Alternanthera Reineckii | Cardinal Plant | Scarlet Temple

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Meet Alternanthera Reineckii, the vibrant red superstar of aquarium stem plants, also known as Scarlet Temple. Get ready to paint your aquascape with a delightful splash of red, and the best part? It doesn't demand a spotlight; just a moderate amount of light will do the trick.


  • Vibrant red foliage: Stunning red leaves ranging from rich crimson to delicate pink, intensity depends on lighting, nutrients, and specific variety.
  • Stem growth: Slender stems with opposite pairs of small, elliptical leaves (1-2 cm long) create a dense and bushy appearance.
  • Variety in form: "Mini" variety with compact growth and smaller leaves, "Rosanervig" features leaves with prominent pink veins.

Adaptability and Care:

  • Moderate requirements: Thrives in temperatures between 68-82°F (20-28°C), moderate lighting, and slightly acidic to neutral pH.
  • Nutrient lover: Requires regular fertilization with iron-rich formulas and comprehensive plant nutrients for optimal red coloration and growth.
  • Lighting matters: Moderate to high lighting crucial for maintaining vibrant red hues; low light can cause loss of intensity or green leaves.
  • Trimming and growth: Fast grower, needs regular trimming to maintain shape and prevent leggy growth. Trimmings can be replanted for propagation.


  • Visual appeal: Adds a stunning pop of color and contrast, creating a focal point in any aquascape.
  • Hiding spots: Dense growth provides excellent hiding places and shelter for fish fry, shrimp, and other small aquatic creatures.
  • Nutrient absorption: Helps absorb excess nutrients, preventing algae growth and maintaining good water quality.
  • Variety of uses: Different cultivars offer diverse visual interest, with "Mini" for foregrounds and taller varieties like "Rosanervig" for midgrounds.

Best Roommates:

  • Java Fern (Midground to background)
  • Anubias Nana (Midground to background)
  • Christmas Moss (Foreground to midground)
  • Marimo Moss Balls (Foreground to midground)
  • Staurogyne repens (Foreground to midground)


Care Level: Easy

Lighting Requirement: Low - Medium

Co2: Not Required

Growth Rate: Slow - Medium

Origin: South America

Tank Placement: Midground-Background

Tank Size: Because most stem plants can range in size and can be trimmed to fit your tank accordingly we recommend this plant for all tank sizes.

Want to learn more, check out this video:


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