Hygrophila sp. chai after growing in the same spot for a year, from original 2 growth buds.
HYGROPHILA SP. CHAI
Hygrophila sp. chai is a mutation of Hygrophila araguaia that occurred in South Island's farm (Singapore). It takes on a distinctively pink coloration, with occasional white streaks. The growth form is similar to Hygrophila araguaia - it is a stem plant but creeps along the substrate when lighting levels are high. It is generally very slow growing and sensitive.
Information about this species is hardly complete since so few aquarists propagate it successfully.
Converting it from tissue culture format (which is the form in which it is most commonly sold) is the first hurdle. The TC is very delicate as a whole. It should be planted in matured, clean soil - excessive organic waste causes melting very easily. Good gaseous exchange is essential - this means flowing water, good oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. For this reason some folks find success floating it in the initial week to get some root growth; some of the TC samples can be very short, making it hard to plant. It also seems to favour quite a bit of light. In my farm tank example, substrate PAR levels is around 200 umols.
Hardcore enthusiasts may consider setting up a shallower cultivation tank where gaseous exchange and light access is generally better.
During the growth stage, it is very slow growing and will be shaded / over-crowded by surrounding plants. It is important to keep the area around it unobstructed. Once it reaches a certain size, it becomes much more stable, and will grow steadily, but slowly.
The main parameters to maintain is high CO2 levels with good flow, unimpeded access to light.
KEY SUCCESS FACTORS
Hygrophila sp. chai relative size & color comparison to other plants.
A few months after initial planting, growth is more vertical in crowded conditions.
Hygrophila sp. chai grows more prostrate when the surrounding area is cleared.