Cryptocoryne Beckettii: From Planting to Care

Cryptocoryne Beckettii, commonly known as Beckett’s water trumpet, is a fascinating aquatic plant that belongs to the Araceae genus Cryptocoryne. Originating from Sri Lanka, this plant has found its way into aquariums worldwide with its unique foliage and undemanding growth habits.

This comprehensive guide will give you everything you need about Cryptocoryne Beckettii and how to care for it in an aquarium. We’ll explore its origins and distribution, physical description, popular variants like Cryptocoryne Beckettii ‘Petchii’, optimal planting and aquarium conditions, care and maintenance, propagation techniques, common issues to look out for, price and availability, and frequently asked questions.

Cryptocoryne Beckettii

Whether you’re an experienced aquarist looking to add something new to your tank or a beginner wanting to try aquatic plants, Cryptocoryne Beckettii is a great choice. Let’s dive in!

Origins and Distribution

Cryptocoryne Beckettii is endemic to Sri Lanka, thriving in freshwater springs, streams, and rivers. The species was first collected in 1937 by British botanist Arthur Duncan Beckett after whom it is named.

Beckett discovered C. beckettii growing in a shaded stream with swift flow in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka. He managed to grow the plant emersed and sent it to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England for formal description. It was formerly identified as Cryptocoryne walkeri until Beckett differentiated it as a new species.

Apart from its native Sri Lanka, Cryptocoryne beckettii has also been found growing wild in parts of Florida and Texas in the United States. This is likely due to the plant’s popularity in the aquarium trade and subsequent accidental or intentional release into non-native waters.

Where did Cryptocoryne Beckettii come from?

  • Native to Sri Lanka where it was first collected in 1937 by the British botanist Arthur Beckett
  • Also found growing wild in parts of Florida and Texas, probably due to release from home aquariums

Physical Description

Cryptocoryne beckettii is an herbaceous perennial plant that can grow either fully submerged or emergent with its leaves above water. It produces basal rosettes of leaves with long, arching green petioles that can grow up to 15 cm in length.

The leaf blades are oval to narrowly oval in shape. They emerge with a reddish tinge but mature to a solid green or olive green to dark green or even brownish in color. The leaves may have slight ruffles or undulations along the margins. Mature leaf size ranges from 5-15 cm long and 3-7 cm wide.

Some key physical characteristics of C. beckettii include:

  • Perennial aquatic/semi-aquatic plant
  • Produces basal rosettes of leaves
  • Long, arching petioles up to 15 cm in length
  • Oval to narrowly oval leaf blades
  • New leaves emerge reddish, mature to green
  • Leaf size 5-15 cm long, 3-7 cm wide
  • Leaves may have ruffled margins

How tall do Cryptocoryne Beckettii get?

  • Petioles can grow up to 15 cm long so maximum height around 15 cm
  • Moderately tall background plant for aquariums

Variants and Differences

While the standard Cryptocoryne beckettii has green leaves, there are some popular cultivated varieties with minor differences:

Cryptocoryne becketii ‘Petchii’

This is a smaller variety of C. beckettii with wavy, ruffled leaves with slight flutes or ridges along the margins. It was named after Thai aquarist Petch Petchkasem. The leaves are more narrow and elongate compared to the type species.

Cryptocoryne becketii ‘Red’

As the name suggests, this variety has leaves that stay reddish brown to coppery even when mature. It is thought to be a naturally occurring color morph of the standard green C. beckettii.

Other described varieties like C. becketii ‘Broad Leaf’ and C. becketii ‘Pink’ are currently less common in the aquarium trade.

What is the difference between Cryptocoryne Beckettii and Petchii?

  • C. beckettii ‘Petchii’ is a smaller variety with fluted, ruffled leaf margins
  • Leaves are more narrow and elongate compared to regular C. beckettii
  • Named after Thai aquarist Petch Petchkasem

Planting Guidelines

Cryptocoryne beckettii is not too demanding when it comes to planting and is amenable to various setups. Here are some tips for getting your C. beckettii established successfully:


A nutrient-rich substrate is recommended for optimal growth. Options include specialty aquarium soils, river sand, a mix of clay, peat and loam, or aquarium gravel with added root tabs. A fine-textured substrate is preferable to support the root structure.


Individual plants can be planted a few inches apart in groups or staggered rows. Plant the root crown just below the surface of the substrate with the leaf crown above. Take care not to bury the leaves or petioles.


While not essential, supplementing carbon dioxide can significantly boost growth. Use CO2 injection if possible, or liquid carbon supplements.


Moderate lighting is ideal. For low-tech setups, 1-2 watts per gallon is sufficient. With CO2 injection, up to 3 watts per gallon works well.


C. beckettii prefers a stable environment with little water movement. Position in a sheltered spot away from turbulent flow and filtration outflows.

How to plant Cryptocoryne Beckettii:

  • Use a nutrient-rich aquarium substrate
  • Plant individual plants a few inches apart
  • Bury root crown just below substrate
  • Don’t bury leaves/petioles
  • Moderate light 1-3 watts/gallon
  • Little water movement, sheltered position

How do you plant Cryptocoryne Beckettii Petchii?

  • Same guidelines as standard C. beckettii
  • Nutrient substrate, plant root crown below surface
  • Provide supplemental CO2 if possible
  • Moderate light, low flow area

Aquarium Conditions

Here are the ideal water parameters and tank conditions for keeping Cryptocoryne beckettii happy and healthy:

Water Temperature: 22-28°C / 72-82°F

pH: 5.5-7.5

Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water

Substrate: Fine gravel, sand, aquarium soil

Light: Moderate light, 1-3 watts per gallon

CO2: Optional but beneficial. Around 15-20 ppm with injection

Fertilization: Root tabs or water column dosing. Avoid copper.

Flow: Low flow, sheltered position to avoid leaves being battered

Cryptocoryne Beckettii Aquarium:

  • Temperature 22-28°C / 72-82°F
  • pH 5.5-7.5, soft to moderately hard water
  • Fine substrate, aquarium soil
  • Moderate light 1-3 watts/gallon
  • Supplemental CO2 helpful
  • Liquid fertilizer, root tabs
  • Low flow area, avoid turbulent water

Care and Maintenance

Caring for Cryptocoryne beckettii consists of the following best practices:

  • Monitor new plants for signs of melting and remove decaying leaves to prevent fouling the water
  • Prune old or damaged leaves at the base using sharp, sterilized scissors
  • Wipe leaves periodically to remove algae buildup and ensure proper photosynthesis
  • Renew root tabs every 3-4 months per manufacturer instructions
  • Replant rhizomes during substrate changes to stimulate new growth
  • Avoid disturbing the root zone when performing maintenance to prevent stress
  • Provide consistent and stable conditions with regards to lighting, nutrients, and water parameters
  • Quarantine new plants before adding to an established tank to prevent disease transmission

With minimal care, C. beckettii can thrive for years and produce lush foliage to accent the aquascape. Pay close attention while acclimating new plants and stabilize conditions once established.

Propagation Techniques

Cryptocoryne beckettii propagates mainly through vegetative means via plantlets that form on the rhizome and stolons that spread horizontally. Propagation methods include:

Rhizome Division

Carefully uproot the plant and separate rhizome sections that have visible plantlets. Replant the divisions.

Runners and Stolons

Leave runner shoots attached to the parent plant until they develop roots and leaves.

Leaf Cuttings

Remove healthy leaves and cut them into sections with at least 1-2 inches of petiole attached. Plant the petioles shallowly in the substrate. New plants will sprout from the petiole.

Tissue Culture

Laboratory propagation from plant tissue cultures results in genetically identical plants. This method is used to produce the cultivated varieties.

Seed Germination

Viable seeds are rarely produced under aquarium conditions. In nature, seeds dispersed by animals or currents lead to new plants.

Cryptocoryne Beckettii Propagation:

  • Divide rhizomes with attached plantlets
  • Allow stolon runners to root before separating
  • Cut leaves into sections and plant petioles
  • Tissue culture for identical specimens
  • Seeds rarely viable in aquariums

Dividing established plants by rhizomes or stolons is the most reliable method. Provide ideal conditions for new plantlets to minimize melt and shock.

Common Issues

Cryptocoryne beckettii is relatively hardy but can encounter some problems:


Also called “crypt melt,” this refers to sudden decay of leaves and plant matter. Adverse conditions like dramatic parameter changes, physical damage, or nutritional deficiencies trigger it. Improve conditions to allow new leaves to emerge.

Algae Growth

Low nutrients, low CO2, or excessive lighting can cause algal growth on leaves. Control light duration and intensity. Wipe leaves or use algaecides if needed.

Leggy Growth

Insufficient lighting leads to elongated stems and small leaves. Increase intensity to compact growth. Supplement carbon and micronutrients.

Snail Damage

Snails may chew through soft leaves and petioles. Remove snails manually or use chemical controls. Provide food alternatives like vegetables.

Disliking Disturbance

Crypts tend to melt if roots are disturbed or the plant is moved. Allow it to stabilize in one position. Replant with care during rescaping.

With proper acclimation and optimal conditions, Cryptocoryne beckettii will thrive with minimal issues. Respond promptly to any changes in plant health.

Price and Availability

Due to its popularity, Cryptocoryne beckettii is widely cultivated and available at most major online brick-and-mortar aquarium retailers. Expect to pay:

  • Emersed cupped plants: $5 to $7
  • Submerged potted plants: $7 to $10
  • Rare variants like ‘Petchii’: $10 to $15

Shop at specialty aquarium stores or reputable vendors online like,, and to find healthy, pest-free specimens. Use quarantine procedures before introducing new plants from unknown sources.

Cryptocoryne Beckettii Price:

  • Common varieties $5-10 per plant
  • Rare variants like ‘Petchii’ $10-15
  • Buy from reputable retailers online or specialty stores
  • Quarantine new plants before introducing

Frequently Asked Questions

Cryptocoryne Beckettii on Wood: Can it be planted on wood?

Cryptocoryne beckettii can be attached to driftwood or other hardscapes using cotton thread or superglue gel. Ensure the rhizome has contact with the wood. Mist frequently while it attaches. Driftwood provides beneficial tannins.

Cryptocoryne Beckettii Green vs Red: What causes the color variations?

Genetics primarily determine the leaf colors. However, the red variant tends to turn green in very hard water. Ensure suitable pH, lighting, and micronutrients for rich red tones.

Cryptocoryne Beckettii Size: How big does it get?

Under ideal conditions, C. beckettii can reach around 15 centimeters in height and width. The leaves span 5-15 centimeters long. Limiting nutrients and light can restrict size. The ‘Petchii’ variety remains under 10 centimeters.


With its unique downwards-arching leaves and undemanding nature, Cryptocoryne beckettii makes a delightful addition to planted aquariums. This comprehensive guide covers everything from the plant’s origins and physical attributes to proper planting techniques, aquarium parameters, care needs, propagation methods, troubleshooting issues, cost considerations, and frequently asked questions.

Whether you’re cultivating emergent growth near the water’s surface or decorating the underwater landscape, C. beckettii provides intrigue. With a little bit of care when acclimating and attention to providing ideal conditions, you’ll be rewarded with lush foliage and endless enjoyment observing this aquatic wonder.