Cryptocoryne Petchii: The Ultimate Aquarium Plant

Cryptocoryne Petchii is a fascinating aquatic plant part of the larger Cryptocoryne genus. This genus is native to tropical regions like India, Southeast Asia, and New Guinea. They are commonly found in streams, rivers, and seasonally inundated forest pools. Known for their unique “water trumpet” inflorescence, these plants have been a part of the aquarium hobby since the late 18th century. But what sets Cryptocoryne Petchii apart from its relatives? Let’s dive in.

cryptocoryne petchii

Cryptocoryne Petchii Basics

Cryptocoryne Petchii is a specific species within the Cryptocoryne genus known for its unique features and adaptability, making it a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts. Here are some key things to know about this plant:

  • Originates from the Barito River area in Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia. It was first collected by Alfred Büttikofer in 1920.
  • Has elongated, lanceolate green leaves with undulating and ruffled edges. The leaves range from 5-15 cm in length.
  • Forms a compact rosette growth habit. Mature plants can reach 15-25 cm in height and 10-15 cm in width.
  • Displays interesting leaf patterns. Older leaves develop brown vertical striping while new leaves have bronze coloring.
  • Appreciates warm water in the 22-28°C range, soft acidic conditions, and moderate lighting. Does not require high light like some other Cryptocoryne.
  • Tolerates a wide pH range from 5.0 to 7.5. Soft water seems to bring out the best coloration.
  • Propagates through runners and daughter plants. Established clusters make a bushy appearance.
  • Does not grow as quickly as other Cryptocoryne. Give it time to mature and fill in.

The natural adaptations of Cryptocoryne Petchii make it a durable and undemanding aquarium specimen. Next, we’ll see how it compares to a closely related species.

Cryptocoryne Beckettii vs Petchii

When choosing between Cryptocoryne Beckettii and Petchii, there are several factors to consider. Both are hardy plants from the Cryptocoryne genus, but they have different aesthetic appeals and care requirements:

FeatureCryptocoryne BeckettiiCryptocoryne Petchii
OriginSri LankaBorneo
Leaf ShapeBroad, ovalNarrow, lanceolate
Leaf Size5-8 cm long5-15 cm long
Height10-15 cm15-25 cm
Growth RateFastSlow
Light NeedsHighLow to moderate

Cryptocoryne Beckettii tends to stay short and compact with broader leaves. It needs strong lighting and appreciates CO2 supplementation. Overall, Beckettii is faster growing and easier for aquarium cultivation.

Cryptocoryne Petchii takes more time to mature and fills in slowly. It prefers lower light and tolerates a wide range of water parameters. Petchii has tall, grassy leaves that stand out in the aquascape.

When choosing between these two plants, think about the look you want to achieve and your tank conditions. Beckettii offers a lush, dense appearance for highlight setups. Petchii provides height and texture for low-tech tanks.

Care for Cryptocoryne Petchii

Caring for Cryptocoryne Petchii involves understanding its natural habitat and replicating those conditions in the aquarium. Here are some best practices for keeping this plant healthy:

Water Parameters

  • Temperature: 22-28°C. Growth may become stunted in cooler temperatures. Provides optimal growth around 25°C.
  • pH: 5.0-7.5. Soft acidic water brings out the best coloration. The plant is adaptable to a wide pH range.
  • Hardness: Prefers soft water conditions. Tolerates hardness up to 10 dGH.
  • Substrate: Loamy, iron-rich soil. Add root tabs for macro & micronutrients.


  • Moderate light intensity between 0.5-2 watts per gallon. Does not require high light like some Cryptocoryne.
  • Low to moderate light will produce compact growth. High light leads to leggy growth.
  • 6-8 hours of daily illumination recommended. Provide a siesta or split photo period.

CO2 and Fertilization

  • CO2 is not essential but will support faster growth. Target 15-25 ppm with CO2 supplementation.
  • Use a complete fertilizer to provide necessary macros and micros. Root tabs help feed roots.
  • Iron and micronutrient deficiency can cause pale new leaves. Address with complete fertilizer.
  • Renew fertilizers regularly as they get depleted over time.


  • Remove decaying leaves to keep the rhizome healthy. Prune leggy stems back to the base.
  • Propagate new plants by dividing along the rhizome. Replant tops and bottoms.
  • Clean leaves gently to remove algae buildup. Use liquid carbon supplements to deter algae.

With the proper environment, Cryptocoryne Petchii will grow lush and strong for years. Let’s look closer at its size potential in the aquarium.

Size of Cryptocoryne Petchii

Understanding the size potential of Cryptocoryne Petchii is important for planning out aquascapes and tank placements. Here’s an overview of its size:

  • Mature Height: 15-25 cm
  • Width: Plants form compact clusters reaching 10-15 cm across.
  • Leaves: Range from 5-15 cm in length. Emerse leaves can reach 20+ cm.
  • Growth Rate: Slow growing compared to other Cryptocoryne.
  • Habit: Produces runners and daughter plants to form bushy groups.

The relatively slow, compact growth makes Cryptocoryne Petchii suitable for small to mid-sized aquariums. It can work well in nano tanks around 20 liters. Given room, it will creep along the substrate to make full clusters.

Trim leggy stems back to the rhizome to maintain a compact shape. Pruning also generates new side shoots and runners for propagation.

Place Cryptocoryne Petchii in the midground to background areas of the aquascape. It adds texture and height compared to foreground carpeting plants. The elegant grassy leaves stand out nicely against other aquarium vegetation.

Cryptocoryne CO2 Requirements

While CO2 supplementation is not essential for Cryptocoryne Petchii, adding carbon dioxide can boost growth performance. Here’s an overview of how CO2 impacts this plant:

  • Growth Rate: With added CO2, growth pace increases 2-3 times faster. Reaches mature size quicker.
  • Propagation: More daughter plants and runners generated, filling in clusters faster.
  • Coloration: CO2 enhances reds and browns in leaves. Significantly improves leaf patterns.
  • Size: Grows taller and lusher. Leaves reach the higher end of the 5-15 cm range.
  • Health: More resistance to algae and melting. Displays fewer nutrient deficiencies.

For optimal results, target a CO2 concentration around 15-25 ppm. Cryptocoryne are sensitive to abrupt CO2 changes, so consistency is key. Ramp up CO2 slowly and use a drop checker to monitor levels. Provide good water circulation to distribute CO2.

Supplementing carbon and proper lighting, ferts, and nutrition enables Cryptocoryne Petchii to thrive and look its best! But it’s certainly not a requirement for successfully keeping this adaptable plant.

Size of Cryptocoryne Petchii

The size of Cryptocoryne Petchii can vary in aquarium conditions based on several factors. Here’s a closer look:

  • Emersed leaves reach larger sizes around 20+ cm, while submersed leaves stay in the 5-15 cm range.
  • Leaves grow bigger with high light. Low-moderate light produces smaller, more compact leaves.
  • CO2 injection and complete fertilization enables leaves to reach their maximum size.
  • Overcrowding and shading can stunt leaf size. Allow proper spacing for growth.
  • Younger, newly formed leaves are generally smaller. Mature leaves display the full size range.
  • Pruning and trimming to propagate will generate new smaller leaves initially.
  • If conditions are poor, leaves stay small and melting can occur. Address issues like nutrients.

With the right environment, aquarium-cultivated Cryptocoryne Petchii typically reaches heights of 15-25 cm and lengths of 10-15 cm per cluster.

Cryptocoryne Axelrodi and Lucens

Cryptocoryne Axelrodi and Cryptocoryne Lucens are other interesting species within the Cryptocoryne genus. While they share some similarities with Cryptocoryne Petchii, each plant has its own unique characteristics and aquarium care requirements:

Cryptocoryne Axelrodi

  • Native to peat swamps in Indonesia
  • Produces bright green, wavy leaves approximately 5-10 cm long
  • Grows more vertically with long petioles, reaching 15-20 cm tall
  • Prefers soft, acidic water conditions
  • It does best with subdued lighting, around 0.5 watts per gallon
  • Propagates through runners slowly
  • It makes an interesting textured midground plant

Overall, Cryptocoryne Axelrodi demands similar care to Petchii but displays a taller growth habit and waving leaves. It adds a grassy texture suitable for low-tech aquariums.

Cryptocoryne Lucens

  • Found in blackwater streams in Borneo
  • Forms dense stands of narrow, arched leaves
  • Leaves have brown and green banding, around 5 cm long
  • Remains relatively small, growing to only 5-10 cm tall
  • Does well in soft water with pH below 7.0
  • Tolerates a wide temperature range of 22-30°C
  • Slower growing but spreads from the base over time

Cryptocoryne Lucens is the smallest of the three plants. It makes an attractive carpeting midground plant for nano aquariums.Lucens demands soft, acidic water to thrive.

Both Axelrodi and Lucens require similar care and conditions as Petchii. But their different sizes and leaf shapes provide unique aquascaping options.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii Brown

Cryptocoryne Wendtii is one of the most popular and widely available Cryptocoryne species in the aquarium trade. The ‘brown’ variety offers an interesting and attractive reddish-bronze coloration:

  • Displays reddish-brown leaves with darker brown vertical striping
  • Leaves are oval-shaped and slightly ruffled, around 5-8 cm long
  • Grows moderately fast, propagating from runners and side shoots
  • Reaches a height and width of 8-15 cm once mature
  • Does well in a wide range of conditions including pH and hardness
  • Requires low to moderate light to bring out best coloration
  • Adds color and contrast to aquarium plans

Cryptocoryne Wendtii brown makes an easy-to-keep foreground or midground plant. Its reddish leaves stand out and add striking contrast against green plants. Wendtii is hardy and undemanding, making it a foolproof choice for beginners and experts alike!

Cryptocoryne Petchii Pink

A striking variety of Cryptocoryne Petchii has emerged with light pink leaves and a compact growth form:

  • Leaves display rosy pink veins against green leaves
  • Remains smaller than the green form, growing to only 10-15 cm tall
  • Slow grower forming a dense clump
  • Propagates through basal shoots
  • Does well in low to moderate light conditions
  • No CO2 required but will enhance coloration
  • Softer water brings out the best pink hues
  • It lends a pop of color to the aquascape

Cryptocoryne Petchii pink is a wonderful choice if you want to incorporate some color variance in your tank. It needs similar care as the green variety but demands pristine conditions to look its best. The unique pinkish leaves make a lively accent plant.

Cryptocoryne Petchii Height and Planting

When incorporating Cryptocoryne Petchii into the aquascape, proper planting technique and positioning will ensure it thrives:


  • Plant taller stems near the back around 15-25 cm high
  • Use midsize 10-15 cm stems in the center or midground
  • Plant the smallest 5-10 cm stems nearer the front as accents


  • Prefers a nutrient-rich substrate. Use plant-specific aquarium soil.
  • Adds root tabs for macro and micronutrients if needed.
  • Best in fine gravels. Avoid coarse sands or large grains.

Planting Depth

  • Shallow planting about 1 inch deep recommended. Avoid burying rhizome.
  • Can be anchored to hardscape like driftwood or stone.
  • Allow space between crowns for runners and daughter plants.


  • Plant in clusters of 3-5 stems for a bushy clump.
  • Place focal point groupings near hardscape to highlight.
  • Fill in between main groupings with runners over time.

With the right planting strategy, Cryptocoryne Petchii makes a striking aquascape feature. Take its eventual size and growth habits into account when designing placement.

Micro Crypt and Tropica Cryptocoryne Beckettii ‘Petchii’

There are some interesting Cryptocoryne cultivars related to Petchii worth mentioning:

Micro Crypt

  • Compact mini variety staying under 10 cm tall
  • Rounder leaf shape and paler green color
  • Perfect for nano aquariums and foreground placement
  • Slow grower spreading through runners

Tropica Cryptocoryne Beckettii ‘Petchii’

  • Hybrid between Beckettii and Petchii species
  • Remains short and bushy like Beckettii but with narrow leaves
  • Bronze to dark green colors with neat patterning
  • Easy grower tolerating a range of conditions
  • Stays under 15 cm tall and 10 cm wide

Both of these cultivars inherit some Petchii genetics but display their own unique characteristics. Micro Crypt makes an ultra-compact foreground or midground plant. Tropica ‘Petchii’ combines the best traits of Beckettii and Petchii for a colorful, hardy hybrid.


With its graceful narrow leaves and adaptable nature, Cryptocoryne Petchii is a wonderful plant for aquarists of all levels. This undemanding Cryptocoryne thrives with minimal care yet contributes lush foliage and fluid form to the aquascape. Petchii comes in green and pink varieties to suit any design. Cryptocoryne Petchii can’t be beat for an easy yet elegant aquatic plant!