The Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis is a favorite among novice and experienced aquarists alike because it is undemanding and aesthetically pleasing. It is one of the taller species under the Cryptocoryne group, making it perfect as a background plant. The bright green color of the Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis makes it a great plant to have on its own or in small clusters. In this article, you’ll read all about the origins and care requirements of this simple aquatic beauty.

Stats and Facts

Understanding some of the most commonly asked facts and statistics regarding the Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis is an excellent way to get your feet wet and gauge what you need to provide the proper care for this unique plant. Below is an information table highlighting some of the most important things you need to know about this particular Cryptocoryne species:

Order Alismatales
Family Araceae
Genera Cryptocoryne
Size Five to 20 inches in height
Ideal Placement Background
Color Bright green or yellow-green
Care Level Needed Low level of care needed
Minimum Experience Level Needed Recommended for novice and experienced aquarists alike

Origins of the Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis

The C. Retrospiralis is a member of the Cryptocoryne group of plants. Abundant in Asia and especially in the warm rivers and streams of India, the C. Retrospiralis has captivated aquarium enthusiasts ever since it was discovered and officially described more than 150 years ago. The genus name Cryptocoryne is a combination of two Greek words; those two words are krypto which means hidden, and coryne, which means club.

The Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis has also been found in brackish waters, owing to its adaptability and hardiness. Today, many local fish stores have this particular aquarium plant in stock at all times since it has become an easy favorite among aquarists. It is sometimes called Crypt Retrospiralis or Water Trumpet by fish keepers.

When grown individually, C. Retrospiralis is an eye-catching plant that gives depth and height to an aquarium landscape. On the other hand, when grown in clusters, C. Retrospiralis makes for a great hideout for small fish and can even serve as a breeding ground for egg layers.

Ideal Tank and Water Parameters

A growing Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis will thrive better in your aquarium if the following water and environment parameters are met. Keep in mind that these are just guidelines and that your C. Retrospiralis will likely adapt to the kind of water you already have in your aquarium.

Temperature 71 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
Light Level Low to Medium Brightness
pH Level 6.5 – 7.5
Water Hardness 5 to 8 dGH
Substrate An enriched substrate will lead to better growth and fuller leaves for this plant, but standard substrates will work fine as well
Fertilizer/Chemical Additives CO2 injections and substrate fertilizers are not necessary but may still be used to improve the plant’s growth and health
Tank Size 10 to 20 gallons

Selecting the Best Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis

Once you have set up the ideal environment for your C. Retrospiralis, you should know how to select only the best and healthiest ones to include in your aquarium. Here are some of the things you should look for before deciding on which C. Retrospiralis plants to purchase.

– Curved but Undamaged Leaves

The first thing you should check is the condition of your potential Water Trumpet’s leaves. The C. Retrospiralis has curved or spiraling leaves that are bright green in color. Check the condition of your potential plant’s leaves to make sure that there are no cuts, rips, or holes and that the coloration is relatively even.

Healthy C. Retrospiralis will have pointy leaves that are tall and free of surface dirt. Avoid plants that have yellow or white spots on leaves as these may be signs of an illness or infection.

– Clean and Established Roots

Another important thing to check before purchasing any C. Retrospiralis plant for your aquarium is the roots. Ask the seller if you can remove the plant from its pot and gently scrape off a portion of the binding material or jelly holding its roots together.

Healthy Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis roots are clean and relatively odorless. There should be no gunk or signs of discoloration and damage on the roots. More importantly, the roots should be quite tough and established, meaning that they do not break off easily, and they are already a few centimeters long.

Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis Care

Selecting the best Water Trumpets to take home with you is only one part of successfully growing this plant in your aquarium. You need to know how to plant, propagate, and care for the C. Retrospiralis if you want it to beautify your tank for a long time.

– Planting and Propagation Techniques

To plant your Water Trumpet, simply dig a few holes measuring two to three inches deep in your aquarium substrate. Be sure to thoroughly clean and treat your C. Retrospiralis for parasites or fungus to prevent it from introducing harmful organisms in your tank. Once cleaned and treated, you can plant your Water Trumpets in the holes you prepared previously. Make sure that each of your individual C. Retrospiralis plants is at least one to two inches away from each other.

On the other hand, if you want to propagate your Water Trumpets, you can do so either by planting Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis seeds or by cutting off parts of a mature stem or runners. Our experts prefer using the second method as this helps in keeping the existing C. Retrospiralis plants pruned and healthy. You can also opt to use fertilizers to support the growth of your young Water Trumpets and encourage them to grow taller, brighter-colored leaves.

– Practical Care Tips

1. Gentle Water Flow Works Best

The Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis is sensitive to water currents. In its natural habitat, the plant thrived in slow-moving rivers or calm streams. Conversely, it does not fare well in aquariums that have strong filters and currents.

Use a simple filter setup that does not create water movement that is too quick or too harsh. A slow and gentle water flow is one of the key factors in growing beautifully tall and delicately curved Water Trumpets.

2. Avoid Moving Your C. Retrospiralis

Like other members of the Cryptocoryne family, your C. Retrospiralis will suffer if you keep moving it from one area in your aquarium to another. This is why it is important to plan the layout of your C. Retrospiralis clusters before you actually plant them. If you keep moving your Water Trumpets around your aquarium, you will likely find that their growth is slow and stunted or that they suffer from Crypt Melt too often.

3. Use Substrate Fertilizers To Treat or Prevent Crypt Melt

Though it is true that C. Retrospiralis can be grown without using any CO2 injections or substrate enhancers, you can still utilize these substances to bolster your Water Trumpet’s growth. You might want to use substrate fertilizers rich in iron if you want to prevent or treat Crypt Melt.

Crypt Melt is a common problem of the Cryptocoryne species, and it happens when the plant is shocked from an aquarium transfer or is having difficulty adapting to its new home. You can remedy Crypt Melt by using substrate fertilizers to provide your plant with the necessary nutrients to recover and grow stronger.

4. Grow This Plant Above Water Level To Achieve a Unique Look

If you want to spruce up the appearance of your aquarium, you can opt to grow your C. Retrospiralis as an emersed plant instead of a fully-submerged flora. Allow your Water Trumpet to grow its leaves past the water surface, and watch as it slightly changes color and shape to adapt to its new environment. Be sure to trim the leaves of your emersed C. Retrospiralis regularly to encourage fuller growth and avoid leaf rot.


The Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis is one of the most elegant aquarium plants you will ever encounter. Despite its fancy appearance, it is easy to care for. Here are the key points that we discussed in this care and growth guide:

  • The Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis originated from Southeast Asia and India.
  • This plant is easy to care for owing to its capability to adapt to different water and environmental parameters.
  • Pay attention to the leaves and roots of any C. Retrospiralis you want to purchase, as these parts will usually tell you about the plant’s health condition.
  • You can plant and propagate the C. Retrospiralis easily; all you need to do is push its roots down in an enriched substrate and keep each plant separate from each other to avoid resource grabbing.
  • Though known as a hardy plant, the C. Retrospiralis is still sensitive to strong water currents and drastic changes in water quality.

Now that you are equipped with these facts and figures about the C. Retrospiralis, you should be able to grow and care for this plant with ease and confidence in your home aquarium.

5/5 - (14 votes)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here