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Melting & Algae? 3 mistakes in keeping Bucephalandra
March 08, 2022 3 min read
Above: Bucephalandra 'Brownie Ghost 2011' has a particularly strong purplish tone. Buceps belong to a genus of flowering rheophyte that grows with a creeping rhizome. They are endemic to Indonesia and come in varied and unusual forms.
Above: Buceps are most often grown on hardscape, even though they can be grown directly on substrate if their rhizomes are not buried too deep.
3 common mistakes
While they are outwardly hardy, they can also be prone to ‘melting’ and algae infestation. These issues stem from 3 common mistakes in growing them.
Uncycled / biologically immature tank Buceps are very prone to melting in new tanks that have not been sufficiently cycled. It is quite deceptive as they ‘look hardy’ and have tough looking leaves. However as slow growers they expend considerable energy to adapt to new environments, and are very vulnerable to ammonia damage in new tanks, which measurements of surface water may not reveal.
Cycle a new tank for at least 2 weeks, and allow other plants to grow in, before adding Buceps.
What if I have introduced my Buceps too early? Your Buceps may be covered in Diatoms, as shown in the picture above. They look nasty but thankfully are rather benign. The best thing you can do is to keep other parameters consistent ( lighting, nutrition, flow) and simply wait. It can take several weeks, but Diatoms can disappear very quickly as well. The worst thing you can do is to add more variables ( e,g. new additives ) which makes it harder for the Buceps to acclimatise.
What if my Buceps have melted? Unfortunately there is no way to ‘save’ plants that have melted.
Having high organic waste levels / little housekeeping Keeping Buceps in a tank with very high fishload is generally a bad idea. Organic waste easily accumulates on their slow-growing leaves, which become covered with algae, such as shown below:
Practice changing water the 2Hr Way regularly, which involves stirring up and siphoning away detritus on substrate and on the surface of slow growers such as Buceps. This instantly reduces the #1 algae trigger- organic waste. As slow growers, Buceps have a far harder time outgrowing algae than faster growing stem plants. APT Fix can be spot-dosed as an effective remedy for existing algae, while more regular water change (and feeding more moderately) would help control the build-up of organic waste in the future.
Buceps do a lot better in environments with good flow. Small tanks with hang-on back filters tend to have ‘dead zones’ with poor flow. Sometimes, wood and rocks may impede flow. When planting, it is better to avoid these areas. It can be counter-intuitive as Buceps can grow attached to hardscape and we have a natural tendency to place them in deep crevices. What can I do? Adding a supplementary pump may help improve flow. In a tank with wood and rock aquascape, try to relocate the Buceps to zones where there is better flow. However, too much flow is also a magnet for BBA. Read more about this here .
Bucephalandra require stable tank conditions to grow well. Ideally, they should be introduced into tanks after the tank has stabilised. The signs that a tank has reached this stage include the absence of diatoms, the presence of a healthy population of smaller organisms (small snails etc.) and having plants that have 'grown in' for a while. This reduces the risk of 'melt' considerably.
As slow growers, Buceps have a tougher time outgrowing algae than faster stem plants. Lower organic waste levels help alot in keeping Buceps algae-free. Fewer fish relative to plant mass and regular water change are important.
Buceps do well with good flow, so a proper-sized filter helps. Also, growing them in areas of of good flow (vs 'dead zones). Hobbyists enjoy much higher rates of success with lower light (50 umols of PAR) and providing comprehensive but not heavy nutrients (APT Complete is preferred over EI-style dosing in these cases). They also do better with lower temperatures (71F/21C to 79F/26C).
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South Scape Aquatica
Adelaide, South Australia based Hobbyist. Aquascaping and Aquarium Ecology
The jewel of Borneo
Bucephalandra is considered by many to be amongst the most beautiful, varied and rare species available in the hobby, stunning colorations, stardust patterns and a wide range of leaf shape make this epiphytic plant heavily sought after by Aquascapers and aquatic plant collectors alike.
However Bucephalandra’s are extremely difficult to identify accurately, with many of its varieties having color morphic capabilities depending on it’s environmental factors. This page is my way of keeping track of the species I currently have that has been identified and verified through multiple sources.
While I do have un-identified common Bucephalandra’s, my collection focuses more on the “Series” varieties and the “Named” varieties of Buces. The “Series” varieties refers to the Brownie Ghost set and it’s identification through the year in which it was discovered (2011,2012,2013,2014,2015), the “Named’ varieties refer to a group of stable and verifiable variety such as “Arabesque”, “Amanda”, “Majestic” etc.
Sp. Black Ventii “ The Black Prince”
Medium in size and stunning to behold, ‘ The Black Prince ‘ of the royal Bucephalandra line, this is one of the truly rare species and is absolutely a must have. In Asia its absolutely a collectors item, rivalling the prestigious and sought after BG 2011.
Red rhizome and star speckle design on it’s leaves when placed in high lights, this species doesn’t seem to grow in compact clumps, fantastic as showpiece items and focal points for Aquascape.
Sp. Brownie Ghost “El Nino” 2013
El Nino ‘Little Boy’ is one of the smaller leafed “Series” variation of the Brownie ghost family, lesser known compared to it’s sibling Brownie Ghost 2011 but definitely should NOT be overlooked.
This variety sports multi colored leaves and a ‘blush’ red outer rim pattern, remains small and displays this form of ‘variegation’ under good to optimal conditions. Like all Brownie this variety can range in form and color based on condition but will always show a spectrum of colorations from metallic green/blue to deep purple and maroon.
large leaf with unique striation skeletal like patterns. Unlike Bucephalandra ‘Skeleton King’ the Arabesque does not struggle growing submersed and retains its patterns and coloration once fully converted. Colors range from deep metallic teal to purple with red hues.
Under ideal conditions the skeletal striation displays different shades to the rest of the leaf, incredibly complex and stunning aesthetic make the Arabesque variety highly sought after. While most rare hunters aim to collectors “The Series” varieties, the arabesque remains a favorite for hobbyist across Asia and Oceania.
Sp. Brownie Ghost 2011 “The King of Bucephalandra”
The most famous Bucephalandra you’ve never heard of….it’s rare, it’s beautiful and the aquatic plant hobby the world over all want to get their hands on this variety. Extremely stable and resilient in it’s morph and coloration, the BG 2011 retains its deep purple colorations and star dust pattern under most healthy conditions- one of its most prized properties amongst many other.
Under optimal lighting, nutrients and conditions this variety will reward it’s keeper with something downright unearthly, it’s leaves become a dark purple with dark blue shade while retaining it’s star dust patterns and to top it off….it becomes somewhat metallic in it’s ability to reflect light.
Sp. Brownie Ghost “Helena” 2014
Helena 2014 the “ Grey Queen ” has a unique purple/grey coloration with stardust patterns on its leaves, much like all its BG relative Helena is extremely rare a collector pieces looking to complete the “Series” infinity gauntlet.
It is almost impossible to capture the true beauty of this variety, it’s coloration is one of the most complex I’ve ever seen- you can describe the leaf coloration as grey, blue, purple, ashy, silver and metallic and you would be correct! add to that the stardust pattern trait shared within the Brownie Ghost variety.
It should be noted that there are two varieties of Brownie Ghost “Helena” 2013 and 2014, yes! this means there are two Brownie ghost variety that occupy the 2013 moniker (El Nino & Helena).
Sp. Royal Blue “Sapphire of Kalimantan”
The color blue is the rarest color in nature, from flowers to precious stones the wilds of Indonesia is home to many rare colorations that has kept ecologist, biologists and now hobbyists captivated with their beauty and rarity. Discovered in 2019 in west Kalimantan: Bucephalandra Sp. “Royal Blue” is one of the old world species of Bucephalandra NOT originating in from Borneo, a stunning variant with metallic sheen finish on its leaves and as it’s name suggests- a blue reflective shine when kept in optimal conditions.
New leaves appears red and pinkish in color and go through a range of colors before finally settling to it’s complete form of metallic Royal Blue sheen, however manipulations in conditions has been observed to show more drastic colors in this variant, displaying colors such as orange, striated patterns, purple and dark maroon. The name “Royal Blue” was coined as its trade name as early as 2020, before it was known as Silat Hulu, after its origin.
While in 2021-2022 all the rage has been around “New World” Bucephalandra, the Sp. Royal Blue has been a staple of any Bucephalandra collectors since it’s discovery in 2019. The variants pictured has been positively Identified by Mr Jeffrey Setiawan Sutanto a prominent member of the Bucephalandra community ( Reference ).
Bucephalandra Variegated ‘Marble’ Mini
Fairly new to the hobby (around 3-5 years) this is one of the few ‘Exotic’ Bucephalandra strain which are predominantly farmed rather than wild harvested.
While many variants of variegated Bucephalandra exists today in the hobby, the ‘Mini Marble’ variant is popular among hobbyist for its fine leaves and dense bushiness.
This particular variant is not 100% stable in it’s mutation, culling of non-variegated leaves is necessary and ideal conditions are required to sustain a large colony of Variegated Marble Minis in it’s optimal variegated form.
Like all Bucephalandra this variant is easy to keep and propagate but far more demanding to reach optimal form- there is no question however that to the dedicated hobbyist this is one of the most rewarding variant of the new generations of Bucephalandra’s.
Published by plant hobbyist.
Adelaide Based Hobbyist. Aquascaping, Aquarium Ecology and Fish breeding View more posts
One thought on “ Bucephalandra Identification ”
Very informative and well prepared, excellent pictures to go with it
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Bucephalandra "Brownie Ghost"
39,95 € 28,95 € VAT included
Buy Bucephalandra "Brownie Ghost" In-vitro aquarium plant.
La Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost 2011 It is the species par excellence for fans of very rare plants , has been the Bucephalandra most sought after in the hobby since it was discovered by P. Boyce in a specific location where it was never found again, since then it has been a plant that has been shared among aquarists who keep it. they cultivated and reproduced themselves and rarely they sold in small cuttings at very high prices.
What makes this plant species especially so sought after is its intense purple and lilac coloring once it develops new leaves under water, it could be said that it is the Bucephalandra original with the most spectacular coloring of all those that are known up to now.
This time the brand of aquatic plants Aquaflora presents it for the first time exclusively as a limited novelty in in vitro format.
Bucephalandra profile "brownie ghost".
• Difficulty: Easy • Family: Araceae • Gender: Bucephalandra • Origin: Borneo • Lighting: Low - Medium • Temperature: 20nd - 28th • Increase: Slow • PH: 5.0 – 8.0 • Hardness: Almost anyone • Co2: Optional
Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost Characteristics
Our bucephalandras are plants epiphytes endemic to the island of Borneo. They are rare aquatic plants with a unique appearance. In general, bucephalandras sound slow growth and they are available in many types and colors different. A aquarium plant very tolerant that grows well with a wide range of water parameters. Put your Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost Aquaflora in your Aquarium!
Bucephalandra She is relatively new to the hobby but is becoming increasingly popular. So it is still a little difficult to find some species. Due to their low requirements , they are a good choice for any planted aquarium or shrimp .
It can be kept both emerged and submerged, making it an excellent choice for aquariums, paludarios and terrariums alike.
Bucephalandras develop best on hard surfaces, attached to different types of wood or rock. It is not used to being planted in fine media such as sand.
To ensure good coloration , average lighting is recommended and add nutrients to the water column can be beneficial. Small amounts of CO2 and fertilizers can help the plant show attractive colors.
4 valuations bucephalandra "brownie ghost".
Aitor Perez Gomez (Verified owner) - 16/12/2021
It is still too early to say the color of this plant, but the quality of the order as in the photo, quite a lot and very, very healthy! It only took the order a week to arrive but I guess it was the holidays .. spectacular as always
Angel Jose Cerdá (Verified owner) - 14/04/2021
Spectacular colorful, fast shipping, all great
Johnny (Verified owner) - 16/12/2020
Great quality, huge plant. One of the rarest for the collection
Miquel - 04/12/2020
I couldn't find it until I got here. Spectacular coloring for the aquarium.
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Bucephalandra Care Guide – Planting, Growing and Propagation
One of the most sought-after decorative plants for usage in the aquarium is the simple yet beautiful Buce plant (Bucephalandra). It is a reophytic plant with its earliest origin traced to Borneo (the third-largest island in the world) where it thrives on the banks of fast-flowing streams and rivers. This aquatic plant has an outstanding appearance, Bucephalandra is easy to obtain, care, plant/propagate, and forms an integral part of a good aquascape system.
Keep reading to know more about this interesting slow-growers. In this post, I will review its care and how to grow Bucephalandra in your aquarium.
Quick Notes about Bucephalandra
Origin of bucephalandra.
The Bucephalandra plant can be classified under taxonomy as thus:
Kingdom: Plantae Phylum: Tracheophyta Class: Liliopsida Order: Alismatales Family: Araceae Genus: Bucephalandra
This aquatic plant species have been acknowledged by the scientific world since 1858 although they are still an almost new genus of plants to hobbyists.
Bucephalandra are endemic which means that they are commonly known to grow only in isolated regions. This plant species can be located on the largest island in Asia: Borneo Island, Indonesia. More varieties of the Bucephalandra plant are still being discovered today as collectors explore hidden parts of the islands.
Interesting fact: The genus name ‘Bucephalandra’ relates to the name of Alexander the Great’s beautiful black horse: Bucephalus. He claimed that his horses were “known to excel all others”. This is a really good name for an amazing plant, isn’t it?
Description of Bucephalandra
The appearance of Bucephalandra is unique and attractive as a result of their delicate leaf shapes. The shape of their leaves is very different from other water plants, which makes them appealing to numerous hobbyists.
Their leaves have varying shapes and sizes depending on the exact Bucephalandra species; it can be oval, long and straight, long and wavy, round and wavy, or droplet forms. The leaf colors vary as well, from green, blue to dark violet. The leaves on the same plant can be multi-colored depending on the species.
One of the most distinctive characteristics of the Bucephalandra is the bright white/yellow spots on the leaves, which is the immediate result of photosynthesis. The color depth of the spots is dependent on the species. You can also see these colorful spots on Anubias species (read my guide) but they aren’t as pronounced as the Bucephalandra. The bright spots offer great hues mainly when spotted underwater.
The description of the Bucephalandra plant can be summarized thus:
- Size : Little evergreen herbs with creeping stems, 2cm to 60cm tall.
- Leaves : 3-5cm long or more, dark shades of green (dominant color), blue, purple/dark violet with white or yellow spots, and smooth to undulate edges.
- Blade : Elliptic, oblong, coriaceous, lateral veins pinnate, lamina coriaceous.
- Flowers : Unisexual, flat and sterile, pink/white
- Inflorescence: Solitary
- Petioles: 15-18cm high
- Pollen: projected in a droplet, inaperturate, ellipsoid, medium-sized.
- Seed: narrow-ellipsoid, endosperm copious.
Habitat/Ecology of Bucephalandra
Bucephalandra are specially adapted to life in rivers with fast-moving currents just like the rest of other aquatic plants from the Araceae family.
Therefore, Bucephalandra are mostly spotted in streams, rivers, and river banks or shores. Borneo island (743,330 km) is known for its tropical climate, which means that there is the same climate throughout the year with average annual temperatures exceeding 20 degrees Celsius (68 F). Despite the consistent climate in some areas on the island, Borneo still has two seasons that are determined by the amount of rainfall.
Notable when the river level is very high; the Bucephalandra plants growing out of the water are submerged underwater for a couple of months. Nevertheless, this does not stop them from developing further and they can easily morph into their submerged forms. The major dissimilarity between emersed and submersed forms is that when they are grown underwater, they have a more articulated sensitive leaf structure and they tend to show more intense bright color hues.
You can purchase the Buce plant for propagation or planting in your home aquarium, paludarium or terrarium; they are fully adapted for survival under diverse living conditions and environments.
Types of the Bucephalandra plant
Numerous Bucephalandra species are still being discovered and you can even find more than 200 variations of trade names. Many of these commercial varieties are yet to be assigned scientific names; hence their names are based on the regions in which they were discovered and collected (e.g. Kedagang, Sabah, Sintang).
Some Bucephalandra species are known because of their leaves shape or prominent color (e.g. Brownie Brown, Super Blue, Wavy Green, Titan, Godzilla, Hades, Theia green, Brownie firebird, Deep blue, Red min, Velvet, Dark wave, Brownie purple, and many others).
The following tank water parameters should be sustained for the Bucephalandra plant to ensure its proper growth and development:
- Recommended water temperature between 21.5 °C – 28 °C or 71 °F – 82.5 °F.
- Well-filtered water with proper flow.
- Water pH levels ranging from 6 – 8.
- Some hardness ( GH ) is essential; 5 GH and above preferably.
Note #1 : Although Bucephalandra is a hardy plant that can tolerate a huge range of water parameters, soft water has a more positive effect on the Buce plant. Note #2 : As Bucephalandra grows in fast-flowing rivers, it is crucial to provide them with sufficient water circulation in a planted tank or aquarium. This can be achieved using a powerful external filter and then placing the plants along the water flow.
When planting the Buce plant, make sure that the roots are secured properly. A rubber band or super glue, fishing wire can be used to fasten the plant. In a few weeks, the roots would naturally grow and grip onto the objects which they are being attached to.
The growth rate of this plant species is highly dependent on the type collected and good nutrient supply. Some types will shoot 2 to 3 new leaves in a week if provided with proper growth conditions, while other types would barely shoot 1 leaf in 2 weeks.
The reophyte (Bucephalandra) can also be planted in a paludarium. Paludarium is a kind of aquarium semi-aquatic habitat where land and water synergize to create a unique natural environment in which you can inhabit many creatures than you would in your average aquarium. However, the conditions might not be too favorable hence coloration of the leaves tends to be frail. In addition, aquarists noticed that submersed Bucephalandra grows even slower than usual.
The Bucephalandra species are easy to keep in a tank once certain conditions are met:
Bucephalandra, Nutrients and CO2 :
Basically, the same principle is with CO2 dosing. Bucephalandra does not require CO2 dosing. However, the provision of CO2 and the right level of nutrients will support its growth and promote leaf coloration.
Note : If you have shrimp in your tank, I would highly recommend reading my articles: CO2 in a Planted Tank Guide CO2 in a Shrimp Tank How Copper Affects Dwarf Shrimp Shrimp Safe Plant Fertilizers
The point is that a high level of CO2 and Copper (most fertilizers contain copper) is extremely dangerous to the shrimp. In my article about copper, I also refer to the most popular shrimp-safe plant fertilizers.
Bucephalandra and Light:
The measure of light you need for this plant depends mostly on what you want to do with it. The light demand is flexible. If it is just for ornamental purposes, low light would be the best decision. It will grow very slowly and you won’t see very intense coloration. Whereas if you desire quicker growth and better coloration you’ll need a medium to high light.
You should monitor the lighting from time to time, dim the light if you notice signs of stress or bad health conditions. Bucephalandra grows well under lower levels of lighting, and as they grow very slowly, they are very exposed to algae attacks. You can grow Buce in high-lighting (100+umols on the right, just below the waterline), but ensure that the aquarium is very clean and your Bucephalandra needs to be healthy to remain algae free.
Read more about it in my article “Advanced Guide to Planted Tank Lighting” .
Bucephalandra and Propagation:
The propagative means of this plant species is by rhizomes. Just like the Anubias, they can be easily divided and propagated. The rhizome is a significant part of the Bucephalandra because it can develop into a complete plant. The rhizome can be divided into multiple singular plants with the use of scissors and attached to hardscape, or planted into the soil or substrate.
Make sure that individual rhizomes are not too short, portions greater than 4 cm (1.5 inches) are very effective for the propagative process.
Rhizomes will bud new leaves as well if they are healthy and growth conditions are favorable, just attach them to rock/wood surfaces by taping or using adhesive.
They can likewise be grown on the substrate as long as the rhizome is not buried to deter rot. Bucephalandra are slow growers, therefore the aquarist should have some patience for the plant to grow and mature. A healthy Bucephalandra plant will produce baby plants and form dense clumps over time. However, it is vital to separate the clumps to allow the Buce to grow better and keep the aquatic tank algae-free.
Always make sure that the rootstock remains undamaged, doesn’t rot, or gets squeezed. Don’t remove healthy leaves and roots from newly planted rhizome plants, give them some time to settle.
Potential problems associated with Bucephalandra:
The most common issue with Buce is that newly submerged plants may forgo some of their older emersed growth and vice versa. You can encounter the melting of leaves in a matter of days to weeks as this conversion process is stressful to the Buce plant. Not to worry, new leaves will emerge within some time. Be patient!
Fluctuation in water parameters or sudden unusual movements (transporting) of this species can lead to an adverse condition called ‘melting’ whereby the plant sheds some of its leaves.
Slow recovery : Buce plant takes longer to recover than faster-growing plants, so once you damage them, it can take weeks/months for full recovery – so consistency is key to growing them long term.
Low-light conditions can influence the Bucephalandra’s color negatively. One of the major highlights of this plant species is its beauty and bright coloration, it can be quite disappointing to lose features that make this plant much coveted and loved amongst aquarists.
Algae problems : The Bucephalandra is often exposed to algae issues. This is due to the slow growth rate, inconsistency in maintaining proper water parameters, and the presence of organic waste levels in the tank. Nonetheless, one man’s loss is another man’s treasure. If you have shrimp or snails in your tank (especially Amano shrimp and Nerite snails ), it will be even an advantage for you. Keep in mind that algae will increase your shrimplet survival rate (read more here) .
You can also read “How to Spot Nutrient Deficiencies in Aquatic Plants”.
Although this plant species is relatively new to the hobby, obtaining it is not hard. You can get it at a local aquarium store. If you do not find one there then purchasing it from the internet should be your best option. For example, Bucephalandra can be easily found on Amazon, eBay, Buceplant.com.
It is hard to recommend any particular place because they all stock varieties of the plant and change them all the time.
Uses of Bucephalandra:
When it comes to special aquatic plant species, Bucephalandra stands out and it has become a great choice to many aquarists and others in the fish or shrimp keeping hobby all over the world.
Bucephalandra grows well and can easily be propagated on rocks and hardscapes using adhesives. The flexibility shown by this plant makes it suitable for creating aquascapes in the aquarium. They are equally good at reflecting certain colors because of their iridescent nature thereby beautifying the aquarium.
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6 thoughts on “ Bucephalandra Care Guide – Planting, Growing and Propagation ”
Hello Michael, that bucephalandra on the top first photo looks so beautiful could you tell me what’s the exact name please?
Hi Adam, This is Bucephalandra motleyana «Gunung Sumpit». Cheers 🙂 Best regards, Michael
Good article, very informative. I just learned about Bucephalandra today, may I know if algae will hurt the plant? Or is it just an eye-sore & has no other negative effects towards it? Thanks 🙂
Hi Hakem, It depends on how much algae are on the plant. All plants need light for photosynthesis. They use their leaves for that. Therefore, if there are a lot of algae on the leaves, the leaves will not be able to absorb light and carbon dioxide to produce glucose (food) for plants. As a result, the plant will starve. Best regards, Michael
in additon to above, please note that since buce is slow growing plant(1 leaf per week or two) , it is more prone to algee attack. Ensure right amout of light only is given and take necessary steps to remove existing algee before planting buce.
Hi Dharmendra, True. Thank you. Best regards, Michael
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Eriocaulon Cinereum Care Guide – Planting, Growing, and Propagation
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Care Guide for Bucephalandra — A Colorful Alternative to Anubias
When it comes to beginner-friendly aquarium plants, most people think of anubias or java fern. But if you’re looking for something a little more unique, try bucephalandra. This lovely plant has unusual, iridescent leaves, does well in low lighting, and is perfect for nano aquariums. However, they tend to cost more than anubias and are very slow growing compared to other aquatic plants. Keep reading to learn all about the beautiful bucephalandra.
What is Bucephalandra?
Bucephalandra (or “buce” for short) is a genus of rheophyte plants that grows along the banks of fast-moving streams in Borneo. They grow emersed (or above water) during the dry season and submersed (or below water) during the rainy season. Buce plants often have oblong leaves with wavy edges, but some types are more circular in shape, skinner in width, or have straight edges. The foliage greatly varies from light to dark greens, and certain varieties come with red, purple, or bluish tints. Up close, you may notice some species have small white dots on the leaves, as well as an iridescent sheen that changes in the light. If your buce is thriving, it may even produce a white or pink flower for your enjoyment.
Bucephalandra “Green Wavy”
What are the different types of buce? Currently, more than 30 species have been identified, but there are hundreds of different common names available on the market — such as green wavy, brownie blue, black pearl, mini coin, dark skeleton king, Godzilla, and deep purple. (Note: To help prevent overharvesting in the wild, we at Aquarium Co-Op only sell farm-raised bucephalandra on our website.)
Why is bucephalandra so expensive? They are relatively new to the aquarium hobby and therefore are in high demand among fishkeepers. Plus, they are very slow growing compared to other species. As plant farms gradually increase their stock, the price will hopefully decrease over time.
How big do bucephalandra get? Some species grow by creeping horizontally and stay around 2–4 inches (5–10 cm) tall, whereas species that grow upright may reach 7–10 inches (18–25 cm). Different types of buce have leaves ranging from 0.5–4 inches (1–10 cm) long. Most aquascapers enjoy using bucephalandra in the foreground or middle of the aquarium, or they attach them to hardscape.
Is bucephalandra hard to grow? Buce are considered easy to care for because they can live in low lighting, do not need a lot of fertilizer or CO 2 injection, and can grow without any substrate. That being said, they tend to grow very slowly and can be prone to algae growth. We like to grow our buce in the shaded parts of our aquariums and use algae eaters to keep their leaves clean.
Buce comes in many colors like green, purple, red, and blue
How to Plant Bucephalandra
Like anubias and java fern, buce plants have a rhizome, which is like a thick stem or trunk that sprouts both leaves and roots. The great thing about rhizome plants is that they do not need to be planted in substrate. You can easily wedge them between a crack in a rock or more firmly attach them to decor using sewing thread or super glue gel . Be careful not smother the rhizome with too much glue or else it may suffer. For more details, read our post on using super glue to attach plants .
If you do wish to put the plant in the ground, the key is to make sure the rhizome is not covered up. First, push the plant deeply into the sand or gravel so the roots and rhizome are buried. Then gently pull the plant upwards until the rhizome is completely exposed but the roots are still in the substrate.
Finally, you have the option of leaving the bucephalandra in the plastic basket with rock wool. Feed the plant by inserting a root tab into the rock wool so that it reaches the roots. Then drop the whole pot into an Easy Planter decoration , which makes the buce look like it is growing out of a rock. The planter allows you to easily move the buce whenever you desire and keeps fish from digging up your plants.
Why is my bucephalandra melting? Most plant farms grow their plants emersed, so when your new buce is suddenly submerged underwater, some of the leaves may melt while it adjusts to its new environment. Nutrients are primarily stored in the rhizome, so do not throw it away. As long as the rhizome looks healthy, leave it in the aquarium and it will start to grow new shoots that form into leaves and roots. For more information on melting plants, see our full article .
Bucephalandra growing emersed in the wild
How to Care for Bucephalandra
Buce plants have very similar care requirements to anubias and java fern and can handle a wide range of temperatures from 70–82°F (21–28°C) and pH from 6–8. They can also grow in low to medium lighting, but as mentioned before, higher lighting may invite algae problems because of their slow growth. While adding CO 2 gas is not necessary, it can help to speed up growth. Because of their native habitat in fast-moving rivers, bucephalandra have developed very strong roots, so they will do well in fish tanks with high flow once established.
Does bucephalandra need fertilizer? Like most rhizome plants, they consume most of their nutrients from the water column and therefore would benefit from an all-in-one liquid fertilizer like Easy Green .
Can bucephalandra grow out of water? Yes, buce do quite well when grown emersed, so try adding them to a paludarium or terrarium with plenty of water and high humidity. You can also grow them together with moss to help keep their roots moist at all times.
Wine red Caridina shrimp on a forest of buce
How to Propagate Bucephalandra
In the wild, buce usually produce flowers above the water that have special odors to attracts pollinators. Successful fertilization results in fruit with seeds that drop into the water and spread to different areas. In an aquarium setting, the easiest way to propagate buce is by cutting the rhizome into two pieces with a pair of clean, sharp scissors . Try to find natural bends in the rhizome, where the plant has begun to form separate clumps of foliage. Then attach the new piece to a rock or driftwood as detailed previously, and it will continue growing as a second plant.
Buce flowers grown underwater are beautiful but do not produce seeds
If you have never kept bucephalandra before, save up your money to get this rare jewel for your planted aquarium. They have an elegant beauty that is irresistible to both beginners and experienced aquascapers. Check out our selection of buce plants to order your own today.
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Bucephalandra brownie ghost 2011 Vitro Culture
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Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost 2011 Vitro Culture is a rare and visually stunning aquatic plant that is sure to take your aquarium or aquascape to the next level. With its distinctive dark blue, lilac color and ghostly appearance, this plant is a standout addition to any aquatic environment.
Our Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost 2011 Vitro Culture is grown in a sterile laboratory setting, ensuring that it is free of any pests or diseases that could harm your aquarium. Its convenient vitro culture form makes it easy to plant and care for in your aquarium.
Not only is this plant visually striking, but it is also easy to care for. With its slow growth rate and low light requirements, it is an excellent choice for both beginner and experienced aquarists alike. Plus, it is a hardy plant that can adapt well to various water conditions.
With its unique appearance and easy care, Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost 2011 Vitro Culture is a must-have for any serious aquarium enthusiast. Order yours today and experience the rare and exotic beauty of this stunning aquatic plant!
- Vitro Culture product - Lab-grown aquarium plants!
- Package size: approx. 4 inches (yield 2-3 plants)
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The plants came in excellent shape and there were a bunch of plants in a single order. The price is unmatched as I cant find these for anything less than $20+ per single plant. All my plants came in super healthy and leaves were perfect! Cant wait to order more!
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Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost
Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost is a beautiful variant within the Bucephalandra family. This aquatic plant features varying colors, like most buce species, and is hardy in nature as the rest of bucephalandra species. Buce Brownie Ghost can be grown submerged in a planted aquarium tank or emerged in a variety of terrarium-like setups. Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost doesn't require high lighting and can adapt to a wide range of aquarium tank parameters making it a great choice for beginner aquarists. Its care is comparable to that of Anubias and Cryptocoryne species and it can easily be attached to hardscape material such as aquarium driftwood or aquascaping stones. It is commonly used to fill in gaps in an aquascape layout as well. Care should be taken to ensure the rhizome is not buried as doing so will result in rot.
When planted in groups, Buce Brownie Ghost creates a beautiful display and often provides refuge for smaller aquarium tank inhabitants such as freshwater fish, shrimp and fry. Its small size also makes it perfect for a wide range of aquarium tank sizes. Bucephalandra comes in many varieties, shapes, colors and looks best when kept in clumps in a planted aquarium tank.
Tissue culture plants are grown in-vitro by laboratories who specialize in propagating aquatic plants. There is a huge selection of plant species that have been propagated this way. This is truly the best option for those who want absolutely zero unwanted pests, algae and pesticides. This makes them perfect for shrimp keepers and any planted tank enthusiasts alike.
NOTE: It is important to remove the tissue culture agar gel before planting. Simply wash the gel away, divide, and plant.
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Resources » Aquarium Plants » Bucephalandra
The Complete Bucephalandra Care Guide
The list of aquatic plants can seem endless, and sometimes it can be difficult to tell them apart. Most people don’t put as much thought into choosing plants as they do with fish.
Bucephalandra is a species that is vying for your attention. There are many types, so there’s one to suit everybody. They can be of many colors, shapes, and sizes.
Though there are lots of types, they can all be cared for in a similar way, and as a hardy species, they are very easy to look after.
This article contains all the information needed for you to care for Bucephalandra at home. We’ll cover where they’re from, their ideal aquarium, how to propagate, and much more…
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Bucephalandra facts & overview, benefits of bucephalandra, habitat and tank conditions, propagation, is bucephalandra suitable for your aquarium.
The term ‘Bucephalandra’ represents many distinct, yet closely related, species. It is the name of a genus in the Araceae (or arum) family and is often shortened to Buce.
There are about 30 species of Bucephalandra that have mostly been discovered in Borneo (in Asia) where they are endemic and can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Unfortunately, deforestation is driving some species out of our natural environment. Some can only be found in captivity already.
Each species is slightly different, they may have minor differences in color or shape, but they can all be cared for in the same way because they share the same habitat preference.
In the wild, it forms mats over various surfaces in freshwater bodies like rivers and streams.
In an aquarium, it is mostly used in the foreground since most species are quite small. Though some grow tall enough to be an attraction in the background too.
Generally, these plants are easy to care for; beginners will enjoy their hardy nature. Some species are more demanding than others though.
Buce is a very popular decorative plant so you’ll likely find a species for sale near to you. Your search will probably be longer if you’re looking for a particular species.
Check the health of plants before you buy them. The fading of color or damaged leaves usually indicates poor health.
Is Bucephalandra Hardy
Bucephalandra is a hardy genus. They are adapted for living in fast-moving currents, which is a strong force to handle, so most plants can’t manage it.
It tolerates many common aquarium conditions and can survive if these conditions change slightly, so beginners don’t need to worry if they make small mistakes .
Aquatic plants offer a lot to a freshwater aquarium.
The simplest example is that they just look good. Bucephalandra can come in different colors and shapes that will add interest to the empty spaces of your aquarium.
You’ll likely see the health of your tank improve after adding Buce. It releases oxygen during photosynthesis, which will dissolve into the water and oxygenate it.
Plants also take in pollutants that might otherwise build up in the water. This will keep the water cleaner for any tank mates, keeping them healthier.
Plants are also a source of shelter for the animals in your tank. They are often used when animals are stressed by light or boisterous tank mates.
Small species of Buce will make a home for bottom-dwelling fish, but those higher up enjoy the taller species.
It is difficult to give a detailed description of Buce as a genus because each species looks a little different.
Leaf shape is usually the most characteristic feature of an aquatic plant. Buce leaves come in many varieties, such as oval, long and thin, wavy, or a classic droplet shape.
The leaves will feel waxy due to a cuticle that helps them regulate water.
The color of the leaves can vary too. They are usually green, but some have hues of blues, reds, or purples. Some plants are even multicolored.
Buce is noted for having yellow spots on its leaves, similar to that of Anubias species, but more obvious. The spots are a result of photosynthesis.
Most species reach 1-2 inches, but there are some that get as tall as 10 inches. It is worth checking which species you’re actually buying if you can.
It can be very difficult to tell which species you have because they are poorly tracked and labeled. There are over 200 varying trade names, so even the pet store may not know the answer.
The roots of Bucephalandra are specially adapted for attaching to hard surfaces, as well as the substrate. This helps to keep it secured in fast currents.
To be successful when caring for Buce, you must provide their preferred conditions. This is done by replicating their natural environment in your aquarium.
Nearly all of the 30 Buce species are endemic to Borneo, the third-largest island in the world. They are found in abundance here, enjoying the tropical climate.
This climate produces a humid environment with warm waters.
Bucephalandra can be found in rivers and streams, or on the banks. They prefer fast currents; they have adapted to living in fast-moving waters where other species can’t.
Sometimes they grow fully submerged in the water, but other times they grow outside. Borneo experiences seasons with varying rainfall, so their water cover can vary throughout the year.
Luckily the preferences of Buce are similar to lots of other plants and animals in the aquarium industry, so it is easy to design a suitable tank.
Substrate choice is up to you because Bucephalandra has particularly strong roots.
A substrate isn’t even a requirement, it is very good at attaching to decorations in the tank and growing from there.
You will need a heater to recreate the tropical climate. Set it in the range of 71°F to 82°F. The pH can be slightly acidic or slightly alkaline, from 6.0 to 8.0. Aim to use hard water, at least 5 GH.
Ideally, your filter outlet will produce a strong current. If not, try using an air/water pump .
Lighting requirements depend on what you want. Low lighting will keep the growth rate low whereas intense lights will speed this up a bit.
Ensure your plants are situated somewhere with direct access to light and water movement. Don’t place them too close together to reduce competition.
Buce will be fine without the addition of fertilizers or a source of CO2, though they may influence colors and growth rates.
You don’t need to replicate the varying water levels produced by Borneo’s changing seasons, Bucephalandra will happily grow with constant conditions.
What Size Aquarium does it need?
It is tough to comment on the minimum tank size because it will depend on the species you have.
All species will be fine in a 10-gallon aquarium, but the taller species will need trimming more regularly. Smaller species can fit into 5-gallon tanks.
Overall, most species of Buce are hardy and easy to care for. They are rugged plants that can fit into a multitude of setups, including paludariums. They are suitable for aquarists of all experience levels.
Fertilizers and CO2 injections are optional. These plants can grow fine without them, though fertilizers will likely enhance their colors.
Bright lights are a good way to speed up growth rates. Buce naturally grows with poor lighting though, so dim the lights if its health starts to deteriorate.
Since Bucephalandra grows slowly, it is more at risk of excessive algae. Dim lights will help to keep algae under control.
You should be wiping away any excess algae as part of general tank maintenance anyway. Keeping your tank clean is important for the health of every living thing in your aquarium.
This includes performing regular partial water changes to prevent pollutants from building up.
There isn’t much that needs doing when maintaining Buce itself, you just have to trim it down if it gets too tall. Most species are small, so this is a big problem.
The slow growth rate means trimming is needed less often too.
It’s a good habit to dispose of all plant trimmings by burying them, adding them to a compost heap, or dissolving them in acid. Plants can spread easily by being introduced to landfill.
It is unlikely that Buce would be able to spread, but it’s best to remove the possibility.
Take extra care when planting and moving Bucephalandra because recovery takes a while due to the slow growth rate. Damage is an issue for the long term.
Damage can be caused by ‘melting’. This is where plants shed leaves because they have been weakened by a change in their environment.
New growth will be better adapted to the new conditions.
See related: Bacopa Caroliniana care
Buce is an excellent ornamental choice for a community aquarium or paludarium, mixing well with both plants and animals.
The preferred conditions of Bucephalandra match that of many tropical favorites, so it should be easy to design a suitable community.
Most fish species will work well, and they’ll appreciate having plants around. Be wary of fish that are known for damaging plants.
Buce grows slowly so it is less able to recover. Small nibbles from fish will likely be okay, but some fish (like Oscars ) enjoy uprooting plants entirely, which is much less recoverable.
You could try Dwarf Gourami , Mollies , Rosy Barbs , Zebra Danios , Neon Tetras , Swordtails , White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Yoyo Loaches, or Chinese Algae Eaters .
If you want to keep invertebrates, limit yourself to shrimps and snails. Crabs and Crayfish are known to destroy live plants and should be avoided.
Ghost Shrimp , Amano Shrimp , Cherry Shrimp , Mystery Snails , Nerite Snails , and Ramshorn Snails are all viable options.
Once you have decided on a tank mate, always research the needs of that species to confirm it is compatible.
The main consideration when mixing Bucephalandra with other plant species is competition . Will they be competing for space and resources? Spacing them apart should limit this.
Plants reproduce via propagation, which can be done in a few different ways. Bucephalandra propagates through rhizome division.
A rhizome is a modified stem that produces roots and shoots from its nodes. Rhizome division is where a rhizome breaks off and falls to the substrate, rooting itself down to form a whole new plant.
You can manipulate the process to speed things up. Using sterilized scissors, cut a rhizome from a fully developed plant.
The cutting can be planted in the substrate or attached to hard surfaces with the help of fishing wire, tape, or aquarium-safe glue.
Plant the cutting in an area with plenty of access to sunlight. Don’t place it too close to other plants that will be competing for space and resources.
It is important that the cutting you take has multiple leaves. Without leaves, the plant can’t photosynthesize and therefore can’t grow.
Once planted, try not to disturb the new cutting, to give it the best chance of maturing.
Buce grows slowly so it may take a while before you can repeat the process with the new plant. This may be frustrating if propagation is your goal, but slow growth helps to reduce maintenance.
Bright lights can speed up growth, but dim them if you notice signs of poor health.
It’s clear to see why Bucephalandra is sought after for freshwater aquariums. The genus is full of beautiful plants that are easy to care for.
Obviously, the appearance of the plant will vary depending on the species, but each one is attractive in its own way and will resonate with somebody.
Caring for them will probably just be keeping an eye on them once they’re added to the tank. They’ll take care of themselves, but you should look out for signs of damage.
Whether you’re planning on an aquarium full of fish or plants, Buce will fit right in and stand out as a colorful addition.
Do you have any questions about Bucephalandra? Discuss them in the comments below…
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Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost
Scientific Name : Bucephalandra Pygmeae Common Trading Name : Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost
Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost Care : Family Name: Araceae Endemic To: Borneo Leaves: Round, 1-3 cm pH: 6-7.5 Care: Easy Light: Low to Medium Co2: Not necessary but recommended Propagation: Cut by rhizome Growth rate: Slow
Bucephalandra is an epiphytic aquarium plant so it can be attached to aquarium hardscape. Do not plant Bucephalandra in substrate and cover the rhizome. This will cause it to melt and rot. Please be sure to remove this plant from its pot. Remove the rockwool surrounding the roots and attach to hardscape. For instructions on how to properly prep “potted” aquarium plants, click here. Bucephalandra’s final size, coloration and growth rate are dependent upon the condition of the aquarium Photos are a representation of what you will receive and may vary. Do not make drastic changes to the aquarium. Unstable parameters will result in melt and rotting of the aquarium plant. CO2 injection will yield better growth. Please research appropriately to ensure your plant thrives.
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Bucephalandra Brownie Brown
Bucephalandra Black Tears
Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost 2011
Trade names, taxon family, origin of taxon, growth habit.
Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost 2011 specimen, emersed, in a grow bin
Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost 2011, starter plant after acclimation
This was one of the earliest Buce to be introduced into the hobby, back when all Buce were considered very rare and hard to find. Around that time there was what you might call a “Buce craze” spreading across the aquarium hobby.
Brownie Ghost 2011 is a highly sought after Bucephalandra which, over the years since its introduction, has become difficult to obtain. There are a lot of plants being sold under this name or similar names which are not the same species. The real one comes from the original strain which was brought into the hobby around 2011 or shortly thereafter.
It’s easy to see the appeal of this plant, which has an incredible gradient of stunning colors in a metallic sheen, on attractively shaped foliage with undulate margins and a prominent midrib.
Like other Buce, the iridescence and colors become more saturated in dim light.
Bucephalandra Care and More
Where to Buy
- See all "Bucephalandra" on Buceplant.com.
- GBIF search for "Bucephalandra"
- Kew Plants of the World search for "Bucephalandra"
- WikiSpecies search for "Bucephalandra"
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Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost 2015
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Bucephalandra sp.Gunungpit Sumpit
Bucephalandra sp.Sekadau Brown Round Leaf
Bucephalandra sp. "Brownie Ghost"
- Especially attractive Bucephalandra form
- Purplish red to blue-violet iridescent tones
- Until now very rare in trade
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Several different Bucephalandra forms are known under the trading name "Brownie Ghost". Our plant has elongate-ovate leaves with rounded tip, the leaf edge is more or less wavy. Especially the younger leaves are brown-red with blue-violet iridescence. They get about 3 - 4 cm long. The plant reaches a height of about 5 - 10 cm.. The stomata on the dark coloured leaves are visible as silverish dots.
Bucephalandra species and forms are primarily epiphytes on rock or wood where they attach themselves by their roots. They can also be fixed to the bottom, however the rhizome must not be buried to avoid rotting. The plant will root on its own and benefit from the nutrients in the substrate. The growth is generally slow to very slow. Bucephalandras cope with poor light conditions, however they develop their most beautiful look with medium lighting, good water current and constant nutrient and CO 2 supply. They also tolerate strong lighting, sufficient CO 2 and nutrient supply provided. The favourable temperature range is about 20 to 27°C. We recommend to put Bucephalandras into already cycled aquariums. It is best to leave the plants in peace so they can grow. Sudden changes of parameters may lead to shedding of leaves, normally, however, the plants regrow slowly and produce new shoots on the rhizome. Bucephalandras are easily propagated by cutting terminal and side shoots that also promotes the ramification of the plant.
Bucephalandra sp. "Brownie Ghost" is a special gem in the aquarium that is best placed on the hardscape in the midground to foreground.
Please be aware that the bunch/potted variation of this plant could contain snails and other invertebrates.
Aquasabi is our own brand, under which we offer high-quality products with a very good price-performance ratio. Carefully selected CO 2 diffusers, CO 2 bubble counters or lily pipes are just some of the items we sell under this brand and which will surely add to the value und the beauty of any aquascape. For this reason, many aquascapers and planted tank enthusiasts use products by Aquasabi.
Besides the good price-performance ratio, our main focus is on the satisfaction of our customers. This is the reason why our doors are always open for those who need help with our products.
When it comes to special aquatic plants, water plants from Aquasabi are just the thing for you. We offer rarities from our own cultivating tanks or import them specifically. These plants are otherwise hard to come by, and most of them cannot be purchased from other shops. We have high quality standards, which make Aquasabi plants a good choice for aquascapers, planted tank enthusiasts and aquatic plant collectors who want to enrich their tanks with rare aquatic plants. Special mosses, particular stem plants, hard-to-come-by ferns or very rare forms of the genus Bucephalandra are only a few of the plants we are proud to offer.
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jai placé ces bucephalandra dans mon 60P aquascaping (éclairage intense, fertilisation tous les jours, co2 à 50mg) et elles ont toutes fondus... très déçus pour le prix... (read more)
jai placé ces bucephalandra dans mon 60P aquascaping (éclairage intense, fertilisation tous les jours, co2 à 50mg) et elles ont toutes fondus... très déçus pour le prix...nachetez pas de bucephalandra in vitro.
En pot cest mieux
After i year i compare this with my ori 2011 bg.... This is just a joke, not a orginal bg. (read more)
After i year i compare this with my ori 2011 bg.... This is just a joke, not a orginal bg.
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Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost Mini
- In stock, ready to ship
- Inventory on the way
This listing is qualified for
BUY 2 GET 1 FREE* PROMOTION ✨
1) To qualify for this offer, you must add 2 quantities to your shopping cart. 2) We will automatically send 1 extra plant for free. Offer valid on same plant, no mix n' match. Restriction applied!
- Sold as a tiny, small Bare-root plant with 6 plus leaf
- Young plants grow in a controlled laboratory environment
- Color ranges from reddish-brown, olive, dark green to almost black
- Great for nano planted tanks, terrariums, and aquariums
Disclaimer : Pictures are not the actual plants you will receive, but a sample representation. Unless specific, we don't guarantee aquatic plants will be free of pests, pesticides, grow emerged, or submerge.
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24 Hours Live Arrival Guarantee* - In a rare case of live stocks dead on arrival, we must be notified within 24 hours by the same day of delivery. Please take clear photos of the damaged product and send it to us within 24 hours. Live Arrival Guarantee will be void after 24 hours of delivery. All replacements are considered final and we will not replace the replacement.
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WHAT WE CAN'T GUARANTEE
Even though our plants are very clean, but we can't guarantee they will be 100% pest-free because we cannot be responsible for your aquarium. Please use it at your own risk. We recommended all customers rinse the plants with clean water and quarantine them before use.
However, plants in tissue culture will be 100% free from pests, algae and never have been contacting with any aquarium.
- Due to the nature of the product. W e don't guarantee our plants will be pests free. ( snails, algae, hitchhikers )
- We don't guarantee our plants will be free of pesticides. We use homemade, organic pesticides in our greenhouse to control pests. We do not use pesticides that contain copper. Copper is toxic to invertebrates such as aquatic snails, crabs, shrimps, etc
- We don't guarantee your aquarium success or are responsible for your aquarium inhabitant including but not limited to fish, shrimp, snail, turtle, etc. So please quarantine all plants when use!
- Unless specific, we don't guarantee aquatic plants will be grow emerged or submerge.
I got in on the 3 for the price of 2 deal. I received 3 rhyzomes, one was a double. The day after I received them I glued them to a Manzanita branch. It's been about 2 weeks now and new leaves are starting to sprout, no melting at all. Pretty little buce, leaves are about a half inch long, light to dark green, too early to see if the new growth has good color but looks pink.
We offer BUY 2 GET 1 FREE* on many plants. For every 2 same plant that you purchased, we will automatically send you 1 extra plant for free. Restriction applied.
We shipped live plants year-round no matter how hot or cold by using thermal Insulation technology. All orders are back with Live Arrival Guarantee.
We offer the highest quality aquarium plants that grow with ❤️ in California. Our Aquatic Plants are harvested the same day we ship. Fresh from our farm!
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