Cryptocorynes are aquatic plants originally native to India, Sri Lanka, and New Guinea, but has recently been established in regions of North America, especially Florida, where it is considered an invasive species in some areas.
The C. Beckettii, also known as Water Trumpet, can be found living immersed or totally submerged alongside streams and basins of slow moving rivers.
These plants have been used in the aquarium trade for more than 60 years and many hybrids have formed since then.
Usually reaching between 4-6 inches in height and 3-6 inches wide, the water trumpet is a suitable mid-ground plant for most tanks or a background plant for small and Nano tanks.
This plant is very tolerant with water parameters and is suitable for many habitats. It will live well in acidic water, but also slightly alkaline water with a pH between 5.5-8, as well as accept water hardness between 1-20 degrees.
It requires low to medium light, as very strong light will burn the leaves and also promote algae growth.
Planting for your Cryptocoryne Beckettii
Customarily, placing the Cryptocoryne Beckettii in the mid-ground of the tank will create a very nice contrast with most green plants; its appealing reddish leaves and unusual shape will also make it a unique centerpiece.
Dividing the pot is the best way to plant the small sections; aim for one inch apart to allow for faster spreading if you need to cover a larger area.
If you plant the entire potted plant in one place, make sure all the nutrients and CO2 can reach the roots and all of the leaves.
It can also be left to root on porous lava rocks or pieces of driftwood for a more natural look. Begin by gently wrapping the roots around the object and keeping them in place with a piece of fish line, rubber band, or cotton thread.
Cotton thread is usually preferred, as it will dissolve over time and leave the roots well attached to the wood or rock.
Carefully remove any dead or rotten leaves before planting, as the plant doesn’t like to be disturbed after being planted.
Care for your Cryptocoryne Beckettii
The water trumpet is a very hardy and non-demanding plant that doesn’t need any special care once the water chemistry is kept constant and the tank is healthy.
The Cryptocoryne Beckettii needs a very nutrient rich substrate and will benefit from a lot of CO2. The ideal substrate is a mixture of clay, sand, and peat, where the plant should be left well-rooted, as it is very sensible to change and doesn’t like being moved around.
This plant is very sensitive to environmental changes and will take a long time (usually over a month) to establish in your tank, but is still one of the best crypts to keep in a tank.
It is also a slow grower, but don’t try to keep it in strong light to accelerate growth or it may suffer from crypt melt in which it loses all its leaves when planted in a new tank, most likely due to a high nitrate concentration, sudden changes in its environment, or passing from living immersed to fully submerged.
Most experienced aquarists suggest planting it in well-established tanks, which are a minimum of three months old. Freshly set aquariums have changing water chemistry and make it very hard for the C. Beckettii to adapt to its new habitat.
There are two ways of propagating the Cryptocoryne Beckettii, as the plant lives both immersed as well as fully submersed.
Immersed plants that reach above the water surface will grow tubular flowers (which give the plant its alternate name water trumpet) and reproduce sexually. Seeds will fall on the substrate and develop into new plants.
Submerged ones will reproduce through side shoots next to the mother plant or further away in the substrate. To promote healthy growing, cut away any stem that may grow from the mother plant’s root and replant it in another spot.
This will allow you to ensure your plants are getting all the nutrients and CO2 needed by not being very crowded.
The Cryptocoryne Beckettii can be planted near bright green plants like the Lobelia Cardinalis, Anubias, or Microsorium for an interesting contrast.
It will do well even in tanks inhabited by fevered fish because it has strong roots, but it’s best to add them after the plant is well-established and strongly rooted in the substrate.
Keep a close eye on your goldfish, Koi, or large cichlids, as they may pose a threat to the water trumpet, despite its thick leaves.
Notwithstanding the hard start, the Cryptocoryne Beckettii is a lovely plant that would make an outstanding addition to any tank due to its distinctive color and unique shape.
It does require some skill to plant and make it thrive, but it sure is rewarding.