The Cryptocoryne wendtii is among the most popular aquatic plants. It naturally inhabits rivers and streams in Sri Lanka, where it prefers shaded areas. The plant has plenty of variable species with color variations that include greens, browns, and reds.
The leaf size and texture also vary significantly among the species. Cultivating the plant is fairly straightforward, which makes it popular among beginners. Crypts thrive in low and high light, although they tend to develop longer leaves in low light settings.
Cryptocoryne Appearance & Requirements
The Cryptocoryne wendtii plant typically stays fairly small, and it is ideal as a midground or foreground plant. If you have a smaller aquarium, you can use it as a background plant where the leaves reach the water’s surface and bend over to float in the water.
The plant is particularly prevalent in aquascaping. Its rosette growth form is useful in dividing an aquarium into distinct sections. Aquascapers commonly use several of these plants to draw attention to an adjoining location or to conceal the bottom parts of stem plants.
You can get the plant in a variety of colors and leaf-textures to create a beautiful contrast in your tank. Since it grows thickly, it can help hide the unsightly portions of your set up.
The plant will tolerate high and low light conditions. You can use LED lights or fluorescent bulbs that mimic full-spectrum lighting. The plant is a slow grower, and there is a chance for it to be crowded out by other plants in high-light environments.
Cryptocoryne likes soft water, but it will tolerate hard water as well. The color of the leaves is impacted by the availability of light, where they become more brightly colored in higher-wattage lighting.
Best Substrate for Planting Crypts
Crypts will thrive in an enriched substrate, especially those that are rich in potassium and iron. You can plant it directly in a sand or gravel substrate, where they will develop strong roots gradually. These roots will help the plant withstand the aggression of diggers like some cichlids.
We especially love how effective this specially fracted porous clay gravel from Seachem is. It brilliantly contrasts the lively colors of crypts without affecting the water’s PH.
You can use the substrate alone as it works best when used as the main substrate bed, or you can combine it with other gravels. You do not have to worry about the substrate decomposing to an inappropriate state in your aquarium.
If you buy a mature crypt, it is quite easy to plant it in your tank’s substrate. You will need to remove the existing substrate from the plant’s roots by soaking it in a bucket of water. Work carefully to preserve the existing root system.
If the plant is mature enough, you can even separate some parts to grow as individual plants. Tweezers come in handy to pinch, hold, and fix the roots into the substrate.
Crypts are generally compatible with most fish and invertebrates. Its advanced root systems discourage even the most active foragers, although fish like goldfish will nibble at it.
The leaves create a necessary cover for shy and breeding fish species as well as fry.
How to Propagate Cryptocoryne Plants?
There are several ways of propagating crypts. You can cut off a portion of the root that has a stem attached to it. Plant this portion in the substrate but expect it to grow slowly.
Other aquarists will split mature plants into clumps of plantlets. You can then replant these plantlets a few inches apart to accommodate subsequent growth.
Crypts also reproduce through runners that develop from the roots. The young plants that grow from long runners are often well-separated from the main plant and can be removed easily and replanted in another place.
In an aquarium setting, however, the roots will typically be intertwined with those of other plants, and it may be difficult to separate them. It may be necessary to use a sharp object like a knife to separate the root mass in some cases.
Do Cryptocoryne Require Fertilizer?
Yes, it is advisable to provide your Cryptocoryne plant with additional nutrients to boost growth. The plant receives its nourishment from the roots, which is why root tabs will work better than liquid fertilizer.
Crypts especially need a lot of iron, and you can invest in iron-rich tabs like this one from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals.
Why do Cryptocorynes Appear to be Melting / Drying?
Crypt melt is a common phenomenon with newly-acquired Cryptocorynes. The leaves develop holes and begin to wilt and wither. While this can be frustrating, you only need to understand how crypts work.
Crypts do not especially welcome change, especially when the change involves water chemistry. Adjustments in temperature, water parameters, lighting, and CO2 will incite a drastic response from the plant.
If you change anything in the tank, you can expect to see the plant melting in 10 to 14 days.
The phenomenon is also common if the crypts are moved. If you buy a plant that is not stored in pots, there is a higher chance of the leaves melting. The plant should be fine if you move it around the same aquarium.
Aquarists can grow crypts emersed or submerged, depending on the tank layout. If it transitions to another type of growth, the plant grows a better-suited set of leaves and kills the old one. As long as the rhizome of your plant is healthy, it will subsequently grow new foliage.
If the leaves appear yellowish, however, they may be iron-deficient, and you should get appropriate root tabs.
Can You Float Cryptocoryne?
No, crypts need to planted in a substrate to survive. They rely on their root systems for nutrition and will die if they are not anchored in a suitable substrate.
The substrate choice should be rich in the nutrients that the plant needs, and you can use root tabs to boost the plant’s growth. Gravel and sand are good substrate options.
The Cryptocoryne Wendtii plant is a hardy option for the modern aquarium. It comes in attractive color variations that will especially contrast well with a dark substrate.
Its advanced roots render it safe from enthusiastic diggers that are notorious for uprooting plants.
The leaves of the plant are known to ‘melt’ when the water parameters change, but newer ones will grow in their place after some time.