Broad-Leaved Plants or Spawning Mops for Fish Spawning

Broad-leaved plants are natural spawning mops in breeding fish tanks. While building such a tank, you can face several challenges. Some major challenges are part of this article—for example, the suitable plant selection criteria with a list of such plants. Moreover, proper plantation technique is also a part of this article. You’ll also learn about general care tips for your selected broad-leaved plant.

broad leaved plant

Aquarium Plants Have Large Leaves

Broad-leaf plants are one of the most suitable choices for breeding aquariums. Some of the plants are in the following.

Amazon Sword

The Amazon sword is common and well-known for its strong roots and lush green leaves. It’s also known as Echinodorus grisebachii and belongs to the Alismataceae family.

There are 62 species of Amazon sword. Some famous species are in the following.

Echinodorus martii Echinodorus amazonicus Echinodorus bleheri
Echinodorus parviflorus Echinodorus grisebachii

Characteristics and Features

It has long, pointed, and bright green to dark green leaves. The other salient feature of leaves is their slightly wavy shape with prominent veins.

Grow more than 20 inches Has a 1.5 to 3-year lifespan Short stems


It grows in tropical to subtropical warm river basins.

29 to 30C is the optimal growth temperature for them They require 10-12 hours of full-spectrum light
The optimal pH ranges between 6.5 to 7.5 It needs low to medium CO2

Suitability for Breeding Tank

The Amazon sword helps to create a natural environment in a breeding tank. It is suitable because of its broad leaves and shelter-providing ability to fish and fry.
Amazon Sword features

Water Sprite

A water sprite is a floating fern. Its scientific name is Ceratopteris thalictroides. It belongs to the Pteridaceae family. It’s also known as Indian water fern and oriental water fern.


There are 4 species of water sprites, which are as follows.

C. cornuta C. pteridoides C. richarddii C. thalictroides

Characteristics and Features

It has flat and light green leaves The stem’s color is dark green
It has a laced-like structure Grow 6-8 inches in height and has a fast growth rate

Adequate lighting and proper nutrient supply are necessary for its survival.

It shows optimal growth at 20°C–28°C 6.0 to 7.0 is suitable pH
2- 5 dKH water hardness promotes its growth It’s easy to care for and a floating plant

Suitability for Breeding Tank

Its leaves are a favorite spot for fish to spawn. Moreover, its fast growth, easy care, and nutrient-absorbing ability make it most suitable for aquariums.
Water Sprite features

Java Fern

Java fern is another broad-leaved plant option for a breeding tank. Microsorum Pteropus is the scientific name of the Java fern. It belongs to the Polypodiaceae family.

There are about 50 species of Java fern. Some of them are as follows.

Narrow-leaf java fern Needle leaf java fern Lance leaf java fern
Windelov leaf java fern Trident java fern

Characteristics and Features

Dark green and leathery leaves are the signature of the java fern.

Native to the Southeast Asia Grows at a slow rate
Achieve up to 12 inches in height Occupies about 5-10 inches in width


Java fern is a hardy plant. However, It shows an optimal growth rate at the following conditions.

pH: 6.0 to 7.5 Water hardness: 0 to 30°dGH
Temperature: 20 to 30°C Thrive while floating

Suitability for Breeding Tank

It’s a natural spawning mop due to its leaf structure. Add to this, java fern also provides better shelter to young fish and fry.
Java Fern feaures


Anubis is another broad-leaved plant. It grows along and inside rivers and streams in central Africa. This flowering plant belongs to the Araceae family. It’s named after the Egyptian god of death. Some other interesting facts and information are in the following.


There are about 21 accepted Anubis species.

Characteristics and Features

  • It has broad, dark green, and thin leaves.
  • Leaf size varies between half an inch to 5 inches.
  • It’s native to tropical regions of central and west Africa.
  • It can achieve about 10 cm in height. However, it can vary among different species.


  • It is hardy, easy to maintain, and suitable for beginners.
  • It can grow in low light conditions. However, to enjoy vibrant colors, illuminate the tank with moderate to high light. However, high luminance can cause algae bloom in the tank.
  • It shows slow growth, i.e., 2 weeks are required to produce a new leaf.
  • No specific fertilization is required.
  • Supply CO2 to observe faster growth.
  • 22°C to 28°C temperature, 6.0 to 8.0 pH, and 5 to 12 dGH water hardness are Anubis optimal growth parameters.

Suitability for Breeding Tank

This broad-leaved plant is suitable for breeding tanks for the following reasons.

It absorbs extra nutrients Its sturdy leaves act as a spawning mop, i.e., fish lay their eggs on it
Provide shelter to fish and fry It requires low maintenance

Anubias features


Cryptocoryne is the scientific name of the water trumpet. Its name originates from two Greek words crypto (hidden) and koryne(club). It’s famous for its colorful and unique foliage. It’s native to Asian tropical regions.


It has more than 60 species. Among the available species, only 15 are for aquarium hobbyists.

Characteristics and Features

  • It’s available in red, green, and brown colors.
  • It has long, narrow, and round tip leaves.
  • The leaf size varies between 12 cm to 18 cm.
  • Some species reproduce them from flowers, while the rest do it vegetatively.
  • It has a strong root system.


  • It has a slow to medium growth rate.
  • It is a low-maintenance and hardy plant.
  • 22°C – 28°C temperature, 6.0 to 7.5 pH, and 10 to 12 lumens per liter are the optimal growth conditions for Cryptocoryne.
  • Balanced fertilization, nutrient-rich substrate, and additional CO2 enhance its growth rate.
  • Drastic water changes can cause danger to plant growth.

Suitability for Breeding Tank

It’s suitable for a breeding tank because it:

Provide hiding spots for fish and fry Provide nourishment to fish and fry Add natural beauty to the breeding tank

Cryptocoryne features


Roundleaf Toothcup is the common name for Rotala. It belongs to the Lythraceae family. This broad-leaved aquatic plant is native to southeast Asia, southern India, and Japan. Here is information and facts about this broad-leaved plant.


There are 46 species, and only 5 are well-known.

Rotala rotundifolia Rotala Indica Rotala mexicana
Rotala macrandra Rotala wallichii

Characteristics and Features

  • They can equally live as submerged and emergent plants.
  • Its colorful and beautiful appearance makes it a choice for a background plant.
  • Only survive in tropical conditions.
  • It’s a perennial herb.
  • It has branched, floating, erect, or creeping stems.
  • Stem can achieve up to 30 cm in length.
  • Its elliptical and circular leaves are 1.2 cm long.


Some of the species do well in the following conditions.

pH: 6.0 to 7.5 Hardness: 3-8dGH Temperature: 21 to 30°C
  • Rotala bonsai trees show optimal growth at 5.0 to 7.0 pH and have the previously mentioned temperature.
  • Rotala rotundifolia does well at 4.0 to 8.0 pH, 4 to 40°C, and 0 to 21 dKH.
  • The Rotala wallichii requires 5.0 to 7.0 pH, 24 to 28°C, and 0 to 12°dKH.

Suitability for Breeding Tank

It is suitable for breeding aquariums due to:

Hardy in nature Easy to maintain
Provide a natural environment for fish breeding Act as a food source for fry
Rotala features

Broad-Leaved Plant Best Adapted for Fish Spawning

The best broad leave plant for fish spawning has the following characteristics.

  • The leave size should be large and wide. With this, the fish will have enough space to lay their eggs, and the fry has enough room to hatch.
  • The plant leaves should be sturdy enough to bear the weight of eggs.
  • Smooth texture leaves are ideal as it helps to avoid any damage to eggs.
  • Dense foliage is another condition. It provides shelter to eggs from any serious threat.
  • The plant should express non-invasive behavior. The proper structure and non-invasive provide other species their space.
  • It should be easy to maintain plants.
  • Although each plant has some optimal growth conditions, however, survival in a wide range of water parameters makes a plant suitable for fish spawning.
  • Such a plant list is discussed in the previous section in detail.

Aquarium spawning mop

How to Plant Spawning Mop Properly in the Tank

Planting a spawning mop properly in a tank, i.e., a broad-leaved plant, is the most crucial part of a breeding tank. Here, you’ll learn about how you can do it.

Select the Broad Leaved Plant

Select a plant that is suitable for your tank. While selecting, you need to check multiple aspects.

  • Is the plant compatible with the fish?
  • What is the size and structure of the plant leaves.?
  • Whether it is toxin-free or not?
  • Is your plant compatible with the tank water parameter?
  • Is it easy to care for your plant?
  • What is the growth rate of the plant?
  • Does it match your budget?

Tank Preparation

After selecting a suitable plant, set up your tank. Setting includes many parameters, i.e., correct luminance, temperature, pH, water hardness, etc. Also, introduce other objects in the tank, i.e., rocks, caves, and other hiding spots.


The next step is plantation. Remember, don’t do plantation just after setting up your tank. Let the water parameters settle it up. After that, do the plantation.

  • Remove the plant from the pot and rinse the previous substrate.
  • Introduce it in the quarantine tank to avoid any harm in the main tank.
  • Dig a hole in the main tank’s substrate and plant in it.
  • Give proper room to the plant for growth and make it accessible for the fish.


After the plantation, closely observe the plant and check every minute detail to avoid major setbacks. Although your plant is hardy, don’t go for drastic water parameter changes. It’s harmful to them.

Spawning Mops for Fish Spawning

Care Tips for Broad Leaved Plant

Exclusive care tips for each plant are mentioned in the temperament section of each plant. However, here are some general tips for taking care of the broad-leaved plant.


Provide appropriate lighting to the plants. It should be according to the plant types, i.e., most broad-leaved plants grow well at medium to high luminance. Use the timer to control it because light for long hours can bloom the algae.


Usually, broad-leaved plants feed through roots. Therefore, you need to provide a nutrient-rich substrate in the tank.


Liquid fertilization application helps to promote optimal growth in the plants. However, it’s wise to understand the nutrient requirements of the plants. Moreover, the application of exact quantity is the most important.

Water Parameters

Most of the broad-leaved plants are hardy. However, proper parameters accelerate the desired growth. Each plant species has its optimal water parameter. Therefore, choose the plant accordingly.

Algae Control

Always provide calculated nutrient, light, and flow rates because any variation can cause algae growth in the tank. Once it gets the root in the tank, it’s hard to eliminate from the tank. To avoid it, make a tank cleaning schedule to control the algae growth.

Pruning and Trimming

Trim and prune to the plant. It’ll help to reach the light to other plant parts that are otherwise not reaching. Moreover, trimming and pruning help to remove the old twigs and leaves, which promotes new growth.


Java fern, Rotala, etc., are some of the most suitable broad-leaved plants for breeding tanks. They act as natural spawning mops and provide shelter and food to fish and fry. The hardy nature, easy maintenance, and many other parameters are the bases for the selection. After selection, plant them carefully in your breeding tank and take care of them.

Related Products

hygger Aquarium Wave Maker 010
360 Degree Rotating Wave Maker

hygger Aquarium Wave Maker

hygger Full Spectrum Aquarium LED Light
LED light brightness 10 level for different fish

hygger Full Spectrum Aquarium LED Light


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.