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While these lovely plants are often sold under the common name, red lotus, they are not a lotus at all, but a small, night blooming water lily. They are often an aquarists first introduction to red plants, because they re certainly among the easiest! Usually sold as a tuber with a small leaf or two, they should be planted in the substrate, with the leaves facing up and above the substrate. Although small in terms of water lilies, these are not small plants! They will easily take up a lot of real estate in a 4 foot tank!

They will try to send up a floating leaf from time to time, and if you want the plant to maintain its beautiful underwater leaves, these should be pinched off before they break the water surface. If you let it get away from you, however, and it is producing lots of floating leaves, all is not lost! Snap off ALL the leaves and “train” it to stay under water again. On the other hand, you might enjoy seeing it flower in your tank. In that case, the water level should be far enough below the cover and/or lights, that the flower bud can fully develop. It will open at night and close during the day. Keep in mind, however, that floating leaves will shade your other plants. So a Nymphaea lotus that is allowed to flower should probably be kept in a tank without any light loving plants below it.

Nymphaea lotus 'Red' is a very heavy feeder. It will develop offset plantlets under good conditions with enough food. These can be separated off and used in other tanks. If the tank is not fed well enough, your Nymphaea could starve your other plants. So be sure to feed regularly. This is a plant where a soil based substrate and/or regular addition of good quality, nutritionally complete plant tabs can be a big help. It grows well even without supplemental CO2, but like all plants will show it’s best if CO2 is supplied.

Nymphaea lotus 'Red'

Common Name:     Zenkeri lotus, red tiger lotus

Family Name:         Nymphaeaceae

Native To:               Africa 

Lighting:                 Low-high

Requirements:        Undemanding but a heavy feeder 

Growth Form:         Bulb 

Growth Rate:           Fast

True Aquatic:           Yes

Placement in Tank:   Specimen plant

Available As:             Tuber