Crypt Parva

Alison Page

Alison Page


Crypt Parva

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If you want the ideal foreground plant for your fish tank, Crypt Parva or Dwarf Water Trumpet might be just what you’re looking for.

Crypt Parva is one of the smallest crypt tropical aquatic plants you can buy. This plant is slow-growing, but it is pretty hardy, eventually covering the floor of your aquarium in dense colonies. Cryptocoryne Parva is easy to maintain, making it a perfect beginner-type carpeting plant.

This guide explains how to choose, plant, and care for Cryptocoryne Parva. Keep reading for the full lowdown on this beautiful plant.


Cryptocóryne párva de Wit, as the plant is more correctly known, grows on the riverbanks in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, specifically in the central city of Kandy, where it thrives in the humid, tropical climate. Kandy sits on a plateau in a mountainous region and is best known for its rainforest and tea plantations.


Crypt Parva

The Dwarf Water Trumpet is the smallest of the crypt species of plants, growing to just four inches tall, with each stem growing to approximately 2 to 2.8 inches wide. The form and dark green coloration of the plant remain unchanged, regardless of the habitat in which it grows.

The emersed form of the plant growing above the water level has wider leaves than those that grow beneath in the submerged environment. The green leaves appear similar to grass in color and shape, and they grow in a rosette pattern, originating from a single, common stem. 

The best place for Cryptocoryne Parva is at the front of the tank. However, you can also use them for a bush feature or in the midground. Best of all, because this is such a small plant, you can use it in a nano tank.

How To Plant Cryptocoryne Parva

You’ll find that this popular aquarium plant is easy to grow and maintain. However, here are a few tips to get the most from your plants. Patience is the key to success, as this species has a slow growth rate.

  • You generally buy the Dwarf Water Trumpet as a potted plant in a small plastic or clay container. The roots are usually wrapped in Rockwool or cotton for protection, and you need to remove that very gently before you plant the specimen.
  • Each pot usually contains around 20 individual plants, so be sure to separate and plant them as individuals to get the best value from your purchase.
  • Make a small hole in the substrate. Remove the plant from the pot and tease off any wool or cotton.
  • Carefully place the plant into the hole you made, and then push the substrate up around the whole plant so that the roots are entirely covered.

If you prefer, you can plant Cryptocoryne Parva complete with its pot. However, that generally inhibits the plant’s healthy growth, and you’ll achieve better results by removing it.

When using multiple plants, leave an inch or two between each one to allow space for the plant to grow and spread.

Tank Conditions

The Cryptocoryne Parva plant is not particularly fussy about its environmental conditions. However, there are a few things to note, which we will discuss below.

Fertilizer and CO2

You don’t need to add supplementary CO2 or fertilizers to the tank for Cryptocoryne Parva to thrive. However, doing so will help to boost and accelerate lush, dense growth. 


This variety of crypt plant prefers moderate lighting conditions, mainly because the plant is very small and low-growing, and tall plants in your setup can block the light. That said, you can grow Cryptocoryne Parva in low light conditions, but doing so will further impede the already slow growth of the plant.

Water Parameters

Cryptocoryne Parva grows quickest in warmer water. So, the ideal temperature in the tank should be in the range of 68° to 84°F. The plant’s preferred pH range is from 5.0 to 8.0, and the tank water carbonate hardness should be between 1 and 18 dKH (degree of carbonate hardness) with a general hardness of 0 to 30 dGH.

Tank Size

Since this is a small plant, you don’t need to worry too much about the minimum tank size. This plant species makes the perfect accent foreground plant for a nano tank. However, if you have a larger tank, it will take a while before the plant is really visible, typically after it has spread and covered the foreground of the aquarium.

Although you can grow Dwarf Water Trumpet emersed above the water surface, the plant grows submerged in its natural environment. So, it pays to replicate the plant’s natural growth habitat for optimal growth.

What Is Crypt Melt?

Crypt melt is the term used to describe the phenomenon of newly introduced plants dying back. Basically, all the green, grass-like leaves begin to fall off the plant due to the plant’s reaction to a new habitat, and this is part of the acclimating process. 

You can expect Cryptocoryne Parva to take at least one month to settle into its new environment completely. After that time, fresh leaves should begin to grow on the hardy plant’s stems. Meanwhile, you need to remove any dead leaves from the tank before they begin to pollute the water column unless you have a team of snails or other cleanup crew members that will feed on them.

Based on comments by experienced aquarium hobbyists, this plant seems to settle more quickly in a well-established setup. So, waiting until your tank is fully mature before adding Cryptocoryne Parva plants is often an effective way to avoid Crypt Melt.

It’s thought that growing the plant emersed and transferring it to a submerged habitat can trigger leaf loss. Likewise, a tank full of nitrate can also encourage Crypt Melt.

Care And Maintenance

Once you’ve got your plant in situ, note that Crypto Parva has a very low tolerance for habitat and environmental changes. Also, although you can transplant the plant to split it, the species grows via rhizomes, which makes the job a tricky one.

General maintenance tasks include trimming off any overgrowth and dead or dying leaves from the plant stems using aquascaping scissors.

Feeding And Fertilizer

Once you’ve planted your Dwarf Water Trumpet plants, you can feed them with fertilizer if you desire. Fertilizer tablets are the perfect choice if you use sand or gravel as a substrate. However, fertilizer application is unnecessary if you use an enriched substrate already packed with nutrients. Also, as previously mentioned, you can use carbon dioxide if you want to.

Potassium And Iron

Of course, the more vigorous growth your plants put out, the more trimming and pruning they will require. Also, this plant needs higher levels of iron and potassium than other species, and keeping those levels within the correct parameters can help prevent the leaves from becoming full of holes.

Also, feeding the plants, maintaining iron levels, and keeping the environment healthy can prevent chlorosis and keep the cryptocoryne plant healthy. Chlorosis causes the submerged leaves to turn yellow due to the lack of chlorophyll. 

Green Spot Algae

Another common cause of problems for the Crypt Parva plant is green spot algae.

Green spot algae generally infest solid surfaces within the tank, although this algae species also grow on plants with a slow-growth habit, including the Dwarf Water Trumpet. 

One way of preventing green spot algae from affecting your plants is to ensure an adequate circulation level within the tank. Other causes of green spot algae include too much light, especially sunlight, and low phosphate levels. The best way to keep this species of algae at bay is to introduce a team of Nerite snails to your aquarium or to scrape the algae spots off all affected surfaces.

Tank Mates For Crypt Parva

Thanks to the complex root systems of the Dwarf Water Trumpet plant, it’s pretty robust and able to withstand minor assaults by most small herbivore fish species and other tank residents. In fact, many species of small fish, shy fish, shrimp, crayfish, and fish fry use the plant’s lush leaves as hiding spots.

However, larger, more aggressive fish species, such as Koi, cichlids, and goldfish, will most likely eat or uproot the plants, and those types generally do better with tougher, more robust plant species.

Some safe tankmates for Crypt Parva include:

  • Danios
  • Barbs
  • Guppies
  • Betta fish
  • Rainbowfish
  • Neon tetras
  • Gouramis

Tankmates to avoid include:

  • Cichlids
  • Koi
  • Goldfish
  • Buenos Aires tetras

Dwarf Water Trumpet is generally safe to mix with other aquarium plant species and does very well when paired with compatible plants, such as Lobelia Cardinalis or Anubias. However, beware of planting anything that grows especially quickly until the Crypt Parva has become well-established.

How To Propagate Cryptocoryne Parva

Cryptocoryne Parva reproduces via rhizomes and runners.


A rhizome or root stalk is the term used to refer to a plant’s stem, which carries tiny nodes that put out roots and shoots, enabling the plant to spread. Roots generally grow horizontally from axillary buds, whereas shoots can also grow upward.


Runners are stems that the plant puts out at the soil’s surface or just below it. 


So, Crypt Parva spreads naturally via rhizomes and runners. However, you can also propagate the plant artificially by using a process called splitting.

To split your plant, you need to take a cutting from the top stem of the mother plant, right above a leaf node. Remove any leaves from the node and plant the daughter plant directly into the gravel substrate, making sure that you surround the new plant with the substrate, so it doesn’t float away before the branchy root system becomes established.

Is Crypt Parva A Good Choice For Your Tropical Fish Tank?

The Cryptocoryne Parva is the perfect plant for carpeting any size of a tropical aquarium. 

Like most dense carpet plants, Crypt Parva does require a small amount of attention and pruning of dead or dying leaves. However, it is essentially a low-maintenance species that can thrive in moderate amounts of light in warm water without additional fertilizers. This adaptable plant is slow-growing, so it won’t take over your tank. 

The plant is pretty disease resistant, provided that you keep green spot algae under control, and is safe to be kept with most gentle fish species, shrimp, and snails.

So, for all those reasons, we recommend the Dwarf Water Trumpet as a good beginner plant, as long as your tank is fully matured.

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