If you are looking for a bulb plant for your fish, then Aponogeton undulatus is an excellent choice.

These aquatic bulbs are easy to care for and are suitable for beginner aquarists. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this beautiful aquatic plant.


Aponogeton species are predominantly found in Madagascar and some parts of Asia and Africa. They add to the aesthetic of your tank and grow without much influence from you. Like plants, these bulbs also help ensure your tank has enough oxygen and hiding spots; they improve water quality.

– Appearance

Aponogeton species are lovely aquatic plants that add beauty and color to your fish tank. They have light green leaves that twirls into a flute-like shape. The bulb grows both vertically and horizontally, spreading out to reach nearly 20 inches.

Above the water surface, they display their beautiful white flowers that contrast their rippled leaves. The flowers can also be red, pink, purple or blue! Each Aponogeton bulb produces up to 40 leaves, each a foot long.

– Size

Aponogeton undulatus can reach a height of 15.7 inches in the right environment. Its leaves have several rectangular areas that look darker than the surrounding leaf tissue, and the flower stalks often have no flower spike.

Tank Setup for Aponogeton Bulbs

Aponogetons proliferate and do not need much supervision to thrive. However, there are things that you must consider while setting up a tank for this aquarium plant. We have outlined them below.

– Tank Size

Although this bulb may seem tiny at first, it will quickly grow in length and width. So it is best to select a tank that can meet its ever-changing needs. A 10-gallon tank gives this plant enough room to grow and sprout in. However, if you want to keep multiple Aponogeton bulbs, you need a larger tank.

– Lighting

The great thing about Aponogeton bulbs is that they do not need strict lighting conditions so that you can navigate it easily as a beginner. Set up your tank with low light so that you don’t need to prune the plant so frequently. Tanks with high light intensity will also require more frequent nutrient additions because the plant is quickly consuming the nutrients in the tank.

If you are using a 10-gallon tank, then opt for 10-watt floodlights to illuminate your tank. Alternatively, you can use T5s bulbs to control the lighting in your tank. The only flip side to this option is that they require frequent replacement.

– Water Parameters

Aponogeton aquarium plant is a tropical plant, and so, it can thrive in warm waters of around 68-72 F. Temperature aside, you also need to ensure the pH and water hardness are within range.

From experience, we have discovered that this plant thrives best in soft to moderately hard water with a pH of around 6.5-7.5. Keep the parameters within these ranges, and your plant will spread out beautifully.

– Substrate

A lot of people don’t pay much attention to the substrate in their tank. However, it is one of the deciding factors for your aquatic plant.

The best substrate to plant this bulb in is aquarium soil because of the nutrients it contains. If you can’t get aquarium soil, you can opt for gravel or sand. Be sure to supplement the sand or gravel with fertilizer so that the bulb has enough nutrients to grow.

– What Can You Place in the Aponogeton Tank?

Certain fish do not go well with Aponogeton undulatus. They tear up the leaves of the plants and snack on the plants. Some fish and aquatic animals to avoid include: Mystery snails, Goldfish, and Large cichlids.

Feel free to plant this bulb in a tank with nerite snails, bettas, and small plecos. They will not pulverize the plant or knock it out for fun.

Where Can You Get Aponogeton?

You can get Aponogeton from your local shop at a fair price. Most times, you get a mixture of the different species, which can be hard to tell apart. However, as they grow, it becomes easy to differentiate them and tell where they hail from.

Aponogetons with only one blooming stalk are most likely from Asia, while those with multiple stems are from Africa. Regardless of which species of this bulb you get, we can assure you that it will grow rapidly and beautifully.

How To Plant Aponogeton

Planting Aponogeton bulbs is straightforward, even for beginners. Follow these steps

  • Choose where you want to plant your bulbs. We recommend planting them at the back portion of your tank.
  • Bury the bulbs at least two inches apart, making sure to leave a portion of the bulbs out of the substrate
  • Place the thicker end of the bulb in the substrate to give it time to sprout.

Alternatively, you can wrap the bulb in a damp paper towel, place it in a plastic bag and keep it somewhere warm. Ensure that you store the bag in a place with dim lights for a couple of days. When you open up the bag, you will notice that the roots have started to protrude from the bulb.

Yet another way to plant this bulb is to drop it in your fish tank and wait for the roots to sprout. Once they do, push the portion with the roots gently into the soil. Ensure leaving a part of the bulb exposed.

– What Happens if the Bulbs Don’t Sprout?

Sometimes, after trying to plant this bulb, you notice that it has no roots. In such cases, the bulbs become smelly and can infect your tank. These pus oozing bulbs should be binned immediately.

Sometimes, the rotting of the bulbs may be caused by a lack of rest. This is why it is essential to rest your plant so that it rejuvenates and continues to thrive through the seasons.

How To Care for Aponogeton Undulatus

The quality of care you show your bulb directly affects its growth and health. If you are growing the bulb in your indoor aquarium, then you will need to supplement the tank nutrients with carbon dioxide injections. This is because the bulbs remain underwater, and so the leaves have no chance to sprout. Carbon dioxide injections also help to kill the algae in the water.

Another care tip is to ensure that your tank has low light intensity because Aponogetons prefer dim lights. If you keep them in a tank with bright light, they will grow uncontrollably.

Also, it would help if you pruned them regularly so that they do not begin to rot. While trimming, ensure that you prune the plant as close to the bulb.

You will also need to rest your plant during the dry season. Resting the bulb means exposing the leaves to air so that they die and rejuvenate the bulb in time for the rainy season.

To rest the bulb, take it out of the tank, remove the leaves and roots, put the bulb back into a bag containing damp substrate. Store the bag in a cool, dry space with minimal light for at least two months before replanting the bulbs in your tank.

How Many Aponogeton Can You Plant?

The number of bulbs you can plant is dependent on the size of your tank. We advise that you plant only one aponogeton bulb per 5-gallon of the tank. That way, your tank doesn’t get too crowded.

What Are the Benefits of Planting Aponogeton in Your Tank?

There are several benefits that Aponogeton species provide your tank and its inhabitants with. These include

– Aesthetics

Aponogeton undulatus help give your tank a more natural look akin to what many fish have in their natural habitat. They give your tank a lush and dense look.

– Hiding Spots

The dense leaves of this bulb provide your fish and snails with the perfect hiding places. They can also serve as great breeding spots for the fishes in your tank.

– Food

Yes, Aponogetons serve as food for the inhabitants of your tanks. When their leaves drop, scavengers and detritus eaters pick them up and snack on them.

– Waste Removal

Like all aquatic plants, Aponogeton undulatus helps to limit algae growth and keep the tank water’s nitrate and ammonia level in check. The more nutrients your bulb consumes, the fewer nutrients these algae find to consume.

– Oxygen

This benefit shouldn’t come as a surprise to you; after all, plants are efficient converters of carbon dioxide to oxygen. The increased oxygen concentration in the tank favors the other inhabitants of your aquarium.


Let’s review what we have covered in this article:

  • Aponogeton undulatus is an aquatic bulb found commonly in Madagascar
  • It grows rapidly and does not require much expertise to handle
  • Aquarium soil is the best substrate for this aquarium bulb
  • In addition to decor, Aponogeton undulatus also serves as food for your tank inhabitants

Aquarium undulatus is a hardy bulb that is perfect for both beginners and experts. With a 10-gallon tank, you can start growing this plant and watch it light up your tank in no time at all.

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