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Aquarium Plants

Popular Cryptocoryne Plants For The Planted Aquarium

Popular Cryptocoryne Plants For The Planted Aquarium

Cryptocorynes have been one of the most popular plants in the aquarium hobby for many years. Every beginner in freshwater aquaristics inevitably comes into contact with this plant genus. Therefore, we would like to give Cryptocorynes the attention they deserve. This article will highlight some aspects regarding their origin, plant characteristics, and plant care. In addition, we present some of the most popular Cryptocoryne varieties.

General Description And Natural Habitat

Name: Cryptocoryne - Water trumpet
Family: Araceae
Origin: Asia – India, Sri Lanka, Malay Peninsula, Borneo, New Guinea
Growth: slow - medium
pH value: 5-8
Temperature tolerance: 15-30°C
Light demand: low - high

Most of the approximately 64 species of Cryptocoryne thrive as aquatic and marsh plants. The commercially available plants can therefore be cultivated both submerged and emersed. They react strongly to their respective environmental conditions and are, as a result, highly variable in their appearance. All Cryptocoryne usually have a creeping, more or less thick rhizome from which the leaf stalks arise. Thus it belongs to the so-called rosette plants. The natural reproduction of the plant is usually through underground runners. However, in aquarium culture, this usually takes place only very sporadically.

Since the Cryptocoryne species show differences in leaf shape, size, and color, we can find a suitable species or variety for any aquarium size and layout composition. Unlike stem plants, new shoots do not grow back on pruned stems but sprout directly from the center of the rootstock.

Cryptocoryne mainly inhabit fast-flowing water bodies, including their banks and dry pools in floodplains. To withstand water currents, the plants have, in addition to hair-thin roots, distinctive and stronger ones with which they can firmly anchor themselves in the ground. Many of the Cryptocoryne available in the aquarium trade originate from Sri Lanka, Borneo, or the Malay Peninsula. The habitats of Cryptocoryne show partly different conditions and can therefore differ slightly in the keeping conditions. In Sri Lanka, for example, the waters are medium-hard to hard and exposed to full sun. Conversely, Cryptocorynes grow in a very soft, extremely acidic environment in Borneo and the Malay Peninsula. There they are found in semi-shaded to shaded locations.

Cryptocoryne spiralis 'tiger'

Popular Cryptocoryne Species

Cryptocoryne Wendtii Green There are already many cultivated forms of cryptocoryne wendtii from Sri Lanka. The wendtii 'green' is an attractive, medium-sized water trumpet whose elongated and slightly wavy leaves have a rich green color and remain pure green even with increasing age. The stems and rhizomes often show brownish to flesh-colored. This plant grows quite compactly and remains relatively small, with a 5-10 cm growth height, making it suitable even for nano aquariums. Propagation via runners hardly takes place with this version. The wendtii 'green' grows medium fast, even under low light conditions. Under strong light conditions, it gets shallow and compact growth. 

Dennerle Plants - Cryptocoryne wendtii Green     

Cryptocoryne Beckettii ‘Petchii’ – This cryptocoryne is one of the classic aquatics. It has elongated leaves with beautiful, slightly wavy leaf edges. The top of the leaf often appears brownish, and in contrast, the underside looks a bit more reddish. This easy-to-keep aquarium plant grows quite compactly and can reach about 10-15+ cm in height. This water trumpet can also be cultivated as an epiphyte. Simply tie it to hardscape - rocks or driftwood - with a string. After a few weeks, the plant will be attached to it with its roots.

Tropica plant - Cryptocoryne beckettii petchii

Other Names: Petch's water trumpet – Cryptocoryne 'petchii Alston'                                       

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Pink Panther’ – With its distinct pink coloration, the wendtii 'pink panther' has an exceptional color. The arrow-shaped leaves, wavy at the leaf edge, also have darkly prominent and clearly visible leaf veins. It grows pretty compact and can reach 5-10+ cm in height. In most aquariums, its appearance is striking. It contrasts nicely with groups of lush green aquarium plants or as a varied addition to deep red aquatic plants.

Other Names: C. 'Flamingo' – C. 'Fancy Pink' – C. ‘Pink Flamingo’

ADA plant - Cryptocoryne wendtii Pink Panther

Cryptocoryne Parva – This tiny Cryptocoryne from Sri Lanka is a particularly small remaining and probably the most delicate water trumpet. It is a slow-growing foreground and accent plant that grows only 3-6 cm tall in the aquarium. The more light Cryptocoryne parva gets, the lower the bright green leaves stay. It is one of the few species that does not really change its leaf shape and color significantly depending on growth habits. Cryptocoryne parva needs more light than most other Crypts, as its leaf blade becomes very narrow in submerged growth. Therefore, it should never be overshadowed by other plants. If you want cryptocoryne parva to form a nice dense carpet in the aquarium, you should plant it very densely. Otherwise, it could take years to form a thick and lush carpet.

Tropica plant - Cryptocoryne parva

Cryptocoryne Albida ‘Brown’ – This beautiful Cryptocoryne captivates with a light and graceful appearance that combines well with many other plants in the aquarium and allows excellent contrasts. It develops narrow, reddish-brown leaves that grow 5-15 cm long, with a dark stripe-like pattern and wavy leaf edges. In a prominent position in the planted aquarium, Albida' brown' can easily add magnificent magic to the scenery.

Other Names: Cryptocoryne retrospiralis var. costata

Tropica plant - Cryptocoryne albida 'Brown'

Cryptocoryne Crispatula Var. Balansae – If you are looking for a Cryptocoryne for the aquarium background, you will inevitably come across the variant' crispatula var. balansae'. This aquatic plant has long, bright green leaves, which appear relatively narrow due to the considerable length of up to 60 cm. The intense fluting of the leaves is distinct and beautiful, which gives this Cryptocoryne an unmistakable look. This water trumpet can be especially recommended for all cichlid lovers who want a bit of green in the aquarium. It tolerates harder water quite well, as the conditions in its natural habitat are sometimes fairly chalky. Moreover, this crypt does not seem tasty, as cichlids hardly nibble it.

Other Names: Cryptocoryne somphongsi, Cryptocoryne somphongsii

Stoffels plant - Cryptocoryne crispatula var. balansae

Cryptocoryne X Purpurea – It has extended green leaves and, with visually impressive marbling, a beautiful representative of its genus. This water trumpet remains relatively small, with a growth height of only about 10 cm. Therefore this plant can be used well in nano aquariums and the foreground of larger aquariums. Cryptocoryne x purpurea's growth is much slower than some other Cryptocoryne species.

Dennerle Plants - Cryptocoryne x purpurea

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Mi Oya’ – This beautiful variety of Cryptocoryne wendtii from the Mi Oya River in Sri Lanka has characteristic greenish to reddish-brown, slightly bulbous leaves that can grow up to 20-35 cm. tall. As Cryptos are, it is basically a frugal aquatic plant for the middle ground of larger aquariums. Surrounded by a carpet of green plants, it comes off beautifully as a solitary plant.

Other Names: Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Red’

Stoffels plant - Cryptocoryne wendtii Mi Oya

Cryptocoryne Spiralis ‘Tiger’ – This medium-fast growing narrow-leaved cryptocoryne displays a beautiful tiger skin pattern on its 10-30 cm long brown-red to red-green leaves. Under strong lighting, the reds become quite a bit more intense. It can be placed wonderfully in the middle and background of larger aquariums and the back of nano aquariums. Placing a few pinnate green stem plants next to the C. Spiralis Tiger creates a stunning look.

ADA plant - Cryptocoryne spiralis tiger In-Vitro M

Cryptocoryne Lutea ‘Hobbit’ – This pretty small-staying Cryptocoryne is only a dwarf with a 4-8 cm growth height. Like most aquarium plants, it is raised emersed in plant nurseries. Therefore, when you buy the Cryptocoryne lutea 'hobbit,' you usually get it with greenish leaves. However, the submerged leaves are pointed, oval, more upright, and olive to brownish. This water trumpet is super suitable for the foreground of all aquarium sizes. Depending on the aquarium layout, it can also enrich the midground.

Other Names: Cryptocoryne walkeri ‘hobbit’

Dennerle Plants - Cryptocoryne lutea Hobbit

Cryptocorynes And Aquarium Cultivation

For the cultivation of Cryptocoryne in the aquarium, we recommend, as generally for all other plants, a nutrient-rich substrate in combination with a balanced liquid fertilization. In addition, at least a medium-strong lighting with additional CO2 supply is highly advisable since many Cryptocoryne species only show their most beautiful colors and compact growth under good nutrient conditions.

If you want to propagate Cryptocoryne, the easiest and fastest way is to divide the rhizome. Although, Cryptocoryne can self-propagate through runners. At least, that's how it happens in nature. However, the natural reproduction of this plant genus is far slower than other aquarium plants, such as carpet-forming plants like Micranthemum Sp. 'Monte Carlo'. So you may have to wait quite a long time for runners. Therefore, most water trumpets can also be used ideally as a solitary plant.

Cryptocoryne in a planted aquarium

Susceptibility And Cryptocoryne Rot

Although cryptocoryne are generally not classified as demanding plants, they can still be sensitive to environmental changes.

One of the few problems that can occur when cultivating cryptocoryne is known as cryptocoryne rot. Susceptibility to cryptocoryne rot varies significantly from species to species. It manifests itself by the plant's leaves decomposing and completely disintegrating in a short time. In the past, it was assumed that it was a disease. Today, experts believe that Cryptocoryne, in this way, meets sudden environmental changes. For example, such leaf loss may occur during the plant's transition period from emersed to submerged growth after the plant has been introduced into the aquarium. The rhizome is usually unaffected, and new, healthy leaves soon grow from the rhizomes. The water trumpet recovers completely.

To avoid the phenomenon of Cryptocoryne rot, most aquarium stores keep Cryptocoryne for sale, not in the sales aquarium but rather emerged in a plant terrarium. Few customers would know that a molted Cryptocoryne in the retail aquarium is not broken but only sheds emersed leaves as a side effect of the switch to submerged growth.

Cryptocoryne parva

Finally, A Few Tips For Crypt Cultivation

Cutting Off Emersed Leaves Before Planting This sounds crazy at first. Still, it is a proven method to prevent Cryptocoryne rot after initial planting in one's aquarium. Removing or cutting off the emersed crypt leaves has several advantages. Firstly, this means that no melting leaves could pollute the aquarium water and necessitate additional maintenance work. Also, the Cryptocoryne, without its emersed leaves, adapts much faster to the new environment and growth habits. In general, the plant will grow more compact. There is one supposed disadvantage. In the first weeks, until the fresh leaves sprout, you will only see a few cut stems and nothing else from the Cryptocoryne.

Attention! The Cryptocoryne Parva is the only one that does not like to have its leaves removed so radically before planting. So please stay away from it! The good thing about Cryptocoryne Parva is that its emersed leaves usually don't melt when planted in the aquarium.

Cichlid-Resistant Plants – Due to their high oxalic acid content, most cryptocorynes are considered cichlid-resistant aquarium plants. They are, therefore, usually spared by other herbivorous fish, too.

Suitable For Emersed Plant Arrangements – Cryptocorynes can grow easily above water in humid environments, making them ideal for paludariums, terrariums, wabi kusa, and bottle gardens. Many cryptocoryne species exhibit a much thicker leaf structure with shiny surfaces above water and readily come into bloom when kept emerged.

Do You Have Other Questions About Cryptocoryne Plants?

If you still have questions about cryptocoryne plants, don't hesitate to contact our friendly customer service. We will also answer any other questions about the freshwater aquarium hobby.

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