Cryptocoryne affinis

Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Midground, Foreground, group
Difficulty: easy
Growth: slow
Range and localities: 

Malayan peninsula (West Malaysia)

Availability [?]: 
  • rarely or not available commercially
  • occasionally available from other aquarists

  • Cryptocoryne affinis subsp. haerteliana (Jacobsen ex Milkuhn) Schöpfel
  • Cryptocoryne haerteliana Jacobsen ex Milkuhn
  • Cryptocoryne sp. ''Pseudo-bullosa''

Trader names [?]: 
  • Cryptocoryne pseudo-bullosa

Misapplied names: 
  • Cryptocoryne bullosa

Habit, plant type:

  • rosette
Botanical name [?]: Cryptocóryne affínis N.E.Br.

Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Cryptocoryne


Cryptocoryne affinis Hook. f. is distributed on the Malayan Peninsula (western Malaysia). It forms dense, mainly submersed populations on sand- and gravelbanks in rapidly flowing rivers and rivulets. Some of them lie in limestone areas.
This species was so widely spread in the hobby in earlier times that it was considered to be "the" Cryptocoryne. Around 1939 it was first mentioned as aquarium plant, and in the 1950s it was very popular under the name Cryptocoryne haerteliana (Haertel's water trumpet). Today, however, C. affinis is only found in low numbers even though new collections were made in its native habitat. This is probably due to the fact that similarly-looking species like C. wendtii and C. beckettii are far easier to propagate emersed in aquatic plant nurseries. Recently it became known that some other species (maybe C. wendtii?) are sold under the incorrect name Cryptocoryne affinis. True C. affinis is better available from other hobbyists, not from trade.

C. affinis is a very variable plant, there are forms that differ in height or leaf colour, and those with smooth to strongly bullous leaves, however, these characteristics can change a lot with the conditions the plant is kept in. One of the more frequently cultivated, smaller forms, e.g., has lanceolate leaves whose upper side is "silky" and dark green, with lighter-coloured yellowish-green longitudinal veins. Other forms have a clear brown leaf pattern. The underside can be light green to wine red.
Its final size also depends a lot on the conditions the plant is kept in: under stronger light and when planted at a distance the leaves lie relatively flat, and the plants form a rather low-lying carpet of only 10 cm in height. Dense groups under low light can grow to a height of around 40 cm, though. The leaves of emersed plants mainly lie spreaded on the ground.
The species C. affinis is best identified by its striking inflorescence, which seems to develop only infrequently in cultivation, unfortunately. The blade of the spathe is 3 to 20 cm long, its inside is of a dark purple, and it forms narrow spirals of 4 to 15 turns.

This crypt is an ideal plant for low-tech tanks with low light and no CO2 injection. It does well in hard water. After some time it forms subterranean runners, which help it to form dense, vast populations. Though C. affinis may be rather undemanding, it is quite susceptible to "crypt melt". This phenomenon often occurs if conditions like lighting or nutrient ratios change too quickly.

References and further reading:
  1. Bastmeijer, Jan: Cryptocoryne affinis on "The Crypts Pages", updated July 1999 (accessed 04 January 2013)
Light low to medium 
Temperature tolerance 12 to 30 °C
Optimum temperature 22 to 26 °C
Carbonate hardness 3 to 21 °dKH
pH value 6 to 8 
Carbon dioxide (CO2) 5 to 30 mg/l
Nitrate (NO3-) 10 to 50 mg/l
Phosphate (PO43-) 0.1 to 3 mg/l
Potassium (K+) 5 to 30 mg/l
Iron (Fe) 0.01 to 0.5 mg/l

Growth: slow

Propagation: Runners, Rhizomteilung, Splitting, cutting off daughter plants

Can grow emersed?: yes

Suited for outdoor cultivation / ponds: unknown

Winter hardiness: not hardy in Germany

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Wasserpflanzen sind ein fester Bestandteil der meisten Aquarien. Beim Aquascaping, dem Naturaquarium, Biotop-Aquarium oder dem Gesellschaftsaquarium sind Wasserpflanzen nicht nur für die Wasserqualität entscheidend, sondern sorgen auch stets für eine optische Aufwertung des Aquariums.