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How to Plant Cabomba Plants

By Brian Albert ; Updated September 21, 2017

Cabomba, commonly known as fanwort, is a popular aquarium and pond plant that provides shelter and oxygen to fish. The plant acts is a habitat for numerous microorganisms that are beneficial to the aquarium and are food for small fry and invertebrates. When designing a planted aquarium it can be utilized as bunches in corners or as a backdrop. The light green color of the fine needlelike, fan shaped leaves contrast well with dark green broad leaf plants. The new growth on some species are flushed with red or purple colors.

Remove the lead weight, or rubber band, that usually keeps the bunch of stems together when the plant is purchased. The plant will grow if it stays on, but might rot at the base.

Trim the bottom ends of each stem right above where they were bound together with the band or weight. This removes any damage from having been bunched together.

Cut any long stems down by trimming them from the bottom. They should be about one-half to two-thirds the height of your aquarium. Pinch off all the leaves 2 inches up from the bottom of the stem.

Use long, thin tweezers to push the bottom of each stem into the substrate deep enough so that it holds and does not float to the surface. You may have to bury up to 1 inch or more of stem. Start planting at the back, or in a back corner. Work out toward the front of the tank, planting each stem about 1 inch apart.


Things You Will Need

  • Cabomba
  • Scissors
  • Aquarium with treated water and substrate
  • Tweezers


  • Simply floating the plants will work. They eventually will grow roots down to the substrate.
  • Leaving the lead weight, or rubber band, works for a quick planting. Each stem will grow apart from the bunch and eventually the base will die out from lack of light or rot from damage. This is not attractive and will leave debris.
  • Lay a stem on it's side and weight down the top so it lays flat on the substrate. Each node will produce a new stem that grows up to the surface.


  • Make sure you review your local state laws concerning invasive aquatic plants. Some or all Cabomba species may not be allowed in your area.