Home | Aquarium Livestock | Why Did My Plant Do That? – Part 2 – Melting Cryptocorynes

Why Did My Plant Do That? – Part 2 – Melting Cryptocorynes

Hello, Craig here again with with another answer to a common plant problem! This time I’d like to address a problem some aquarists have with Cryptocorynes. Crypts are generally described as hardy, low maintenance plants, but not everyone finds them to be that way.

Why do my Crypts look like they’re melting?

So, you are standing in a fish store and over hear someone talking about Crypt Rot. Sounds pretty nasty doesn’t it? They aren’t talking about mummies or some weird disease you get from exploring pyramids. They are talking about an unfortunate problem with an otherwise very sturdy group of plants known as Crypts.

Crypt WendtiiMembers of the Cryptocoryne genus are well known and well established within the aquarium hobby. The most popular of the Crypts, Cryptocoryne wendtii, is tolerant of lower light, higher heat, and just about anything else you can throw at it. Though there are some types that can be tricky to keep, the species that are regularly available to hobbyists are certainly considered to be among the most reliable and versatile plants around.

So, why do the leaves of these so-called hardy plants sometimes appear to melt away? There are several thoughts on the subject, but the most widely accepted reason is that they simply don’t like conditions to be changed too quickly. Temperature, lighting, water parameters, or relocation, the plants may not adjust to what may seem to be minor changes to their environments. I have seen large, healthy stands of Cryptocoryne wendtii fade to stubs after being transplanted to a new spot in a well established aquarium. It can be pretty frustrating, but the great thing about Crypts is that they have really sturdy root systems. If healthy roots are left alone, they’ll pop out new little leaves in no time. So, even though what you see above the substrate seems to have disappeared, being patient will yield results.

All in all, you will find that Cryptocoryne species such as C. wendtii, C. beckettii, and C. x willisii ‘Lucens’ are quite undemanding, and really need only moderate light and nutrient rich substrate to thrive. Using a ferrous iron supplement for your water column and placing a fertilizing root tab near the base of the plant will give them a head start and help them grow in their new aquarium. Water temps can range from 75 F to a little above 80 F. About 2 watts of fluorescent lighting per gallon should be sufficient to maintain them.

For successful Crypts, stability and consistency is the key. Just remember to leave them be once you place them in the substrate and you should have thickets of Crypts growing in no time!

Thanks, until next time,


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