- Hardiness: Easy
- Light Needs: Medium
- Plant Structure: Stem
- Family: Potamogetonaceae
- Genus: Potamogeton
- Region: Central/South America
- Location: South America
- Size: Individual stem width: 10-20 cm (4-8 in)
- Growth Rate: Fast
- Can Be Grown Emersed: No
Potamogeton gayi, one of about a hundred aquatic Potamogeton spp. distributed worldwide, is found in southern South America. Very little, however, is known about its native habitat. It is the most commonly available plant of its genus and should be easy to obtain through trading with other hobbyists.
P. gayi is easy to grow, since it makes few demands on the hobbyist. This species is not too fussy about fertilization, and a medium light intensity is sufficient for good growth. CO2 injection is not required, although it is beneficial. P. gayi is tolerant of a wide range of pH values and will grow well in medium-hard water. This species has a long adjustment period when planted, and care should be exercised in placement as to avoid the need for replanting. The narrow, 5-9 mm wide leaves range from an olive green to a reddish brown and grow to be 5-10 cm long.
This Potamogeton is a weed in the truest sense. After a lengthy adjustment phase, P. gayi will rapidly spread throughout the aquarium via the prolific development of runners. Frequent pruning is necessary and can be accomplished by topping and replanting the more robust top portions.
The undemanding and gracefully slender P. gayi should be planted in groups in the midground or background of medium- to large-sized aquariums. If lighting is intense and it is trimmed short, P. gayi can also be used as a foreground plant in large aquariums where it can be mixed in with bright green plants like Glossostigma elatinoides. This flexible plant's variably-colored, fine-leaved foliage forms an excellent contrast to other broader-leaved or green stem plants.
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