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.
The tiger lotsus is a bulb that can grow two types of leaves. The first is completely submerged leaves that have a heart-shaped shape and are found near the bulb. The second type is floating leaves on long, thin stems that look like lily pads resting at the surface of the water.
The tiger lotus has both bushy leaves close to its bulb and long-stemmed, floating lily pads.
How do I 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. Not to worry – a healthy bulb is the most important part. The bulb should be removed from the pot along with rock wool. Rinse off any debris. 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. Do not bury the entire bulb or it will rot. Wait for the bulb to sink if it is still floating. The roots will hold the bulb in its place once they have grown into the substrate.
How do you grow a Tiger Lotus?
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. For the best results, add iron fertilizer to the medium-high lighting.
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. Simply trim the lily pads at the base of the stem closest to the bulb. By trimming a few floating leaves per week, you can keep your plant from growing too high. This allows it to grow bushier than taller.
How do you Propagate a Tiger Lotus
The tiger lotus can also grow flowers on the surface. A lotus with lots of lily pads may produce flowers in a variety of colors, such as yellow or white. The flower may wilt and develop multiple seeds that you can collect. The bulb is another method of propagation. 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, bulb plants go dormant for a time. All the leaves will eventually die and the bulb will remain. 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. New leaves will start to sprout after that.
The tiger lotus is a great choice for a focal point plant that will enhance the appearance of your aquascape. If you prefer a lily that doesn’t need as much light, read about the dwarf aquarium lily here: