Barclaya longifolia- A Rare Aquarium Plant From The Lotus Family
My introduction to Barclaya longifolia was by a local fish store which specializes in aquarium plants. I was given this small oval bulb with exactly three tiny red leaves jutting out of one end.I was told that the plant is one of the most beautiful of aquarium plants giving off long reddish green leaves.At that time I was experimenting with a low CO2 setup (supplied by an ISTA Co2 Can) and the other plants were doing fairly well.
With or without Co2 is the question
I spent the next month or so watching the bulb and waiting for the leaves to grow,with harldy any progress on that front. I felt,perhaps the bulb is not receiving enough light,so I shifted it to an area which had few plants and direct light. Here,the bulb showed some signs of life,with two more leaves sprouting up,but overall the growth was still slow.It was at this stage that I shifted from the ISTA Co2 can to a pressurised CO2 cylinder and had about 3 bubbles/second being supplied to the tank.
I could immediately see the effect of this new pressurised Co2 supply on all the plants in the aquarium,they looked perkier,with a lot more life and even pearling on the java moss. In just about a week, I saw the leaves growing on the Barclaya bulb with newer leaves sprouting up almost every other day.The pictures that you see are after about one month from the time I introduced the Co2 supply.
After 1 month
You will see from the picture that this little bulb which was so far struggling to make it's presence felt,was suddenly the higlight of the aquascape,providing a focal point for the entire aquascape with it's sharp tones of green and red.
About Barclaya longifolia
Barclaya longifolia is from Southern Asia and comes from the lotus family of plants,the only difference being they don't not grow any floating leaves.It does look similar to Cryptocoryne wenditii with it's long reddish green leaves.
While Barclaya is said to be undemanding and suitable for smaller aquariums,provided it receives good light and water that's around 29 degrees celcius.In my experience,B.longifolia will do exceptionally well with additional CO2 supply.The leaves give a robust appearance,but in fact are extremely delicate.
I have read that propagating B. longifolia is fairly easy,but I haven't experimented with that.New offshoots form at the base of a larger plant's bulb, however it seems propagation through seed is supposedly more productive.
Will write about that when I experience it. Meanwhile,all I can say is that this is truly one of the most beautiful plants in the hobby today.