Riccia fluitans whose common name is crystalwort
is an aquatic floating plant of the liverwort family which
is popular among aquarists as a retreat for young fry and
smaller breeds of fish and crustaceans. Liverworts are different
from most other plants found on this site in that they lack
vascular tissues for transporting water and nutrients within
often forms thick mats on and under the water surface, a
hardy plant which makes few demands on the water or light.
It can be anchored into position using fishing line or netting
or just left free floating. If its growth becomes too excessive
as it usually will given enough time it is a good idea to
trim the riccia (like a hedge) in order to keep it's vibrant
green appearance. If riccia is allowed to grow to much when
anchored with line or netting the riccia at the bottom will
become white in color and be generally less healthy.
Riccia is narrow and flattened with forked, ribbon-like
branches. A few white, root-like structures sometimes appear
on its underside. Over the years aquariumist all over the
world have discovered various ways to anchor this plant
to rocks, wood and even the substrate itself using an assortment
of methods ranging from the above mentioned fishing line
to more exotic methods like entwining it within the stems
and roots of other plants.
- Scientific Name: Riccia fluitans
- Substrate required: none
- General appearance and dimensions: flat, branched, and
ribbon-like, up to 2 cm long and 0.5-1 mm wide, growing
in fibrous clumps
- Light requirements Low to High (usually the more light
- Temperature 15 - 30oC
- Hardness tolerance soft - hard
- pH tolerance: wide range from acid to alkaline
- Easiness of Care: very easy to average
- Placement: free floating or anchored to wood or rocks.
- Growth characteristics: Spores and budding (a new plant
forms from a vegetative outgrowth of a mature plant).
- Propagation: cuttings, any cutting will grow into a
- Typical Uses: nutrient sponge, decoration, spawning
- Distribution: occur nearly worldwide.
- Habitat: Mostly floating in sheltered shallow water
of ponds and swamps that tend to be warm and nutrient
rich. Can be found growing with duckweeds and similar
Sources for Riccia: