How to grow: Cryptocoryne parva


George Farmer explains how you can grow Cryptocoryne parva, the smallest of the Crypt species.

Scientific name: Cryptocoryne parva.

Family: Araceae.

Origin: Asia.

Maximum height: Rarely over 10cm/4”.

Width (each stem): 5-7cm/2-2.8”

Temperature: 20-29°C/68-84°F.

Hardness: Very soft to hard.

pH: 5.5 to 8.

Light demands: Medium.

Growth rate: Very slow.

Demands: Medium.

What is it?

Cryptocoryne parva is the smallest of all the Cryptocoryne (crypt) species. Unlike most other crypts, it does not significantly alter appearance when changing from its emerged to submerged form.

It tends to require more light than other crypt species, probably due to its small stature, being further away from the light source or overshadowed by taller plants.

Like all crypts, it does better in a nutrient-rich substrate and will benefit a lot from CO2 injection and a nutrient-rich water column.  Because of its very slow growth it is prone to green spot algae which can be addressed with better circulation levels — especially towards the bottom of the aquarium.

How to grow it

It will grow in lower lighting conditions if provided with good nutrients, but expect incredibly slow growth. It does well in warmer water, making it suitable for low-maintenance planted Discus tanks.

It is usually supplied in pots containing up to 20 individual plants. Carefully separate these and plant a few centimetres apart from one another. Over several months, or more depending on your set-up, they should form a solid carpet. Prune off any overgrown or unhealthy leaves near the rhizome.  

As with most crypts, expect some die-off after initial planting as it adjusts to a new environment. Remove dying matter and await new healthy growth.

This article was first published in the November 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.