Emersed Cultivation

Nearly all Cryptocorynes can be cultivated above the water line in high humidity conditions. For this purpose, an empty aquarium covered with a glass panel will do. Artificial lighting is sufficient. An easy cultivation method is to fill the aquarium with enough water to enable the plant pots to sit in water of up to about 1-3 cm. With the aid of a diffusor located in a separate container with water, air circulation and, at the same time, high humidity is created. In addition, the water may be fed slowly through a filter in order to achieve constant water circulation and movement, as well as nutrient supply.

Today, the cultivation of Cryptocorynes in paludariums will pose insurmountable problems to the keeper in only a few species (e.g., C. bogneri). The most important factor in emersed cultivation is the composition of the substrate. In general, those species which are easily cultured in aquariums can be kept in a mixture of sand, loam and gravel. Unfertilized peat can be used as an additive. Soil (loam, peat and fertilizer) and aquatic plant soil carry only a limited recommendation. Some species will even grow well hydroponi-cally. In this case, fine gravel is used exclusively as plant substrate with additional use of a special hydroponics fertilizer, Lewatit HD 5. The fertilizer is either added to the water of the aquarium or fed into the aquarium through a separate water circulation system (Ehrenberg 1990). Those Cryptocorynes originating from waters where the substrate and water are characterized by a conspicuously low pH-value due to the presence of humic matter are more difficult to keep. Here, the use of beech leaf mold as substrate or as an additive has led to surprising growth success (Jacobsen 1992).

Even though a lot of progress has been made over the last couple of years in the area of cultivation problems, by far not all problems have been solved. Only few attempts at cultivating difficult Cryptocoryne species in aquariums were successful. There will therefore remain an ongoing, interesting and varied range of activities for the enthusiastic Cryptocoryne lover well into the future.

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