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Submerged leaves vs emersed leaves in Rotala sp.

Submerged leaves vs emersed leaves in rotala


Rotala is a genus of aquatic plants that is highly popular among aquarium hobbyists. There are many different species of Rotala, and each species can have different characteristics when it comes to the appearance of its submerged and emersed leaves.



Submerged leaves are those that grow underwater, while emersed leaves are those that grow above the waterline. In general, submerged leaves of Rotala plants are narrower and more delicate than emersed leaves. They are also typically a lighter shade of green, due to the lower light levels that they receive underwater.







Emersed plants are those that grow above the waterline and these leaves, on the other hand, are typically broader and thicker than their submerged counterparts. They are also usually a darker shade of green, due to the higher light levels that they receive above the waterline. Emersed leaves may also have a slightly different shape than submerged leaves, with some species having rounded leaves when emersed but narrow and pointed leaves when submerged.


In addition to their appearance, there are also some functional differences between the submerged and emersed leaves of Rotala plants. Emersed leaves are better adapted to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, while submerged leaves are better adapted to absorb carbon dioxide from the water. Emersed leaves also tend to have more stomata, or tiny openings on the surface of the leaves that allow for gas exchange.



Submerged plants are very easy to acclimatise to your aquarium conditions as they plant and leaves are already adapted to submerged conditions. Sadly Emersed is not so easy.


When transitioning Rotala plants from emersed to submerged growth, it is important to note that the plants may initially experience some leaf die-off as they adapt to the new conditions. This is because the plants are redirecting their resources from growing emersed leaves to growing submerged leaves. However, with proper care and acclimation, the plants should eventually adapt to their new environment and begin to thrive.


All our Rotala species, are available as ROOTED emersed plants for introduction to your aquariums. This allows the plants to grow faster and develop stronger root systems, which makes them more adaptable to submersed conditions.


When introducing emersed Rotala plants to an aquarium, it is important to acclimate them slowly to the new environment.

One of the ways this can be done is by placing the plants in a shallow container of water that is similar in temperature and pH to the aquarium water and lighting. The plants are then allowed to adjust to the new conditions for several days before being planted in the aquarium.

Another is to plant them directly in your aquarium as long as your fish do not disturb them.


Once the plants have been acclimated, they can be planted in the aquarium substrate. It is important to plant the stems of the Rotala plants deep enough in the substrate to prevent them from floating away. The substrate should also be nutrient-rich to support the growth of the plants. If you do not have aquasoil in your aquarium use plant tablets to introduce food to the roots OR plant them in a pot with nutrient soil and place the pot in the aquarium.



In addition to substrate, lighting is an important factor to consider when introducing emersed Rotala plants to an aquarium. Our plants are grown in medium light with the specific reason that our plants acclimatise to your aquarium faster/easier when compared to plants that was grown in high light, the drawback of this is that our emersed plants does not look spectacular when you buy them BUT then our plants adjust extremely easy and fast to your aquarium conditions.


Emersed plants are accustomed to medium light levels in our systems, and sudden exposure to lower light levels can cause the plants to suffer from shock and experience stunted growth. To prevent this, it is recommended to invest in good lighting before you introduce these plants and all other plants will appreciate it as well. Good lighting does not mean expensive, bright daylight lamps or LED’s will work well as long as you introduce enough light. The exception to this is if you want to enhance colours, then you need lighting with plant growth spectrums.


CO2 supplementation can also be very beneficial when introducing emersed Rotala plants to an aquarium. CO2 helps to promote healthy growth and coloration, and can help the plants adjust to the new submersed conditions.


In conclusion, there are some differences between the appearance and function of the submerged and emersed leaves of Rotala plants. These differences should be taken into account when transitioning the plants from emersed to submerged growth, as the plants may initially experience some leaf die-off as they adapt to their new environment.

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