How To Grow Hornwort In Turtles In 2023

Hornwort Growing! My Aquarium Club
Hornwort Growing! My Aquarium Club from

What Is Hornwort?

Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) is an aquatic plant species that is native to many parts of the world. It is a popular and hardy plant species that is widely used in aquascaping and for keeping fish and other aquatic creatures. Hornwort is a fast-growing plant that can reach up to 10 feet in length and produce floating leaves.

Hornwort can be found in many different colors, ranging from bright green to dark green to brown. It is a great plant for adding oxygen to aquariums and providing hiding places for fish. Hornwort is also known for its ability to absorb toxins that are released by fish, making it a great choice for turtle tanks.

How to Grow Hornwort in Turtles

Step 1: Choose the Right Substrate

The first step in growing hornwort in turtles is to choose the right substrate. The substrate should be a sandy or gravel mix that is rich in organic material. This will provide a good environment for the hornwort to take root and spread, as well as providing a source of nutrients for the plant.

You can also use aquatic soil or aquarium soil for the substrate. These soils are designed specifically for aquatic plants and are rich in nutrients that will help the hornwort to thrive. Make sure to avoid any soil that contains fertilizers, as these can be toxic to turtles.

Step 2: Plant the Hornwort

Once you have the right substrate, it’s time to plant the hornwort. The best way to do this is to spread out the hornwort in the substrate and gently press it down. If you are planting a large amount of hornwort, it is a good idea to divide it into several smaller pieces to make it easier to spread out.

Once the hornwort is planted, you can use a spray bottle to give it a gentle misting. This will help the hornwort to take root and start growing. Be sure to avoid getting the leaves of the hornwort wet, as this can cause them to rot.

Step 3: Maintain Optimal Water Conditions

Once the hornwort is planted, it is important to maintain optimal water conditions for the plant. Hornwort prefers water temperatures between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. It is also important to make sure the water is well-aerated and free of chlorine, which can be toxic to the plant.

To maintain the optimal water conditions, you should make sure to do regular water changes and monitor the water parameters. You should also make sure to add aquarium salt to the water, as this can help to maintain the pH and help the hornwort to thrive.

Step 4: Provide Adequate Lighting

In order for the hornwort to thrive, it is important to provide adequate lighting. Hornwort prefers bright, indirect light, so you should make sure to position the tank near a window or use a low-wattage fluorescent bulb. If you are using a bulb, make sure to keep it on for at least 8-10 hours per day.

It is also important to make sure to place the hornwort in an area of the tank that receives the most light. This will help the plant to grow quickly and remain healthy.

Step 5: Fertilize Regularly

In order to ensure that the hornwort has access to all the nutrients it needs, it is important to fertilize the plant regularly. You can use a liquid fertilizer that is designed for aquatic plants, or you can add a small amount of aquarium fertilizer to the water once a week.

It is important to monitor the water parameters closely when fertilizing, as too much fertilizer can be toxic to the turtle. You should also make sure to only fertilize the hornwort, as other plants in the tank may not need the same amount of fertilizer.

Step 6: Prune Regularly

Finally, it is important to prune the hornwort regularly. Pruning will help to keep the plant healthy and promote new growth. You can remove dead or dying leaves and stems, as well as any excess growth that is blocking light to other plants in the tank.

Prune the hornwort at least once a month to maintain its health and keep it under control. Be sure to use sharp scissors when pruning, as this will help to ensure that the cut is clean and will not damage the plant.


Growing hornwort in turtles can be a rewarding experience, as it is a great way to add oxygen to the tank and provide hiding places for the turtles. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your hornwort will thrive and help to keep your turtle tank looking its best.

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