Bucephalandra: Complete care guide


What is Bucephalandra?

This is the plant that is found growing along the banks of fast-moving streams in Borneo, usually attached to rocks using very strong roots. Even though it is used as a submerged aquarium plant many times of the year it grows immersed out of the water because of the wet and dry seasons.

  • There are over 200 varieties but less than 10 named species of this plant.
  • It grows about 2 or 4-inches or a little bit more in height, even taller if it grows immersed.
  • The leaves can range from less than 1/2 an inch to 4-inches long.

It is a really good foreground or mid-ground plants or as most people put it on the hard scape.

When it comes to appearance, the typical beautiful Bucephalandra has oval-shaped leaves with a wavy edge. But you definitely can see all sorts of variety that are smaller, skimmer larger, straight -edge and so on.

One of its distinctive features includes white-dots with some kind of iridescent on the leaves which makes it look gorgeous. The plants do produce pink or white flowers, although they do no usually survive underwater.

How to care for Bucephalandra?

  • Level of ease of this beautiful plant: pretty easy, it is similar to Anubis maybe a little bit harder.
  • The growth level is very slow.
  • Temperature is a really wide range of 70-80 degrees.
  • pH is not very picky 6-8.
  • Lighting, it can grow in low to high light, just make sure you don't have too much light or else you will have to deal with algae problems since it is so slow-growing.
  • Carbon Dioxide is not necessary but it will help if you want to use it.

The other side not is it does like good water movement because of its origin. It will really be benefited by some water column fertilizers.

Where to buy Bucephalandra?

It is very rare that you will find it in your local fish store, you can try to find it from someone in your local fish club. They are usually found in auctions or you can get it from some hobbyist online. The easiest way to get them is ordering online.

The reason why Bucephalandra is so expensive because it is still new to the hobby and there are even some laws and restrictions to help stop the illegal import and export abuse since it is overharvested in the wild.

So, try to buy commercially raised or farm-raised plants if at all possible.

How to propagate Bucephalandra?

In the wild beautiful Bucephalandra will produce flowers that have scents that attract beetles to pollinate them, however as hobbyist the easiest way is to just get a pair of clean sharp scissors and then cut the rhizome to separate the Bucephalandra into two different pieces. 

Just make sure that the pieces of the rhizome aren't too small.

How to plant Bucephalandra?

To plant Bucephalandra

  • First, remove any old or sickly leaves.
  • The good way is to attach super glue to Bucephalandra onto rocks or driftwoods.
  • Instead, you can also use thread fishing lines.
  • Then you can also plant them into the substrate, just the roots not the rhizome.

Bucephalandra also tends to melt they have sudden changes in water parameters like moving them from submersed to immersed or even moving them to a different tank. Do not throw the rhizome leave it in the tank, give it some time, and hopefully, you will see some new sprouts appear.


It is definitely a beautiful plant with iridescent leaves, pretty easy to take care of, perfect for low-tech and nano-tanks because it does not grow very fast and thick.


It is really expensive, it will probably melt and it is really slow-growing.

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