Scientific name: Alternanthera reineckii
Common name: Alternanthera reineckii Mini, AR Mini, Alternanthera reineckii rosaefolia minor
Placement: Background or foreground
Care level: Medium
Height: 5-10 cm
Width: 10-15 cm
Water pH: 6.0-7.0
Water hardness: 3-8 dGH
Temperature: 63-820 F
Alternanthera reineckii belongs to the family Amaranthaceae under order Caryophyllales. The genus name ‘Alternanthera’ was erected by the Swedish Botanist Peter Forsskal. The genus name ‘Alternanthera’ derives from the Latin ‘alternus’ meaning alternating and Latin ‘anthera’ meaning anther, referring to the alternating fertile and infertile stamen of the flower. At present over five different varieties of Alternanthera reineckii are cultured. Among them Alternanthera reineckii ‘Mini’ is a relatively easy cultivar and is the most widespread variety found in trade.
Housing and care
Alternathera Reineckii ‘Mini’ is a perfect plant for small aquarium or larger aquarium as a foreground plant. It can easily grow in proper conditions with intense illumination and quality substrate. If it is used in small aquariums they can be planted in small groups around the center of the aquarium to achieve optimal color under the best light. Over planted should be avoided which limits the swimming space for the fish. It requires high light and CO2 injection which improves the growth rate and overall health of the plant. In this case lighting should be 0.50 watt per liter while CO2 should be 6-14 mg per liter of water. The tank should have good water quality with pH of 6.0-7.0, hardness of 3-8 dGH and temperature of 63-820 F. For optimum growth organic rich substrate and good fertilizer should be added in the aquarium. To get red coloration iron should be added in aquarium. The tank bottom should have a layer of aqua soil powder because it has the smaller granule size which allows the plant portions to be placed into it safely and securely. Regular trimming should be done to form a high dense carpet in the foreground.
It can easily propagate in aquarium condition with proper care. Propagation should be done by cutting the top and lateral shoots or by separating the bushes. The tank substrate should have plenty of nutrients to ensure healthy growth. In this case root tabs are the easiest method to use to keep the substrate rich. The stems should be planted individually, approximately 1.5 inches apart to allow more light to reach the lower leaves. After cutting the stem, it should be pushed into the substrate, deep enough so that the stem does not float. For proper propagation, shoots should be cut off into section from mature, healthy plants using sharp scissors. After few days the new cutting produce roots from its base and anchors it to the substrate itself and begins growing. It gradually colonizes the gravel to form new carpet in the aquarium bottom.