Bucephalandra Care Guide: Tips and Tricks


Bucephalandra, also known as “buce” for short, is a popular aquatic plant among aquarium plants. Its unique and vibrant appearance makes it a great addition to any tank. However, proper care and maintenance are crucial for the health and growth of this plant. In this ultimate bucephalandra care guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to keep your buce thriving.

What is Bucephalandra?

Bucephalandra is a genus of flowering plants that are native to Borneo, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They are typically found in streams and rivers, growing on rocks and wood. Bucephalandra is a popular plant for aquariums because it grows slowly and doesn’t need much care.

Types of Bucephalandra

There are over 30 different species of bucephalandra, each with its own unique appearance. Some popular varieties include:

  • Bucephalandra “Brownie Ghost”: This variety has a dark brown color with white veins, giving it a ghostly appearance.
  • Bucephalandra “Kedagang”: This variety has a deep green color with red highlights.
  • Bucephalandra “Theia”: This variety has a metallic blue-green color with a glossy finish.

Bucephalandra Care Guide

Lighting Requirements

Bucephalandra is a low to medium light plant, meaning it can thrive in a wide range of lighting conditions. However, for optimal growth and coloration, it is recommended to provide moderate lighting of 3-4 watts per gallon.

Many people like to use LED lights in aquariums with plants. LED lights give off all the different colors of light and you can change how bright they are.

Water Parameters

Bucephalandra is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. However, for optimal growth, it is recommended to keep the following parameters:

  • Temperature: 75-82°F (24-28°C)
  • pH: 6.5-7.5
  • Hardness: 2-15 dKH

It is important to note that sudden changes in water parameters can cause stress to the plant and lead to melting or stunted growth. It is best to maintain stable water conditions to ensure the health of your bucephalandra.


Bucephalandra can be grown in a variety of substrates, including gravel, sand, and soil. To help plants grow, it’s best to use soil with lots of nutrients. This can be placed under a layer of sand or gravel.

This will provide the plant with essential nutrients for growth.

In addition to a nutrient-rich substrate, it is also recommended to supplement with liquid fertilizers. Bucephalandra is a slow-growing plant, so it does not require a lot of fertilizer. Once a week or every other week is sufficient to provide the plant with the necessary nutrients.

CO2 Requirements

Bucephalandra can thrive without CO2, but it will grow at a slower rate. If you want to promote faster growth and vibrant colors, it is recommended to provide CO2. A CO2 system can be set up using a CO2 tank, regulator, and diffuser. It is important to monitor the CO2 levels in your tank to avoid overdosing, which can be harmful to your fish.


Bucephalandra can be propagated through division or rhizome cuttings. To make more plants, divide the plant into smaller pieces with a rhizome and some leaves on each section. Plant the new sections in the substrate, and they will continue to grow.

Plant maintenance

Bucephalandra is a low maintenance plant, but it does require some care to keep it healthy and thriving. Regular water changes and substrate vacuuming are important to remove any built-up debris and maintain water quality. It is also recommended to trim any dead or decaying leaves to prevent them from affecting the rest of the plant.

Tips & Tricks for Bucephalandra Care

Avoid Direct Contact with Hardscape

Bucephalandra is a slow-growing plant, and it can take some time for it to attach itself to hardscape. To avoid damaging the plant, it is best to avoid direct contact with hardscape until it has fully attached itself.

Provide Adequate Space

Bucephalandra can grow quite large, so it is important to provide enough space for it to spread out. Planting it too close to other plants can result in overcrowding and hinder its growth.

Avoid High Flow Areas

Bucephalandra is a delicate plant, and high flow areas can damage its leaves and roots. It is best to avoid placing it in areas with strong water flow to prevent any damage.

Use Root Tabs for Nutrient Boost

If you notice your bucephalandra is not growing as well as it should, you can provide a nutrient boost by using root tabs. These are small tablets that are placed in the substrate near the plant’s roots, providing it nutrients for growth.

Common Issues with Bucephalandra


Melting is a common issue with bucephalandra, especially when it is first introduced to a new tank. This is usually caused by a change in water parameters or lighting. To keep the plant from melting, slowly get it used to its new home and make sure the water stays the same.

Algae Growth

Bucephalandra is a slow-growing plant, and it can be easily overtaken by algae if not properly maintained. To stop algae from growing, make sure the water is clean, use enough light, and don’t give your fish too much food.


Bucephalandra is a beautiful and unique plant that can add a pop of color to any aquarium. With proper care and maintenance, it can thrive and become a focal point in your tank.

Follow these tips to keep your bucephalandra healthy and thriving for many years.

Further Reading

Do you have any Bucephalandra tips or stories? We would love to hear them in the comments!

Chad Latta
Chad Latta

I have over 20 years in the aquarium hobby! My love for writing and passion for helping people have led me to bring you the most effective and up to date information possible, in a way that is easy to understand. Enjoy!