Hygrophila Balsamica

Plant Profile

Common Name: Hygrophila balsamica
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Hygrophila
Origins: Asia – Sri Lanka, India
Difficulty: Easy
Lighting:  Moderate
Plant Structure: Stem
Growth Rate: Fast
Placement: Mid-ground, Background


Hygrophila balsamica is a marsh dwelling stem plant native to India and Sri Lanka. Special care must be exercised when dealing with this species.

If the emersed shoots of this plant touch an aquarium containing fish or invertebrates, a toxin is released which will poison the animals. The plant is not at all toxic in its submersed form and may be used without issue once submersed growth is obtained. This implies that transitioning should be done with extreme care. Nurseries generally grow aquatic plant stock emersed so it’s easy to see why it is still so uncommon. That is beginning to change as it becomes more widely traded and sold among hobbyists. 

The plant benefits greatly with strong light and co2 supplementing but certainly not required. Beautiful bright green and finely divided leaves will become less pinnate and lose size when it reaches its prime. This plant does require a fair bit of Iron but otherwise is undemanding to keep.

Emersed form below:

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The Aquatic Plant Society
The Aquatic Plant Society is dedicated to promoting the science and aesthetic of the Planted Aquarium. We are committed to a responsible and environmentally conscious pursuit of the hobby, and invite all to share in and add to our knowledge.