Does hornwort get rid of algae?


Hornwort is sometimes known as Coontail because of its bushy appearance. It’s very common in guppy breeding ponds, but we may use it effectively in any aquarium where young fish are vulnerable to predators.

Hornwort does a phenomenal job of consuming ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites from the aquarium, but at the same time, it generates a significant amount of oxygen. Hornwort does not require light to thrive, therefore it may grow even in a dark blackwater environment. Due to the fact that it grows so rapidly, it is also an excellent alternative for keeping algae under control in your aquarium.

This article explores the natural habitat of Hornwort and its significance in getting rid of algae in aquariums.

Is Hornwort Good for Aquarium?

Hornwort is an excellent aquarium plant. It is a plant in the Ceratophyllum genus and generally embraces a diverse range of temperatures – even below freezing. This plant is very resilient and adaptable in any water condition.

Goldfish and other phytivorous fish may eat this lovely plant. Some tank fishes may even deposit their eggs within the thin leaves of the plant, making it an ideal refuge for smaller fishes and their offspring.

The plant stem may grow to be up to 1 m long, is branchy, and readily breaks. The tops of its leaves are harsh and serrated, and they grow in nodes (6- 12 leaves in each).

The leaves range in color from light to dark green or reddish, and due to lime retention, they are readily ripped off. Its bushes can be planted on the substrate or let to float freely. Maintaining the plant in a large tank and frequently cutting back its growth is recommended.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the hornwort is that it pollinates underwater, which is quite unusual even among aquatic plants.

Here are some pros and cons of Hornwort in an aquarium:

What Lighting Condition Does it Require in Aquariums?

Hornwort can thrive in dim conditions since it doesn’t need sunlight for photosynthesis. Floating hornwort looks the finest and grows most densely under bright light, although it may survive in any lighting condition.

Strong illumination in your aquarium will cause it to be yellow and appear anorexic. Hornwort is easy to cultivate and requires no additional lighting.

While it grows best when allowed to float in your tank, you can plant it if you want, but there have been claims that it will decay if planted.

The plant will start to drop its leaves from the stem, giving it a “leggy” appearance and leaving behind plant detritus at the bottom of the tank or maybe inside the filter.

Does it Need Fertilizers and Substrate?

Because this plant lacks roots, you’ll need liquid fertilizers, thus substrates and root tabs will be ineffective. Since its leaves absorb water-borne phosphates, ammonia, Co2, and nitrites, the hornwort doesn’t need additional fertilizers.

If you’re having trouble, you can try some of these recommended fertilizers:

  • Thrive C: This fertilizer was formulated especially for low-tech tanks that house a dense plant population.
  • SeaChem Flourish: Especially for low-tech and low-maintenance plants. Dosing and supplementary nutrients may be required for more costly and demanding plants.
  • SeaChem Flourish Excel: This is Co2 in liquid form. Liquid carbon is a far less expensive
    alternative to a full-fledged Co2 system.

Common Aquarium Problems with Hornwort

Hornwort, like other rapidly multiplying plants, has its share of issues. However, you probably won’t ever have to deal with typical plant troubles like algae, temperature, or lighting. Some of the common problems are:

Rapid Growth

Rapid plant growth is usually good, but it can cause issues with cutting, nutrition, and waste management. Fast-growing plants are frequently a problem and the majority of them are deemed invasive species.

Nutrients Absorbent

As a result of their incredible nutritional absorption capacity, they might potentially suffocate on their own waste. They are a greater threat to your fish, especially fry, because they can consume more food from the water.

Plant Debris

Plant detritus in your tank is a persistent challenge unless you have snails and shrimplets. When the plant decomposes and dissolves everything it absorbed back into the water, it may affect water quality.

Filter Blockage

As your plant grows, sheds, or decomposes into mulm and particle debris, it all goes to your filter. No matter your filter type —sponge, canister, hang-on-back, sump —you’ll likely need to increase your filter maintenance plan.

Does Hornwort Reduce Algae?

Hornwort grows rapidly and absorbs a lot of nutrients, therefore it effectively limits algae growth. The only thing that hornwort does is remove surplus nutrients from the water column; it does not destroy algae.

When there is a significant amount of algae present in a tank, it is strongly recommended that hornwort be added to the tank. As a result of the plant’s competition with the algae for available food sources, it will clean the tank more quickly. This is one of the biological methods that may be used to manage algae.

Nevertheless, when it comes to combating algae, we cannot rely on a plant to perform the job by itself, as this approach is guaranteed to be ineffective. You will need to physically remove part of the algae, change the water frequently, clean the filter when it becomes clogged, and avoid overfeeding the fish.

Taking all of these steps will assist in re-establishing the tank’s water equilibrium conditions. While the majority of the plants begin the process of recovering, the hornwort is beneficial since it helps prevent subsequent outbreaks of algae.


Hornwort is the ideal plant for folks who are just beginning their journey into the world of aquarium maintenance. This plant doesn’t ask for much, but it does a lot of good work: it rids the algae growth and harmful chemicals, it develops quickly, and it provides a safe haven for young fish.

For the same reasons, skilled fish-keepers are unlikely to be interested in this species. Because of its rapid growth, the plant might be a challenge for more resource-hungry plants that are kept in a tank.

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