Marsilea minuta is a member of the fern family. Often referred to as dwarf water clover, Marsilea minuta spreads by sprouting runners. One to five tiny bumps form along each runner and grow into plantlets. Marsilea minuta is easy to plant and maintain in your aquarium.
Marsilea minuta grows best in a nutrient-rich fine gravel or sand-type soil. Use of a high-quality substrate fertilizer is recommended to provide necessary nutrients. A minimum substrate depth of 1 to 2 inches will provide a good base for plant roots, and enable you to easily keep plantlets in the gravel while planting them.
Dwarf water clover prefers a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5 and a water temperature between 68 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. It grows into dense, compact plants if your aquarium has high-intensity lighting; with less light it will grow upward, and the clover-like plantlets will float on the water's surface.
Cover a tray with a layer of damp paper towels. Use sharp scissors to cut the runners into sections, with each piece containing one plantlet. Leaving a bit of runner attached to each plantlet will allow you to hold the tiny Marsilea minuta without damaging it. Place the trimmed plantlets on the tray, covering them with the damp paper towels. Don't allow the plants to dry out before they're placed in the aquarium.
Placing the Plantlets
Pick up a Marsilea minuta plantlet by the bit of attached runner with a pair of tweezers. Hold the tweezers at a 45-degree angle to the plantlet for easier placement. Slowly push it into the substrate, completely covering the roots and keeping the leaf section above the gravel. Release the plant, gently wiggling the tweezers as you bring them straight out of the substrate. Continue planting, placing plantlets from half an inch to 1 inch apart.
Karen Mihaylo has been a writer since 2009. She has been a professional dog groomer since 1982 and is certified in canine massage therapy. Mihaylo holds an associate degree in human services from Delaware Technical and Community College.