How to Care For a Tiger Lotus
When looking to add plants to a freshwater aquarium, there are endless choices. Color and shape are some important things to consider when trying to achieve the most pleasing look overall. One plant that is both beautiful and relatively simple to maintain is the tiger lotus or Nymphaea zenkeri. With its broad, wavy-edged leaves and variegated color pattern, it can bring a new and stunning aesthetic to your aquarium.
Two types of leaf structure can be found in the tiger lotus bulb plant. The first type consists of completely submersed leaves that are somewhat heart-shaped and grow near the bulb. The second type consists of floating leaves that rest on long, thin stems and look like lily pads.
Tiger lotuses grow both bushy leaves near its bulb and long-stemmed lily pads that float to the water surface.
How Do You Plant a Tiger Lotus Bulb?
If you purchase this plant from Aquarium Co-Op, the bulb will arrive in a plastic pot covered in rock wool. There may be some small leaves sprouting from the bulb, but they are often damaged in transit or may melt away after being planted. A healthy bulb is the most important. Take the bulb out of the pot with the rock wool and wash it off. Tiger lotuses get rather large, so plant it the midground or background of the fish tank. Gently push one-third of the bulb into the substrate such that the shoots or leaves are completely above ground. It is important not to bury the whole bulb as it could rot. If the bulb is floating at first, wait for it to become waterlogged enough to sink. The roots will anchor the bulb in place as they grow into the substrate.
How can you grow a Tiger Lotus tree?
Once your tiger lotsus is established, you will see a lot of growth. You should feed it extensive fertilizers like Easy Green or Easy Root Tabs. You can bring out the plant’s redness by providing medium to high light and adding iron fertilizer.
Some Tiger Lotuses have primarily green leaves with red variegation while others have reddish-purple stripes on their red leaves.
How Do You Prune an Aquarium Lotus?
Eventually, the tiger lotus may grow so many floating leaves that it prevents other aquarium plants from getting enough light. To trim the plant, simply clip the lily pad at the base of its stem, closest to the bulb. You can also keep the plant from growing too tall by continuously pruning a few of the floating leaves, which allows the plant to grow out bushier rather than taller.
How do you Propagate a Tiger Lotus
The tiger lotus can also grow flowers on the surface. Lots of lily pads can produce lotsus flowers with varying colors. If the flower begins to wilt, it can develop into many seeds for you. Another way to propagate is through the bulb. If the tiger lotus is doing well, the parent bulb may form little daughter bulbs that can be detached and replanted in another aquarium.
Do Tiger Lotuses Go Dormant?
Sometimes bulbs can go dormant, and all the leaves will fall off leaving only the bulb. You can keep the bulb in the aquarium. It will begin to sprout new leaves after a few months. The bulb can be removed, placed in a moist container for several months and then returned to the tank. The new leaves will begin to grow again and sprout.
If you’re looking for an eye-catching centerpiece plant to elevate the look of your aquascape, give the tiger lotus a try. If you prefer a lily that doesn’t need as much light, read about the dwarf aquarium lily here: