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Bucephalandra - The Aquarium Plant That Will Wow You

What is all the buzz about Buce??

If you're looking for an aquarium plant that is truly unique and new to the hobby-- something that will turn heads and make your tank stand out from the rest-- then you need to check out Bucephalandra!

Bucephalandra or sometimes called "Buce" by aquarists, is a genus of flowering plants that are native to Borneo. Bucephalandra are beautiful, easy to grow, and come in many varieties and colors. They are perfect for adding some natural charm to your aquarium or aquascape.

Bucephalandra belong to the Araceae family, which includes other popular aquarium plants like Anubias and Cryptocoryne.

They are rhizome plants, which means they have a horizontal stem that grows roots and leaves. You can attach them to rocks, driftwood, or other decorations using glue, thread, or fishing line. 

They don't need much light or CO2, and they can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. They are also very hardy and resistant to algae and diseases.


What are the different species of Bucephalandra?

One of the most appealing aspects of Bucephalandra is their diversity. There are over 200 species and varieties of Bucephalandra, each with its own unique shape, size, color, and texture. Some of the most popular ones are:

🌱 Bucephalandra 'Wavy Green': This is one of the most common and easy to find Bucephalandra. It has bright green leaves with wavy edges and a glossy surface. It grows well in low to medium light and can reach up to 10 cm in height.

🌱Bucephalandra 'Kedagang': This is a rare and stunning Bucephalandra that has dark green leaves with purple undersides and pink veins. It grows well in medium to high light and can reach up to 15 cm in height.

🌱Bucephalandra 'Red Mini': This is a small and compact Bucephalandra that has reddish-brown leaves with white spots. It grows well in medium to high light and can reach up to 5 cm in height.

🌱Bucephalandra 'Theia Green': This is a delicate Bucephalandra that has thin, lanceolate leaves with green tops and yellow undersides. It grows well in low to medium light and can reach up to 6 cm in height.

🌱 Bucephalandra 'Velvet': This is a gorgeous Bucephalandra that has velvety leaves with green tops and red undersides. It grows well in medium to high light and can reach up to 10 cm in height.

What are the care requirements for Bucephalandra?

Bucephalandra are relatively easy to care for, but they do have some specific requirements. Here are some tips for caring for Bucephalandra in your aquarium:

  • Water parameters: Bucephalandra have a broad range: soft to moderately hard water, with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5, and a temperature of 20 to 28°C (68 to 82°F).

  • Lighting: Bucephalandra can adapt to low to medium light levels, but they will show more color and tighter growth under higher light. However, avoid direct sunlight or strong light that can cause algae growth or leaf burn.

  • Fertilization: Bucephalandra can benefit from occasional liquid fertilizer dosing, especially if they are grown in nutrient-poor water. However, avoid over-fertilizing or using fertilizers that contain copper, which can harm the plants as well as any invertebrates in the tank. Too much fertilizer can also lead to algae issues!

  • CO2 injection: Bucephalandra do not require CO2 injection, but they can grow faster and healthier with it. However, avoid excessive CO2 levels that can lower the pH too far.

Why add Bucephalandra to an aquarium?

Bucephalandra are not only beautiful, but also beneficial!

They provide shelter and hiding places for your fish and shrimp, as well as oxygen and nutrients.

  • They also help reduce nitrates and phosphates, which can cause algae problems.
  • Lots and lots of surface area! As we previously covered in 'Cycling vs. Seasoning an Aquarium', More surface area in your tank = More places for your nitrifying bacteria to live. That means a stronger seasoned aquarium that can handle the nutrient spikes life throws at it.
  • They create a natural-looking environment that mimics their native habitat in Borneo. This can make your fish feel more comfortable and less stressed, as well as enhance the aesthetic appeal of your tank.
  • They offer a variety of textures and colors that can complement any aquascape design. You can use them as foreground, midground, or background plants, depending on the size and shape of the Bucephalandra you choose. You can also mix and match different varieties to create a stunning contrast or harmony.

  • They are easy to care for and maintain. They don't need much light or CO2, and they can adapt to different water conditions. They are also resistant to algae and diseases, making them ideal for beginners or busy aquarists.

  • They are easy to propagate and multiply - Although they do take a while. You can simply cut the rhizome and attach it to a new surface, or even use leaf cuttings to create new plants. This way, you can expand your Bucephalandra collection or share with other hobbyists.

Speaking of propagating:

Well, it's actually very simple and rewarding. All you need is a sharp pair of scissors or a razor blade, some glue or thread, and a new surface to attach the cuttings. Here are the steps:

  • Choose a healthy rhizome with several leaves and roots.
  • Cut the rhizome into smaller pieces, each with at least one leaf and one root sprout.
  • Pat both surfaces dry with some paper towel, and apply some glue or wrap some thread around the base of each cutting.
  • Attach the cuttings to the new surface, making sure they are secure and not loose. Don't tie it so tight that your thread cuts into the rhizome!
  • Place your new cuttings back in your aquascape, preferably in a shaded area with low water flow.
  • Wait for the cuttings to grow new roots and leaves. Depending on the conditions and variety, this could mean something like one new leaf a month.


But what about the fish? What are some fish that love Bucephalandra and can coexist peacefully with them?

There are many options to choose from, depending on your tank size, water parameters, and personal preference.

Here are some particularly nice fish that love Bucephalandra:

🐟 Betta fish: These are one of the most popular and colorful fish in the hobby. They have long fins and a variety of patterns and colors. They are also very easy to care for and can live in nano tanks with low filtration. They love to explore their environment and will appreciate the shelter and hiding places that Bucephalandra provide. However, they can be aggressive towards other fish or their own reflection, so you should keep them alone or with peaceful tankmates.

🐟 Tetras: These are small schooling fish that come in many shapes and colors. They are very active and lively, adding movement and energy to your tank. They prefer soft water with low pH and moderate lighting. They will enjoy swimming among the Bucephalandra leaves and nibbling on any algae or debris that may grow on them. However, they can be sensitive to water quality and prone to diseases, so you should keep your tank clean and well-maintained.

🐟 Guppies: These are another popular choice for beginners and experts alike. They are very colorful and prolific, producing many offspring in a short time. They are very adaptable and can live in various water conditions and tank sizes. They will also appreciate the beauty and variety of Bucephalandra plants and fry will use them as hiding places. Sometimes guppies can be overbred and weak, so you should choose healthy specimens from reputable sources.

🦐 Shrimp: These are not technically fish, but they are great additions to any planted tank. They are very small and cute, adding interest and diversity to your tank. They are also very useful as they help clean your tank by eating any algae or leftover food that may accumulate on your plants or substrate. They will love the Bucephalandra plants as they provide them with food, shelter, and breeding grounds. However, shrimp can be hunted by larger or predatory fish, so the tiny nooks and crannies of Buce makes a particularly welcome addition to the aquarium.


Bucephalandras are awesome aquarium plants!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about Bucephalandra. They are truly amazing plants that can add beauty and variety to your aquarium or aquascape. 

Be sure to check out the related 'Troubleshooting Bucephalandra' blog post!

Have any questions? Leave them below!

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