Bucephelandra sp. “Kualakuayan”#2

Hello again!
I hope all of you have been enjoying this series of posts so far! We’ve so far covered the varieties: Kuala Kayan#1, Kayu Lapis, and Kudakan (refer to my older posts for the write up on these). This is part 3 of my Bucephelandra series of posts, and today we will be covering Buceph. “Kualakuayan”#2.


As with many other Bucephelandra this variety can be grown on either wood/rock or planted in the soil. It is relatively easy to grow, but slow and I mean that in terms of Bucephelandra “slow”. It is easy to grow, but slow, it prefers soft (2-3 degrees) and acidic (6pH) water. It can easily be grown in a terrarium setting, as that is how it is found growing in the wild.


At first glance this particular variety may not seem very unique or special, but look closer and you will find characteristics of this variety that make it a special part of any Buceph. collection. If you’re having a difficult time finding those characteristics, let me make a small list of them for you:

1. The leaves get to a max length of about 2in. and ½ in. wide.
2. The leaves aren’t very long and slender, this particular variety has short “stubby” leaves, and the tip is blunt and rounded.
3. There is very slight ribbing/ruffling around the edge of the leaves, it is not as drastically ribbed like particular other varieties.
4. Although the shade of color can vary slightly, predominately this variety has a medium shade of green for the older leaves, and the newer leaves are light green.
5. This variety grows loosely (definitely not as tight as “Kuala Kayan”#1) and it grows in a vertical direction.
6. As small a detail as this may be, you’ll notice that the leaves of this variety lay flat (parallel with the ground) as opposed to “Kualakuayan”#1 where it’s leaves point upward.

It was named “Kualakuayan” because it was found near that town, it is a small town in Borneo’s Kalimantan Tengah region.

Kualakuayan map

I hope you enjoyed this 4th installment of my Bucephelandra series! Keep checking back for the 5th installment of this series. I can tell you folks now that it will either be on Buceph. “Brown” from West Kalimantan, or Buceph. “Sintang”.
Please leave a comment if you like what you are reading/seeing, it would be much appreciated!
Take care all!


Buchephelandra sp. “Kedagang” (Corrected)

Hello again!
(I must note that the original post had the wrong plant pictured, so I have updated this post to show the correct plant as well as information regarding it)
I hope all of you have been enjoying this series of posts so far! We’ve so far covered the varieties: Kuala Kayan#1 and Kayu Lapis (refer to my older posts for the write up on these). This is part 3 of my Bucephelandra series of posts, and today we will be covering by far one of the more colorful of its genus, Buceph. “Kedagang”.

B. Kudakan

As with many other Bucephelandra this variety can be grown on either wood/rock or planted in the soil. It is relatively easy to grow, but slow, and I mean that in terms of Bucephelandra “slow”. Here is a quick gauge of growth speed in terms of Bucephelandra, B. “Kayu Lapis” is slow, and B. “Brown” (from West Kalimantan, this is the most common variety in the hobby at the moment) is fast. Prefers soft (2-3 degrees) and acidic (6-7pH) water. This along with others of its genus can easily be grown in a terrarium setting, as this is how it is typically found growing in the wild.

B. Kudakan

If there is one thing I must say, is that this particular variety, in my opinion is one of the most colorful! Along with it’s strong rufffled-egdes, it has a very attractive combination of color and form. Here is a small list of what makes this one unique among its kind:
1. The leaves get to a max length of about 3in. and 1/2 to 3/4in. wide.
2. There is very pronounced ruffling around the edge of the leaves, they are also blunt/rounded at the tip
3. The most unique characteristic is it’s color, it has a dark green base leaf color with a very attractive shiny “sheen” of blue over it.
4. The stem of this variety is quite reddish in hue (more so than other varieties I have seen), making for a nice contrast to the blue and green of the leaves.
5. This variety grows loosely and vertically, it also does not creep/send runners in a horizontal fashion.

At the moment I am currently still looking for the specific origin of this variety, but one can infer that it comes from a place/town called “Kedgagang”. If I get any updates or find it’s specific whereabouts, I will edit this post.

I hope you enjoyed this 3rd installment of my Bucephelandra series! Keep checking back for the 4th and final (for now) installment of this series. I can tell you folks now that it will be on Buceph. “Kualakuayan”#2
Please leave a comment if you like what you are reading/seeing, it would be much appreciated! 🙂
Take care all!

Bucephelandra sp.”Kayu Lapis”

Hello again!
This is the 2nd installment of my series on a variety of different Bucephelandra! The variety I will be covering today is one of my favorites, B.”Kayu Lapis”, and boy is it a BEAUTY!

This like most Bucephelandra is not difficult to keep and slow-growing, but this particular one is even slower growing than the Buceph. in my previous post (“Kualakuayan”#1) which was already quite a slow-growing variety. For the reason previously stated, this one tends to demand a higher price, for it’s unique characteristics, and it’s very slow-growing nature. Whereas B.”Kualakuayan”#1 grows/spreads horizontally, this variety grows more vertically than in any other direction.

B.Kayu Lapis
B.Kayu Lapis1

As the name implies, it comes from the town of “Kayu Lapis” in the Kalimantan Barat region of Borneo. I am currently trying to find the specific whereabouts of this variety, although once can assume it comes from a town nearby called “Kayu Lapis”.
Kalimantan Barat

The unique characteristics of this variety is as follows:
1. One of the smaller varieties of Bucephelandra
2. Very narrow leaves, maybe 1/3 in. wide max, and a leaf length of about 2 in.
3. There is a significant amount of tight ruffling around the edges of the whole leaf.
4. A vertical growing Buceph. variety
B.Kayu Lapis2

Well I hope you enjoyed this 2nd installment of my Bucephelandra series!
Keep checking back for the next installment!
Thank you for taking the time to check my blog out, if you feel compelled to, please leave a comment! They’re much appreciated and really help to let me know what you folks think about the content I post here! 🙂

Bucephelandra sp. “Kualakuayan”#1

Yes, yes, yes, It has been forever since my last post, and I hope I haven’t lost all of what few readers I had! Priorities get in the way and such, you all know how life goes! Well without further A due let’s get to what all of you came for!

Today I will be starting a series on about 6 different varieties of Bucephelandra. Although these plants have been in the hands of a relatively small number of hobbyists for about 5 years now, they are only now making their way to the US, and as such they are beginning to catch the attention of the masses as the “new hotness”! I hope to educate you about this plant and bring to light the subtle, yet beautiful different characteristics of all the different varieties.

Just a quick rundown on just what Bucephelandra are (without getting too scientific) they are of the Araceae family, commonly known as Aroids, which include such plants as Anubias. Bucephelandra can be grown submersed as well as immersed, although in the wild they are most commonly found emerged.

Bucephelandra are found in or around streams in Borneo only. They are more specifically found growing on top of, or in the crevices of rocks. The below photo is a photo of B. “Sintang” in it’s natural habitat. This is not the one we will be going over today, but just a visual aid to give you an idea of where these plants can be found in the wild.
Wild B. Sintang (Team Borneo)
Photo credit goes to Team Borneo.

The variety we will be covering today is Bucephelandra sp.”Kualakuayan”#1. Whereas most Bucephelandra grow in a vertical direction, this variety creeps and sends runners!

Here is is growing on soil (notice the creeping ability).

Here it is growing on wood (still grows noticeably tightly, even on wood)

It was named “Kualakuayan” because it was found near that town, it is a small town in Borneo’s Kalimantan Tengah region. This variety is easy to grow, but slow, and prefers soft (2-3 degrees) and acidic (around 6pH) water. It can easily be grown in a terrarium setting, as this is how it is usually found growing in the wild.
Borneo Kualakuayan location
The unique characteristics of this variety is that:
1. Grows very tightly packed together, even on wood.
2. Lighter green color
3. Little to no ribbing/waving on the edges of the leaves
4. Leaves grow to a max length of about 1 1/2 in. and 1/2 in. wide
5. This variety is a creeping one, it will grow a bit vertically if put in certain conditions (usually when put onto wood/ if lighting is low) but as a whole this plant will typically send runners, by far the most unique characteristic of this variety.

Photo credit goes to Heatwave
Heatwave B.kuala#1-1
Heatwave B.kuala#1-2

I hope you enjoyed this article! More to come in the following weeks so check back often 🙂
Take care all!

LARGE Hygrophila

Hello all!
Today’s post will be about 2 of my favorite, but LARGE Hygrophila species.

The two I will write about today are “Bihar” and “Guinea”, as of this time I am unaware if there are species names to both of these plants, but they are both relatively new, appearing about 2 years ago. Both of these species can have a leaf span of up to about 6-8 inches from leaf tip across to the other leaf tip. Another defining characteristic that I like about these Hygros are that they have serrated edges on their leaves. Of course these are most definitely background bunch plants, and should be given a good amount of space to grow.

This is a fast growing asian type of Hygro, soft to the touch, and somewhat creeps, but usually just gets large and goes straight up. Prefers softer water, but is quite tolerant to a variety of water conditions. This one does not have serrated edges all the way up and down the edges of the leaves, as you can see it serrates in only parts of the edges of the leaves, quite interesting.

This is a slower growing West-African Hygro, which has a tough stalk, but soft leaves. Preferes soft and acidic water, but is a tough plant. This one on the other hand as serrated edges all the way up and down the leaf edges.

I hope you enjoyed this post about 2 of my favorite Hygrophila!
Have a good one guys!

Got Microsorium??

How are you all doing? All is well I hope! 🙂
This post we will be getting back to plants, and my favorite genus of plants at that, Microsorium.
Most people know of the common “Windelov, Red, Tropica, and Narrow” leaf types, but did you know that there are at least 15-20 (possibly much more yet undiscovered) types of Microsorium?? Most have not been established in the hobby, but there are a large number of locality types, and a few cultivar types.

Microsorium are easy to grow, sometimes they can be a bit finicky if you let the water quality go too far down. They will do fine in the CO2/fertilizer/lighting tank setup (leaf stunting and crinkling can be a side effect of the unnatural conditions) but they naturally come from areas where there is filtered light coming down through the forest canopy, the choice is really yours.

Being that this my favorite group of plants, I had invested the last 6 years searching for the various hard-to-find/unknown cultivars and locality types, and I would like to share some of them with you.

Micro. Reverse Tropica
This Microsorium’s trademark is it’s scalloped leaves, although this is a picture of an emersed specimen, the leaves maintain that scalloped-look just the same while immersed. Leaves are approximately 5-7 inches maximum

Micro. Fork Leaf
This one may look similar to Tropica, but if you were to compare the two, you would notice that this one has much more “teeth” on it’s edges, and the teeth are much more narrow. I really prefer this one over Tropica, but of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder 🙂 This one is relatively new, and not many hobbyists have this certain variety. Leaves are approximately 5-6 inches maximum.

Micro. Small Leaf
As you can see from the size reference of my finger in this picture, this particular Micro. stays quite small, the largest leaves that you see in the picture, are as big as they get, about 2 inches. Great for those people looking to add a fern into a smaller sized, “micro”-type tank. This Micro. is also one of the softer-leaved ones, meaning the leaves aren’t very hard to the touch, and basically those Micro. that are soft-leaved, tend to be the ones that are more sensitive to water conditions.

I hope you enjoyed this post about my favorite genus of aquatic plants! 🙂
Take care everyone!

Unique Syngonanthus species

Hello all!

Inspire91 here again with another post about a group of plants commonly labeled with the name, “star plants”. Hopefully I have some return-readers :), and welcome to those of you who are new to this blog! Take a look at the previous post for a short synopsis of who I am, my interests, and what this site will provide!

This time I will be focusing on the genus Syngonanthus, formerly known by the genus of Tonina, which now refers to such plants as the common Tonina fluviatilis. These aren’t as popular as their “star plant”-rosette cousins, Eriocaulons, yet they still have some flare that cannot be elsewhere. These plants are quite widespread in South America, mainly within Brazil are the most beautiful in my opinion. Being that this genus is quite widespread, there can be a wide variety of different locales, each with a distinct feature/characteristic.

Requirements:These plants can be quite demanding when it comes to their environment. Their water requirements are somewhat specific (acidic and soft), with some species being easier to grow than others. Generally speaking, they do best in a temperature of about 22-28*C, pH of about 4-5 is preferred, and a GH of about 1-3 is also preferred. If not given these water parameters, they have a tendency to stunt (especially at their crown) and their speed of growth greatly decreases (more noticeably than other stem plants). They also will flourish in a stronger amount of light, in the field, these plants occur in shallow streams and are in full sunlight with no over-hanging trees etc.

Propagation:These plants aren’t any different from propagation any other stem/bunch plant. Cuttings can be made, or off-shoots can be cut off and replanted. An issue I had run into when working with these plants is that their tops can become quite thick, blocking a good amount of light from reaching any part of the stem below the crown. That then resulted in the root/lower parts of the plant rotting and/or becoming quite weak, so try to avoid keeping the cuttings too close to each other, give them some space between crowns. These plants also love any area with a current, they really dislike any detritus settling on them, especially around the base of the stem (thus resulting in rotting of that area).

This is a Syngonanthus from, “Manaus” in Brazil. In my experiences, this is the 2nd most common Syngonanthus behind the, “Belem” variety, although it hasn’t quite made a very strong foothold in the hobby due to the fact that it is not as easy to grow as the, “Belem” variety. This particular species is quite sensitive to water parameters.

This is a particularly new variety of Syngonanthus out of, “Madeira” Brazil. I found this variety to be easier to grow than the, “Manaus” variety. The most unique characteristic of this variety is that it’s crown can get quite large, I had grown specimens with crowns up to 2 inches+ in diameter. Another characteristic as you can see is that unlike the “Belem” variety, the leaves don’t curl underneath the crown.

The following pictures is just a comparison between Manaus and Madeira, as some people may not notice the difference between the two.
Madeira vs Manaus

This is by far the most common variety of Syngonanthus spread throughout the hobby. The variety of “Belem” that I was working with was actually collected from the Belem area of Brazil. I really wanted to work with a wild specimen, as I had worked with cuttings from various fellow hobbyists, and was unsure of their origin. When I compared the various specimens of “Belem”, I found that this particular variety below, had much more “curling” of the leaves, as well as the crown was a bit larger and “fuller”. This may have just been that the original specimen of those cuttings I received from hobbyists had come from a different are within Belem, although easily I fell in love with the wild specimen as it was much more beautiful.

The following pictures are of various “variety” tanks, at Japanese pet stores. The Japanese really appreciate the fine-details and differences in things in general, and so it’s no surprise that the collectors would go out of their way to find as many varieties as possible! You will also see some other varieties of Eriocaulon and Tonina, as these “variety” tanks are mainly comprised of “Star plants” (Eriocaulon, Tonina, and Syngonanthus).
Star plant variety
Syngo and Tonina Variety tank
Syngonanthus variety
If you ever plan to buy plants from Japan, be sure you bring a full wallet! Japanese prices are considered high all around including the aquarium hobby, but that’s ok with me because the Japanese really provide quality goods.
The prices listed below are anywhere from $3-$10 a stem, and $12-$40 for 3 stem packs. The varieties listed below include from places such as: Sao Gabriel, Iquitos, Tocantins, Sao Paulo, Tefe, and Negro, just to name a few, and thats only half of the list!
Star plant prices

This last picture I meant to post with the previous post, but here it is, a shot of a variety tank of Eriocaulons at another Japanese pet store. I took this picture back in 2004, these plants weren’t even popular, let alone known, maybe to a select few in the hobby in the US. It was a sign of an incoming storm of popularity of these “Star plants”. If you can believe it, some of the prices listed for these wild collected specimens were from $120 to $180 a piece! That’s the price you pay for quality rare plants 🙂
Eriocaulon variety tank

Thanks for checking this post out!
Hope you all enjoyed it! 🙂
Take care, Inspire91

The First

Hello all! 🙂

Since this is my first post on my brand spankin’ new blog “AquaBiota” I just want to give you a short synopsis of what sort of topics will be covered here and my own interests and reasons for starting this blog.

First, “AquaBiota” is Latin for “aquatic life”, more specifically in terms of what this blog will be focusing on, is freshwater aquatic life (plants and fish).  There will various pictures of such things as aquarium/terrarium setups, aquarium products, fish, plants, and anything else that the aquarium hobby might find interesting.

As for my own interests and the reason for starting this blog is quite simple.  I have had a deep interest in the aquarium hobby for about the past 9 years now.  I have had experiences in working with a number of plants and fish, yet I have no specifics as to what species I like to work with, as I mainly enjoy working with species new/rare at the time.  If I had to put my finger on one of each plant and fish genus I most enjoy working with, it would be Apistogramma (fish) and Microsorium/Bucephelandra (plant).

I am by no means an expert or claiming to be one, the purpose of this blog is to share my interests, learn myself from others, and hopefully pass on some helpful information to others with interests similar to my own.  I hope you all enjoy this blog and the interesting things to come! 😉

Sincerely, Inspire91

I will leave you with some pictures of a few “Star Plants” or Eriocaulon. One of the more unique genus of aquatic rosette type plants that have had a strong buzz around them for the past few years. They as a whole can be quite fickle and require a specific environment in order to thrive. Certain species will quickly melt if optimum water conditions are not met.

Requirements: Generally speaking, they will do best in acidic (pH ~ 4-5) and very soft (GH of 1-3*) water. They do well in stronger lighting, and in my experiences really flourish in a “current” area within the tank.

Propagation: They propagate either by splitting from their core, similar to watching cells “cleave”, or they will throw up a long thin stem that will produce a small plantlet at it’s tip. If the plant begins to “cleave” let it split into separate cores (or as close as possible to separate cores), and then gently pull them apart, if you try to force it early and break them apart, you risk killing both (or more) of the plants that were about to be produced. If long thin stems (which break the water’s surface) with a white spores at the tip appear, you can (if by chance you have another of this plant doing this same exact growth at the time) use a q-tip and touch the various heads of these spores, and hope you have pollination. Another possibility is that the tip may or may not break the water’s surface, yet has grown a small plantlet, at which point you will want to leave it alone until it reaches about an inch and has a few roots growing from it, then you will cut it, and plant it into the soil.

This is a small only about an inch tall maximum, very hard to the touch species of Eriocaulon. It is found on the shores of the lakes in Sulawesi, in very tight compact mats. Very slow growing, but readily splits, and is quite unique in its “carpeting” capabilities.

This can be a tough one! This species of Eriocaulon from Matogrosso in Brazil, has very particular water requirements, very soft and very acidic. Prefers an area where there is a current, as it very much dislikes any debris settling on it. The many long and thin leaves, are very iconic of this species.

This is Eriocaulon sp.”Goias”, another Brazilian beauty that is special for its wider, turning leaves. This one can get quite large, as I’ve seen a specimen that was about a foot in diameter!

This is Eriocaulon cinereum (notice the many long thin stems shooting up from the plant, signaling a time of propagation) nothing too special, as this species was one of the first on the plant scene.
Eriocaulon cinereum (reproducing)