How to Care for a Dwarf Aquarium Lily
Would you like to have lily pads for your aquarium? Nymphaea (or dwarf aquarium lily) is an interesting option. This beautiful, easy-to-grow species hails from India and Southeast Asia and is often used as a midground or background plant. The bulb produces a bush with 4-inch, arrow-shaped leaves. Later, the lily pad grows long stems that float on the water surface. Dwarf lily offers a unique texture and interesting color palette, which is different from your average green aquarium plant.
How Do You Plant a Dwarf Aquarium Lily?
If you purchase from Aquarium Co-Op, you will receive a package containing one dwarf aquarium lily bulb buried in peat moss to protect it during shipping. (Our bulbs do not come with leaves or roots because they often get damaged or melt after being planted.) Remove the bulb and give it a quick rinse in water to wash off any loose dirt. Place the bulb on top of the gravel or substrate in your fish tank without burying it or else the bulb may rot. Some bulbs might float initially, but eventually they will sink when they are sufficiently waterlogged.
After the bulb starts to sprout leaves, gently place it in the substrate. This prevents the bulb from being moved around by your fish or the water current. Once the roots grow into the ground, they will firmly anchor the plant in place.
Once the lily has sprouted leaves, slightly push the bulb into the substrate without covering up any of the new shoots.
How long will it take for aquarium bulb bulbs to grow? Try turning the bulb upside down and giving it another one to two weeks to sprout. Plant bulbs actually have a top and bottom side, but we cannot see it until it starts growing leaves up toward the surface and roots down toward the substrate.
Why are the bulbs becoming moldy or covered with a fuzzy growth? Organic objects, such as plant bulbs or driftwood, can often develop biofilm from harmless bacteria and microorganisms when placed underwater. It could look like white mold or fluffy fungus is covering the bulb. This fuzzy layer can be eaten by algae eaters, shrimps, and snails. The biofilm doesn’t pose a danger to the lily as long as it isn’t able to spread to other plants.
Why is my aquarium lily bulb not sprouting? If the above instructions are followed without sprouting, or the bulb feels mushy and emits an unpleasant odor, it is most likely a failure. In our experience, we find that less than 5% of bulbs fail to revive, but if this happens to you, the next step would be to contact the fish store or plant seller where you got the plant from. Aquarium Co-Op dwarf lilies can be returned or replaced by emailing our Customer Service. We love dwarf aquarium lilies and want you to be successful with them.
Lilies can sprout quickly after being submerged into water. Many leaves emerge from the same point on the bulb.
How can you take care of a dwarf lily
This hardy plant can grow in a wide range of tropical temperatures from 72-82degF (22-28degC). It doesn’t need CO2 injection, and can be grown in aquariums with low or high lighting. Once it starts sending lily pads to the top, you may need to prune a few of the surface leaves so that they won’t block light from reaching the other plants in the fish tank.
Dwarf aquarium lilies, like most live aquatic plants, are great for consuming organic waste compounds and improving overall water quality for your fish. Lilies will grow very quickly once they are established in your tank. You may need to supplement their growth with liquid fertilizers or root tabs.
Remove some, but not all, of the lily pads that cover the entire water surface.
Can You Propagate a Dwarf Water Lily?
If your dwarf aquarium lily grows well and is eating well, it might start to produce little shoots that have daughter plants attached. Simply cut off the side shoots and replant them in a desired location in your fish tank. If your plant is not thriving for some reason, it may be suffering from a nutrient deficiency, so take a look at our plant nutrients article to help you troubleshoot the issue: