The Aponogeton ulvaceus is a delicate bulb plant from Madagascar that I found out about when I was looking to add some greenery to my aquarium.
While doing my research, I saw a picture of an Aponogeton ulvaceus in full bloom and was hooked!
Since then, I’ve become a huge fan of these tropical plants. So in this article, I’ll go through everything you need to know about Aponogetons.
Aponogeton ulvaceus Characteristics
|Scientific Name||Aponogeton ulvaceus|
|Maximum Size||12 x 19.7 inches|
|Color Form||Green with a small white flower|
|Minimum Tank Size||10 gallons|
|Water Temperature||72° – 82°|
|Propagation||Seeds or runners|
|Placement||Middle and background|
|Compatibility||Great for bettas|
Although the Aponogeton bulb comes from Madagascar, it can grow in Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
The most common and least expensive Aponogeton genus is Aponogeton crispus, which is native to Sri Lanka in Southeast Asia.
In the wild, these Aponogetons grow in moving water streams and seasonal ponds, where it becomes dormant during the dry season.
Aponogeton Plant Appearance
The leaves of Aponogeton have delicate, transparent green leaves that twist into a fluted design.
Up to 40 leaves can sprout from a single flower root, and each leaf may grow up to 50 cm in length. Also, these aquatic plants are relatively wide-spread, growing up to 60 cm across.
Small white flowers bloom atop the rippling leaves if you allow them to grow above the waterline.
While all the petioles are the same length, the base of the leaf blades tapers gradually, and the edges become wavy. In addition, they will appear reddish when you expose them to high-intensity lighting.
How Do You Grow Aponogeton ulvaceus?
Aponogeton plants grow quickly and widely, making them simple for novice hobbyists. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll be able to grow them with ease.
- You can plant your bulbs in the background or middle ground. However, the tank’s rear is the best option.
- If you are planting more than one, bury them 2 or 3 inches apart
- Although you’ll bury the bulbs in the soil, don’t cover them completely. Just go deep enough to keep them in place
- If the bulb isn’t sprouting yet, bury the thicker end in the soil
- Bury the roots, not the sprout, if the bulb starts to grow
Soil and Fertilization
When it comes to choosing the soil, go for something that is nutrient-rich. I recommend using aquarium soil.
However, if you’re putting it in the tank, you’ll already have a substrate. Thus, you should add fertilizer capsules or tablets close to the roots.
If you don’t want to use aquarium soil, gravel is a better option than sand.
If you want to grow your Aponogeton in a nano tank, use liquid carbon to stimulate growth.
Note: Please don’t take my advice to use aquarium soil as a marching order to replace your entire substrate. This way, you will endanger your system’s biological filtration processes.
Aponogeton Plant Care
Aponogeton plants grow in tropical regions and need warm water to survive. The ideal temperature range is between 68 to 72°F (22-28°C).
Otherwise, the plants will start to rot and die. To avoid this, you can use an aquarium heater to maintain the water temperature.
In general, soil acidity is the most crucial factor determining a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients. The ideal pH level for aponogeton is between 6.5-7.5.
If the pH falls outside this range, it will become more difficult for the plant to uptake nutrients from the soil. This will eventually lead to the plant’s death.
Therefore, you should monitor the pH level of your aquarium and adjust it accordingly. You can do this by using a pH test kit.
These flower plant bulbs can grow quite large, so you’ll need a proper tank size, and I would recommend using a 10-gallon tank at least.
If you want to plant more than one aponogeton, then a larger tank with a capacity of 20 gallons would be perfect. This way, the plants will have enough room to grow and spread out.
Aponogeton ulvaceus plants need a high-quality biological filter to ensure that the water is safe for them to grow.
For my planted tanks, I always use an under-gravel filter that is affordable but also reliable and successful. It is simply a plastic plate placed over the bottom of the fish tank.
The substrate is not only a home for plants but also provides them with plenty of nutrients they need to grow correctly.
Therefore, you should ensure that the substrate in your tank is toxics-free and contains the substances that aponogeton plants need to thrive. For the best results, I recommend using aquarium soil.
Less light is often preferable for new growers since higher lighting necessitates frequent bulb trimming and feedings due to rapid growth.
However, this does not imply that you can use extremely low-wattage LEDs since this can result in other problems like encouraging algae growth.
For 10-gallon aquariums, 10w LED floodlights are the bare minimum recommendation. This arrangement allows you to use as little as 6 hours of illumination.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, LED floodlights with 6,700k color temperatures are great substitutes for dedicated tank lights.
In addition, you can simply mix this with off-the-shelf NPK and liquid carbon solutions to grow the most demanding aquatic plants!
What Nutrients Do Aponogeton Plants Need?
Aponogeton plants need carbon to grow properly. Carbon is essential for photosynthesis, which is the process that produces food for this elegant plant.
If you intend to keep these lovely plants in a nano tank (30 gallons and smaller), you should add a liquid carbon solution. This is particularly important for small tanks that are lightly stocked.
In addition to being beneficial for plant growth, it eliminates various types of algae. Moreover, liquid carbon is an ideal and inexpensive replacement for CO2 injections.
Aponogeton Plant Compatibility
These beautiful plants are easy to maintain, so they won’t cause trouble in your tank. So, you can keep them with any fish species without worrying about compatibility issues.
If you’re keeping one betta in a 5-gallon nano tank, you should use only one Aponogeton bulb.
This is because the single bulb of this plant species can grow up to 40 leaves, each measuring about an inch. This means that if you’re planting more than one, space them out 2 or 3 inches apart.
What Are the Benefits of Aponogeton Plant?
Not only is the Aponogeton plant beautiful, but it also has plenty of benefits. Some of the benefits of keeping this green plant in your aquarium include:
- They add a dense, luxurious feeling to your tank, simulate the natural habitats of your tropical fish, and even help Bettas feel more at home. In fact, Bettas love Aponogeton bulb plants so much that the plant has gained the nickname “Betta Bulb” among aquarium enthusiasts.
- The leaves of these beautiful bulb plants are so thick and dense that they will provide your aquarium inhabitants with plenty of hiding places.
- The leaves that fall from Aponogetons will be food for detritus eaters and scavengers in the tank.
- They convert carbon dioxide to usable oxygen, allowing your tank inhabitants to obtain more oxygen.
- Since Aponogetons grow so quickly, they require more nutrition, reducing your tank’s ammonia and nitrate levels and preventing algae growth.
Should I Prune Bulbs?
Bulbs will often outgrow their confines, making smaller tanks feel cramped. Fortunately, you may cut them as desired to limit rotting in your bulb plants.
How Can I Rest My Aponogoten Plant?
If you need to give your bulb a rest, follow these steps:
- Take it out of the tank
- Remove all its leaves and roots.
- Put it in a sac of damp sand and keep it in a cool, dry, dark place for two months. (It’s best to do this during rainy seasons)
- After that, you can replant safely
How Long Does It Take for Aponogeton To Grow?
The aponogeton ulvaceus is a fast-growing plant under the proper care, potentially reaching a height of 1 foot in just one month.
Does Aponogeton Need CO2?
Aponogeton does not need CO2. In addition, it can grow under low-intensity light circumstances.
However, it will benefit from it as CO2 will help the plant to grow faster and produce more leaves.
How Many Aponogeton Plants Can Be Kept per Gallon?
You should only keep one Aponogeton plant per 10 gallons, as they can grow up to 40 leaves each.
Can Goldfish Consume Aponogeton?
Goldfish generally nibble on Aponogeton leaves. If you’re concerned about this, you can always grow your plants in a pot to keep them safe.
Does Aponogeton Need Fertilizer?
Aponogeton does not need fertilizer if you have a well-balanced aquarium. However, you can add liquid carbon-rich fertilizer to encourage faster growth.
Can You Propagate Aponogeton?
You can propagate Aponogeton easily, which makes them great beginner plants. If you have a flowering Aponogeton Crispus, you can use the seeds for propagation.
Aponogeton is an attractive, not demanding plant with plenty of benefits for your aquarium.
Their thick, lush leaves and beautiful flowers make any tank look more inviting – your fish will love them too!
I hope you enjoyed this article on Aponogetons. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thanks for reading!