Learn how To Keep Your Cabomba Plant Looking Its Best!

Cabomba plants are often used in aquariums and can be a hardy addition to any collection. Here are some tips on how to care for one.

The Cabomba plant is relatively easy to care for and grow, and it is commonly available for a reasonable price at most fish and aquarium supply stores. Cabomba is a low-maintenance plant that thrives in a variety of aquarium conditions. It must be cultivated wholly immersed. However, it may have emerging blossoms on occasion. It’s an excellent oxygenator, great for beginner aquariums or ponds.

What Exactly Is Cabomba?

Cabomba is a kind of aquatic plant of the Cabombaceae family. Fanwort is one of the famous names for the plant because of its attractive, split, fan-shaped leaves.

Cabomba is the most widely used and fastest-growing aquarium plant. Cabomba caroliniana (green Cabomba) is the most common species. However, Cabomba furcata (red Cabomba) is said to be one of the most challenging aquarium plants to care for.

Cherry Shrimp Love Plants
Cherry Shrimp Love Plants

The following names are also known as Cabomba:

  • Carolina Fanwort is a plant that grows in the Carolinas
  • Cabomba Verde
  • Fanwort from Brazil
  • Cabomba Purple or Cabomba Red
  • Fanwort, purple or red
  • Carolina’s water defense
  • Washington grass (fish grass)

Cabomba can grow rather tall. Thus it makes a beautiful backdrop plant for fish tanks.

How to Grow Cabomba in Your Aquarium

You’ll want to plant your new buy in your tank once you’ve picked your perfect specimens and brought them home.

The tight elastic band at the base of the stems must be removed first. Pulling the band off will very certainly shatter or injure the plant stems. Instead, snip the ring using a pair of sharp scissors.

Swish the stems in a pail of clean aquarium water once removed the band. Before you place your new aquarium plants in your tank, this will help the plant shed any loose leaves. Loose leaves might block filter intakes or sponge filters or float around the tank, making a mess.

Check the region where the elastic bands were after cleaning the stems. Remove any damaged areas with a snip. Cracked or broken stems will decay in the tank and will not grow, but by removing any damaged sections, you may give the plant a fresh start.

Fill the tank with an inch or more of nutrient-rich plant substrate, then carefully place each stem about one inch apart so that they may grow and swing with the water circulation. Avoid packing the substrate too firmly around the stems, but ensure the stems are secure to keep the plant from drifting away. To hold the stems in place, plant weights can be utilized.

Plant the taller stems in the background and the shorter stems in the foreground. The plants should develop to produce a beautiful thick forest impression if you sow the stems. The stems will form roots within a week or two, swiftly burrowing themselves into the substrate and anchoring the plant.

The Cabomba plant can also be used as a midground accent specimen. Plant tiny clusters of Fanwort on either side of a piece of glass or another decorative item, for example, to make a beautiful feature.

Cabomba Plant Care

Purple and Red Cabombas are more difficult to cultivate than Green Cabomba.

Insufficient illumination is the primary source of trouble when growing Cabomba in the aquarium.

The plant would probably seem suitable for a few days in low light, but it will start to crumble and die. Lack of light causes the plant to expand, lose color, and turn yellow.

Purple and red Cabomba plants require more light than green ones. To maximize plant development, apply high wattage illumination per gallon rather than long hours of low-level lighting. The recommended fluorescent bulb output per gallon of water is 0.4-0.5 watts, and daylight should last at least 12 hours.


Adding liquid fertilizer or root tablets to the water may also assist the Cabomba plant. Although not required, CO2 supplementation can help support healthy Fanwort development in the aquarium.


Fanwort is a finicky aquarium fish. The plants like clear, slow-moving water, and too much water causes plant uprooting and leaf damage.

Although some hobbyists say the plant will handle pH levels below 6.8, others say it will not. The Cabomba plant prefers water between 720 and 820 Fahrenheit.


The fish and other community members in the aquarium environment are also vital aspects of keeping Cabomba.

These are fragile plants that will not withstand the attention of goldfish and giant cichlids. Also, certain snails may severely harm plants by nibbling on their leaves.

Red Cabomba - Cabomba furcata, Cabomba piauhyensis - 1 Bunch - Live Aquarium PlantOpens in a new tab.

Upkeep and Pruning

Cabomba Relocation

Cabomba plants may grow up to an inch each day, quickly encroaching on tank space under the right conditions.

If you need to move the plants, keep in mind that their roots are sensitive and easily broken when uprooted. Hence, do not take a Cabomba plant out of the substrate and allow the substrate granules to fall away and float back to the bottom of the tank.

Soil damage to plant roots is minimized. Cabomba roots will develop into enormous systems that dwarf the parent plant if left alone.

How to Prune a Cabomba

Providing the Cabomba plant with optimal growing circumstances may overwhelm your aquarium, suffocating other slower-growing plant species. Green Cabomba can also block light from entering the aquarium, potentially harming fish and other plants.

So you may need to prune the plants. Trimming Cabomba is simple, and avoid twisting or tugging on the plant to avoid injury. Rather than using your fingers, use sharp scissors. The objective is to cut the stems without squashing or cracking them carefully. Trimmings longer than three inches can be floated in the water or planted in the substrate elsewhere in the tank.

Plant Cabomba by carefully pushing the clipped stems into the substrate in bunches of three or more. You may need to add plant weights to keep the stems from floating to the top of the tank.

Selecting Your Cabomba

Cabomba Aquatica is usually marketed in bunches, bound together at the base by a tight elastic band solely for exhibition purposes.

Heirloom Garden Green Cabomba Caroliniana Fanwort Live Aquarium Plants Bunch - Live Aquarium Plants Accessories, House Plants Indoors, Terrarium Kit, Perfect for Water Fish Tank DecorationsOpens in a new tab.

Look for plants with many green stems that are around six inches long or longer when picking your plants. The leaves should be lush, bushy, and reddish-purple or green in color. A few roots and hints of new growth and perhaps a few tiny buds or flowers may develop from the bottom of the stalks. All of them are positive signs that the plant is in good condition.


My name is Jaap, and I am a passionate shrimp and fish enthusiast. I rediscovered my love for this hobby with my son and want to share our knowledge and tips with you on this aquarium blog. We cover topics such as setting up and maintaining an aquarium, feeding and breeding your shrimp and fish, and creating the perfect environment for them to thrive.

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