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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had a 15 gallon tank sitting around that used to be a reef tank so I decided to turn it into a Cryptocoryne jungle. I've been hooked on cryps lately. Not sure what it is about them, but they've become my favorite plants lately! This has been a relatively low budget tank, using mostly equipment I already had.

Tank: 15 gallon (24 x 12 x 12 in.)
Light: Finnex FugeRay
Filter: AquaClear HOB
Heater: Jager 50W
Flow: Maxijet-400
Co2: DIY for now (may go pressurized later)
Substrate: worm castings base topped with sand and gravel mix

Plants: These are just the species that came to me with solid ID's. I've got quite a few others in there that I acquired unlabeled from the LFS. I've got hunches on what some of them are, but Crypt IDs are tough so I'm not going to put money on it. Here's the ones I know for sure:

C. hudoroi
C. wendtii (several varieties)
C. undulata
C. crispatulata var. Balansae
C. affinis
C. parva
C. albida
C. nurii
C. pontederifolia
C. cordata

There are a lot of smallish green crypts that I suspect may be a combo of lucens, lutea and/or petchii.

No livestock yet aside from snails.

April 2


March 8


February 22


February 8


January 29


January 19, 2014 - first plants are in


January 18, 2014



Clay, dolomite and potassium sulfate as substrate additives. Not sure if these will really make much difference, but figured I'd give it a shot!




Began by trying to boil this stuff, but that was making a mess so I just threw it in the tank (almost boiled it over onto the stove - that would have got me into trouble...)



Mixing in some red clay. This is variety is supposed to have a high iron content.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·


And all filled up. Added a playsand cap and some stones collected from a local stream. Also a little courser gravel to give it a naturalistic look. I filled it up super slowly with a drip tube and didn't have issues in terms of cloudiness or stirring up the dirt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I love the riverbed look with the sand and rocks. I'll be keeping an eye on this one for sure.
Thanks Phil! I've enjoyed checking our your tank threads as well.

I had a look at some photos of Cryptocoryne habitats and was somewhat surprised to see them inhabiting many rocky, relatively fast-flowing streams. This is the sort of look I was going for. I think I will add a little more coarse gravel around the larger rocks to help with that effect. Perhaps a small powerhead as things grow to boost the flow as well.
 

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Crypts love flow, especially larger crypts like Pondertiifolia and ballansae, when I still had both in my tank, I ended up needing a power head to blow directly on to them and in about a month it was astounding how much larger and healthier all of the growth was. Just be sure to keep a mental note on what is where if you plan on ever selling cuttings, especially the wendtii and undulata varieties, as crypts can often be hard to tell apart when they grow in. Your crypts will thank you for the soil and additives that you put. The more iron the better.

Good luck mate! Things are off to a great start,
Joshua
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Crypts love flow, especially larger crypts like Pondertiifolia and ballansae, when I still had both in my tank, I ended up needing a power head to blow directly on to them and in about a month it was astounding how much larger and healthier all of the growth was. Just be sure to keep a mental note on what is where if you plan on ever selling cuttings, especially the wendtii and undulata varieties, as crypts can often be hard to tell apart when they grow in. Your crypts will thank you for the soil and additives that you put. The more iron the better.

Good luck mate! Things are off to a great start,
Joshua
Thanks for that awesome feedback. I will try and bump up the flow. Your 20 gallon tank was an inspiration for this back when I was planning it!

And I think I already mixed up some wendtii vs. undulata because they all dropped their leaves and then started to regrow. They had green leaves and now they all look similarly bronze. Those two looked virtually identical when I got them...ugh. I should be able to keep the rest straight.

I'm going to add a few more pics of individual plants and maybe you can chime in on some possible IDs if you get a chance.
 

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I was also dosing very heavily and had very high light with pressurized co2, so you might find yours doesn't grow as large. An alternative would be crypt Spiralis, grows a little more like vals, and not quite as tall.

Or another alternative would be to get a few larger crypts like C. Pondertiifolia, or C. Usteriana in addition to your soon to be C. Cordata rosanervig. Having all those in the back edge of the tank and having the wedntii's/ undulata/ all the other medium growers in front of them. Ballansae and c. retrospiralis both really need a 20"+ tank in height in order to achieve good looking growth without over crowding. Even with 20" you are still going to get bending leaves, probably closer to 26-30" to get straight standing leaves that don't touch the surface.

As far as ID's go, its a lost cause to identify between mixed varities of wendtii, except for maybe red versus green. I would just sell it and your undulata as Crypt miscillaneous sp. Its really hard/impossible to ID those just form leaf shape/ color. Its one reason why I like to "pod" my crypt in groups, unless it is an easily recognized crypt such as parva or lucens versus wendtii. I really do like the scape you have going on though man. The rocks make for a very natural appeal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I was also dosing very heavily and had very high light with pressurized co2, so you might find yours doesn't grow as large. An alternative would be crypt Spiralis, grows a little more like vals, and not quite as tall.

Or another alternative would be to get a few larger crypts like C. Pondertiifolia, or C. Usteriana in addition to your soon to be C. Cordata rosanervig. Having all those in the back edge of the tank and having the wedntii's/ undulata/ all the other medium growers in front of them. Ballansae and c. retrospiralis both really need a 20"+ tank in height in order to achieve good looking growth without over crowding. Even with 20" you are still going to get bending leaves, probably closer to 26-30" to get straight standing leaves that don't touch the surface.

As far as ID's go, its a lost cause to identify between mixed varities of wendtii, except for maybe red versus green. I would just sell it and your undulata as Crypt miscillaneous sp. Its really hard/impossible to ID those just form leaf shape/ color. Its one reason why I like to "pod" my crypt in groups, unless it is an easily recognized crypt such as parva or lucens versus wendtii. I really do like the scape you have going on though man. The rocks make for a very natural appeal.
Yeah, I figured with such a small tank I will need to do a lot of swapping out plants as things grow larger. I like your idea of adding in some C. usterteriana and/or C. pondertifolia to replace the Balansae later on. Though I don't actually mind the look of the taller crypts bending over in some current at the surface of the tank. They often grow emersed so I can't imagine it wouldn't grow well that way. Might shade some stuff out I suppose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Any thoughts on what the low growing light green crypt is in the very front left of the tank? It's started to develop a nice dark stripe down the center of the leaf on the newest growth. It's sort of to the left of some parva and bronze wendtii.
 

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Well Its a little hard to say my friend. I want to say it looks like Petchii but as I said earlier, its nearly impossible unless you grow a crypt emersed and get it to flower to tell its true species just from leaf shape/ color, unless its a strictly unique leaf shape/color. It could also be a variety of wendtii though soo... not sure haha. It looks pretty though
Joshua
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah, I hear ya about the IDs. Well whatever it is, it's nice looking. Actually found it at Petco of all places. The leaves are only about 1 inch long or less. I'll have to see if it starts putting out larger leaves or stays this compact.
 
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