Cryptocoryne balansae plant, otherwise known as Balansae’s Cryptocoryne, Balansae’s Waterfall Plant, or Coin Leaf Cryptocoryne, is one of the most sought-after varieties of cryptocoryne plants. These plants are easy to care for, are also quite low maintenance, and are often considered one of the most beautiful types of aquatic plants available on the market today.
Cryptocoryne balansae, also known as Jewel of the Balansae or the Balansae Crypt, is one of approximately 150 species of cryptocoryne plant that are native to India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia. Like other plants in the cryptocoryne genus, balansae plants are grown primarily as ornamental plants due to their vibrant coloration and unique shapes.
As with most plants in this genus, it requires only moderate levels of care in order to grow into a healthy and attractive houseplant specimen.
Cryptocoryne balansae is native to Malaysia and Indonesia where it grows in swamps and marshes. It’s an attractive plant that can grow up to one foot (30 – 55 cm) tall with broad, heart-shaped leaves that have slight maroon markings on the leaf margins and speckled olive-green coloration throughout the leaves, which are up to eight inches (20 cm) long and five inches (13 cm) wide.
Origin and descriptions
Cryptocoryne balansae is a freshwater aquarium plant native to Southeast Asia. The most distinguishing feature of this plant is its coloration with white leaf veins, which distinguishes it from its close relative, Cryptocoryne undulata. In aquascaping, it is commonly used in midground layers or background arrangements.
It grows slowly and prefers subdued lighting conditions. It is particularly sensitive to fluctuating water parameters; ideally, you should not allow these parameters to vary outside of established ranges for an extended period of time.
The cryptocoryne balansae plant is endemic to freshwater marshes in central Vietnam. It is one of over 200 species in the cryptocoryne genus, in the Araceae family. This plant’s small, rounded leaves create a unique shape that looks like a baby head with two deep eye sockets. It does best when kept in a shallow tank with open space for adequate airflow so it doesn’t get root rot.
These plants are also slow growers and may take anywhere from a few months to over a year to grow from start to finish. Cryptocoryne balansae plants will lose their healthy green color if exposed to excessive amounts of nitrates or ammonia, so water changes should be performed regularly.
They grow best in hard water but can tolerate somewhat soft water as well—however, carbon dioxide supplements are not necessary as long as enough light is provided. In addition, they prefer warm temperatures around 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit).
The plant likes having some amount of its roots covered by substrates.
Cryptocoryne balansae height
This plant can grow up to a height of 30-55 cm (12-22 inches)
How to grow cryptocoryne balansae
To successfully grow Cryptocoryne balansae, use water with high mineral content. For example, you can use rainwater, distilled water, or spring water. This is because Cryptocorynes are sensitive to chlorine. In addition, you need to add a commercial fertilizer for plants every two weeks after your plants have rooted in your aquarium to help them thrive.
Your Cryptocoryne will not tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C). Once they freeze, they will die back. So, if you live in an area that gets cold during wintertime, keep your greenhouse at a minimum of 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) when nighttime temperatures drop to make sure that your cryptocoryne won’t freeze. If possible, move your outdoor plants inside before freezing nights arrive.
During its active growing period between spring and summer, increase light hours so that each day receives 12-14 hours of light per day. Water your plant regularly using tepid water, but allow it to dry out slightly between watering.
Use a potting medium made of one part peat moss, one part sand, and one part gravel to promote root growth as well as good drainage. Be careful never to overwater your cryptocoryne. It should always be allowed to dry out slightly before watering again.
Cryptocoryne balansae care
Cryptocoryne balansae is an easy-to-grow foreground plant that requires slightly acidic, medium lighting conditions. It grows well in fine gravel with adequate filtration and moderate fertilization. This species requires an intermediate to hard water (5 – 8 dkh, 4 – 7 gh) with a pH between of 6.0 – 6.5.
Use fluoridated or reverse osmosis water if your tap water doesn’t fit these parameters. Don’t let it sit in stagnant water, however; prune off dead leaves regularly so it has room to grow.
Cryptocoryne balansae prefer bright but indirect light. Ideally, it should be situated close to a window that receives some sunlight in order to promote photosynthesis; however, it can also be placed in a shadier spot if necessary. As long as it gets consistent light—at least six hours per day—it will grow very well.
If it doesn’t receive enough illumination, its leaves will turn yellowish-green (or worse, brown) and its growth will slow down significantly. The lights used shouldn’t be hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler than 68 degrees Fahrenheit—or else you risk stressing your plant out.
Crypts are epiphytes, so it is best to mimic their natural environment as closely as possible. In nature, they grow in boggy soil with very few nutrients, so a good potting mix that contains little or no fertilizer is ideal. A mixture of one part leaf litter (e.g., sphagnum moss), one part gravel (1/4 inch or 6 mm diameter), and one part sand can be used to create a suitable growing medium.
Make sure you use aged leaf litter since fresh sphagnum moss tends to retain water poorly and can cause root rot if used as a primary growing medium. You should also avoid using bark-based potting mixes; these will hold too much moisture around your plant’s roots. Likewise, steer clear of peat-based mixes—peat retains far too much moisture for cryptocorynes.
If properly managed, a basic medium like those listed above should not need to be refreshed more than once every year or two; depending on how fast your plant grows, larger specimens may require more frequent repotting.
Like most Crypts, this is an easy plant to grow as long as you keep it well-watered. If you notice your plant starting to look a little droopy, increase your frequency of watering to every other day for a while until it perks back up. Then water normally once again. It can tolerate lots of abuse when it comes to over-watering, but under-watering will kill them in just a few days
Cryptocorynes balansae also appreciate frequent fertilization (about every two weeks), especially during their active growth cycle. Many hobbyists report excellent results using Flourish Excel with micronutrients (1 capful per 10 gallons). As usual, test your fertilizer against both freshwater and emersed plants before applying it to any botanical specimen.
Cryptocoryne balansae thrive in temperatures between 76-80 degrees. Temperatures below 70 degrees will begin to slow down growth, but it is still possible for it to survive at these temperatures over a short period of time. Warmer than 80 degrees may start to stress your plant; try keeping temperatures around 75-78 degrees if you’re growing it indoors. These plants can survive outdoors year-round in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 10B through 11.
Too much or too little humidity can wreak havoc on your aquatic plants. Be sure to research your plant’s ideal humidity level, which is often listed on its tag. (If there isn’t a tag, try looking for information online.) One way to regulate moisture levels is by placing pebbles in water tanks; as they soak up water, you can replace them with dry ones to reduce humidity.
The best humidity range is 70%-80% RH. You may have to change them every week or two in order to keep your plants within a healthy humidity range, especially if they are large.
Cryptocoryne balansae will produce new leaves at a rapid rate; if left unchecked, your plant will be too big for its container within six months. Remove brown or yellowing leaves to prevent rot and allow more light to reach lower leaves. Trim stems as needed, but avoid pruning away too much at once or you may unbalance your tank.
Cryptocoryne balansae plant is a slow-growing plant, but given its size, you’ll want to ensure that it has plenty of room to grow in its pot. In fact, it will take several years for it to reach a full meter or more in height if grown emersed or submersed, depending on how much light it receives.
When kept submerged year-round in warm water (75 degrees Fahrenheit), Cryptocoryne balansae can reach up to three feet tall. Allowing it to partially emerge from your tank’s substrate during the winter months can stimulate growth significantly.
Fully submerge your plants during summer months when temperatures exceed 75 degrees, though—these conditions can cause plants to bleach out quickly due to insufficient oxygenation below their leaves.
Cryptocoryne balansae is generally not considered to be a toxic plant. However, there are rare cases of skin irritation from handling leaf matter, which can be controlled by wearing protective gloves when working with any Cryptocorynes species.
Additionally, ingesting large amounts of Cryptocorynes could lead to digestive tract irritation if eaten fresh, as many species contain calcium oxalate crystals in their rhizomes or leaves.
Parasites and diseases
Cryptocoryne balansae is not very susceptible to most common aquarium pests. However, it is one of a number of Cryptocorynes that can be affected by small snails.
These snails are only found in tanks with low lighting. They are usually harmless but can cause damage to leaves. Ensure that all tank lighting does not exceed 2W per gallon of water (roughly 1-2 standard fluorescent tubes) for your fish to be safe from these snails.