Cryptocoryne Undulata Care

cryptocoryne undulata

Last updated on July 22nd, 2022 at 09:06 am

Cryptocoryne undulata, also known as the brain plant has many unique features that make it stand out among other aquarium plants. If you are thinking about adding this plant to your tank, it is important to know how to care for it properly so that it remains healthy and beautiful. This species profile will go over everything you need to know about caring for cryptocoryne undulata.

Also known as the wavy or undulated crypt, they are one of the most popular aquarium plants available on the market today. Whether you have been an aquarist for years or have recently gotten into the hobby, it’s likely that you have seen this plant at some point in your visits to pet stores and online retailers alike.

If you are new to caring for it, however, you may find yourself wondering how best to take care of this tropical plant and keep it happy and healthy within your aquarium environment.

Cryptocoryne undulata has become one of the most popular aquarium plants available because of its low light requirements and unique leaf texture. They can be planted in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums but requires careful care to thrive and grow properly.

If you want to learn how to care for cryptocoryne undulata properly, you can follow these simple tips and tricks to keep your plant alive and healthy!

Origin and descriptions

cryptocoryne undulata

Cryptocoryne undulata is native to Japan, where it grows on rocks, logs, and other plants that are partially submerged in water. The plant is a tropical species, so it prefers temperatures of 74–86 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity. Although Cryptocoryne undulata may not be suitable for beginners, aquarists who have had some experience with aquatic plants can keep them alive and healthy in aquariums that meet their temperature and humidity requirements.

If you’re interested in adding an interesting new stem plant to your collection, it’s worth investing time in research; choose only large specimens and always examine them carefully before purchasing. Unhealthy crypts might carry disease or parasites; avoid those at all costs.

As well as being easy to grow if provided with ideal conditions, cryptocorynes look especially beautiful planted among larger, textbook aquatic plants such as Java fern and Amazon sword plants.

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Species profile

Cryptocoryne undulata is a species of aquatic plant in the Araceae family. Native to Southeast Asia, it is found primarily in India and Sri Lanka, though has also been spotted in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand. It can grow at a variety of temperatures and even tolerates low light levels.

While it’s often confused with other similar-looking plants (most notably Cryptocoryne nana), Cryptocoryne undulata can be identified by its more jagged leaves and distinct ridges running along each leaf. Given proper care, Cryptocoryne undulata is easy to maintain and thrives with minimal attention. This beautiful plant makes an excellent addition to any freshwater aquarium!

Cryptocoryne undulata size

This plant is considered a dwarf and can vary in size from about 1 inch (2.5 cm) up to about 1 foot (30 cm / 12 inches), depending on what factors are at play. When you’re deciding where it will live, make sure that it has plenty of room and enough nutrients to grow well. The size of your aquarium or tank will depend on how big you want your crypt to get.

Cryptocoryne undulata propagation

cryptocoryne undulata

Growing cryptocoryne undulata is easy. If you know how to take care of an aquarium, you can care for a cryptocoryne. But when it comes to propagating undulate crypts, it is best not to just place them in any old tank. They need special conditions in order to grow into full-grown plants.

Most crypts will grow baby plants near their base, which will root and develop into adult plants in just a few weeks. Propagating allows you to increase your plant stock without having to worry about finding more. Plus, it’s really cool to watch those new plants grow!

Find an area with good light and clean water, and make sure your leaves are healthy. Separate a leaf from your plant. You can get multiple plants by dividing a rhizome (if you have one) or just cut off a healthy piece of rhizome attached directly under the mother leaf and pot it up separately (or both).

Make sure that all parts are kept underwater while they start new roots. It should take anywhere from 2-6 weeks before you see any growth coming out of what used to be a part of your original plant. Once growth has started, you can transplant them into their own pots and begin treating them as individual plants.

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At first, keep them in shade but encourage them to grow quickly with plenty of fertilizer so they develop strong root systems; when done correctly, these separations can yield new shoots in less than three months! The process described here is called efflorescence propagation because it produces plantlets without developing seeds.

There are other methods you can use to propagate cryptocorynes, including tissue culture, but efflorescence propagation is simple enough for beginners without being wasteful like seed production methods.

Cryptocoryne undulata care

cryptocoryne undulata

Crypts are not difficult plants, but they do require some basic care. If you can meet their demands, you’ll be rewarded with a happy and colorful addition to your tank that could easily last more than 10 years!  The only real requirement is bright lighting; place your crypt under at least 2 watts per gallon of full-spectrum lighting or 10-20 watts per gallon of T5 fluorescent lighting.

Do not allow your plant’s roots to sit in water; when watering or repotting, allow any excess water in your potting mixture to drain out of the drainage holes before you place it back on a rock or decorative substrate. However, do be sure that any potting mixture you use drains well; if it doesn’t, or if you have underwatering issues, use moss instead of gravel when setting up a decorative bed or planting pot so that it will hold extra moisture.

Light requirements

It is vital that your cryptocoryne undulata receive optimal lighting to maintain their beautiful dark green coloration. Unfortunately, most aquarium lights – even expensive metal halide bulbs – simply aren’t strong enough. Instead of using LEDs or fluorescent bulbs (which don’t provide intense enough lighting), invest in T5 lights which are specifically designed for growing aquatic plants and work great in reef tanks!

This plant loves bright light and will wilt and stretch if it doesn’t get enough. It can handle direct sunlight but don’t place it right in front of a window that gets lots of hot afternoon sun. Try instead to put it near a south-facing window or in an east-west facing room that gets plenty of sunshine from morning through evening.

If you want your plant to grow faster, try increasing your lights up to 6 watts per gallon, leaving them on for 12 hours a day.

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Substrate and fertilization

Like most aquatic plants, cryptocorynes require an environment that is low in nutrients and high in oxygen. This means they prefer a soil mix that will allow excess nutrients and organic matter to escape over time (plastic potting soil is a good choice). You can’t overwater them either, since their roots are always submerged in water.

If you feel you aren’t getting enough growth out of your undulatus, try feeding it liquid fertilizer once or twice per month. They enjoy a balanced fertilizer at 1/4 strength as long as they are established—never feed them anything more concentrated than fish emulsion or kelp meal though. Never use an ammonia-based fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) with these guys!


From experience, these plants thrive at temperatures between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit but can withstand slightly lower and higher temperatures. The optimal pH range is 6.0 to 7.5. The ideal carbon dioxide level is between 1,000 and 2,500 ppm.


The most important environmental aspect of cryptocoryne undulata care is humidity. These plants are often sold as emersed aquatic plants, but they will require higher levels of humidity than most people can provide in an outdoor pond or aquarium.

In order to meet their needs, you’ll want to use some type of supplemental system or help them take over your shower stall. Most aquatic hobbyists agree that a daily misting during warm months is sufficient enough when combined with warm temperatures and bright light.

The ideal humidity range is 60-80%, with 70% being a good compromise between encouraging rapid growth and preventing unwanted algae growth. If you’re unsure about how much your plants need, take note of their behavior when they’re exposed to different levels of humidity—drier leaves will curl or turn brown, and wilting can be a sign that they are too dry.

Pruning Cryptocoryne undulata

Before placing your new crypt in your tank, you’ll need to prune off any leaves that are growing directly out of bare stems. Those stems will rot if you don’t trim them back before adding them to your tank, and that’s never a good thing. As for how much you’ll need to trim, just look at what you’re left with after a few weeks of growth.

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Over time, crypts can grow quite large. To keep them from overtaking your aquarium, you will need to prune them from time to time. Do not cut all of their leaves at once; instead, cut out some of their oldest leaves every week or so. This will keep your plant healthy and new growth coming in quickly.

Cryptocoryne undulata growth rate

cryptocoryne undulata

The growth rate of cryptocoryne undulata is moderate. The plant only grows about half an inch per week and in some cases just a little over an inch per month. Growth depends on how much light and CO2 it is getting. In ideal conditions with high levels of light and CO2, growth may be over 2 inches per month! Under optimal conditions, plants can grow as tall as 24 inches in length.

Because of its slow growth rate, however, make sure you have enough space to accommodate your plant. When plants are not provided adequate nutrients, they will often suffer from deficiency symptoms such as stunted growth or small leaves that do not fully mature into adult leaves. This happens most commonly when non-CO2 enriched tanks are placed directly under LED lighting without other supplementation such as micronutrients or additives like Caulerpa.


While most cryptocorynes are not particularly toxic, some species contain calcium oxalate crystals in their leaves. This can cause minor skin irritation or a burning sensation when exposed to human skin. It is unknown whether ingestion of these crystals will have long-term health effects, however, they may pose a risk in some situations.

Pests and diseases

Cryptocoryne undulata is one of those lucky plant species that rarely suffers from pests or diseases. However, they can be attacked by mealybugs, thrips, and aphids. With frequent water changes (every two weeks) and plenty of sunlight (eight hours a day), you’ll be able to keep your crypts pest-free! If you do find yourself battling an infestation, a solution of water and horticultural oil will help to eliminate pesky critters.