Bucephalandra Pygmy – GroWoW! Series
Common Names – Buce plant, Buceps
Family – Araceae
Origin – Borneo, Southeast Asia
Skill Level – Easy, moderate
Lighting – Low
Tank Placement – Foreground, Midground
Flow Rate – Moderate, High
Temperature Range 71-79°F
Height – 1-10 inches
pH Range – 6.0 – 8.0
Propagation – Rhizome division
Growth Rate – Slow growth rate
Feed Type – Column or Root Feeder
CO2 Requirement – No, but recommended
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This new series is Sreepadma Tissue Culture plants hardened and grown emersed to full size under controlled conditions in our farm.
In nature, Bucephalandra usually grows on rocks or wood in rivers and streams – much like Anubias, which they resemble regarding use and care in the aquarium.
Family Name: Araceae
Endemic To: Borneo
Leaves: 1-3 inches
Light: Low to Medium
Co2: Not necessary but recommended
Propagation: Cut by rhizome
Growth rate: Slow
Bucephalandra are endemic to Indonesia and are found on the island of Borneo. They are slow-growing, hardy and are especially well suited to grow attached to hardscape (rock / wood), as in the picture above and below. They can also be grown on the substrate as long as the rhizome is not buried. Due to their flexible light demands, they can be grown in shaded portions of the tank, or in full lighting.
Buceps belong to a genus of flowering rheophyte that grows with a creeping rhizome; they come in a large variety of leaf shapes and colors. A distinctive feature of all Bucephalandra are bright spots on the leaves. Many are iridescent, reflecting brilliant colors when viewed at particular angles.
Bucephalandra species face less stress/melting issues with cooler water, even though growing them in discus temps is still possible (above 80f/27c). For those living in the tropical belt, having chillers or at least fans is beneficial. They do better in tanks with good flow.
Why does Bucephalandra melt?
Uncycled planted tanks with high levels of ammonia or organic waste leads to melting; this is common among beginners who do not cycle their tanks fully before planting.
Melting Buceps is not a “normal” situation. Bucephalandra species do better in stable tanks with matured biological systems. Especially when facing transport stress or stress from being moved between tanks of different parameters, having cool, clean water, and supplementary CO2 is important to prevent melting.
Bucephalandra are hardy plants that can survive in planted tanks without CO2 injection or much fertilization. However, to grow them to their best, they do better with good flow and CO2. Having good growth parameters also make them much more resistant to algae.
Depending on species, their growth rates can be a bit different. Slower species can produce as few as 1 leaf every 3 weeks, while faster growing species can produce 2 leaves per week in good conditions.
Is Bucephalandra a low light plant?
Bucephalandra grows well under lower levels of lighting. Indeed growing them under CO2/nutrient rich waters but with subdued lighting <50umols of PAR makes for easy management.
As they grow very slowly, they are very vulnerable to algae. You can grow them in high lighting (100+umols ) but you need to keep your planted aquarium very clean and your Buceps must be healthy to remain algae free. This means being consistent about water changes, clearing organic debris and being on point on pruning.
In tanks that have overly turbulent CO2 misting and violent flow, Bucephalandra in the path of flow become more vulnerable to black brush algae (BBA). This is one instance where too much flow can be counter-productive. Find ways to re-direct the flow or get more gentle distribution of flow if you find that Bucephalandra in path of flow are the ones that consistently get BBA.
If you have consistent algae issues with Bucephalandra, it most likely stems from having high organic waste levels in the tank (having high fish load, but an immatured bio-filter for example) or that the plants are not getting the parameters they require (lack of flow, key nutrients are common reasons).
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Wood / Rock
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