Quick Care Facts
• Care Level: Moderate • Lighting: Medium to High • Maximum Size: 6"
• Placement: Midground • Water Conditions: 72-82° F, KH 3-11, pH 5.8-7.6
• Propagation: Cuttings • Color Forms: Green, Red/Yellow w/high lighting
Supplements: Trace Elements, CO2 Fertilization, Iron, Potassium
• Origin: Eastern Asia • Family: Hydrocharitaceae
Native Habitat and Species Information
Blyxa japonica native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.
Blyxa japonica or as it is also sometimes referred to as the Bamboo Plant is found natively throughout southeastern Asia, where it grows both in slow moving streams and in areas of stagnant shallow waters and marshes. It is also found in man made water ways like drainage ditches and rice paddies, which is testament to its hardiness and adaptability. The popularity of this plant within the aquarium hobby has made it a staple plant within the hobby, where it is generally available online and at local fish stores.
While aquarium hobbyists have been using Blyxa japonica to create areas of dense bush like foliage in their aquascapes, this plant may be best known for its use in Takashi Amano's 'Nature Layouts' where he would utilize its dense growth pattern and grass-like appearance to create attractive midgrounds in his over the top aquatic creations.
Mr. Amano would often use Blyxa japonica to soften the margins of hardscape materials and to act as a transition between shorter foreground species and taller, more traditional looking stem plants. This species it at home in a variety of different aquascapes, where its simple but graceful appearance enhances almost any style of aquascaping.
How to successfully keep Blyxa japonica in the home aquarium.
Despite the grass like appearance of B. japonica, it is actually a stem plant whose short stems and dense foliage give it the look of a grass plant species. Unlike many grass plants species commonly used as foreground and midground plants in aquariums, Blyxa japonica does not produce long runners that spread out in all directions from the plant. This makes them ideal for aquascapes where they are planted up next to other plants or hardscape to create contrast, or when they are planted next to an open area of the substrate that is not intended to have plant growth.
Blyxa japonica has moderate care requirements that when met will produce a bushy dark green plant averaging about 6 inches in height. When kept in lower lighting conditions B. japonica will tend to grow taller, thinner and take on a lighter green coloration. However, when kept in higher lighting situations with CO2 or a good source of bioavailable organic carbon like Fluorish Excel, Blyxa japonica will exhibit reddish/gold hues on the leaves and will even flower in shallow water environments.
An ideal environment for this species will have intense lighting, a nutrient rich substrate, CO2 or bioavailable organic carbon, a fertilization regimen including nitrate, phosphate, potassium, iron and micro nutrient supplementation. Strong lighting will encourage more compact growth, provide deeper coloration and the plant will produce thin stalks with small white flowers. Lastly, adequate internal water movement within the aquarium producing an indirect or laminar water flow will greatly increase the distribution of chemical compounds in the water and assist proper plant growth and positively effect plant respiration.
How to propagate and grow Blyxa japonica.
Propagating Blyxa japonica can be achieved either by uprooting mature plants and separating basal side shoots at the connection points on the stem structure or by cutting plants off at connection points in the stem structure. Be sure that the separated or cut plants have some roots showing on the stem. Freshly cut or separated plantlets will need to be well planted in the substrate or weighed down, as they are prone to floating up to the surface of the water.
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