Why don’t my plants stay red?

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A reader asks fish expert Jeremy how to keep the red plants in her tank looking their best...

Q) I’d like to grow some red plants but I find that within a few weeks of purchase the red colour fades in my tank. Are there any that are less demanding?

JULIA BRADSHAW, VIA EMAIL

A) Jeremy says: Ludwigia palustris is one of the easiest of the red plants to grow, but Althernanthera reineckii is also pretty straightforward. Or perhaps you could try one of the tropical Nymphaea water lilies; many of these are red and can look stunning. They can be contained quite easily by pruning the leaves regularly.

But to obtain the best red growth from any of these plants you really do need bright lighting. There are some plant foods out there which are specifically designed for red plants, like AF Red Boost, from Aquaforest, and this, combined with strong lighting and CO2 fertilisation will give you the best results.