plant Easy level

Cabomba caroliniana A.Gray

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Carolina fanwort, Carolina watershield, Green Cabomba

Cabomba caroliniana is a very popular aquarium plant due to its attractive flowers and finely dissected leaves. It is originating from lakes, ponds and rivers, usually with a low pH. This species is often found in trade.

Natural distribution area: Paraguay, southern Brazil, Uruguay; Northeastern Argentina of Southeastern South America. It is also found in the West and East Coasts of the United States. Cabomba is known to spread very fast, and in some countries like e.g. Australia it is considered an invasive species, or Weed of National Significance, causing decreases in the biodiversity of native aquatic plants.

Submitted by
Benedetta Spelta
-11.7157793, -50.7273903
Geographical region
South America
Drainage Basin
Rio Amazonas
River catchment
Rio Araguaia
Water body type
Water body name
Lago Patizal
Water body part
Water body course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Rio das Mortes
Type locality
Amazonas, Brazil
Conservation status/IUCN Red List
Not Evaluated (NE)
Listed in CITES


Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
12-22 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

5.5 – 6.8
15-35 mg/l
Dissolved Oxygen
1.2-7.4 %


Plant form
Plant type
Plant size
normally 30 – 80 cm
Plant growth rate
Plant light demand
Aquarium equipment

When cultivated in optimal conditions, the stalks of Cabomba caroliniana can easily grow to the surface of a large aquarium, even when trimmed drastically. This plant is a welcome contrast to other plants with different leaf forms and colours for the background, with its limegreen colour and its finely forked leaves.

Plant care

In Nature the plant prefers soft, silty substrate and grows with decreased success on harder media. Micronutrients may be beneficial to its growth and make it more robust, though. By limiting nitrate supply the keeper can influence the hue of green, it is darker to even brown when nitrate is low, especially if the light is intensive. There is no need to supply additional CO2, however, it will boost growth even further if supplied. The lower part of cut stems may need some time to grow lateral shoots, as those are rather uncommon in this plant.

Water care

The pH and water hardness play less important role. Under the natural conditions Cabomba caroliniana is not at all drought tolerant, and grows in water at least 0.4-1.2m depth ranges but sometimes it also grows up to 6.0m deep region.