Cryptocoryne flamingo, commonly known as the Crypt Flamingo or the High Fin Crypt, is one of the most popular Crypts in the hobby due to its bright pink-red coloration and its low light requirements. It’s also pretty easy to care for, making it ideal for both beginners and experienced aquatic gardeners alike.
Cryptocoryne flamingo (Cryptocoryne sp. ‘flamingo’), often just referred to as the flamingo crypt, is an easy-to-care-for freshwater aquarium plant that belongs to the Araceae family of plants (aroids). This particular species of crypto originates from Sri Lanka, India, and Bhutan, and takes its name from the flamingo pink coloration on its leaf veins when they are healthy and happy.
This guide will help you learn how to care for your own cryptocoryne flamingo and take great care of this beautiful plant species.
Origin and descriptions
Cryptocoryne flamingo is a member of a large and diverse family of aquatic plants. These tropical plants live in marshes, ponds, ditches, and slow-moving rivers in wet tropical climates around Asia and Australia. They are found throughout Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Melanesia, eastern India, and northern Australia.
Cryptocorynes are planted outside year-round in warm climates where they can bloom continuously throughout winter. A particular type called lace grows directly on tree branches hanging over water without any soil to keep them moist, these lace types have delicate lacy foliage and reproduce by cloning themselves to form lush colonies that resemble bonsai trees when hungover small pools or containers.
Cryptocoryne flamingo is an attractive plant with bright red stems and mid-green leaves that grows upright and narrow towards its pointed tip.
Cryptocorynes are a diverse genus of plants, and Crypt Flamingo is a great representative species. These aquatic plants hail from warm Asian regions, from Japan to Malaysia. The flaring red-and-green leaves are actually two leaves fused together at the base, but with separate stalks; in effect, they look like a single-layered plant.
Crypt Flamingo belongs to the family Araceae. Their common name comes from their resemblance to flamingos, as well as for their fire-red coloration. Although there are many varieties of Cryptocoryne available, Crypt Flamingo is one of only two that grow at an angle in a paddle-like fashion (the other being Red Devil). They come in red and green varieties, with green usually more expensive than red. Both varieties have curved leaves covered in fine hair-like strands on both sides.
Cryptocoryne flamingo is an extremely hardy and resilient plant, making it one of the most popular plants used in aquariums. Crypts can be found in many different colors and forms, but they are best known for their flamingo variant. This particular strain of crypts has a bright red under-leaf that sets them apart from other species.
Crypts come in four main varieties: Red (Cryptocoryne wendtii), Green (Cryptocoryne parva), Sword (Cryptocoryne lutea), and Flamingo (Cryptocoryne flammea). They need high amounts of direct sunlight and feed off carbon dioxide present in the air.
Crypt Flamingo, Crypt Pink Panther, pink cryptocoryne, and Crypt Pink Flamingo,
Cryptocoryne flamingo size
This plant can grow up to 5-8 cm (2-3 inches) in height.
How to grow Cryptocoryne flamingos
Cryptocoryne flamingos are easy to propagate via division. To do so, take a sharp blade and cut through the rhizome of your crypt. When you do, be sure that you leave a piece that still has some rhizome attached to it—this will allow for new growth. If you aren’t able to propagate your plant via division, seeds may also be an option for you.
Like all plants propagated via division, however, they should not be allowed to dry out when germinating—they must remain moist during their first week after sprouting. Once they have established roots in their containers, they should be planted into slightly acidic soil with plenty of leaf litter or other sources of organic matter for them to feed on.
Seed propagation can be done by first allowing your seeds to germinate in damp paper towels. Once they have sprouted and have developed their first set of leaves, you should move them into a shallow pot or container filled with moistened soil. A container deep enough to allow them to develop three sets of leaves is sufficient for long-term growth.
Cryptocoryne flamingo care
Cryptocoryne flamingos are extremely forgiving crypts that are hardy and easy to care for. As with all crypts, they prefer well-aerated substrate; unlike many other crypts, however, cryptocorynes don’t require a strong current. In fact, cryptocoryne actually does best when they are not positioned in or immediately adjacent to water flow. Position them in your aquarium near sources of CO2 (such as filter outflows) and ensure there is plenty of light; regardless of how bright it may be above, crypts need light at their roots.
Cryptocoryne flamingos prefer bright but indirect light. Your Cryptocoryne should look its best when placed in a spot that is 6 to 8 inches away from a window. They also thrive under fluorescent lights. If your plant begins to look pale or leaves begin to yellow, move it toward more light gradually. Do not place your plant too close to an east- or west-facing window because it can cause sunburn on your plant’s leaves and lead to leaf drop.
Cryptocoryne flamingo, like many other plants, require a good amount of nutrient-rich soil to thrive. It’s important to get a high-quality soil mix for your flamingos, because poor quality potting mix can lead to poor root development. As with most plants, crypts prefer well-draining soil.
If you’re using regular potting mix or garden soil as a base for your aquatic crypt setup (as many people do), add perlite or gravel (2 parts) to increase drainage. Aquatic crypt care doesn’t end at planting time though; new leaves should be misted with distilled water daily and fertilized every two weeks throughout their active growth cycle. An easy organic fertilizer can be made by dissolving 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts in 1 gallon of warm water and adding it to your mister bottle weekly.
Cryptocoryne flamingo needs more light and less water than most plants. They are not particularly fussy about water, but they do like to be kept moist. Do not allow them to dry out completely during active growth. Water whenever you see the soil is dry 1/4 inch below the surface. If your tap water contains high levels of minerals that tend to build up in soft-water plants, use reverse osmosis or distilled water for watering crypts.
Cryptocoryne flamingo can also be watered with lukewarm water from a spray bottle. In general, it is better to under- rather than over-water crypts flamingo; underwatering leads to rotting roots, while overwatering may lead to crown rot or stem rot. Overly warm temperatures will exacerbate both problems by encouraging fungus and algae growth.
Some users have reported that using a fertilizer rich in iron can stimulate new growth in Cryptocoryne species. If you wish to try out a fertilizer like Aquarium Plant Food Iron, use it at a ratio of one tablespoon per five gallons of water. Because Cryptocoryne plants are sensitive to chemicals, be sure not to fertilize them more than once a month.
In addition, if you notice your Cryptocoryne flamingo struggling or growing strangely (which could indicate too much or too little fertilizer), check its pH level and amend accordingly; some Cryptocorynes enjoy neutral pH levels (around 7.0) while others prefer slightly alkaline conditions (7.5). Use an aquarium-safe test kit to determine what your plant needs.
Cryptocoryne species are tropical plants and will not tolerate cold temperatures. A tank temperature of 24-27°C is recommended, with a warmer end (28-30°C) for Cryptocorynes that originate from Southeast Asia, like Cryptocoryne wendtii and Cryptocoryne flamingos.
If you do happen to keep your Crypt in a colder environment, don’t worry; most Crypts can handle nighttime drops in temperature quite well. Just be sure to set up your lighting system accordingly so you don’t burn your plants!
Water needs to be kept between 65% and 85% RH for proper Crypt Flamingo health. Do not add fertilizer or other chemicals to your tank. A water change should only be done every week since there are many beneficial bacteria living in a healthy tank that is beneficial to your fish and can be killed with too many water changes. There is also a risk of overdosing or overfeeding due to fluctuating water quality during these changes.
Most crypts will grow too large for their pots, or begin to crowd each other. You can prune a crypt by cutting off a section of stem, usually with several nodes (the buds that will sprout new leaves). Make sure you leave at least one node on each piece of stem that you remove. Crypts are sometimes sold as potted plants in garden stores and nurseries, even though they actually grow best if they’re planted in soil.
Cryptocoryne flamingo has a medium-high growth rate. They can grow 0.3 – 1 inch (0.8 – 2.5 cm) per week in good conditions, meaning it will take them around four to six months to double in size from when they’re first planted. Be sure to trim regularly after their initial growth period has passed, and you can slow them down a bit as you see fit for your particular tank/vivarium setup.
Is cryptocoryne flamingo toxic to fish?
No, in fact, they are actually a very useful plant for aquariums because of their effectiveness in cleaning up algae.
Parasites and diseases
Cryptocoryne flamingo is susceptible to a variety of parasites and diseases, including White Spot Disease (WSD) and Green Leaf Disease (GLD). These are not fatal but cause loss of color, deformity, and finally death. WSD/GLD can be caused by poor nutrition, over-fertilization with chemical fertilizers, and/or excessive chlorine levels in the water. Some hobbyists suggest that keeping flamingos in unfiltered or stagnant water facilitates their contraction of WSD/GLD.