Aponogeton crispus, also known as the Ruffled Sword Plant, hails from clear Sri Lankan waters and grows at a depth of 20-100 cm. It is found in both still and running waters and is known to be a sturdy plant that does not need a lot of pampering to do well in an aquarium. It will however do best in a well established aquarium and is not a good choice for a newly set up one. It needs quite a lot of nutrients to thrive.
An Aponogeton crispus can grow up to 25 cm in size. The plant forms long and narrow lance shaped leaves with ruffled outer margins. The leaves can look quite brittle and the leaf coloration varies from dark green to reddish brown. Aponogeton crispus will not grow any floating leaves. The plant has a fibrous, cylindrical rhizome than should be planted in gravel or potting soil.
In the aquarium
Aponogeton crispus is a good choice if you have small herbivorous fish in your aquarium since it copes will with nibbling. Aponogeton crispus will also survive moderate snail attacks,can tolerate a wide range of different water conditions and is not very light demanding. The recommended water temperature is 20-30 degrees C. Most other Aponogeton species need regular resting periods, but not this one.
Aponogeton crispus propagation
Propagation of Aponogeton crispus is normally by seed, but you can also split the rhizome. The flower stalk must be allowed to grow up above the surface. The inflorescence is vertical and can reach a height that exceeds 30 cm. This long stalk gets covered in small white or pink flowers. When you get close to the aquarium, you can sense a sweet chamomile scent. The flower can last for 1-2 weeks. You can use a brush or feather to ensure pollination, and then simply wait for seed pods to form along the stalk. Place the seeds in a shallow tray and cover them with room temperate water. Do not lose heart if the seeds seem dead, because Aponogeton crispus seeds can need several weeks to germinate. The leaves come first and are followed by the roots. When the roots are clearly visible, you can plant the seeds in peat moss and cover them with water. Try to make the environment resemble a watery bog.
Hybrids are quite common in aquarium shops and are often sold as Aponogeton crispus even though they are actually not pure Aponogeton crispus. Aponogeton crispus will for instance easily form hybrids with Aponogeton undulatus. A problem with purchasing a hybrid is that almost all hybrids are sterile.
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