Ever wondered how many aquascapers manage to pull off a realistic nature style aquarium? Well, it’s because of the bamboo plant for aquariums called Blyxa Japonica.
Popularized by famous aquascaper Takashi Amano through his nature tank layouts, Blyxa Japonica is an aquatic plant that’s most attractive for its feathery manner. It is green-golden and grass-like, hence Amano’s use of it as a middle-ground plant.
Blyxa Japonica also grows slowly, so it accentuates foreground plants with tiny leaves well. In addition to that, the plant is short-stemmed and produces dense leaves, which is perfect for low maintenance care and easy setup.
The Origin: Where it Came From
So now, you’re probably wondering how and where this plant rose to popularity. It was in 1889 when they first discovered Blyxa Japonica.
The plant originally comes from Southeast Asia, although they soon discovered that these plants also grow in other subtropical regions like Australia, Africa, and Madagascar. Back in Asia, these plants are also known as bamboo plant aquariums. People used them as a staple decor even if they grow in rice paddies and drainage ditches.
That native growth shows how adaptable these plants are too drastic changes in environmental conditions.
How to Properly Maintain the Bamboo Plant
The best thing about Blyxa Japonica is its low maintenance care, which doesn’t stunt its fast growth. However, its rapid growth is not always the best thing for all aquascapers.
If you want to keep it short, although it is not what the bamboo plant is for, you have to maintain regular trimming. Still, there is a lot more to trimming when it comes to caring for this plant.
Read on to learn about the vital factors that affect the wellness of Blyxa Japonica.
Blyxa Japonica may be adaptable to different conditions, but tank water is a different story. You have to consider temperature and acidity as these factors affect the harmonious relationship of your plants and pets in the aquarium.
The water should have a pH level of 5.0-7.0, while the hardness should be 2-12 dGH as tough water demonstrates a poor environment for Blyxa Japonica growth. Make sure to maintain a temperature of 23-27C inside the tank, as well.
The growth of this bamboo plant in aquariums depends mostly on water conditions. The more stable the environment is, according to those numbers, the easier it will flourish into that beautiful, fluffy plant.
Like terrestrial plants, your aquatic plants also need light to photosynthesize. You need intense lighting to keep your Blyxa Japonica healthy.
In specific terms, the light has to have 2-4 watts per gallon. Take note of that certain ratio to maintain your bamboo plant’s attractive look.
With sufficient lighting, your Blyxa Japonica won’t need too much CO2 anymore. However, you need the right amount of CO2 supply to ensure your tank doesn’t accumulate algae.
If you want an optimized growth-inducing environment for your bamboo plant in the aquarium, you should still throw in both high lighting and additional liquid CO2. This way, your plants will develop the best way possible and at a fast pace.
For a majestic plant, Blyxa Japonica is pretty easy to propagate. The base of the plant grows shoots that turn into mini versions of the plant on their own.
The only thing to observe is to make sure you pulled these shoots away from the mother plant. These miniature plants need a separate concentration into the substrate so their roots could develop rapidly into an independent system.
As you continuously practice this, you’ll soon find the separated mini versions of the Blyxa Japonica growing their shoots. You’ll eventually have to split from them as well.
To ensure the growth of your Blyxa Japonica, here are the components and their designated measurements you need to maintain inside your aquarium:
- CO2: 25-40mg/l
- Nitrates: (NO3): 10-50mg/l
- Phosphates (PO4): 0,1-3mg/l
- Potassium (K): 5-30 mg/l
- Iron (Fe): 0,01-0,5mg/l
Blyxa Japonica is one of the highly recommended aquascaping plants out there. However, only experienced aquarists should use it.
The thing with Blyxa Japonica is at the beginning. It will have a hard time staying in the substrate, so you’ll have to keep putting it back every time it floats. Professional aquarists suggest that you use a thread to hang it instead.
Will Your Tank Fish Eat Your Blyxa Japonica?
Yes, and there are many stories about fishes eating their bamboo plant. Since this plant is more of a decorative statement, you don’t want your fish reshaping it or getting it completely bald.
These are the fish that reportedly eat Blyxa Japonica so you can take precautionary measures:
- Silver Dollar
- Kaluhi Loach
- Vail Angel
- Dojo Loach
- Albino Cat
- Tri-Color Shark
- Female Sword
You should also watch out if your plant’s leaves are merely melting as that would make it a much more favorable meal for your fish.
Why Do Blyxa Japonica’s Leaves Melt?
Your Blyxa Japonica’s leaves will melt with the wrong dose of fertilizers inside the tank. That’s why you must follow the given amounts for the fertilizers mentioned above.
However, it is also natural for your bamboo plant to melt as a sign of transition into its new tank environment. Soon after that meeting phase, the plant will start growing basal shoots, which you can split from the mother plant for propagation.
Just make sure you’ve put the right amount of fertilizers so that you won’t experience melting that leads to plant death. Blyxa Japonica is just too sensitive when it comes to fertilizers, especially nitrates and CO2--too much overwhelms it and too little makes it stagnant.
Don't Leave Yet! A Few More Tips
Blyxa Japonica is truly for confirmed aquarists as it is dependent on factors, which you have to measure thoroughly. If you’re a new aquascaper who wants to make this plant a part of your masterpiece, make sure to perform enough research and consult experienced hobbyists.
The plant is easy to maintain in a sense that it doesn’t require too much attention. It only needs intensive management during its first stay in the tank as it is still adapting to new conditions.
We suggest you take all those numbers to heart so that your plant’s transition into the aquarium becomes smooth.
Featured image by Greh Fox