Alternanthera Reineckii ‘Mini’: Pretty and Easy to Care for

Alison Page

Alison Page


alternanthera reineckii 'mini'

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Alternanthera reineckii “mini” is a beautiful red-leafed plant that’s perfect if you want a plant that grows slowly and doesn’t get too tall for a small tank.

Unlike many red plants, this variety isn’t especially difficult to care for, making it a good choice for a novice aquarist. The plant is readily available and not expensive to buy, and you can propagate it yourself to create new plants if you want to.

If you’re tempted to try growing Alternanthera reineckii “mini” in your aquarium, you must read this guide to learn everything you need to know about this striking plant, including how to grow and propagate it.

Alternanthera Reineckii “Mini”- Overview

Alternanthera Reineckii 'Mini' Info
Scientific NameAlternanthera rosaefolia reineckii minor
Common NameAR Mini, Mini Alternanthera
OriginSouth America
Ease of GrowingModerately challenging
AquascapeMidground to foreground plant, ideal for Dutch aquascapes
HeightUp to around 8 inches tall
pH5.0 to 7.0
Ideal Water Temperature72° to 82°F
Growth RateSlow-grower
PropagationTake cuttings and plant them directly in the substrate
Light RequirementModerate to high lighting levels
CO2CO2 is optional but not essential for good plant growth and vibrant coloration

What Is Alternanthera Reineckii “Mini”?

Alternanthera reineckii “mini” is a small variety of the ever-popular aquarium plant, Alternanthera reineckii. Sometimes, this species of plant is referred to as AR Mini or Mini Alternanthera.

This is a small, compact variant of a plant that comes from South America, typically Argentina and Brazil, where it grows wild, both emersed and submersed, usually along the margins of slow-moving water bodies, including streams, ponds, and rivers.

This variant of the plant typically grows to between 4 and 8 inches tall and has narrow, elongated leaves that are a vibrant red, pink, or orange color.

Alternanthera reineckii “mini” is popular in the hobby for its vibrant coloration, and it’s also relatively easy to grow when provided with high lighting and adequate nutrient levels. Although it’s not essential, CO2 injections will boost the plant’s growth rate and improve its coloration.

This is one of my favorite plants that I use in the midground or foreground of my tanks, and it can be combined with other plant species to create an aquascape of dramatically contrasting textures and colors. I recommend regular trimming to help the plant maintain its compact shape and be sure to place it where other nearby plants won’t overshadow it.

Can You Grow Alternanthera Reineckii “Mini” Emersed?

Although the plant is usually used in an aquarium setting, you can grow Alternanthera reineckii “mini” emersed with the correct care, making it a nice choice for a terrarium or paludarium setup.

You’ll need to provide the plant with a nutrient-rich, quality substrate that is specially formulated for emersed growth and use bright lighting, ideally a combination of warm white and cool white fluorescent bulbs or LEDs. To ensure photosynthesis, you’ll need to give the plant between 10 and 12 hours of light per day.

For healthy plants, you’ll need to keep the leaves moist by misting the plants regularly and keep humidity levels in the environment high by using a terrarium cover or humidity dome.

Water the emersed plant regularly, keeping the substrate moist but not waterlogged, and maintain a constant temperature of between 68° to 82°F, avoiding extreme fluctuations.

Although fertilization isn’t essential, emersed plants will benefit from extra nutrients, so provide Alternanthera reineckii “mini” with a balanced liquid fertilizer or root tabs in the substrate.

Alternanthera Reineckii “Mini” – Care Guide

Alternanthera reineckii “mini” can be grown by both experienced and beginner hobbyists alike, as long as you provide the plant with the correct conditions and offer it some additional nutrients in the form of root tabs or liquid fertilizer.

How to Plant Alternanthera Reineckii “Mini”

Choose where you’d like to grow the plant in your tank, considering the lighting conditions and the surrounding plants. Remember, Alternanthera reineckii “mini” needs lots of light, so don’t choose a spot that’s overshadowed by other plants or decorations.

This small plant is best suited to the midground or foreground of the aquarium, so choose your location accordingly.

Before planting, use a pair of sharp scissors to trim off any damaged or very long roots. That encourages the plant to put out new, healthier roots once it’s planted and established.

Take small clusters or individual Alternanthera reineckii “mini” stems and use tweezers to place them into the substrate gently. Ensure you plant the stems deep enough to cover the roots fully but don’t bury them too deeply. Leave plenty of space between the plants to allow for growth and spread.


Alternanthera reineckii “mini” is a root feeder, so you need to use a nutrient-rich substrate that’s designed for use in planted aquariums. However, if you need to use sand or gravel to suit your fish and other livestock, you can supplement the plant with root tabs or liquid fertilizer.

Although it’s down to personal choice, I think this beautiful red plant looks especially spectacular when displayed against a dark substrate with lots of brightly colored fish, such as Chili rasboras and Neon tetras darting among its leaves.

Lighting Requirements

Like most red-leafed plants, Alternanthera Reineckii “mini” needs fairly bright lighting to thrive and grow well, especially as this is a small, low-growing species.

LED lights can work well, provided you choose a unit with a high Kelvin rating of around 6500K that provides a balanced light spectrum that’s designed for planted tanks. T5 or T8 fluorescent tubes also work well, with a color temperature of around 6500K for optimal plant growth. Be sure to position the lights at a distance above the tank to ensure even coverage.

Another suitable option for AR Mini is Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) with a color temperature of around 6500K, and choose bulbs that are easily positioned or suspended for sufficient, even coverage.

Old-school hobbyists with larger or specialized planted tanks often prefer to use metal halide lights that produce high-intensity lighting for demanding plant species, such as AR Mini. However, these lights can produce more heat than is ideal and might require additional cooling measures.

When choosing aquarium lighting, striking a balance is critical since too much light can encourage algae growth and could also stress out sensitive fish species.

Water Parameters

Alternanthera reineckii “mini” is a tropical plant that prefers water temperatures from 72° to 82°F.

The water should be slightly acidic, with a pH between 5.0 and 7.5. Remember that if you’re using aquarium soil, that usually slightly lowers the pH naturally.


Alternanthera reineckii “mini” grows in relatively slow-moving waters, so it doesn’t appreciate being buffeted by a strong water flow. So, if your tank needs a powerful filter system to cope with the waste produced by your fish, you’ll need to position the plants in a sheltered spot or take steps to buffer the current.

Growth Rate

This is a small, slow-growing plant, although you can boost its growth rate by using CO2 injections and fertilizers and ensuring that the lighting in your tank is bright enough.

CO2 Injections

Although CO2 injections are not strictly necessary for Alternanthera reineckii “mini” to grow in most aquariums, as long as it has enough light and nutrients, there’s no doubt that CO2 supplementation does encourage growth and improves the plant’s coloration.

How To Propagate Alternanthera Reineckii “Mini”

alternanthera reineckii 'mini'

Alternanthera reineckii “mini” grows submersed in its natural environment and is relatively easy to propagate once it’s become established in a home aquarium.

Choose a healthy parent plant that has plenty of growth so that you can take cuttings. Pick a stem of around 2 to 3 inches long with several leaves, and use a pair of sharp, clean scissors to cut the stem just below a node where the leaves emerge.

Nip off the lower leaves, leaving just a few at the top. That reduces the plant’s demand for nutrients while your new cuttings establish a root system. If you want to, you can apply some rooting hormone powder or gel to the cut end of the stem to encourage the plantlet to put out roots, although that’s not strictly necessary.

Now, put the cutting into a container of clean, dechlorinated water, with two of the nodes submerged, and place the container in a spot where it gets plenty of bright, indirect light. Every couple of days, you’ll need to change the water so it doesn’t go stagnant or harbor bacteria, keeping the nodes submerged.

In a week or two, the cutting should begin putting out white roots from the nodes on the stem, indicating you’re ready to transfer your plant to the substrate in your aquarium. I advise using a small terracotta pot filled with suitable aquarium soil or a mix of sand and nutrient-rich gravel.

Remove the cutting from the water and plant it gently in the pot of substrate, ensuring the stem is placed deep enough to keep it securely anchored. Now you can put the potted cutting into your fish tank or paludarium. Be patient, as it can take a few weeks for the cutting to grow into a new daughter Alternanthera reineckii “mini” plant and become established.


Alternanthera reineckii “mini” plants don’t need much maintenance since they are very slow growing. However, you will need to keep them tidy and do some pruning and trimming from time to time.

Look out for overgrown stems, diseased or damaged leaves, and any parts of the plant that are preventing it from growing in the shape you want.

You can either give the plant a light pruning or go for a more severe trim. If you go for the light pruning option, all you need to do is remove a few leaves or individual stems, while a more severe pruning demands trimming back the plant significantly.

Whichever style of pruning you decide to go for, you’ll need to remove the stems just above a leaf node where the leaf attaches to the plant’s stem. That encourages new growth to emerge from the nodes.

Cut off any diseased or damaged leaves that are turning brown or yellow to prevent the spread of disease and tidy up the plant’s overall look. You can shape the plant as you want by selectively pruning certain areas, cutting back specific stems to create a more compact shape, or encouraging branching.

Keep an eye on the plant’s growth and prune it when necessary to ensure it keeps its shape and doesn’t overshadow other plants in your fish tank.

Tank Mates

When it comes to choosing tank mates for your Alternanthera reineckii “mini” plants, you can go with any of the small, peaceful fish species that generally do well in a planted community setup. So, choose tetras, danios, barbs, gouramis, and the like, as well as non-destructive bottom-dwellers, such as Corydoras catfish, Ottos, etc.

Invertebrates, such as dwarf shrimp and plant-safe snails, also do well in a tank with Alternathera reineckii “mini,” but I suggest avoiding fish species that love to dig and tug on plants, as they can cause a lot of damage.

Freshwater crabs and crayfish fall within the same destructive category and should be avoided if you want your delicate Alternanthera reineckii “mini” plants to remain in one piece!


Once Alternanthera reineckii “mini” is established, it’s pretty resilient as long as you provide the plant with the lighting and nutrients it needs. However, a few problems can arise, and we deal with them here.

Insufficient Lighting

Alternanthera reineckii “mini” plant needs moderate to high lighting conditions to thrive. If the plant doesn’t receive enough light, its colors will fade, its growth rate will slow, and the stems will become elongated and leggy.

If that happens, try increasing the light duration or intensity.

Inadequate Nutrients

Alternanthera reineckii “mini” needs plenty of nutrients for healthy growth, and if your plants develop pale or yellow leaves but your tank is well-lit, nutrient deficiency is most likely the cause.

In that case, you should try dosing the tank with liquid fertilizer or use root tabs around the plant bases. However, if your tank is well-stocked with fish and other aquatic creatures, the waste they produce should be enough to feed your plants.

That said, new tanks can sometimes take longer for the ecological balance to sort itself out, and you might need to supplement your plants for the first few months until things settle down.

CO2 Deficiency

CO2 is vital for efficient photosynthesis in plants, and a deficiency can lead to a slow growth rate, algae growth, and stunted leaves.

If you suspect your Alternanthera reineckii “mini” plants aren’t getting enough CO2, you could consider using a liquid carbon supplement to give them a boost.


Most good fish and aquarium supplies stores stock Alternanthera reineckii mini, and it usually retails for a few dollars for a pot. The plant is typically sold in small pots or as a tissue culture.

Of the two options, we recommend buying the Alternanthera reineckii mini plant as a 100% sterile tissue culture since that eliminates the risk of importing pest snails and other contaminants into your aquarium.


In this part of our guide, we answer some of the questions most often asked about growing Alternanthera reineckii “mini.”

Q: How big does Alternanthera reineckii mini get?

A: Alternanthera reineckii mini grows to between 4 and 8 inches tall. This is a slow-growing species that is ideal for small tanks or as a compact foreground plant.

Q: Does Alternanthera reineckii mini need CO2?

A: Although this plant will grow in a non-injected tank, its attractive red color will be more subdued. When grown in ideal conditions with bright light and CO2 injections, the underside of the plant’s leaves will be vibrant red

Q: Is Alternanthera reineckii easy to grow?

A: When compared with other colored aquarium plants, Alternanthera reineckii is considered pretty easy to grow, making it a popular choice for beginner aquarists.

Q: Is Alternanthera an aquatic plant?

A: Alternanthera reineckii is a popular bushy and well-branched stem plant that can be grown in ponds and fish tanks.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our guide on how to care for and grow Alternanthera reineckii mini? If you did, please hit the share button above before you go!

Alternanthera reineckii mini is a popular aquarium plant with bright red leaves that makes a beautiful addition to any tropical fish tank. The plant is relatively easy to grow without CO2 injections, although supplementation does promote better growth and more vibrant color.

Thanks to its slow-growing habit and small size, Alternanthera reineckii mini is perfect for nano tanks or as a midground or foreground specimen, where it looks particularly striking against a dark substrate.

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