Planted Tank Trend: Meet the Bucephelandra

Get on the Bucephelandra bandwagon. The latest trend in aquariums, Buce can turn your tank into colorful oasis.


As with every niche, fads and trends come and go in the aquarium trade. The current rage is a plant called bucephelandra that is available in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Aquarists are constantly on the search for a new type of “buce” as it is commonly known, and willing to pay top dollar for it in the process.


A lovely and still relatively hard-to-find genus of plants, buce originates in Borneo, an island in Southeast Asia. Found in rivers and streams, and sometimes on the banks of rivers, this is an easy plant to maintain – it is able to process its high nutrient content easily through fertilizers and nutrient rich substrates. While buce is easy to grow and keep in just about any aquarium, it prefers softer waters like the ones it originated in. It only requires medium lighting to be healthy and does not necessarily need Co2; however as with any plant Co2 will increase the likelihood of growth.


Related: A Guide to Immersed Plant Growth


There are three known species of buce, Bucephalandra, B. gigantea, B. motleyana and B. catherineae. There are over a dozen known varieties of the plant, and many aquarists strive to collect every one. The biggest downfall of this plant is that it is a slow grower. For this reason, you’ll find that the price is a lot more than the average aquarium plant. If you’re interested in this plant you can expect to pay anywhere from $9 to $30 and possibly even more depending on the particular variety.


Because Bucephalandras grow slowly, algae are a common problem. Once it forms in the tank, it can limit the light and slow the growth of the plant. However, Bucephalandras are hardy and most types of algae can be removed by spot treating with H2O2 on leaves.


Related: Paludariums Have Room For More Than Just Fish


In aquariums, Bucephalandras can be grown on hardscapes as its root’s ability to attach to hard surfaces, regardless of its texture. Bucephelandra grows in a similar fashion to that of java fern and anubias, with a rhizome that attaches itself to driftwood, rocks, or other hard surfaces. To attach it can be tied with thread, fishing line or simply weighted down. Others choose to use a dab of “crazy glue” to keep it in place until it naturally attaches.


If you’re interested in a cool plant and want to try your hand at growing some buce, take a look at your favorite plant source and see what you can find. There seems to be a color variety to suit just about any aquascape, and gathering as many species as possible is the thing to do at the time!

Summer Davis is the mom of three kids, four dogs, and several tanks of fish. She boasts a passion for all animals, whether they are in the water or on land. This fish aficionado has kept many different species in her time, but holds a special place in her heart for wild and domestic bettas. When she’s not talking about fish, Summer “spins” her extra time as the director of a baton twirling organization.

Summer Davis
Summer Davis

Summer Davis is the mom of three kids, four dogs, and several tanks of fish. She boasts a passion for all animals, whether they are in the water or on land. This fish aficionado has kept many different species in her time, but holds a special place in her heart for wild and domestic bettas. When she's not talking about fish, Summer "spins" her extra time as the director of a baton twirling organization."

More by Summer Davis

Popular Pet Guide
Next