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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I've been getting a ton of questions about growing Bucephalandra (buce) lately due to my sales and ROAK, so I figured it would be best to get a thread for the discussion rather than doing it all in IMs.

A quick overview:

All Bucephalandra are rhizome plants, and should be planted either with roots into substrate without covering the rhizome, or attached to wood or rock. The roots will attach very firmly to either.

Naming: There are many many different looking buce, each with their own name. Almost none of these names are scientific, but seem to refer to the location they were found, or determined by the finder. There is a ton of confusion surrounding naming, and very little standardization. Two plants with the same name could end up being completely different due to one or both being misnamed somewhere along the line. I've owned over 40 types of buce, and seen first hand the problems with the naming conventions on many many occasions.

Lighting: Buce seems to survive under most lighting, however seems to need at least medium light for much growth. It grows quit slowly even under high light, with no more than 1 new leaf ever week at most.

Ferts: Buce does like a full range of ferts in the water column. If roots are down into substrate it can take some from there, but it seems to take most from the water. I've only grown them using EI dosing.

CO2: Buce really likes a good source of CO2. Injected CO2 gas is ideal, but alternate sources such as excel does also work. I've grown buce in a tank using nothing but excel, but growth was significantly slower, with smaller leaves, and almost no new growing points to form new plants.

Splitting: Buce can be split and propogated much like Anubias. Rhizomes can be cut, and new plants can form at any point along a rhizome. Once new plants start to generate their own roots, you can cut them from the rhizome to grow on it's own.

Acclimating: Buce does not like changing conditions. It will often lose a good number of leaves when being placed into a new aquarium. A tank with good levels of CO2 definitely helps prevent too much loss.

Emmersed: Buce can be grown emmersed. Switching from emmersed to submersed often causes the majority of leaves to be lost as it acclimates. If the rhizome does not rot, new growth should start after a week or two of acclimation.

This is most observations from growing them myself, and from what I've read from other peoples experiences. I'm in no way an expert in aquatic plants, and just been focused on Buce for about a year now, and have my share of successes and complete failures.

I do have to say though, I adore all Bucephalandra, and am totally addicted. Watching them (slowly) grow and fill out into larger plants is amazing and I have yet to have any type which disappointed me!!

This thread is open to stories from anyones experiences with this plant, photos, experiments, identification help, anything really related to Buce.

Buce Addicts wanted!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't think they are all the same care wise, but the differences are definitely subtle. Mini varieties seem to be more fragile when acclimating. Achilles also can completely melt on you in a new tank no matter what you do, and I only mention that one because it's the most popular large leaf type.

I think a good starting point would be one of the brownie types (brownie red, blue, green, jande, phantom, etc...although ghost is a bit more fragile it seems, and more expensive).

Another important thing to look for is to try to get a plant which you KNOW has been grown submersed. With so may plants being sold which are imported directly from Indonesia, you never know if you're getting the emmersed form, which could lose some or all it's leaves when you submerse it, which could lead to killing it completely. In this case it's usually good to buy them from another member in a forum like these, which you can ask if it's already growing submersed before you buy!

Both aren't game breakers in terms of your success, but for a first time, they can turn into hurdles.
 

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Great thread Eric! You know, there is a pretty awesome crypt thread floating around this place. Pics of all the different varieties. What do you think about posting good picture examples of known varieties? Try to get a running log going. There really arent any GOOD sources out there with a large variety listed with good pictures.

One thing i've noticed with Bucephalandra, is it seems they like to flower a lot more in lower light and non-co2 conditions. Here is a pic of an old spathe on the only buce i keep in low-medium light, no co2, no ferts. Not sure what the name on it is, but it has a beautiful pink/purple hue to it. This was from a while ago, it actually has a new one that should open any day now. In my higher light tank with DIY co2, ferts, i never see any spathes but get much better growth. Anyone else experiencing this??
 

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I don't think they are all the same care wise, but the differences are definitely subtle.

I think a good starting point would be one of the brownie types (brownie red, blue, green, jande, phantom, etc...although ghost is a bit more fragile it seems, and more expensive).

Thank you. So one of the Brownie sp. with the exception of brownie ghost would be a good starting point.

Also, I was wondering, what makes this plant so special? It is a very pretty plant, but what special features does it have that make it so expensive and sought after?



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Thank you. So one of the Brownie sp. with the exception of brownie ghost would be a good starting point.

Also, I was wondering, what makes this plant so special? It is a very pretty plant, but what special features does it have that make it so expensive and sought after?



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I think it's so uncommon and expensive because it's still fairly new to the trade. It's like when a new mutation or shrimp we already keep pops up. It's uncommon and also expensive because it's new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Duck, I completely agree about the flowering. In fact I've found just reducing CO2 will cause flowering. I had 2 tanks set up, but only one with injected CO2, the other with excel, the lighting and ferts were exactly the same. The tank with CO2 had way more growth in general but now flowers, the tank with excel constantly flowered.

This is a great place for Buce pictures! I'd request that they be all tank raised photos, and nothing which is newly imported. That way we KNOW it's submersed growth, and will get a more consistent set of photos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For me, what makes the plant special is the fact you get such beautiful and varied growth from a rhizome plant. That means you can create beautiful aquariums without the constant maintenance of trimming stem plants, and the more growth you get, the more full and lush it looks without looking overgrown or taking over.

It's quite hard to get a lot of one type as well, which means it's kind of like 50-70 rare plants, rather than just one. So none of them are going to get common very quickly.
 

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Has anyone kept buces with low tech tank, Low light and no excel? I see Duck5003 said he kept them in a no dosing tank but not sure if that includes excel?

If OP states that growth is noticeably slower with just excel, would that mean with no excel/CO2, growth would almost be nonexistent?
 

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For me, what makes the plant special is the fact you get such beautiful and varied growth from a rhizome plant. That means you can create beautiful aquariums without the constant maintenance of trimming stem plants, and the more growth you get, the more full and lush it looks without looking overgrown or taking over.

I'm still kind of new to planted tanks, so bear with me...are you saying rhizome plants won't get overgrown...is this because all growth comes from the rhizome, so it can't really expand past where you want it?..also I have one rhizome plant (a banana plant) how do you propagate rhizome plants? From what I understand you cut the rhizome and new growth will come from there, does this mean you cut a chunk off and you have a new plant, or do you kind of score the rhizome and wait for new growth, then split the rhizome?


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Has anyone kept buces with low tech tank, Low light and no excel? I see Duck5003 said he kept them in a no dosing tank but not sure if that includes excel?

If OP states that growth is noticeably slower with just excel, would that mean with no excel/CO2, growth would almost be nonexistent?
The two pics below are the same plant in the low tech tank. This tank is zero ferts, zero excel, shrimp only. Its under a single zoomed t-5 6500K bulb. The first pic (same as above) was taken 1-14-14. The second two pics (2&3) were taken today (about 5 minutes ago lol). I would say the plant has doubled, and i could easily split this plant in half, and have two completely seperate plants.

I'm still kind of new to planted tanks, so bear with me...are you saying rhizome plants won't get overgrown...is this because all growth comes from the rhizome, so it can't really expand past where you want it?..also I have one rhizome plant (a banana plant) how do you propagate rhizome plants? From what I understand you cut the rhizome and new growth will come from there, does this mean you cut a chunk off and you have a new plant, or do you kind of score the rhizome and wait for new growth, then split the rhizome?
I have no experience with banana plants, but with other species of rhizomes i've dealt with, as long as the rhizome part your cutting off has roots and a few leaves, it will form its own entire plant. Sometimes on the rhizome you'll see a plant itself just start to appear.

The rhizome itself does grow, but thats the slow part :D which is the main reason they dont get overgrown. Even at max light, co2 ferts, these guys dont "take-off" so they are easy to keep managed. They also typically have a max size which at a point they just continue to get bushier and make new little plants.

On the bottom two pictures (4&5) you can see the two examples. The 4th pic has a bunch of baby plants shooting out on the bottom. The last pic (5th) used to be one plant (left center, one black rock one red), and i cut it in half. Hope this helps!
 

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This is a great place for Buce pictures! I'd request that they be all tank raised photos, and nothing which is newly imported. That way we KNOW it's submersed growth, and will get a more consistent set of photos.
Completely agree. I'll work on trying to get some nice pics of some of my confirmed species with labels on them (anyone else, please do the same!) Eric, maybe from there we can get a running log in the OP of the best representations of each variation?

And definitely agree with making sure these are of submersed growth only (at least new leaves since you got the plant, not just new plant in water). We could always start another post or log of emersed if enough people were interested??

*Eric here are some of the super blue. It's a super slow grower
 

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Has anyone kept buces with low tech tank, Low light and no excel? I see Duck5003 said he kept them in a no dosing tank but not sure if that includes excel?

If OP states that growth is noticeably slower with just excel, would that mean with no excel/CO2, growth would almost be nonexistent?
No, I just received a brownie red from someone Saturday. And his was grown in a low light no fert or co2 tank. And it has a lot of leaves. Since Saturday it shot up two new leaves in my shrimp tank.
 

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For the two buces I've had (sadly one vanished), I just kept them like my anubias and they seemed perfectly happy. The best growth occurred when they were positioned in the output of my HOB filter, partially emerged and directly under the light, this is also where my anubias do the best. Didn't need co2 or Excel, and I'm still seeing growth.
 

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Awesome, thanks for all the replies.

Duck5003, that is amazing growth for such a short period of time. How long have you had it in that specific tank for?

That particular one, the first pic was taken about a week after i received the plant. It already had an unopened flower (like the current pics). I wish i knew what variation it was because that plant grows faster than some of my buces WITH CO2 and ferts, and its also one of my favorites :D Its got some crazy colors on it hard to capture with a camera.

Nice photos Eric! You know, your shots gave me another thought. It would be cool to have 2 pics for each variation. One like the pics you've already shot, close up and out of water (not grown out of water) and one of them in a scape or growing in the tank. Thoughts??
 

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Amazing article with the most stunning pics ever taken of Buce

http://bucephalandraplants.blogspot.ca/2014/01/english-bucephalandra-magical-plants.html

Majority of the buce look the same to me. Just like those crystal shrimps that go A, AA, AAAAAAAAAA and so on. I never understood why you would pay $200 per shrimp vs $2 per shrimp for a visual difference only distinguishable by a magnification glass. Anyway, the only buce I like are the thin and long leaved ones. They are just the most different looking things.

I think I read somewhere, with a horrible memory, that there are only like 3 or 4 species that we know off and that majority of the names are just made up. When I do buy a buce, Im giving it a name.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah, the names being thrown around aren't at all official in any way. I think there are actually only 2 that have been officially classified. Sometimes the names tell you a little about what other plants they were related to, or that were found in the same area. I swear that some of the names are like the mothers name of the person who found them.

I've seen the photos from that blog, and they are beautiful, however, I think they are a bit misleading. The saturation and contrast are turned way up, which makes the plants look better than they are. I've had many of those species, growing super happily in several setups, and the reality does not look like the photos.
 

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Yeah, the names being thrown around aren't at all official in any way. I think there are actually only 2 that have been officially classified. Sometimes the names tell you a little about what other plants they were related to, or that were found in the same area. I swear that some of the names are like the mothers name of the person who found them.

I've seen the photos from that blog, and they are beautiful, however, I think they are a bit misleading. The saturation and contrast are turned way up, which makes the plants look better than they are. I've had many of those species, growing super happily in several setups, and the reality does not look like the photos.
I see, makes sense looking at the pics again. Its nothing new either.
 
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