AquariumAquatic plant

Instructions for Planting, Care, Propagation of Mangrove Trees – Madagascar Lace

The nettle is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful aquatic plants in the aquatic hobby. The fish net has attractive and attractively shaped leaves that add a whole new aesthetic to an aquarium.

Although this plant is very popular with aquarists and in the aquarium business, Madagascar lace is considered difficult to keep because of its specific care requirements.

A quick note about Madagascar Lace

Common nameMadagascar Lace
Some other namesGrid Choi, Twisted Choi
Science nameAponogeton madagascariensis
Tank size (minimum)~ 120 liters
The lightMedium to high 
Optimal PH5,5 – 7,5
Optimal gh2 – 10
Optimal temperature20-24°C
SubstrateEssential (rich in nutrients)
Sizemore than 60cm
Growth rateVery fast
Location in the tankbackground
FertilizerNecessary, needs
CO2Necessary, needs
ReproductionSeedlings through bulbs or seeds

Origin and classification of Choi Grid

This plant was first described by the French botanist Charles François Brisseau de Mirbel in 1802. It was later renamed several times, for example Hydrogeton fenestralis (by CH Persoon in 1805), Aponogeton fenestralis (by J.D. Hooker in 1883) until finally classified as Aponogeton madagascariensis by H. Bruggen in 1968

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Choi Grid's Habitat

The nettle is endemic to the Central, Western and Eastern river systems of Madagascar and the Comoros Islands. Today this plant is also introduced in Mauritius.

In the wild, this species can be found in a variety of freshwater environments, from stagnant ponds, to fast-flowing rivers, on basalt or limestone, and swamps.


Basically, this is the only aquatic plant that has perforated leaf morphology . Because of this, Choi nets have been cultivated by aquarium enthusiasts for over 100 years!

Interesting facts: The reticulum forms holes in its leaves through a process known as cell death (PCD). PCD is a tightly controlled sequence of events that leads to the death of target cells.

Essentially, it leads to the formation of small holes in young leaves, which will later grow 10–20 times larger to form holes in mature leaves. Its leaves are connected by a network of longitudinal and transverse veins, enclosing segments (called segments) that are roughly square.

Note : Interestingly, the first 1–3 new leaves develop without perforation, while subsequent leaves have perforation.

The nettle tree is also a very diverse plant. This plant can grow leaves of various colors (from dark green to reddish), shapes (oval, oblong, lanceolate, ovoid, or ovoid), pointing upwards or along the substrate.

Its leaves can be as long as 60 cm or even more . The nettle is a very large plant and should only be placed in the background or used as a focal point in aquatic layout .

The nettle tree is a beautiful flowering plant. In the aquarium, where it grows on the surface, it forms lovely white flowers that develop into purple.

Tank requirements and water parameters

Tank Size:

This plant requires a lot of space because of its ability to grow. 

Therefore, the recommended tank size for growing Madagascar lace ~ 120 liters . The bigger the better.

Water, temperature, Gh and pH :

Temperature : Choi Grid grows best in the temperature range from 20 – 24°C . In the wild, it doesn't like very warm temperatures. When the water temperature is close to 26°C, the growth rate slows down considerably. At temperatures above 28 plants may not grow or die.

pH : Madagascar lace prefers slightly acidic water. Basically, the pH from 5,5 – 7,5 suitable for this species. Make sure to monitor the pH of the water.

GH : This plant can grow well in both hard and soft water environments. However, it is best to consider water from soft to moderately hard in your aquarium.

The light: 

Some aquarists say that in their tanks Choi mesh thrives even in low tech tanks and requires moderate light to be the best.

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However, if you want to see this plant grow to its full potential, you need to provide lots of light!

Use the emitted light 125 μmol/m2/s (PAR) on a 12-hour light/dark cycle . This plant needs strong light and a long photoperiod.


The Choi Grid is a very heavy rooting plant. It requires a nutrient-rich substrate for optimal growth.

This tree has huge roots! They can easily grow to 25-40 cm long. Therefore, the substrate should have a minimum depth of about 5-7 cm.

CO2 and growth:

CO2 : The addition of CO2 is highly recommended, it is very difficult to grow Choi net without CO2.

Attention : You need to understand that tall light-loving plants must be balanced in terms of CO2 and nutrients. Never use bright light without pumping CO2, in simple words you will have problems with algae and moss

Fertilization : In addition, Choi grid will benefit from quantifying the root tab frequent . This will help maintain healthy growth and ensure that the plant maintains its best color.

The nettle is considered a difficult plant to live for a long time. Aquarists complain that it dies within a year or so. Therefore, it is even suggested to treat it as an "annual" or seasonal plant.

How to take care of Grid Choi:

Clean . The mesh has perforated leaves that are always covered with dirt and moss. Do not allow this to happen. You need to clean its leaves at least once in 2-3 weeks. Gently hold the leaf between the palms and rub.

Clean water . You don't want any debris floating in your water column. Otherwise, you will have to clean it very often! Because of its leaf structure, this is a much-needed requirement.

Cut . Remove old and damaged leaves at the same time. These leaves will use the plant's resources making it weaker. Don't underestimate the importance of pruning. 

Importance: When the dormant period begins, remove nearly all of the leaves. You can leave 3-5 healthiest cards.

Additions . Each week, take a little iron, 1 mg/L monopotassium phosphate, and 10 mg/L potassium nitrate. The Choi netr tree is a large and fast-growing tree. It requires a lot of nutrients.

Water exchange . Every week should change 15 – 30% amount of water.

Madagascar Lace (Aponogeton madagascariensis) Care Instructions - Growing, Growing and Propagation -bulb

Once a year, when the plant stops growing (usually in the summer because of the high temperatures) and begins its dormancy period, you need to dig up the plant and inspect the tubers. In most cases, you will see the tubers begin to rot from the bottom. Don't worry, this is normal.

The rotting started due to the huge roots of this plant. In the aquarium this happens because the substrates are not deep enough, as a result they tightly enclose the bulb.

For example, in the wild, nets are often secured in the gravel bed at the bottom of a river. However, using its extremely long roots, the plant is able to reach nutrient-rich soil. Obviously, this environment is really hard to replicate in your aquarium.

Use a knife to cut off all rotting parts. It must be completely clean.

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Take activated charcoal, grind it into a powder, add a little water and apply it on the treated surface.

Let it dry for a few hours. Then you can replant.

Planting and propagating the Grid

Madagascar Lace Care Guide (Aponogeton madagascariensis) - flower

The nettle is available in tubers with or without leaves.

Tubers should NOT be completely buried in the substrate to avoid rotting. Just bury about 2/3 of the tubers in the medium. Use small stones to hold it in place if needed.

A thick root system will develop underneath the substrate and growth will continue. The mesh will grow well on a deep and rich substrate.

Grid Choi can spawn in two ways:

  • Rare type: Propagate by seeds produced by the plant after the flower withers.
    Note : The inflorescences must rise above the water for the flowers to bloom. 
  • Popular : By separating the tuber and the plant, it can be done when the tubers/buds have fully developed and formed their own roots.

Issues related to planting Choi nets

Rest period (hibernation):   The grid has a rest period where some leaves die and growth almost stops.

Solution: Check the temperature right from the start. Providing enough nutrients and keeping it within optimal water parameters will shorten this period to a minimum. Just wait until the tree recovers. Eventually, it will start growing again.

Tremendous growth : The main problem related to Choi Grid is that it grows too big and too fast. The nettle has the ability to grow very large once provided with plenty of light, CO2 and nutrients.
Solution: It is advisable to keep these factors in balance and prune the leaves regularly so that the plant does not take up most of the space in the tank.

Bad tubers: If you are buying a griddle for the first time, you need to be aware that not all tubers are good. Unfortunately, some will never germinate.

Solution: do not have.

To move :  The root system of Choi mesh is very large. Therefore, when you decide to remove the crop, you pull everything up!

Algae : Fishing nets are prone to algae growth. Another factor that encourages this is the availability of intense light or prolonged photoperiods that are so essential for this species.

Solution: Regularly clean and use shrimp, snails and some moss-eating fish.

Sensitive to nutrients : The net can't survive without nutrition for a long time. It dies from lack of nutrients.
Solution: frequent pooping.


The nettle tree gets its common name from its unique reticulated leaf pattern.

This plant has been planted since 1855 and continues to rank among the most beautiful and popular aquarium plants.

However, behind its beauty lies the need for proper maintenance and care. Therefore, Choi net cannot be recommended for beginners due to its care requirements.

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