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The "Asian watermoss" is a particularly attractive floating fern species from tropical Asia where it occurs in sunny, still waters. Salvinia cucullata is hardly available in trade and also not very well known among aquarium hobbyists.
Optimal growth conditions provided - plenty of light, rather high temperatures and nutrient-rich water - this Salvinia develops an interesting look with hood-like, rolled up leaves. It is scientifically named after that structure (from latin cucullus, cone or hood). With its side branches, the plant develops a dense floating mat with a comb-like look.
However it also thrives under suboptimal conditions, with about one centimeter long, flat leaves, resembling Salvinia minima. The upper side of the leaves is densely set with hairs, giving the plant a velvety look. It has a pale, somewhat blueish green tone.
Salvinia cucullata should be grown with good lighting and temperatures above 20 °C. Nutrient deficiency is indicated by paler, smaller new leaves. The more light it gets, the more it develops its typical hood-like leaf structure. After our experience it does not grow as fast as Salvinia minima and S. auriculata.
This unusual floating plant looks especially well in open aquariums and in the water part of well lit paludariums and ripariums. As well as other floaters, it provides a natural shelter for juvenile fish and other aquarium animals. Due to its origin it is also an appropriate choice for "geographical" aquariums with warmth-loving fishes from Asia.
Please be aware that the submerse form of this plant could contain snails and other invertebrates.