vital to stay away from Goldfish and Cichlids and choose the water creatures from the example list above to make sure the plant will be saved in the tank to enjoy its look.

In addition, if there are some underfed snails in the tank, they may begin to eat the plant.

Water sprite can cooperate very well with other plants like Java Fern, Anacharis and Hornwort. In the community tank all these plants make great combination and it is perfect place for them to live.

Water Sprite Propagation

Water Sprite Plant

Creating right conditions for Water Sprite Plant gives them the chance to reproduce quickly. Adventitious shoots are the main way the plants reproduce through. In other words, the small plantlets will form and grow from the main plant and then break off.

The plants that separated from the main plant are ready to plant themselves without help in the water column or substrate and grow fast.

This is an advantage in a biological sense while it gives the opportunity for a single plant to make so many offspring in a full of nutrients area. On the other hand, it may cause a problem because of overcrowding.

To avoid the plant to reproduce, the plantlets must be removed from the tank.

There is a second way for Water Sprite to reproduce. It can begin to grow roots and develop into a fully functional plant, once a portion of the stem with a sufficient number of leaves has been detached. The important part is to make sure the cuttings are long enough and have a lot of leaves on them in order to create a separate plant. The plantlets should be a few inches long.

This is a great way to grow more plants if there is only one large plant in the tank.

To propagate Water Sprite Plant in the tank it is most important to understand how much space there is in the tank. The plant grows really fast and there are multiple plants will separate and grow taking up resources and space.

The medium size tanks have the main resources like food and carbon dioxide. In larger tanks the overcrowding will go slower, but it will happen, if excess plants will not be removed from the tank. Also, it is important to add nitrogen supplements into the water.

Before adding in the nitrogen, it is vital to make sure the tank is set up to have the extra nutrients. The overdose can cause the bacteria growth ending the plants to become sick.

The Summary of Water Sprites Suitability for the Aquarium

Water Sprites, or other plants are necessary part of the tank and must be a top priority. It is a big mistake people make choosing not having plants in the community tank.

There are so many benefits having plants in the tank. The plants are not only a beautiful addition to the tank, but they do everything needed to keep the community tank healthy. This includes providing shade and giving homes to shy fish and spots to hide, and cleaning the water.

Water Sprites are very strong and hardy and grow and reproduce fast. The plant does not require a lot of attention and will do most of the work by itself. This means it is easy to care for.




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