Last updated on September 3rd, 2022 at 10:15 am
Cryptocoryne plants are one of the most popular aquarium plants on the market today because they’re low-maintenance and beautiful to look at. These plants have many species, each with its own particular care needs, so it’s important to know which plant you’re dealing with before you start caring for it in your aquarium.
Cryptocoryne plants are popular aquarium plants due to their hardiness and beautiful leaf colors and shapes. These lovely aquatic foliage plants are relatively easy to care for as long as you provide them with the right environment, maintenance, and nutrients.
Cryptocoryne plants are some of the most versatile aquatic plants available to hobbyist, but they still require special care to stay healthy and look their best.
This care guide will help you do just that. From how much light your plant needs to which nutrients it will need, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about these aquatic gems.
Cryptocoryne plant Identification
Before you begin your search for a cryptocoryne plant, it’s essential to know how to identify these aquatic plants. Cryptocoryne plants have several features that make them easy to spot in an aquarium or pond. Look for their green-leafed stems, which appear round due to each leaf attaching around a central point.
They also feature a small white flower at their top. In addition, even though they live underwater, they have roots growing from their bottom side. Keep in mind, not all species of cryptocoryne share these traits; some species can look drastically different than others.
Origin and distributions
Cryptocoryne plants are indigenous to Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The plant grows mostly in slow-moving waters in light to medium shade where aquatic vegetation is plentiful. It thrives best in the warm water of 25 degrees C – 30 degrees C. They are also adaptable to wide variations of light intensity but prefer partial sunlight rather than direct sunlight.
Cryptocoryne plants have varying tolerance for carbon dioxide levels; some require more than others. Carbon dioxide supplementation can be provided by adding an airstone or commercial plant food containing CO2 into your aquarium or plastic bag. They prefer a pH between 6.5 and 7.0, with a GH between 4-7 dGH and KH 2-4dKH.
Cryptocoryne is a genus of plants commonly referred to as crypts. Crypts are mostly aquatic tropical plant species, distributed in Africa, Asia, Australia, Oceania, and Southeast Europe. The word crypt derives from Greek kryptos meaning hidden or secret, which refers to its inconspicuous flowers that are sometimes called underground flowers because they emerge from rhizomes that grow beneath the water.
This suggests its habitat requirements; crypt plants prefer humid conditions with high lighting and clean water without much flow.
The fact that Cryptocoryne plants have become so popular for aquarium owners can be attributed not only to their appearance but also due to their ease of care. Most species are capable of adapting well to most aquarium environments within a relatively short period of time; under ideal conditions (high levels of light, low current), some species like Cryptocoryne wendtii might even flower after one year or less!
In addition, Cryptocoryne plants do not require much fertilization since they absorb nutrients through photosynthesis. Nevertheless, in order to maintain their healthful condition, these plants should still be provided with an appropriate diet in terms of lighting and water flow.
How to grow cryptocoryne plant
Cryptocoryne are easy plants to grow for an aquarium. They require no special lighting or temperature requirements but do prefer to be planted in a nutrient-rich substrate. They can be attached to driftwood or bogwood with fishing line, string, or zip ties.
Crypts do not take well to being trimmed or pruned, so leave them alone once they have rooted in your tank. It is very easy to propagate crypts through the division of runners that develop off of established plant bases (underwater stems).
Cryptocoryne plants can be propagated in a number of ways. The most popular method is through stem cutting, though some types will also reproduce from their rhizomes (roots).
To propagate via stem cutting, you’ll need to collect pieces of stems with healthy nodes or leaves at their ends. Once you’ve found your pieces, simply let them dry for a few days until they snap easily—if it bends without breaking, it hasn’t dried enough. After waiting a few days, you can plant your cuttings into freshwater; they should begin producing roots within a month.
Once a new plant develops roots, it will eventually develop enough to separate from its parent plant on its own. This process may take several months to several years depending on species and other factors like nutrients and light quality.
Crypt plants should always be potted in soil when propagating, rather than soil substitutes like gravel-based substrates. They will also root directly if attached via fishing line or string without being potted first, though planting them in potting material helps support their weight.
Cryptocoryne plant care
To ensure that your crypts do well in an aquarium, you should provide a few things. First, you’ll need to understand which species are compatible with your tank’s other inhabitants. Some species of Cryptocoryne are known to be sensitive to pH changes, so if you have other fish or animals in your tank, consider purchasing one of the varieties they are not sensitive to.
Once you’ve identified which species is best for your tank, you’ll want to make sure it has adequate lighting and space for growth. A healthy crypt plant should get at least two hours of sunlight each day; some varieties will only grow about 6 inches in diameter when healthy, so don’t overcrowd them!
Cryptocoryne plants, like most aquarium plants, prefer moderate to bright lighting. The amount of light your plant will need depends on a number of factors including your tank’s location in your home and the species of plant you have. You may need to experiment with different levels of lighting until you find what works best for each plant.
While some Cryptocorynes require very little or no supplemental carbon dioxide (CO2), others do best when supplemented with CO2.
Crypts are very easy to care for. Most growers recommend potting them in a soil-based mixture that drains well, such as African violet soil. They have also been known to grow well in Malaysian driftwood, although it’s more difficult to find driftwood specially formulated for aquarium plants than it is soil.
Driftwood should be boiled or soaked in hot water prior to use; make sure you dry it out before use if you decide to repot your crypt plant into driftwood. Crypts may be repotted into larger pots; make sure you allow room between the roots before filling up their new containers with soil or wood shavings.
Cryptocorynes do not like to be over-watered, as they rot easily. In a smaller tank, or a heavily planted community tank, use air stones to increase oxygen in your water column, increasing aeration and making it easier for you to see when your crypts need watering. In larger tanks, where root room is not an issue, these plants can usually be kept wetter (though still not soggy) than other aquatic plants.
It’s important to note that Cryptocorynes will only tolerate harder water with higher pH levels of 7.0 -8.5; soft, acidic water will quickly kill them off. These plants love light, but direct sunlight without adequate CO2 supplementation will burn their leaves quickly—so choose your grow lights wisely!
In other words, they need well-oxygenated soft water with low pH and hard water. Filtering your aquarium using a powerhead or similar device will provide ample oxygenation for cryptocorynes. They also prefer their substrate to be on the softer side; keeping your gravel siphoned off regularly is helpful in maintaining favorable conditions.
Crypts are generally easy to grow but need a substrate that’s rich in nutrients. Fertilizing a crypt aquarium plant involves removing any existing growth, rinsing it with tap water, then submerging it in a bucket of water containing liquid fertilizer at double its recommended strength. (Crypt growers sometimes use an all-purpose or blackwater substitute.)
You must keep crypt aquarium plants submerged for 24 hours before returning them to their pots, after which you should monitor and adjust their nutrient levels every two weeks. If your crypt has leaves that turn yellow quickly or die off entirely (particularly if they begin curling up), check for ammonia and nitrite levels first; if those chemicals appear normal, immediately stop fertilizing your plants.
Cryptocoryne plants prefer a temperature range of 70-82 degrees F (21-28 degrees C) but can tolerate lower temperatures down to 64 degrees F (18 degrees C). They can tolerate temperatures up to 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) for short periods, but it’s better to keep them cooler if possible.
Unlike some of its other aqueous counterparts, Cryptocoryne plant likes plenty of humidity. In fact, if you can get it to waterlogged, so much the better! When in doubt, err on the side of more—you can always dry out your crypts later on. Just remember that they don’t do well with wet feet. Overly soggy soil will eventually cause root rot.
On another note, while Cryptocoryne isn’t picky about which direction it grows in (up or down), placing it near an air stone or power filter is great for keeping both light levels and humidity high.
The normal humidity range is 75-80% RH with a temp of 72-77 degrees F (22-25 degrees C).
Pruning Cryptocoryne plants
Pruning is a good way to increase your stock while still maintaining a healthy growth rate. It also helps prune off yellowed leaves that can be indicative of certain diseases like poor circulation or too much light.
Don’t prune too much of its roots or it won’t be able to hold itself upright in the water.
Cryptocoryne plants growth rate
Crypts plants are generally slow-growing plants, but some species can reach up to two feet long. It’s best to keep new crypts in a small container for at least a year so they don’t grow out of control. Always ensure your plant has adequate lighting, CO2, temperature range, and nutrients for optimum growth. Make sure your tank isn’t overstocked as most crypts prefer to stay low on vegetation.
Cryptocoryne plants toxicity
Cryptocoryne plants are generally considered non-toxic to fish and are safe to have in an aquarium, although, it is not advised to keep them with fish who like to eat plants such as dither fish who like to nip at plant leaves.
However, any plant can be harmful if it grows in such a way that it blocks out too much light for other plants or takes up an excessive amount of nutrients. If that’s happening with a cryptocoryne, you should remove or prune some of it to prevent harm to your fish or other plants.
In particular, Cryptocoryne plants have sharp spines that can break off in a fish’s mouth or pectoral fins and become lodged internally. This is most likely to happen if your water quality isn’t good and/or your tankmates are small enough for a Cryptocoryne to overpower.
Pests and diseases
Crypts plants are incredibly hardy plants that require very little maintenance. There are, however, a few diseases and pests you should watch out for if you want to keep your plant thriving. Fortunately, Crypts will often exhibit signs of infestation or disease as soon as something is wrong. So once you’ve become familiar with your Crypt’s behavior, it becomes quite easy to identify any problems that may arise.
Many common freshwater aquarium pests can affect Cryptocoryne plants, including ich (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis), hair algae (Bryopsis), cyanobacteria (often mistaken for blue-green algae), and string algae. If left untreated, these issues can result in significant Crypt loss; indeed Crypts are sensitive to changes in water quality and environment even when not actually suffering from an active infection or infestation.
In addition, some species of Crypt (most notably C. balcanica) are prone to rot under high humidity conditions. To avoid Crypt rot, make sure that your tank has sufficient aeration/filtration and maintain moderate/low lighting (no more than 2 watts per gallon).
Ensure also that nitrates remain below 20 ppm, so frequent partial water changes are advised.
Finally, keep an eye on ammonia levels since Crypts do not tolerate its presence well. Ammonia burns them like crazy!