Salvinia cucullata plants are floating ferns with hoodlike leaves. Salvinia cucullata helps prevent your aquarium fish from jumping out of the tank. Furthermore, it makes them more comfortable in the tank.

Radiant Plant Ammania Gracilis

Do you want to learn more about this plant before introducing it into your aquarium?

Read ahead and find out everything about this stunning fern!

Salvinia Cucullata: Important Details

Other names for Salvinia cucullata are Asian Watermoss and Watermoss Floaters. Salvinia cucullata is not a very popular plant among aquarium hobbyists as it is not visible in the aquarium background. However, it does have an important role in filtering water and protecting your fish. What is the origin of this plant and what are its uses?

– Origin 

Salvinia cucullata is a floating fern from the warm slow-moving waters from tropical Asia.

Salvinia Cucullata in Water

The Asian Watermoss forms a floating mat on the surface of aquariums. There are several unique features to help you identify Salvinia cucullata.

– Identifying Salvinia Cucullata

Here are easy methods to identify Salvinia cucullata:

  • Plant physiology: The Asian Watermoss is a floating fern that forms a thick mat floating on water. It has bushy leaves and less visible roots. The mat can be 2-3 inches tall and can cover the entire surface of the water if left unmaintained.
  • Leaves: The pinnate leaves of Salvinia cucullata resemble cones or hoods. Salvinia cucullata leaves curve towards their tip, giving them a hoodlike appearance. The leaves are bright or dark green.
  • Trichomes: Salvinia cucullata plants are covered in tiny hairs. While the Asian Watermoss leaf surface is hydrophobic, the trichomes are hydrophilic. This means that they love and absorb water. The qualities of the leaf surface and trichomes give Salvinia cucullata a balanced position on the water surface. The trichomes also give the leaves a velvety appearance.
  • Roots: Salvinia cucullata plants do not have long roots. The roots are so short that they are almost invisible. Some people introduce Salvinia cucullata into their aquarium instead of other plants specifically because of its short roots.
  • Salvinia cucullata growth rate: Asian Watermoss grow fast and will colonize the entire water surface of a tank in a few weeks.

Now you should be able to tell the difference between Salvinia cucullata and other floating plants!

– Uses 

Why introduce Salvinia cucullata into your aquarium? Here are some reasons:

  • Prevention of algae overgrowth: As a floating plant, the Asian Watermoss forms a mat on the surface of the water, preventing light from reaching into the water. Algae in aquariums are usually caused by excessive lighting, so Salvinia cucullata helps prevent the growth of algae.
  • Water filtration: The roots of Salvinia cucullata are always in water, absorbing nutrients. Just like other aquarium plants, the Asian Watermoss can help purify your aquarium water. The difference here is that Salvinia cucullata is barely visible, providing a service without stealing the spotlight.

Useful Salvinia Cucullata

  • Fish shelter: Shy fishes can hide under Salvinia cucullata. Young fishes feel more comfortable in tanks with Salvinia cucullata on the surface.
  • Prevents fish from jumping: Are you tired of your aquarium fishes jumping from the tank? You are not alone. Jumping fish can be a problem, especially when you cannot cover the tank with a lid. Introducing Salvinia cucullata into the tank will prevent your fishes from escaping.
  • Maintainance of aquascape: Another benefit of the Asian Watermoss is that you can have your entire tank surface covered and very few of your visitors will notice. Salvinia cucullata is on the water surface and does not change your beautiful aquarium background and design.

That’s a lot of good uses, that will make you want to introduce Salvinia cucullata into your tanks. Want some care tips? Continue reading!

Salvinia Cucullata Care Tips

While Salvinia cucullata is relatively hardy, it has some needs that you must meet.

– Getting Your Salvinia Cucullata

You can get Salvinia cucullata from aquarium shops or you can buy them from online stores. When you get the Asian Watermoss, you should quarantine it in a bowl of water to observe any changes in its outlook. Keep it in the bowl for five or more days before you introduce it into its new home.

– Introducing Your Salvinia Cucullata Into the Aquarium

You should know that Salvinia cucullata only grows in slow-moving warm waters. To avoid problems, you should introduce your Salvinia cucullata in a tank with very little to no movement at the surface of the water.

When you introduce the Asian Watermoss into your aquarium, you should notice new leaves in less than a week. If your plant is shrinking instead of expanding, remove it and place it on still water to recover.

– Light and Humidity Requirements

Asian Watermoss plants require medium to high light. You should give them 12 hours of light daily. Since their leaves are exposed to the air, you should check the room humidity.

Light for Salvinia Cucullata

Salvinia cucullata needs more than 60 percent room humidity to recreate the environment of a tropical forest.

– Water Requirements

After introducing Salvinia cucullata into your aquarium, you should pay close attention to the water quality in the first two weeks. Here are the preferred water quality parameters for Salvinia cucullata:

  • pH: Salvinia cucullata loves neutral water. The tank water pH should be 6.5-7.5. Anything more alkaline or acidic might affect the growth rate of your Asian Watermoss.
  • Temperature: Salvinia cucullata thrives in warm waters. The water temperature should be 68 – 80 °F (20° – 27 °C). The tank temperature should be above 68 °F for optimal Salvinia cucullata growth.
  • Hardness: Salvinia cucullata can withstand a wide range of water hardness values.

– Nutrient Requirements 

Salvinia cucullata requires nutrient-rich water. If you are introducing your Salvinia cucullata into an aquarium with a lot of fish, you do not have to add extra nutrients to the water. For planted aquariums or aquariums that undergo regular water changes, you should add a medium dosage of fertilizer after every water change.

Nutrient for Salvinia Cucullata

Your Salvinia cucullata will let you know if it needs extra nutrients or not. When new leaves appear smaller and paler than old leaves, you should increase the water nutrients. 

Propagation: Colonizing New More Aquariums

Do you have more tanks in need of Salvinia cucullata? You don’t have to buy new plants. All you have to do is propagate the old ones.

To propagate Salvinia cucullata, you should divide the floating mat into multiple clumps. If the water in the new aquarium is from the same source as the water in the old aquarium, you can quickly introduce several Salvinia cucullata clumps into the new aquarium. Your Asian Watermoss will start growing and spreading in less than a week.

If you are transplanting your Salvinia cucullata into another tank with a different water source, it means that the pH and other water qualities might be different from what your Salvinia cucullata is used to. In this case, keep it on the surface of a bowl of the new water to observe its behavior before you introduce it into the new tank.

Problems You Can Encounter 

When growing Salvinia cucullata, you can face some challenges on the way. Here are some possible challenges that you might face and some reliable solutions:

– Salvinia Cucullata Mat Shrinking

You may notice that the floating mat of Salvinia cucullata is shrinking. It can be caused by either of the following reasons:

Shrinking Salvinia Cucullata

  • Low light: When the light is too low, your Salvinia cucullata mat will shrink, and the leaves on the edges will die out. In this case, you should increase the light intensity.
  • Deficiency of nutrients: Nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and iron are necessary nutrients for Salvinia cucullata. In an aquarium with a lot of fish, your Salvinia cucullata has access to a lot of nutrients. However, you need to add nutrients to the water if there are very few fishes in the aquarium or if you have a planted tank.
  • Constant water splashes: Salvinia cucullata loves slow-moving waters. If there are droplets of water on the leaves of your Asian Watermoss for a long time, the leaves may begin to rot.

– New Leaves Appearing Small and Pale 

Nutrient deficiency can reduce the size of new leaves. They will also appear pale. Increase the amount of nitrates in the water to solve this problem. You should also make sure that your plants are getting enough light.

– Root Rot

If the leaves of your Salvinia cucullata are withering, collect a clump from the affected region and closely examine the roots. If the roots are brown, it means that your plant is suffering from root rot.

Root rot is usually caused by a lack of oxygen in the water. You should remove every affected part of the plant, change the water, and properly aerate the tank. You can aerate aquariums by installing aerators or introducing green aquarium plants into the water.

– Aquarium Plants Dying

If other aquarium plants that are immersed in your tank are dying after you introduce your Salvinia cucullata, it means that the Asian Watermoss is blocking too much light from reaching the plants.

Dying Salvinia Cucullata

You should prune your Salvinia cucullata regularly so that it does not block light from reaching the plants below. Another tip is to only keep Salvinia cucullata in parts of the tank where fishes jump from.

– Aquarium Fish Dying

If your fish are dying after you introduce your Salvinia cucullata, you should check the oxygen level of the tank. If the oxygen level is above 5mg/l, you should remove the Salvinia cucullata plants and make sure that they are not infected.

Keep them in a separate bowl and rinse them with clean water. Place a fish into the bowl and see if it shows signs of stress. If the Asian Watermoss is the cause of your aquarium fish dying, you should not introduce it into the tank anymore.


After reading this article, you’d agree that Salvinia cucullata is awesome and useful, right? To make it easier to remember what you learned, here are some take-home points:

  • Salvinia cucullata is also known as Asian Watermoss and Watermoss Floaters.
  • The leaves of Salvinia cucullata are hoodlike and repel water, making the plant float freely on water.
  • To propagate Salvinia cucullata, simply divide the floating mat into clumps and introduce a clump into your desired location.
  • The aquarium water should be warm, slow-moving, and have a neutral pH.
  • The growth behavior of Salvinia cucullata will tell you if it needs more light or nutrients. Small and pale new leaves suggest that the plant needs more nutrients or light.

Considering the unique benefits of Salvinia cucullata, you will surely want to grow some. Introduce the Asian Watermoss into your aquarium, and keep your fish safe!

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