Tonina fluviatilis is an exceptional, especially decorative stem plant from the tropics of Central and South America. There it grows emersed and submerged in soft, acid, clear waters, also in blackwater biotopes. It is a member of the Pipewort family (Eriocaulaceae) as well as Eriocaulon and Syngonanthus. Only in recent times, Tonina fluviatilis has gained wider distribution in the aquarium hobby. Its thin, branched stems are densely set with lanceolate, only about 1 – 1.5 cm long leaves that are a fresh light green color with slightly silvery shine underwater.
As a typical soft water plant, Tonina fluviatilis is suited for appropriate aquariums with soft, rather acid water and high CO2 concentration (about 20-30 mg/l). It prefers also strong lighting. An acid substrate, for example, a type of aqua soil, is recommendable, as well as balanced nutrient supply, particularly with micronutrients. Its growth rate is only moderate. Tonina is easily propagated by stem cuttings.
Tonina fluviatilis looks especially well as a group in the midground to the background. With its exotic habit, it fits well in tanks with other unusual plants, e.g. Syngonanthus and Eriocaulon species, sharing the same demands with them. It is also interesting for blackwater biotope aquariums, provided that its high lighting and CO2 demands can be covered.
Family Name: Eriocaulaceae
Origin: Central/South America, West Indies, Mexico
Light: Medium to High
Propagation: Cut new growth along with roots
Growth rate: Slow