Bucephalandra are a group of low growing flowering aroid plants. These plants are found exclusively on the island of Borneo where they grow in streams subject to drastic changes from flooding to dry periods.
Bucephalandra come in several species with a wide variety of leaf forms and colors. One striking characteristic of these plants is that they develop silvery to white dots on the leaves when grown submersed. Specimens found in nature usually grow from 2 to 7 inches tall, but often are smaller when grown submersed in the aquarium. This makes them an ideal to use as a fore to mid ground plant for a larger aquarium or as a center piece for a nano tank.
Bucephalandra will often flower in the aquarium. The flower is similar to other aroid plants. The inflorescence has a white to pale pink spathe, similar to an anubias or a peace lily.
A large number of the bucephalandra available in the aquarium trade are wild collected directly from Borneo. This has caused some concern of over harvesting as bucephalandra are a slow growing plant. Whenever possible, it is recommended to purchase aquarium propagated specimens or tissue cultured plants. Bucephalandra "green wavy" are beginning to become available more frequently as a tissue cultured plant and make a great alternative to wild collected specimens.
Bucephalandra grow in a manner similar to many anubias plants by attaching strongly to smooth rocks. In the aquarium they may be planted in the substrate or attached to rocks or driftwood. If planting in the substrate, be sure to only bury the roots and not the rhizome and to use a coarse substrate such as eco-complete (CS8450) or Samurai Soil (CS110).
Bucephalandra prefer a temperature range of 71 to 78 and a pH range of 6.5 to 7.0 to grow their best.
Bucephalandra are not particularly demanding plants and may be grown in low to medium lighting with minimal fertilization in a low tech planted tank, but will grow faster with supplemental CO2 and more aggressive fertilization. These plants are able to utilize fertilizers from both the substrate and the water column, but seem to prefer the latter. If unable to provide CO2, a liquid carbon replacement (SC6619) may also be used. A comprehensive plant supplement (SC2391) and a broad range trace element (SC871) will also be very beneficial to these plants.