Scarlet Temple (Alternanthera reineckii)

Alternanthera reineckii (Scarlet Temple) is an ideal aquatic stem plant for beginners due to its ability to tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

An ideal species for those looking to add some depth and texture to the midground of their tank, Scarlet Temple is a bright red carpet-forming weed with unique wavy leaves.

It is a popular foreground or mid-ground showing off from the corners or closer to the center of the tank. Scarlet Temple is easy to maintain and grows rapidly. 

Quick Stats:

Scientific Name: Alternanthera reineckii

Family: Amaranthaceae

Common Names: Scarlet Temple, Red Temple, AR

Habitat: South America, Malaysia

Height: 8 to 10 inches

pH Range: 6.0 to 8.0

Temperature: 70°F to 82°F

What Is Alternanthera reineckii?

Alternanthera reineckii is a type of aquatic weed found in marshy areas.

This species is native to Malaysia, and is commonly kept in aquariums – it will grow to around 8-19 inches in length.

This plant appears as a bright red colored carpet of narrow leaves that look tightly pressed against each other.

These leaves will range in color from red to pink and appear to be undulating due to the unique shape and overlapping arrangement of the leaves.

Alternanthera reineckii "Scarlet Temple" Plant Care Guide

Alternanthera reineckii Facts

Scarlet Temple is a beautiful and popular carpeting stem plant species in aquariums.

It is one of the easier carpets to maintain and propagate, making it a good choice for everyone from beginner to advanced aquarists.

Planting them in a group will create an attractive and realistic display in an aquarium.

The bright red leaves of this species are easy to spot and stand out from the rest of the plants. 


Scarlet Temple is a low-growing weed-like plant species, with leaves around 1.5 to 3 inches in size.

Leaves of Alternanthera reineckii are usually wider at the base with a pointed, carrot-like tip on the end.

The leaves themselves have an undulated surface, with wrinkles on the top and a fine net-like texture on the bottom.

Scarlet Temple will also have distinctly red foliage, varying in intensity depending on light and nutrient availability. 


Alternanthera reineckii is native to South America and Malaysia.

In the wild, this species is known to grow in damp marshy regions, often near water sources such as rivers and marshes.

Scarlet Temple can also be found in brackish areas or calm coastal streams with moderate to no current. 

pH Preference

Alternanthera reineckii is fairly versatile in terms of pH, with an ideal range of 6.0 to 8.0.

This species can tolerate slightly acidic or basic pHs and can grow in pH below 5.0 and above 8.0 provided the buffering capacity is sufficient. 

Vivarium Type

The Scarlet Temple is quite an easy-going species. With that in mind, it will not be too complicated when it comes to choosing the type of enclosure it is grown in. It is best to try and replicate the plant’s natural habitat as much as possible.

Doing so will make it easier to provide this foliage plant with its basic needs. The proper setup and theme of the enclosure will make a big difference to the overall look and health of the plant. Be sure to choose setups that are moist and high in humidity.

Here are recommended vivariums it will do well in:

  • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.
  • Ripariums – Mostly aquatic-based enclosures with some terrain features present.
  • Aquariums – Fully aquatic-based enclosure with little to no dry terrain.

Vivarium Placement

Alternanthera reineckii is an undemanding carpet-forming plant that is perfect for beginner aquarists.

It is an ideal species to create a lush and dense carpet in the midground of a tank, as it can be easily maintained and propagated.

Plant multiple specimens in a group at the front of the tank; this will create an attractive display in your aquarium. 


Scarlet Temple prefer nutrient-rich aquatic substrates such as sandy soil or a proven laterite mix. It is important to ensure good and even water circulation around the plant to avoid anaerobic decay and to promote healthy growth. 


Scarlet Temple requires moderate to strong aquarium lighting, with a minimum value of .5 watts per liter to promote healthy growth in your tank.

However, if you have a well-rounded aquarium with other plants, you can use lower lighting levels.

The intensities of the bulbs should range from 6500 to 10,000k, and the photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) should be between 60 and 80 μmol m2∙s-1. 

Buy Alternanthera reineckii

When it comes to buying Alternanthera reineckii, there are a few things to keep in mind. Making sure the plant is healthy when purchased is essential for its success in a vivarium or pond. Vegetation that is already in poor conditions will have a very hard time adjusting to new environments.

Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info about this plant.

Alternanthera reineckii Care & Propagation

Scarlet Temple is very easy to care for and propagate aquarium plants.

It can be easily propagated by removing cuttings from an established carpet using a pair of tweezers.

Each cutting should have at least one pair of leaves and some roots to ensure successful growth. 

How to Grow

Alternanthera reineckii can be planted in the substrate of your aquarium or left to float freely in the water.

It can also be propagated through stem cuttings, allowing the majority of the stem to remain in the substrate while allowing some of the leaves to float freely in the water.

This species can also tolerate drastic underwater pruning, allowing you to create interesting shapes and designs in your tank. 

Water Requirements

Scarlet Temple does well in tanks with low to moderate temperatures, typically ranging from 72-82 °F.

Water changes should be done regularly to maintain optimal water conditions as well as to remove any unwanted nutrients that are present in the water. 

Plants Similar To Alternanthera reineckii

Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing setup. Try mixing up the look of your vivarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment.

Furthermore, if for some reason you find the Scarlet Temple hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this aquarium plant… Here are other stem plants you might find will do well with or in place of Alternanthera reineckii :

Egeria densa "Anacharis" Plant Care Guide
Hygrophila polysperma "Dwarf Hygrophila" Plant Care Guide
Hygrophila corymbosa "Giant Hygrophila" Plant Care Guide


Scarlet Temple is a great beginner-friendly carpeting stem plant that can add dimension to your aquarium in a beautiful and easy-to-maintain way.

This species is undemanding and can survive in a wide range of water parameters, making them very hardy.

It is the ideal addition to any tank and can be propagated easily through stem cuttings or dividers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Alternanthera is a popular aquarium plant. It is aroids family of plants that can be grown both submersed and emerse. Its small, pointed leaves create a carpetlike effect in the aquarium, with the bright green foliage looking exceptionally good. Alternanthera can spread quickly and is a lowmaintenance aquarium plant, making it suitable for beginners.

Yes, Alternanthera reineckii is a stem plant, which is a type of aquatic plant with a stem or a few stems which extend above the substrate.

No, Alternanthera reineckii Mini does not require CO2 in order to grow.

To keep Alternanthera reineckii red, make sure it gets plenty of bright, direct light and fertilizer that is high in iron and micronutrients. Also, ensure the tank water does not become too alkaline by regularly testing pH levels.

Yes, Scarlet Temple is an easytogrow, heattolerant leafy green that is wellsuited for aquariums.

Alternanthera reineckii typically grows to a height of 810 inches.

No, Alternanthera does not require full sun to thrive. It tolerates partial shade and can even grow in medium or low light.

Yes, Alternanthera reineckii (AR) can be floated in an aquarium tank. Floating AR is a great way to provide shade and reduce light penetration into the water column which can help plants lower in the aquarium receive the light they require to grow and thrive.

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