The Fascinating World of Cryptocoryne Spiralis Red

Cryptocoryne spiralis red is a beautiful and unique aquatic plant highly prized in the aquascaping community. With its deep red leaves and slow, creeping growth habit, this crypt adds vibrant color and texture to aquarium designs. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about keeping, propagating, and utilizing this eye-catching plant.

Cryptocoryne Spiralis Red in aquarium

Cryptocoryne Spiralis Red: An Overview

Cryptocoryne spiralis red, often called crypt red spiralis or just crypt spiralis, is a variant of the spiralis group of crypt species. Native to India and Sri Lanka, crypt spiralis inhabits streams, rivers, and other freshwater areas in warm, tropical climates.

The most striking feature of Crypt Red Spiralis is its leaves. They have a deep burgundy coloration with a bright green midrib. The leaves are long, narrow, and strap-like in shape. They emerge in a loose spiral pattern from the base of the plant. Fully grown leaves can reach lengths of 8-12 inches.

One of the things that makes crypt spiralis so popular is its compact size. It typically only grows 6-8 inches tall and 4-6 inches wide. This makes it perfect for midground placement in small and medium aquariums. The plant spreads via runners and daughter plants, forming a lush carpet over time.

Cryptocoryne Spiralis Red Size: Discussing the Average Size and Growth Rate

On average, cryptocoryne spiralis red reaches a height of around 6-8 inches and a width of 4-6 inches. However, the size can vary based on lighting, nutrients, and tank conditions.

Crypt spiralis is generally considered a slow grower in terms of growth rate. You can expect leaves to reach their full length over 3-4 weeks. Once fully grown, leaves will last for several months before needing to be trimmed.

The plant spreads at a leisurely pace as well. Propagation happens via runner shoots and daughter plants that emerge from the roots. This horizontal growth allows the plant to form an attractive carpet gradually. A mature crypt spiralis specimen can fill out a 6-8 inch section in 6-9 months.

While crypt spiralis grows slower than stem plants, its growth rate is comparable to other common midground crypts like cryptocoryne wendtii. With a little time and patience, crypt red spiralis will multiply into a vibrant presence in the aquascape.

Crypt Spiralis Red vs Crypt Spiralis Red Tiger

Cryptocoryne spiralis has two popular color varieties: the red variety and the red tiger variety. While both have red leaves, there are some notable differences between the two.

Red Variety

  • Leaves are burgundy red with green midrib
  • Leaves are elongated and strap-like
  • Reaches 6-8 inches tall

Red Tiger Variety

  • Leaves have concentrated red striping on green background
  • Leaves are wider and more ruffled
  • Typically grows shorter at 3-5 inches tall

The red tiger variety has striped leaves that look similar to the patterns on a tiger. The leaves are also wider and more spatula-shaped than the long, narrow leaves of the red variety.

In terms of care, both varieties have similar needs. But the red tiger crypt usually stays more compact and doesn’t grow as tall. It spreads faster and propagates quicker than the red variety.

When choosing between them, consider the look you want to achieve. The red crypt offers rich wine-colored leaves while the red tiger provides eye-catching striped patterns. Both make stunning additions to aquarium designs.

Cryptocoryne Spiralis Red Care

Caring for cryptocoryne spiralis red isn’t difficult, but providing optimal growing conditions will allow this plant to thrive. Here are some key care tips:


  • Low to moderate light levels are ideal
  • 50-100 par or 2-3 watts per gallon
  • Intense light may fade leaf coloration


  • Nutrient-rich substrate recommended
  • Soil substrates or root tabs provide key minerals


  • CO2 injection benefits growth
  • 15-30 ppm recommended


  • Use comprehensive liquid fertilizer
  • Look for one with iron to encourage red pigments

Water Parameters

  • Temperature between 75-82°F
  • pH 6.0-7.5, soft to moderately hard water


  • Easily propagated by separating runners and daughter plants

With the proper set up and care routine, crypt red spiralis will reward you with lush, vibrant growth. Consistent fertilization is key to maintaining the plant’s striking coloration.

Cryptocoryne Spiralis Tiger and Tiger Care

The Cryptocoryne spiralis tiger variety, also known as crypt tiger spiralis, is a beautiful midground plant known for its green and red striped leaves. Here’s an overview of care for this eye-catching crypt:


  • Moderate light is ideal, around 2-3 watts per gallon
  • The striped leaf coloring shows best under higher light levels


  • Use nutrient-rich substrate like aquasoil
  • Root tabs can be added for extra minerals


  • CO2 injection speeds growth significantly
  • Aim for 15-25 ppm CO2


  • Use a liquid fertilizer with iron to bring out leaf colors
  • Dose regularly according to label directions

Water Parameters

  • Does well in most tropical community tank parameters
  • Ideal temperature is 75-82°F, pH between 6.5-7.5


  • Propagates quickly by runners that form daughter plants
  • These daughter plants can be separated and replanted

Overall, crypt spiralis tiger is an easy care plant suitable for beginners. Give it plenty of nutrients and moderate lighting to achieve lush growth and vibrant tiger striped leaves. Prune dying leaves at the base to keep it tidy.

How Big is Cryptocoryne Spiralis?

Cryptocoryne spiralis is considered a medium-sized crypt that can reach heights of 6-12 inches depending on variety and growth conditions.

The green spiralis variety typically grows taller, with leaves extending around 8-12 inches. Under very high light and nutrient levels, it may reach up to 16 inches high.

The red spiralis variety is a bit smaller, averaging heights of 6-8 inches. Its leaves usually max out around 8-10 inches. This more compact size makes it a nice midground plant.

For the spiralis tiger variety, mature heights of 4-6 inches are common. Its striped leaves may reach 6-8 inches long. This is the smallest of the spiralis variations.

In terms of spread, a mature crypt spiralis plant can grow to around 8-12 inches wide. It expands horizontally via runners. Over time, it will create a bushy cluster of leaves spreading across the substrate.

While most crypt spiralis specimens will remain under 12 inches tall, their full size potential is largely dependent on tank conditions. With high light, regular fertilization, and CO2 injection, crypt spiralis can surpass 12 inches vertical growth. But even at maximum size, it stays relatively compact compared to larges crypts that can grow over 20 inches tall.

Cryptocoryne Spiralis vs Retrospiralis

Cryptocoryne spiralis and retrospiralis are two similar crypt species that are often confused. Here’s an overview of the key differences:

  • Leaf shape: Spiralis has long, narrow, strap-like leaves. Retrospiralis has wider, more oval-shaped leaves.
  • Leaf color: Spiralis leaves are green or reddish. Retrospiralis leaves have a blue-green hue.
  • Size: Spiralis is larger, growing 6-12 inches tall. Retrospiralis stays under 6 inches in height.
  • Growth: Spiralis is slower growing. Retrospiralis grows quickly and needs frequent pruning.
  • Habitat: Spiralis occurs in streams and rivers. Retrospiralis grows in peat swamps.
  • Origins: Spiralis is native to Sri Lanka and India. Retrospiralis comes from Thailand.

While both make nice midground plants, spiralis works better for larger aquariums, while retrospiralis suits nano tanks. Regarding care, retrospiralis requires less light and tolerates a wider temperature range. Make sure to properly identify these two similar crypts before purchasing them.

Propagation Techniques

Cryptocoryne spiralis propagates through runners that form daughter plants. Here are some tips for successfully propagating this plant:

  • Allow the plant to mature and establish runners with daughter rosettes. These offshoots will have small root systems.
  • Use sharp, sterilized scissors or shears to separate the runners and daughter plants from the parent plant.
  • Ensure each daughter plant has 3-4 leaves and some established roots. Cut any dead or decaying leaves.
  • Plant the daughter plants a few inches apart in the aquarium substrate, keeping their crowns above the gravel line.
  • Provide ample nutrients and light for the first few weeks to help the new plants establish roots. Avoid disturbing them during this time.
  • Prune away any dead leaves that occur as the plants acclimate. Healthy daughter plants will begin growing new leaves within a month.
  • Once established, the daughter crypt spiralis plants can be moved or reshaped as desired in the aquascape.
  • Repeat the propagation process as often as needed to create a dense colony of crypt spiralis plants over time.

With good care, each daughter plant will mature into a full crypt within a few months. Propagating from runners is an easy, cost-effective way to add more crypt spiralis to the aquarium layout.

Design Tips for Aquascaping

Cryptocoryne spiralis red offers unique beauty and texture to planted tank designs. Here are some aquascaping tips for this plant:

  • Use in the midground area for best visibility. Its red leaves will pop against the substrate.
  • Plant in groups of 3-5 for a bold splash of color. Arrange the groups in a staggered or triangular pattern.
  • Contrast the fine leaf texture with broader leaved plants like Amazon swords.
  • Combine with green crypts like parva to create a color gradient.
  • Allow space between groups to show off its creeping growth habit.
  • Place wood or rock structures behind to highlight and frame the crypt clusters.
  • Choose subdued substrate colors like black or dark brown to make the red leaves shine.
  • Select peaceful shoaling fish like harlequin rasboras that won’t damage the delicate leaves.

With its vibrant color and graceful form, crypt red spiralis makes an eye-catching addition to planted aquarium designs. Take care to highlight its beauty by using proper scale, contrast, and negative space.

Where to Buy

Cryptocoryne spiralis is available from various online retailers and specialty aquarium shops. When buying, look for sellers that can properly identify the specific spiralis variety being sold. Here are some top options:

Online Stores

  • – reliable source with photos and care info
  • – wide selection including red and red tiger varieties
  • – healthy tissue cultures available

Local Fish Stores

  • Call ahead to specialty aquarium stores to check plant inventory
  • Big box pet stores may carry crypt spiralis on occasion

Price Range

  • Tissue cultures or small starter plants: $5 – $12
  • Larger, mature specimens: $12 – $25

Inspect plants carefully for signs of disease and damage before purchasing. Look for 6+ inch plants to add instant interest. Proper care allows a few crypt spiralis specimens to multiply into an entire midground colony.


With its unique spiral growth and striking red leaves, cryptocoryne spiralis red is one of the most sought-after crypts in the aquascaping hobby. This hardy, slow-growing plant can add a gorgeous pop of color to planted aquarium designs. Following the care guidelines covered in this article, aquarists can maintain their crypt spiralis as a lush, vibrant focal point in the tank. Its manageable size and easy propagation make crypt red spiralis an ideal choice for aquascapers of all experience levels. Whether kept on its own or combined with other crypts and plants, cryptocoryne spiralis red will bring natural beauty to any freshwater aquarium.