Blyxa aubertii is a true waterplant originating from southern Asia, from India to Japan and New Guinea, from Madagascar as well as East Africa and Australia. It has been introduced into the USA (Louisiana). It lives in diverse habitats, from rice paddies to fast-flowing rivers. Even though this plant has been long known in the hobby it is not very widespread in aquaristics. Blyxa echinosperma was seen as species of its own in former times, however, now it is regarded as variety of B. aubertii (B. aubertii var. echinosperma).
The cultivation of B. aubertii is not especially difficult. Even though it prefers intensive lighting it is not susceptible to nutrient deficiencies. As long as it gets enough CO2 and is subject to a well-balanced fertilising regimen it develops well in an aquarium. In a spot with direct light and provided with extra iron, B. aubertii can assume a chestnut colour. However, please keep in mind that this plant is fragile and should thus not be kept in overly strong currents or with boisterous fish in order to prevent it from looking tattered.
B. aubertii can be propagated in two different ways. The simpler method is dividing a grown plant. The second, more difficult one is sexual propagation through seed. It plays an important role, as the plant, annual in nature, may be quite short-lived in the aquarium, too. When kept in optimal conditions, the plant may form tiny white self-pollinating flowers. The seeds, visible through the seed pod walls, are aligned horizontally and stacked vertically. As soon as their colour changes from light green to brownish it is time to sow. You can do so in a separate container or directly in the aquarium. In any case, the seeds need a finely structured substrate and lots of direct light. They do not float and should be placed in a way that allows them to grow undisturbedly. When the young plants have grown to about 4 to 6 cm, they may be replanted. If you want you could even leave propagation to the plant itself, however, the outcome might not be too satisfactory.References and further reading:
When cultivated under strong light, B. aubertii tends to stay small, which makes it a good alternative to Cyperus helferi and other grasslike plants. However, one should not assume that it developes a really compact habit like e.g. B. japonica. When fully grown, B. aubertii may reach a height of over 40 cm and a width of about 20 cm, which makes it a perfect background plant and even a suitable plant for the middleground of large aquaria.References and further reading:
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