If you are looking for a hardy live aquatic plant that is able to thrive in low-tech setups and survive beginners’ mistakes, congratulations, you are in the right place. Cryptocoryne plants are the one among many others which can realize your wish.

Crypt Lutea for sale | Splashy Fish

(Image of Crypt Lutea)

Origin and Appearance 

Cryptocoryne is the genus of plants commonly referred to as Crypts. They are one of the most popular live aquatic plants that often come at the first consideration of many aquarists. Crypts consist of various species (at least 60) native to the tropical areas ranging from Asia, Africa to Australia, and Southeast Europe. 

Beside the hardy and resilient ability, Crypts bring the calm vibe to your aquarium tank by their diversified appearance in color and leaves shape (arrowhead to corkscrew directly emerged from the crown or stems). One could easily find the crypts in various green shades from pale to olive to deep forest in a moment, yet encounter other different crypt species with darker tones of pink to red to even brown. 

With ideal sizes reaching from 2 to 20 inches once matured, Cryptocoryne allows you to freely set them in whichever positions deemed fit. That could be the foreground of the fish tank or mid-ground or even the background of your aquarium tank.

Interesting fact: Do you know Crypts can bloom beneath the water? This is also the reason why Crypt plant was named after Crypt. Crypt is indeed derived from Greek ‘krytos’ with the meaning of hidden or secret. On the other hand, ‘krytos’ also indicates the inconspicuous flowers (or so-called underground flowers) which sometimes emerged from rhizomes of the plant. This means if you cultivate your Crypts well, you could have a chance to admire the true treasure, the flower, of the aquatic plant. 

Common Crypt species

With many Crypts species available (and there are numerous, according to the botanists and aquarists, left to be discovered), it is difficult to list out all of the names together with the characteristics and respective care. Hence, and for your ease of grasping the basic knowledge of the Crypts, we’ll mention below the typical ones that are often found and purchased widely on online or from aquarium plant stores.

  • Cryptocoryne Parva: C. Parva is one of the smallest cryptocorynes in aquarium trade. It grows in rosette form with the height up to 4 inches (10 cm) and each stem be about 2 to 2.8 inches (5 to 7 cm), making the plant ideal for the foreground or midground position of the fish tank. C. Parva looks similar to green grass-like species. Its smallest size makes them suitable to any tank size, even the nano ones.
  • Cryptocoryne Lutea: Given the beautiful bright green or bronzy pointed leaves and the medium size (4 to 8 inches tall), Cryptocoryne Lutea is certainly a perfect candidate for those who are searching for a midground plant for their aquariums. This species is hardy and able to adapt to a wide range of water conditions as long as they are stable. It even thrives in low-tech setups.
  • Cryptocoryne Wendtii: Bronze Cryptocoryne Wendtii is mostly recommended to beginners due to the hardiness and ability to grow in shaded locations. Its bronze coloration can bronze to the utmost if you keep it under strong light and in iron-rich substrate. Further, you may encounter various shapes of Wendtii Bronze leaves from flattened to undulating margins. Wendtii Bronze grows in a rosette form and can reach a height of 4 inches or higher. In a small tank, Wendtii Bronze is generally placed in the background; however, in a larger tank, it is considered as the highlight of the foreground aquarium.
Crypt Wendtii fore sale | Splashy Fish

(Image of Crypt Wendtii)

  • Cryptocoryne Spiralis: One cannot miss the loose corkscrew shape of green to brownish leaves gathered in a rosette, and swaying gracefully underwater of C. Spiralis. The plants surely enhance the beauty of your aquarium tank. C. Spiralis are not demanding species. The freshwater species grows best in low to moderate light tanks with little to no CO2 additive. 


Despite being classified in numerous species ranging in quite different appearance, Crypts do share certain traits in common.

Hardiness and resilience: These are the commonly known characteristics of Crypts. Although each crypt species will have its own required values (despite being slight), most of them can be self-adjusted to survive in the average aquariums, so long as you maintain the parameters stable. These are also the wonderful abilities that are much appreciated by many aquarists, especially the new hobbyists who easily make mistakes at the beginning. In addition, for those who pursue a designed aquascape containing various live aquarium plants, Crypts will be the great addition as they are undemanding and require less care compared to other freshwater plant species.

Slow-growing by nature: Most Crypts have such traits, even though you provide them with the favorite living conditions. The plant will steadily develop and eventually, without your notice, form a lush forest of leaves.

Shady conditions: When it comes to lighting, each crypt prefers different modes. However, most enjoy shady conditions. Despite being indigenous to tropical regions, high lighting does not do them good. On the contrary, low to moderate lighting is what the plants prefer and wish for. The trait happens to be a plus point for Crypts as aquarists who have low-tech setups could consider the plant for their tanks.

(Image of Crypt Spiralis swaying along the water currents)

Root-anchoring plant: This refers to the planting technique applied for the species. How to plant Crypt plants properly? Simply bury their roots deep to 2-3 inches into the substrates while leaving the crown uncovered. Crypts will soon establish and anchor firmly to the ground.

Crypt melt’: We bet you may have heard it once before. Crypt melt is the common situation during growing this tropical plant. Crypts are easily prone to melting, particularly when first introduced to a new tank. The case is regarded as normal as they soon grow new leaves. See more about the problem in the section Crypt melt below.

Tank setups and Maintenance

Just with the short information above, we believe that you can manage a proper aquarium for your Crypts. Indeed, Crypts are one of the easiest aquatic species to grow and keep. Once you’ve successfully planted them, there isn’t much else you need to worry about. 

Ranging from 2 inches (5cm) to 20 inches (50cm), Crypts could fit any tank size, even the nano aquariums. If you only have a small tank (3 -5 gallons), there is no problem, C. Parva will shine it with their lush green foliage. If a large aquarium happens to be the thing you possess, then the choice is numerous. The rosette growth form and colorful variation of Crypts won’t let you down.

Native to the tropical areas where most streams and rivers have relatively low flows and slightly soft water with neutral pH levels, Crypts would be appreciated if the same is resembled in their captivated environments. Although the temperature range of 77°F – 86°F (25°C – 30°C) is the plant’s preferable degrees, they also tolerate other various parameters. Nevertheless, most aquarists often set the following conditions for their crypts-planted aquariums.

  • Temperature: 77°F – 86°F (25°C – 30°C) 
  • pH: 6.5 – 7.0
  • GH: 4-7 dGH 
  • KH: 2-4dKH

Important note: If you only keep one crypt species, it’d be better to set up the tank parameters recommended for that crypt. As the plant tends to do well in the right living environment. If you plant several crypt species together, then try to figure out the balanced ranges close to the values of those crypts. Since this does good for the whole aquarium community in general.

Crypt Parva tank | Splashy Fish

(Image of Crypt Parva tank)

Stability is the key issue to decide the survival of Crypts. Although the plant could adapt to a wide range of tank parameters, such must be stable. If parameters fluctuate constantly, your Crypts easily ‘get stressed’, shed leaves, and die eventually.

Lighting and Supplement

As a typical low-maintenance plant, most Crypts will enjoy low to moderate lighting conditions. That said, some species prefer the contrary. If you are unsure about what lighting requirements are appropriate for your Crypts, you could try the moderate mode at first. Then, observe the plants for a while and adjust the lighting according to their growth tendency. 

In case you are unable to change the lighting of the tank, you could grow some floating plants to help provide a little shade to your Crypts. Such useful tips are shared and applied by most skilled aquarists.

Cryptocoryne plants are root-feeders. They need nutrient-rich substrates to thrive. In case you use gravel or sand for tank bottom, regularly adding root tabs would be much appreciated, as this is the alternative nutrient sources to nurture the cryptocoryne plants and benefit their growth. 

Crypts melt

Crypt melt is the common problem found in Crypt species. If you notice their leaves turning brown/ yellow before they become completely translucent, it is highly likely the chance of Crypt melting. These leaves after that start dying and decaying underwater conditions. 

The occurrence may be observed in the first few weeks after you introduced your Crypts to the aquarium tank. While the exact reason for crypt melt is unknown, you cannot help but see your new plant continuously shed leaves till nothing is left in the first month of growing it. 

Don't panic. Your Crypts soon show a sign of revival. This is because most crypts sold in the aquarium stores are cultivated emersed. Hence, when suddenly changed to submersed environments, the freshwater plants have not yet adapted, leading to the melting issue. Such transitional period could not be avoidable. Therefore, during the stage, you should carefully observe your Crypts to promptly diagnose and treat them properly.

That said, there are still several reasons responsible for the melting problem. Deficiency and instability of tank parameters are among them. As such and for prevention, regularly checking and testing water conditions is necessary. Equip yourself with a testing kit and conduct it diligently to ensure your Crypts not only survive but thrive vigorously as well. 


Crypts are the slow-growing species. If you want to propagate them, you may need to wait for quite a long time before conducting the process. The propagation is through stem cutting. You’ll need to collect pieces of stems with healthy nodes or leaves at their ends, dry them, then plant in soil substrates to stimulate the root growth. Normally, the process will take several months to several years depending on species and other factors like nutrients and light quality. Yet, once you succeed, you will find it worth everything. 

Keeping Crypts is a fun experience which will bring you joy and unexpected moments. If you are considering them, visit our store to find a variety of the Crypts waiting for you.

At Splashy Fish Store, we supply a wide range of Cryptocoryne plants which come from reliable sources. We further guarantee that all of our freshwater Cryptocoryne plants will go through the quarantine process for a period of 14-day before sale. We care about the quality and strive to provide you the best we can.