Moneywort: The Complete Guide (Care, Planting and More…)

Moneywort is a tropical freshwater plant that is ideal for beginner aquarists.

They are so popular because of their easy maintenance and versatility. This plant has the ability to be placed in different locations around the aquarium to create a beautiful landscape.

However this plant is commonly mistaken with Creeping Jenny because of its similarities.

Keep reading to learn all about Moneywort including how to care for this plant, which fish are compatible with it, propagation and much more…

Moneywort Overview

Moneywort (Bacopa monnieri) is a freshwater aquatic plant from the Scrophulariaceae family.

You may have also heard people calling this plant a creeping plant. This is because it is often found growing along rocks and mud in the wild. It can be found in South America, Asia, Australia and Africa, in freshwater marshes and wetlands. In fact in Africa the plant is used as a medicinal herb.

This plant is also known as water hyssop or coastal water hyssop.

In aquariums it is very popular with beginners because of its hardiness and the fact that it can be used in lots of different ways.

Moneywort is a very bright and light green colored stem plant.

It can grow either emersed or submersed.

If you are new to caring for live plants then this is a suitable plant for you because of its hardiness and versatility.

5 Reasons To Keep This Plant In Your Tank

Very Affordable: Moneywort is available in most aquarist stores, it is very cheap too. You can find it available for between $3-$5 from various retailers.

Hardy: This plant is a very hardy species. In fact many books will list different parameters they feel are best for this plant, this is because of the wide range of parameters that this plant can survive in. This makes it pretty much perfect for most freshwater aquariums.

Protection For Fry: It can look amazing in aquariums, but it can also be very beneficial for the fish in there. If you are looking for a plant to protect your small fry then this plant has the versatility to double up as a hiding place. This plant can be used as a compact carpet plant as well as a dense floating plant. Floating plants create perfect shelters for small fry to grow and keep safe.

Lots Of Uses: This plant can be a carpet plant that is compact and dense but with more height than your typical carpet plant species. This plant can also be used as a middle ground plant to complement shorter plants. It can even be used as a good background plant when allowed to grow tall.

Beginner Friendly: Moneywort is a very undemanding plant when it comes to care. This plant does not require CO2 or any additional fertilizer and will grow without either. Knowing this is also comforting when you are a beginner looking to try and take care of live plants for the first time.

Appearance

Moneywort is a flowering plant that produces flowers with white petals that grow from the leaf nodes. They bloom in the dry seasons in the wild and sometimes in tank conditions when lighting is very good.

Occasionally these petals will have a hint of pink or a light purple hue.

The flower color differentiates this plant from others that look very similar.

This plant has long stems with leaves alternating on either side that are bright green.

Stems and leaves are very thick and plump, similar to a terrestrial succulent plant. This provides the plant with sturdiness in the aquarium. Their stems are known to withstand bending in aquariums with a fast water flow and will continue to grow vertically.

The leaves grow just over 1 inch wide, which when combined with the stems make the plant around 2 inches wide.

You can expect Moneywort to grow to around 12 inches tall however in high light conditions they will grow much taller.

The growth rate of this plant is generally slow and hard to determine because different tank parameters can affect the growth of this plant. However you can expect a growth rate of around 1 inch per month.

Is Moneywort The Same As Creeping Jenny?

Moneywort is used interchangeably for different species between aquarists.

For example this is also the common name for an aquatic plant called Creeping Jenny.

This can all be very confusing and frustrating when trying to gather information and research the plant.

However they are in fact different species.

Creeping Jenny has the species name, Lysimachia nummularia, whereas Moneywort (in this article), has the species name Bacopa monnieri.

The easiest way to differentiate between these two species is to look at their flowers because they have different colored flowers.

Creeping Jenny has distinct yellow flowers, whereas Moneywort has white flowers.

Moneywort Placement Ideas

One of the reasons why this plant is so popular is because it can be used in so many different ways.

It has both practical uses and display uses.

Moneywort can be used as a compact carpet plant or a dense floating plant.

It can also be used as a background plant to grow very tall, or a middle ground plant behind smaller living plants.

You can even grow it submerged and continue to grow it emersed and out of the top of the tank! This placement also creates the perfect protection for any small fry that have hatched.

Different methods of trimming and pruning can be used to either grow your Moneywort more densely or to promote growth in a certain direction (this is explained in more detail later).

How To Plant Moneywort

Moneywort does not require a specific substrate but it does grow best in aquarium soil.

You can also grow this plant in gravel, or sand but it will be difficult to plant because it has the tendency to float. Whichever substrate you use, it is best to use aquarium tweezers to make sure the plant is secure. You can add lightweight rocks/pebbles to hold the plant in place.

When planting the individual plants just make sure the roots are secure at a depth of 0.5-1 inches into the substrate. And make sure they are spaced at least 2 inches apart.

You also have the option to keep them as a floating plant.

This does not take much preparation at all.

Just separate the stems carefully and allow them to free float on the water’s surface. You can also take some cuttings of the new plant and float these so they eventually grow new roots. This may also encourage another stem to grow from the original plant.

If you plan to make this a floating plant then just check that any plant species underneath will still get enough light. Depending on the density, the shade from the floating Moneywort may block most light from reaching the bottom of the tank.

Moneywort Care Guide

Tank Requirements

Like all new plants, your first task is to make sure that your tank is set up correctly.

The most important parameters to monitor are the water parameters and lighting.

Your aquarium will need to be at least 10 gallons – this makes sure that once the plant is placed, there will be leftover swimming space for your fish.

In terms of water parameters the temperature must be kept between 72-82°F, pH should be between 6.0-7.5 and hardness between 5-20 dKH. When given ranges of requirements it is best to steer clear from any extremes and keep the values in the mid-range.

Moneywort Light Requirements

Light is fairly important for this species.

You should aim to provide 2-3 watts per gallon.

Simple LED lighting is adequate, but it must produce a spectrum of 5000-7000°K. This plant grows best with 10-12 hours of light per day.

High light and regular trims encourage bushy and compact growth, whereas, low light and fewer trims will encourage this plant’s stems to grow to the surface. These effects are also increased with the addition of CO2 and nutrients.

This species can grow under low light but you must carefully monitor them because low lighting can cause this plant to discolor.

Care And Maintenance

How regularly you trim this plant will depend on where you place your Moneywort.

For a carpet and bush-like display you should trim this plant every 2 weeks.

You may also want to trim the plant’s stems regularly if this plant is in the middle ground of the tank next to small plants.

When kept in the background you can leave this plant alone to grow tall. Once they reach the top of the aquarium they will continue to grow horizontally. Trimming is down to your preference and the look you want to achieve.

This plant does not require any additional CO2 or liquid fertilizers.

Common Problems And How To Avoid Them

  1. Many people have trouble anchoring this plant to substrate. To stop these plants from floating to the surface, you can secure them to rocks or wood using superglue. You can also use lightweight rocks to hold the plant down or purchase some plant anchor weights which wrap nicely around the stems to weigh down the plant.
  2. Moneywort is often mistaken for Creeping Jenny. This makes researching the plant difficult and sometimes mistakes are made because they have different care requirements. You should use the tips we mentioned earlier to make sure you can correctly identify this plant and understand their specific care needs.
  3. Melting is a common problem that lots of semi-aquatic plants face. Staurogyne Repens is a well known example of this. You will notice leaves will lose their color and become translucent. This happens when the plants are transitioning from being grown out of the water to being placed in a submerged environment. It cannot be prevented but the recovery is generally quick, just make sure leaves are removed to stop them from rotting in the aquarium.
  4. These plants can be used as floating plants in many aquariums. However, when left to grow without regular trimming, they can become a very dense plant which limits the amount of light in the tank and can cause other plants to die. This can easily be solved by regular trimmings and sometimes removal of some stems.
  5. This plant can thrive when kept in high light, but so can unwanted algae. Consistently high levels of light can encourage algae growth which can compete against Moneywort for nutrients. The algae growth can be easily controlled by doing regular water testing and maintaining the water parameters.

Compatibility And Tank Mates

This plant species is compatible with some of the most popular freshwater fish and non-fish tank mates.

Popular species such as Danios, Barbs and almost all Tetras are amazing for aquariums with Moneywort. You can also keep this plant with other popular species including: Dwarf Spotted Danios, Cherry Barbs, Swordtails, Neon Tetras, Angelfish and Pearl Gourami.

Goldfish are known to be unpredictable with live plants, however they tend to stay away from Moneywort so they should be compatible.

You should avoid Buenos Aires Tetras are best avoided because they are known to feast on live plants.

Ram Cichlids, like German Blue Rams, are a great choice because their colors pop against the bright green leaves.

Floating Moneywort can make great plants for livebearers too. They make great hiding spaces and will provide protection for small fry. This plant can also be great for fish species that thrive in low light like Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlids and Bettas.

Shrimps make great tank mates for this plant species too and help to prevent the growth of algae in high light conditions. However, it is best to stay away from any herbivorous snails.

You should avoid keeping this plant with fish that have the tendency to disrupt sediment and uplift roots – common examples include African Cichlids.

How To Grow Moneywort

Propagating Moneywort is just as easy as maintaining it.

Just like other stem plants, you can produce more by taking cuttings and replanting them.

The best way to do this is to wait until side shoots are produced.

Side shoots grow where there is a leaf node so you can keep an eye on this.

Once the side shoots roots are around 1 inch long, take your aquascaping scissors and cut at least half an inch underneath the roots.

This stem can now be replanted.

If there are no side shoots then you can make a cutting between the leaves of the stem and the leaf nodes.

Floating Moneywort will grow horizontally and produce side shoots along the stem and most likely in multiple places. These can be cut in sections to produce multiple individual plants to either place in the sediment or keep floating.

FAQs About Moneywort

Does Moneywort need CO2?

Moneywort does not require CO2 to grow. However, like most plants, the addition of CO2 will improve the growth rate of this plant.

How fast does Moneywort grow?

Moneywort is a low growing plant with an estimated growth rate of just over 1 inch per month.

Summary

Moneywort is a great pick for anyone that wants a live aquatic plant that is easy to keep.

This bright beautiful plant is incredibly versatile and can be floated or kept as a carpet.

They are compatible with many fish species and non-fish species in tropical freshwater tanks and can offer shelter to small fry and shy fish.

Because they are so hardy you can alter their water parameters and light conditions to encourage specific growth of this plant.

Does this sound like a live plant your aquarium is missing?

Let us know in the comments section below…

About David Thomas

David Thomas David has been keeping fish since he was a child. In his first tank he kept goldfish and since then he has kept over 30 different species. Now he has 4 separate tanks and his favorite is a 100 gallon freshwater tank with a school of Rasboras, Tetras and Loaches.