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TFK Team 05-16-2013 11:49 AM

Cabomba caroliniana
3 Attachment(s)
Family: Cabombaceae

Common Names: Cabomba, Green Cabomba

Origin and Habitat: Eastern United States and southeastern South America; naturalized in parts of southeast Asia. Found in stagnant and slow to fast moving waters.

Ideal position in aquarium


Lighting requirements

Moderate to bright. This species has the lowest light requirement among the Cabomba, though growth will be more rapid and stronger with increased lighting.

Growth rate

Moderate to Rapid

Minimum Tank Suggestion


Water parameters for Green Cabomba

Soft to medium hard, acidic to slightly basic water, temperature not exceeding 25C/77F. This species prefers soft, slightly acid water.


Cabomba caroliniana is the most widely available species and the one that is easiest to maintain in the aquarium. It will do best in soft, slightly acidic water with a temperature at or below 25C/77F. When maintained at warmer temperatures, the plant exerts itself too quickly and frequently fails as a result. In harder and basic water, Cabomba palaeformis [see that profile] will perform better.

The leaf colour varies from light green to medium green; there is also a pale red form, and some exhibit purple colouration on the leaves. The leaves are in the shape of a fan, which gave the plant its common name of Fanwort. This species does well in moderate light [see additional comments under Lighting Requirements], without CO2 addition, and in a plain substrate of small gravel or sand. Nutrients must be added to the water with a comprehensive liquid fertilizer. Propagation is easiest by division of the stem.

The Cabombaceae family of flowering aquatic plants was described by the French botanist and physician Achille Richard in 1822. There are two genera, Cabomba and Brasenia, and five of the six recognized species are within Cabomba. The genus name Cabomba is believed to come from the language of one of the indigenous peoples of Guyana.

In her 1991 revision of the genus, the Danish botanist Marian Orgaard recognized five species of which four are known in aquaria, namely Cabomba aquatica, C. caroliniana, C. furcata and C. palaeformis. C. haynesii (described by Wiersema in 1989) used to be known under the name C. piauhyensis (now considered a synonym), but is currently rarely imported nor cultured in aquaria.

Cabomba caroliniana was described in 1837 by Asa Gray, widely considered the most important American botanist of the 19th century and a close personal friend of Charles Darwin. The species epithet is the Latinate for "originating from Carolina." Orgaard (1991) distinguished three varieties, C. caroliniana var. caroliniana [the most common in aquaria], C. c. var. flavida, and C. c. var. pulcherrima. These are identified through their differing flowers, but the latter two varieties are rarely seen in aquarium culture. A cultivar known as "Silver-Green" has twisted leaf segments; it was developed in the Barth nursery in Germany but is rarely seen.


Kasselmann, Christel (2003), Aquarium Plants, English edition.

Orgaard, M. (1991), "The genus Cabomba (Cabombaceae) - a taxonomic study," Nordic Journal of Botany 11 (2), pp. 179-203.

Contributing Members

The following members have contributed to this profile: Byron, Christople

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