Aquariums are an incredible ecosystem. Dedicated aquarists are always on the hunt to make their tanks more efficient, healthy, and beautiful.
For those who are new to the hobby, beginner-friendly plants are often a great addition, since they require little maintenance. This is partly why the Amazon Frogbit is so popular; on top of its delightfully adorable name, the Amazon Frogbit is beautiful and easy to take care of.
Is it the right choice for you? Let’s explore the details of this interesting plant, so you can make the best decision.
- 1 What Is the Amazon Frogbit?
- 2 Amazon Frogbit Plant Care
- 3 Frogbit Tank Mates
- 4 Cautions to Keep in Mind
- 5 How to Thin Out Your Amazon Frogbit
- 6 Propagating the Amazon Frogbit
- 7 Buying an Amazon Frogbit
- 8 Conclusion
What Is the Amazon Frogbit?
Scientifically known as limnobium laevigatum, the Amazon Frogbit is a floating aquarium plant popular among aquarists and aquascapers.
It looks very similar to the water hyacinth, with perfectly round, bright green leaves. These leaves are smooth, without any markings, followed by roots with fine, trailing hairs.
Each plant remains buoyant due to a bloated underside, which is more noticeable in young plants. A fully mature Frogbit plant can flower; these flowers are tiny and white, often less than an inch in size.
The Amazon Frogbit’s scientific name first appeared in 1814, in an article written by a French biologist. It was named after the word ‘limnobios,’ which means ‘dwelling in a lake’ in Greek.
The Amazon Frogbit originated in the freshwaters of Central and South America. It can be found in rivers, ponds, lakes, and canals.
However, due to its rapid growth, the Frogbit is often considered an invasive species in many countries, like Australia and Africa. Commonly due to irresponsible aquarium disposal, the Frogbit has been known to outgrow native species.
Different organizations, including governments and grassroots efforts, have tried to address the problem in their local areas.
A fully mature Amazon Frogbit has leaves that can grow up to three inches in length, with roots that can grow up to 20 inches.
Aquarists have noticed, however, that roots will grow longer in tanks with high levels of nitrate. On the whole, a fully mature plant can reach a maximum of 20 inches, with its leaves covering the entire surface of your aquarium.
They grow rapidly and in almost any environment. For this reason, it is necessary to regularly thin out your Frogbit.
Amazon Frogbit Plant Care
The Amazon Frogbit is a hardy plant, making it perfect for both beginning and expert aquarists. It can thrive in most water conditions, so it’s easy to propagate.
On top of that, they are also beautiful plants, which can add color and life to any aquarium.
Because the Frogbit is such a hardy plant, you will have ample time to correct your tank conditions before any real damage happens to your Frogbit. Be sure to keep an eye out for browning and burned leaves.
If you’re thinking about adding the Amazon Frogbit to your aquarium, you will need to maintain the following tank conditions:
The Amazon Frogbit is an undemanding plant and can thrive in a wide range of parameters. In the wild, they grow best in soft water; water hardness should be around 10 to 12 ppm, with a pH range of 6 to 7.5.
The Amazon Frogbit can be kept in moderately warm tanks, with temperatures ranging from 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. In colder waters, the Amazon Frogbit grow slowly and create smaller leaves. This reduced sized may be preferred in some instances.
While buoyant, the surface of the Frogbit’s leaves is susceptible to moisture; the plant will decay if its leaves are soaked often. When changing the water of your aquarium, make sure that you are not splashing water onto this plant, try to keep the leaves dry, and avoid submerging it as often as possible.
Like most floating plants, the Amazon Frogbit likes bright light, which shouldn’t be a problem, as they are situated at the water’s surface.
For aquarists who are concerned with aesthetics, they are best viewed in sunlight and will grow much larger than Frogbits illuminated by artificial light, although this may encourage algae growth as well.
Of course, the Amazon Frogbit bit will happily grow under artificial lighting, such as LED or luminescence lamps. Maybe not as fruitfully – but it will manage fine.
However, you should be careful when using artificial lighting. When Amazon Frogbits are placed near light sources, the chances of burning are high, even when not in direct contact. For this reason, it’s best to avoid incandescent light sources, as these tend to burn hotter than others.
The Amazon Frogbit should be illuminated for at least 12 hours a day.
The Amazon Frogbit can thrive in a tank of any size. For those who want to use the plant for nitrate consumption, you may need more to accommodate a larger tank.
It should be noted, however, that more care is necessary when placing the Amazon Frogbit in smaller tanks, due to its sensitivity to moisture.
Since the Amazon Frogbit is exposed to the surface, you will not need to provide CO2. It takes all its nutrients from the water and will not require a substrate.
However, this also means that you may need to add fertilizer to the water to provide adequate nutrients. You will also need to change the water at least once a week to avoid build-up.
The Amazon Frogbit needs to be placed on the water’s surface, but its leaves should not be submerged. Be sure to provide a bit of space between the light source and the plant to avoid burning the leaves.
It should also be placed away from any water filters, as it will be easy for its roots to tangle. Because of its sensitivity to moisture, the Amazon Frogbit should not be placed in a spot where it is likely to be splashed with water.
When setting up your aquarium, or during your next session of aquarium maintenance, check where you often change the water. If you notice that most of your activity is on the left side of the aquarium, keep your Amazon Frogbit to the left of your aquarium. This way, you can avoid submerging the plant.
For those who are growing the Amazon Frogbit in smaller tanks, it may be best to transfer the plants to a different container during maintenance.
When putting the Amazon Frogbit in your aquarium, hold them from underneath their leaves. Place them on the water one at a time to avoid tangling the roots.
Here’s a video explaining more about the frogbit.
Frogbit Tank Mates
For those who would like to add the Amazon Frogbit to their aquarium, make sure that the current tank inhabitants are compatible.
Because of its placement, as well as its rapid growth, a Frogbit aquarium is best housed with plants and animals that thrive better in low light.
Of course, it is best to avoid plants that need a great deal of light. If you want to keep a plant like this along with your Amazon Frogbit, you may be able to with a large enough tank.
Keep the light-loving plant in one corner of the aquarium, with the Frogbit in the other. Add wires to keep the Frogbit in place, and thin it out regularly to avoid overgrowth. You may need to thin the Frogbit more often in this situation.
Other types of plants to avoid are the floating variety, as they’re likely to compete with the Amazon Frogbit for resources.
For fish companions, any type of freshwater fish that can thrive in the same water conditions as listed above will be appropriate.
If you find a species that likes to interact with objects, they may enjoy interacting with the roots of the Amazon Frogbit. You’ll notice some species using the root system for play, hiding, and breeding.
Conversely, species that are rapid swimmers or otherwise aggressive may not like the Amazon Frogbit’s root system; they will likely tear through the roots or harm the underside of the plant.
Animals that stay at the bottom of your tank are excellent companions for the Amazon Frogbit. However, care should be taken when housing them with any species of snail.
Snails tend to chew on the soft underside of the Amazon Frogbit, which can eventually lead to its death. For those who want to host snails and the Amazon Frogbit in the same tank, you will need to keep the Frogbit in the middle of the tank, away from the reach of snails.
Alternatively, seek out a snail species that do not eat plants, like the Malaysian Trumpet Snail. These snails will leave your plant alone, opting to eat other food sources instead.
Cautions to Keep in Mind
Since it’s such a hardy plant, the Amazon Frogbit has a low chance of suffering from algae, parasites, and diseases.
Other than dangers from snails and aggressive fish, this plant will happily grow in almost any condition.
However, it is sensitive is moisture; so long as you take care to keep the surface of the plant dry, you shouldn’t have problems adapting it into your aquarium.
How to Thin Out Your Amazon Frogbit
The Amazon Frogbit grows rapidly and can deprive your aquarium of nutrients when left untended. As such, it should be regularly thinned out to keep the rest of your tank healthy and safe.
How often will you need to thin out your Amazon Frogbit? This depends on the size of your aquarium and the light requirements of its other inhabitants. Smaller aquariums will require more frequent maintenance.
Likewise, if your aquarium houses plants and animals that need light, and you notice that your Frogbit is taking up too much light, thin out the plant.
Thinning out the plant can be as simple as removing the entire unit. Alternatively, you can cut off a portion of its roots when they’ve grown too long.
Other than overgrowth, you should also thin out the plant whenever you notice any decay or rot in its leaves. Cut off dying leaves at the stem and dispose of them properly.
Propagating the Amazon Frogbit
The Amazon Frogbit grows fast, and you will notice new growth soon enough. The Amazon Frogbit can reproduce through seeds and pollination.
Since this plant often doesn’t flower in tanks, they instead reproduce through stem fragmentation. Stem fragmentation refers to the process by which a young plant will grow alongside a mature plant, and will eventually develop its own root system.
Once the young plant reaches maturity, it will break off and grow on its own in a new location. You will know that a juvenile is ready to be removed from a mature plant once it has developed three leaves.
Buying an Amazon Frogbit
For those who would like to buy their own Amazon Frogbit, here are some things to keep in mind:
- The health of your plant is your top priority. Always keep an eye out for plants that are decaying, or have extremely short roots. Only buy plants that look healthy; their leaves should be bright, smooth, and full.
- You will find Amazon Frogbits in nearly any aquarium- and pet-store, since they’re incredibly popular. If you don’t have many options in your area, you can easily find online sellers. Make sure that you are buying from a dependable seller to avoid opening up a plant that is already brown and rotten.
- Your Amazon Frogbit will be given to you contained in water; otherwise, it will dry out quickly. You will most likely be sold multiple plants at a time.
This video goes into more detail on frogbit care.
The Amazon Frogbit is an excellent addition to any aquarium, requiring very little maintenance. Both new and experienced aquarists can tackle their care and have it thriving in no time!
Just remember to keep its growth in check, and your aquarium will look beautiful and healthy.
What’s your favorite thing about the Amazon frogbit plant?