plant Easy level

Ceratopteris thalictroides (L.) Brongn.

Sponsored by

Sumatra fern, Water Sprite, Indian Water Fern, Water Fern, Oriental Water Fern, Water Horn Fern

Ceratopteris thalictroides is found in natural and man-made ponds, irrigation ditches, rice (Oryza sativa) fields, taro (Colocasia esculenta) patches, shallow marshes, small streams, estuaries, swampy areas, lakes, still pockets along slow flowing rivers and waterlogged areas.

Native to: Andaman Is., Angola, Assam, Bangladesh, Bismarck Archipelago, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, California, Cambodia, Caroline Is., Chad, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Colombia, Costa Rica, East Himalaya, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Florida, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Hainan, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Louisiana, Madagascar, Malaya, Marianas, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Southwest, Mississippi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nicobar Is., Northern Territory, Panamá, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Queensland, Solomon Is., Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Suriname, Taiwan, Tanzania, Texas, Thailand, Uganda, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Western Australia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Introduced into: Fiji, Hawaii, Romania

Submitted by
Benedetta Spelta
3.8931279, -73.2797546
Geographical region
South America
Drainage Basin
Rio Meta
River catchment
Rio Brazo Pajure
Water body type
Water body name
Caño Giramena
Water body part
Water body course
Upper course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Rio Acacias
Type locality
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
20-28 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

3-8 mg/l
Dissolved Oxygen


Plant form
Plant type
Plant size
25-40 cm
Plant growth rate
Plant light demand
Aquarium equipment

This fern can either grow on a substrate, free float in water, or attached to rocks or driftwood. If grown planted, Ceratopteris thalictroides can use pretty much any substrate available. Simply make sure to only cover the roots and keep the crown exposed.

When planted, Water Sprite plants will usually produce thinner leaves when floating and can easily fill a tank with minimal intervention, so they are a great plant choice for beginners.

Floating Water Sprite will develop a system of floating roots and absorb nutrients from the water.

If you can attach Water Sprite to lava rock or driftwood it will quickly anchor itself.

Plant care

Healthy Water Sprite leaves are fern-like, thin, light-green in color, and free from tears, cracks, rips and holes. Unlike other ferns, this floating plant can survive and do well in sunny to partially shady locations of water.

Water care

Water Sprite seems to prefer softer water, with KH between 3-8.


Comment by the expert

Fronds are cooked and eaten as a vegetable in Madagascar, New Guinea, and Vietnam, and raw as a salad in Micronesia.. It has been used similarly to watercress. In Malaysia and Japan, uncurled fronds have been used in salads.