Cabomba furcata
Red Cabomba


Background History

Cabomba furcata is an exquisite red aquatic plant that has become popular in the planted aquarium hobby over the years. Of all the Cabomboidae family, this species is one of the hardest to maintain and serves as a challenge to even the advance plant enthusiast.  This plant is found naturally in South America.

Cabomba furcata is known as Red Cabomba, Forked Fanwort, or Cabomba Piauhyensis.

Growth Characteristics

Cabomba furcata is a moderately demanding plant in that it requires high amounts of light and carbon dioxide to grow to its optimum potential.  It is also important to maintain a nutrient rich substrate, clear water clarity, an acidic pH of 6.4-6.8, and soft water.  When placed in these conditions, Cabomba furcata stems can reach a height of 32 inches (80 cm) and sprout out 2-3 fine red-brown leaves at each node.

In less than ideal conditions, Cabomba furcata’s leaves will slowly fall off and the stem will show longer growth between the leaf nodes.

Cabomba furcata stems that reach the surface will develop violet/white flowers with a yellow center.

Propagation is through cutting side shoots and lateral growth. It is important to regularly trim dense growth to allow light to penetrate to the leaves at the base of the plant.

Aquascaping Application

Cabomba furcata is best planted in dense stem groups of 3-7 stems.  When placed in the midground or background areas, the red foliage will serve as an attractive piece in the aquascape.

As an alternative or a complement to the red variety, Cabomba caroliniana will display vibrant green leaves.  

Trimming the plant at the lower internodes will force the plant to send out side shoots that can make the plant appear.  In addition, trimming so that the stems are terraced at different heights allows for greater visual depth of the plant.

Photo Credit: G.Sheppard

Plant Profile
Scientific Name: Cabomba furcata
Common Name: Red Cabomba
Difficulty: Hard
CO2 Requirements: High
Lighting Requirements: High
Plant Arrangement: Midground
Growth Rate: Moderate
Family: Cabombaceae
Genus: Cabomba
Origin: South America
Plant Type: Stem
Water Hardness: Soft (GH = 4-8 dH)