Rotala Indica: Color Changing Plant to Add to Your Aquarium

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Rotala Indica Red Aquarium Care

Rotala Indica is an easy aquarium plant that I think everyone should have in their planted tanks. We have a lot of experience in different aqua plants, and our care guide will help you out with this plant. This plant can be grown in low light, but in high light, it turns pink. It is very attractive, but you should be careful not to burn the plant.

This fast-growing plant can be planted even by beginners, although it has a significant level of maintenance. In our article, you will find all the information needed on planting and caring about Rotala Indica. We have done a lot of research on this plant, and it can be kept with other fish because it regenerates very fast. Follow our care guide if you want to grow this plant healthy in the easiest way and enhance your aqua space. 


Rotala Indica is a super easy and very fast-growing stem plant that would be perfect for the background of your tank and for all sizes of planted tanks. You can grow it in low light, with no fertilizer. When it has high light, the plant gets a super attractive and nice pink color.

Since it is a fast-growing plant, you have to not high fish load but just put it in a shrimp tank and don’t do fertilization, but make sure it has nutrients in the tank because if it doesn’t, the plant will start to die.

Rotala Indica Plant Changing Color

Rotala Indica change colors from green to red if exposed on high light.

It is super easy to get Rotala Indica to get a nice bush, and you can get from it a lot of propagation because it grows so quickly. Then, you cut the tops of this plant. The new sprouts will shut off from the same area, which allows this plant to get super bushy. The height of this plant goes around 5 to 12”.

DifficultyEasy to medium
LightningMedium to height
Temperature68-82 °F (20-28 °C)
Placement in tankMid-ground or background
Height5 to 30+ cm
Growth rateModerate to fast
FertilizersNot needed - to low
CO2Not needed - to low
PropagationHead cuttings or runners

Rotala Indica Red

This wonderful plant is characterized by its long and delicate stems with thin, round, and vertical leaves shooting out from the side of the stem. When you dose high iron and Plant food fertilizer, the plant develops an attractive intense red coloration. 

Rotala Indica Red

Rotala Indica Red keeps your aquarium water high in oxygen.

It is a perfect plant for the background of the tank, and it adds some nice contrast with the usual green color of the other plants. Rotala Indica Red can be best planted by separating the bundles and spacing them out from each stem by about half of inch, which is enough space to grow. When they are planted in groups, it creates a wonderful thick red bush.


This plant is very popular and also a well-organized stem plant whose origin is from Southeast Asia. it can be found along rice paddies and wetlands, and it is also called the Indian tooth-cup because its weeds are native to India

Other Rotala Plants

Rotala Indica, despite this famous plant, there are other wonderful species, and we are going to mention some of them.

Rotala Colorata

An easy-to-grow steam plant, with its displaying unique coloration. The large leaves are narrowly lineal, and the intense pink can be when the plant has strong light and enough fertilization. This plant can be used best in the midground or background of the tank as a focal point.

The stems grow horizontally in a dense form of bushes just like Rotala sp Green which is usually always with a light green color. As a good combination partner, I would recommend you to use Rotala sp Colorata, and you will have a wonderful aquarium.

Rotala Macandra

This is another species, also called the Giant Rotala. It has broader leaves with a green color and red/orange to pinkish-brown in a submerged form. This plant’s leaves are oval-shaped, with a wavy margin, and slightly sharp. It can grow up to 40 to 50 cm in height. It requires a lot of care with acidic water, iron, CO2 water movements, and a lot of light.

Rotala Wallichii

This plant consists of a single stem, and it doesn’t branch in submerged form. Its height can reach from 40 to 50 cm, with leaves that are 10 to 12 mm long and 1.25mm wide, just like needles, with a green or a brown-green color, often with reddish or yellow-gold tips. It has thin, thick, and abundant leaves, which are arranged around the node.

How to Plant

Rotala Indica is very known also because its ease of cultivation and its wonderful growth pattern. It is widely used because of the depth that it adds to the aquarium and the contrast and is mostly best suited in the background or midground of the tank.

Rotala Indica Planting Aquarium

At our aquarium we have plant all types of Rotala Indica.

To plant this species, you have to:

  • Remove the plant from the pot (usually, it comes available on pots).
  • Rinse and disinfect thoroughly.
  • Plant individual stems to the substrate.
  • Make a hole in the substrate.
  • Insert the plant.

You have to make sure about the distance of 3 to 4 cm between the Rotala’s to avoid overcrowding.

Rotala Indica Planting Aquarium Grown

Rotala Indica grows faster. That’s our aquarium after a few weeks.

Care Guide and Tank Requirement

Rotala Rotundifolia requires minimal care which means that it is an excellent choice for beginners. You can plant the Rotala Indica in regular substrates such as small gravel or even sand. Their color depends form the intensity of the light. In too much shade, Rotala Indica can be lanky and long, with a beautiful greenish-yellow color. This plant grows rapidly, and it can be pruned to prevent it from becoming too bushy.

You have to prune it as much as is needed to make space between the plants. This way, the fish can swim through the jungle-like growth. Also, cut the dead parts or leaves so the tank won’t get polluted, brush up the dense stems gently, and also incorporate supplemental liquid fertilizer for the care routine. 

It is a very fast-growing plant suitable for the background of all sizes of tanks. But it is recommended that the size for this plant species should be a minimum of 10 gallons of water (40 liters) which is more appropriate and to have healthy growth.  

Water Parameters

The Rotala Indica plant can tolerate a large range of temperature conditions, but the most appropriate ones to get the best thrive in tropical aquariums is the range between 20 to 28 C degrees. And also, an important piece of information is that this plant was found in China and was able to survive during winter with a low temperature as low as 4 C degrees.

The pH that is more suitable for this plant can fluctuate from 6 to 8. And you should always test the water parameters using a testing kit. And also, you have to make sure that the plant doesn’t cause major fluctuations that may harm your fish.

Lighting & CO2

Rotala Indica is usually grown in medium light, but it needs high light conditions to show its true attractive colors. The most appropriate is 35 to 50 PAR which is provided by full-spectrum bulbs. Usually, this plant has green leaves, which turn on vibrant pink and red colors under bright light. When the plant has low lightning, it grows thin and has a yellow-green color.

Rotala Indica Red Aquarium

Keep bright light on Rotala Indica to have a red color.

The CO2 helps the plant to attain a better density, get a better coloration, and fast growth. They can also do well without CO2 injection after some time of adjustment. 

Other Supplements

The fertilizer application is not very required for the maintenance of this plant. However, it is important to supply them with fertilizers that contain micronutrients like iron to have healthy development and growth.

Also, to enhance the reddish appearance, you have to maintain the nitrates below 5ppm and above 1ppm of the phosphates.


The propagation of this plant is easy. It can be propagated by cuttings, by cutting the top portion of the stem with a pair of sharp and disinfected scissors.  The cuttings should be at least 10cm long, and you can plant them again by making a small hole in the substrate around 3 to 4 cm, then placing the stems in the hole, and then covering it with the substrate.

Rotala Indica Propagation

Simply cut Rotala Indica and place the stems in the aquarium substrate.

Tank Mates

Rotala Rotundifolia is easily compatible with most aquatic species and fish because it is a non-toxic and hardy plant. This is a very durable plant, tough, and grows fast. This means that it cannot be eaten up totally by hostile fish species. Here are some of the compatible tank mates for Rotala Indica:

  • Shrimp (Cardina species and all varieties of Neocaridina) you can keep basically any shrimp species with it.
  • Fish (Catfish, Platies, Tetras, Guppy, Molly, Angelfish, Loaches, Coolie loach, Clown loach, etc.)
  • Snails ( Nerite snails, Mystery snails, Ramshorn snails, Malaysian Trumpet snails, Japanese Trapdoor snails, etc.)

There is a variety of different aquarium plants that you can use to create a wonderful design for your aquarium, for example, Java Fern, Water Wisteria, Anubias Nana, and Antichrist.


The Rotala Indica plant is easy to take care of, and you have a large variety of suitable different tank mates. It is a perfect plant for beginners and also experienced aquarists. The flower’s colors bright green and red hues add to the aquarium an attractive and very pleasing contrast to any kind of tank, you can place them on the midground or the background of your tank, and you will have a fascinating view. 

Rotala Indica Aquarium Plant

We love to keep Rotala Indica at our aquarium.

For more colors or lively and artistic effects, you can add other types of aquatic plants with a variety of colors, and your aquarium will have the look of a painting. Also, the Rotala Indica is breeding, foraging, and molting activity for its tank mates.

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I am Mario, a experienced fish keepr and the editor-in-chief of Epic Aquarium.

At Epic Aquarium, we take our commitment to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews very seriously. Our team carefully reviews each product, and we only recommend the very best in terms of quality. We also consult with leading fish keeper experts to ensure that each article is based on the most reliable and up-to-date information available.

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