Common Name: Balansae plant, Crypt Balansae
Light: Moderate to High
Growth rate: Medium
Balansae plants are a popular choice for beginner and experienced aquarium hobbyists. These stem plants create a tranquil scene in the background of an aquascape, as their dark or bright green reed-like leaves sway gently in the current, offering cozy hiding spots for fish to play in. The plant’s short stems produce long, thin leaves that make a great contrast to hardscape materials. This species hails from Southern Thailand where it inhabits fast-flowing rivers and streams with high limestone content. Balansae plants thrive in an environment that is rich with nitrate, phosphate, iron, CO2 and calcium. Calcium supplement is highly recommended, as the plant’s leaves will grow twisted and deformed without it.
Balansae plants need moderate to high lighting. To achieve the attractive puckering or ruffled effect of the balansae plant’s leaves, lighting of at least 2-3 watts/gallon is needed. High lighting can also cause the leaves to take on a bronze tint. Mature plants with high light can potentially produce flowers when grown emersed. This plant is much easier to grow submersed, however. All crypt plants hate changes in water parameters, and will under go “crypt melt” if conditions vary too much. The leaves of the plant begin to rot and essentially melt away. If this process begins, you can cut away any rot and attempt to stabilize the water. It is normal for crypts to melt when introduced to a new tank and should produce new growth once they have acclimated.
Balansae plants propagate through runners. A healthy and mature stand of balansae plant can spread quickly, so it can be good idea to trim its runners periodically. If you would like to replant, simply tuck the runners into the substrate.