Water Wisteria: Complete Guide to Care, Breeding, Tank Size and Disease

Water Wisteria: A Quick Summary

Water Wisteria (Hygrophila Difformis) is a fast-growing, aquatic plant native to Southeast Asia. It is a popular choice for aquaria due to its attractive appearance and ability to oxygenate the water. It can be prone to melting if not properly cared for.

Water Wisteria Overview: 

The water wisteria, or Hygrophila difformis, is a very hardy and easy-to-grow aquarium plant, which is very popular among beginner as well as advanced aquarists. The popularity of the water wisteria is a credit to its striking green appearance that is complemented by unique leaves that look very graceful. The water wisteria is a plant that also grows at a rapid rate, increasing its appeal to aquarists.  

The water wisteria is a great plant for your aquarium. However, before you decide to go ahead and get yourself one, you ought to be aware of its requirements. The water wisteria is not too difficult to maintain, but if neglected, it is prone to losing and melting leaves in its initial stages. 

Information Chart Water Wisteria
Scientific Name: Hygrophila Difformis 
Family: Acanthaceae
Care Level: Easy, Beginner Friendly
Growth Rate: 2 to 3 inches per week
Maximum Size: 20 inches 
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Water Conditions: Temperature: 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 29 degrees Centigrade)
pH: Must lie in between 6.5 and 7.5
KH: Must lie in between 2 and 8 
Lighting: Moderate to Bright 
Propagation: Cutting and replanting or via side shoots
Placement: Can be planted on the bottom or also be placed as floating vegetation

Water Wisteria Appearance: 

As we mentioned earlier, water wisteria is a plant that has a striking appearance. Its bright green leaves that are thin and long catch the attention of any onlooker. These plants can grow up to a height of about 20 inches and can span a length of 10 inches horizontally. They boast sturdy stems that are remarkably thick and prominent. This must be kept in mind as they tend to take up more space than expected.

Water Wisteria grows fast, quickly adding depth and beauty to your freshwater aquarium

The water wisteria serves as a pretty good hiding place for the fish that inhabit the tank. The size, height, and even shape of their leaves are determined by genetics. This is also influenced by whether or not it is left floating or planted firmly in the substrate of the aquarium. If it is left to float in the water freely, do not expect it to grow to its full size. The water wisteria has roots that are very small and look quite frail. You might even be surprised as to how these frail-looking roots can support the plant.

Water Wisteria Size: 

The typical water wisteria will grow to a height of 20 inches as an adult. 

The water wisteria usually will grow to a height of 20 inches vertically. Horizontally, the water wisteria can span a length of up to 10 inches. Both these statistics are subject to the genetics that the water wisteria possesses. 

Water Wisteria Care and Tank Set-Up: 

Water Wisteria Tank Size and Specifications: 

Optimum Tank Size for Water Wisteria: 

The optimum tank size for water wisteria is 20 inches * 10 inches * 12 inches. 

The minimum tank size that is required to keep water wisteria is 10 gallons. It is not recommended to keep water wisteria in tanks that are smaller than this. The dimensions for a 10-gallon tank are mentioned above. 

Filter Type: 

Water wisteria is ideal for tanks that are plant-filtered. Mechanical filters also can be used in a tank that is to house water wisteria. This is a plant that is very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. The water wisteria also requires nitrate, nitrites, and ammonia. All three of these nutrients can prove to be harmful to the inhabitants of the aquarium if present at high levels. 


The influence of a substrate cannot be overlooked when it comes to water wisteria. This is a plant that thrives best when provided with a sandy substrate that is rich in nutrients. If this is not provided, plant growth may be stunted. Fine, sandy grains would be the perfect substrate for water wisteria. It can still grow in small grain gravel or sand substrate, as long as you keep fertilizing it with fertilizing tabs. However, you must be careful to anchor the wisteria if you plant it in the sand until the roots are well established in the substrate to avoid accidental uprooting.

Substrate for Water Wisteria

If in case you decide to let your water wisteria be a floating plant, then a substrate is of virtually no concern. 

Water Parameters for Water Wisteria: 

Water Temperature: 

The ideal water temperature for Water Wisteria is between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The water wisteria is a very hardy plant and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The water wisteria will thrive in a temperature range of 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 29 degrees Centigrade). 

pH Level: 

The pH level must lie between 6.5 and 7.5 To be ideal conditions for the water wisteria. It is close to neutral where the water is neither acidic nor basic.  

Water Hardness: 

The KH level must lie between 2 and 8. These are the ideal water parameters for the water wisteria. 

Water Wisteria Tank Landscape: 

The first thing to keep in mind is that the tank size must not be lesser than 10 gallons for a water wisteria. Bigger tanks are recommended though, as they will allow the plant to grow freely. Besides the tank size, you must also ensure that the water wisteria needs a good, nutrient-rich substrate coupled with good lighting to grow healthily. Let us now take a look at some of the other items you should add to a tank that houses water wisteria. 

Worst Plants for Water Wisteria Tanks: 

Plants that do not have the same requirements as the water wisteria are bad tankmates for the water wisteria. By definition, if their required water parameters are different, they will not thrive together. Plants that require slightly more acidic or basic water are a bad fit. Additionally, if their KH requirements are not within the range o 2 to 8, they won’t be compatible. If your water wisteria is planted in the substrate, then the other plant must also be able to grow in a similar substrate. Else, your wisteria will slowly lose its color and wither away. 

Decorations for Water Wisteria Tanks: 

The water wisteria is usually kept as a decoration in the tanks. However, you could also add some other items to the tank to complement its looks. The addition of certain rocks and some driftwood is a very appealing combination. The placement of the wisteria in between the rocks and driftwood would be ideal.

Many people also prefer to grow their wisteria as a carpet. In cases like these ensure you plant them on their side and that the roots are developed along their stem. This gives the tank a very striking appearance. 

Lighting for Water Wisteria Tanks:

The water wisteria is a plant that requires ample light for its growth. This implies the requirement of good lighting in their tanks. The tank must not be placed underneath natural lighting. The growth of the water wisteria is very dynamic and also promotes algae growth.

Lighting for Water Wisteria Tanks

This leaves us with the option of only artificial lighting. The wisteria requires about 7 hours of exposure to moderate or intense lighting a day to ensure their ideal health. The wisteria is a hardy plant and will also survive with lesser light. However, this means that the plant won’t look as good as it normally would. Instead of being the bright, vibrant green, it may seem pale and wilt.   

Nitrogen and other nutrient requirements for Water Wisteria: 

For healthy development, the water wisteria requires a good amount of nutrition. These nutrients are nitrates, nitrates, ammonia, and iron. Their healthy development requires the regular availability of these nutrients. Usually, they are taken in via the substrate that they are planted in. This availability can be ensured by regularly adding fertilizer to the substrate. In case your water wisteria is a floating plant, the nutrients can regularly be dissolved in the water, provided they are not harmful to the other inhabitants of the tank. The water wisteria is a plant that can grow without the presence of carbon dioxide as well. This makes the water wisteria a relatively easy plant to care for as it has very minimal nutritional requirements. 

Water Wisteria Compatibility and Tank Mates: 

Ideal Tank Mates for Water Wisteria: 

The best tank mates for water wisteria would be smaller fish like shrimp or snails. They generally do not try and feast on these plants. Other small or “nano” fish like rasboras, tetras, and cory catfish will adore the plant for the hiding spots it makes available. Even bottom dwellers like certain loaches and rainbow sharks will make use of the shade of the canopy formed by the water wisteria. This area of low light is used to make a home or resting area by these fish.

Water Wisteria Compatibility and Tank Mates

Colorful fish are also a very good idea to pair with water wisteria. Their bright color will look great against the vivid green of the water wisteria. 

Bad Tank Mates for Water Wisteria: 

Although water wisteria is quite a hardy plant that is typically a good fit for most fish, there are a few that may be harmful to the water wisteria. 

You should avoid keeping invertebrates that like to munch on leaves like nerite and mystery snails. Certain restless fish species should also be avoided. They might even uproot the plant at times. Rambunctious fish like the silver dollar fish, goldfish, and even the rainbow fish fit into this category. 

Facts About the Water Wisteria: 

  • Water wisteria is a very hardy aquatic plant that is quite often found in aquariums. It can survive a wide range of water conditions and is therefore easy to take care of. This makes it extremely popular among aquarists. 
  •  Unlike a lot of other aquatic plants, the water wisteria does not require carbon dioxide as a supplement for its growth.
  • Unlike the 20 inch height of the water wisteria, the roots of the plant are very small and look extremely frail
  • Water wisteria has the option of growing in two ways. It can either be planted in the substrate or can also be floated around the tank without being anchored.

Water Wisteria

Are Water Wisteria Right for you?: 

The water wisteria is a very attractive plant that comes with the benefit of being very hardy and durable. This makes it an excellent addition to a lot of freshwater aquariums. A lot of aquarists use the water wisteria as a way to liven up the atmosphere of their aquarium. 

It provides a lot of shade to fish that like to spend their time in murky waters that are dimly lit. The water wisteria is also a plant that provides multiple hiding spots for fish. Apart from this, a lot of fish also love to snack on the leaves of this plant. 

It is an ideal decorative plant as well. Its bright green leaves are an eye-catching sight. The potential that the water wisteria has in terms of landscaping the aquarium is huge. If you are looking for a plant that will make your aquarium stand out, then look no further. 


What Does Water Wisteria Need to Grow?

For water wisteria to have healthy growth, it requires a constant supply of nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and iron. It also requires a sandy, finely ground substrate that is rich in these nutrients. Apart from this, the water wisteria needs exposure to adequate light that is moderate to high in intensity.   

Do you have to plant water wisteria?

No, planting water wisteria is not necessary. The water wisteria is a plant that can also be left to grow in the water without being anchored to anything. It can float around the tank and grow as long as it has access to nutrients.  

How fast does water wisteria grow?

The water wisteria is a plant that grows relatively fast. In healthy conditions, the water wisteria will grow at a rate of about 2 to 3 inches per week. 

Is water wisteria a low-light plant?

The water wisteria is a plant that requires moderate to high-intensity light for healthy growth. It will grow in low light conditions as well because it is a very hardy plant, but will not show the vibrant color that it is known to have. 


The water wisteria is an aquatic plant that is beloved by veteran and beginner aquarists alike. It is a plant that is easy to care for and looks stunning at the same time. The propagation of this plant is also quite convenient as it only requires stem cuttings to be planted. As a bonus, this plant is also compatible with many fish. This is one of the best plants you could choose for your aquarium if you are looking for one.

3 thoughts on “Water Wisteria: Complete Guide to Care, Breeding, Tank Size and Disease”

  1. Wondering what fertilizer ratio for specifically water wysteria. I’m putting just this one plant in a small glass beverage dispenser. (the kind you see at a picnic with the spigot a little ways from the bottom.)
    Container of plant says fully submersible, but does it NEED to be? Does top or any part of plant float on top of water.

    PS really good article; lots of info, and I really really like the diagrams. I always understand things better when i can see the content in a visual way.


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