Cryptocoryne wendtii 'flamingo'
Cryptocoryne flamingo is a recent addition to the aquarium hobby. It is a cultivar of Cryptocoryne wendtii. Full sized adult plant leaves are around 10cm long, which makes it great for mid/foreground placement. The leaves are distinctively pink which makes it hard to match in many aquascapes. It does stand out a lot in most aquascapes and works well as tonal contrast to clusters of red plants.
It is a slow growing plant that is relatively undemanding.
However, the tissue culture form that it often comes in is delicate and many hobbyists fail to adapt it in that form, hence its reputation for being difficult. It can take as long as 3 to 5 months for a baby plantlet to grow to full size. As a slow grower, the main factor for success with this plant is stable conditions over the long run.
The leaves take on better coloration with stronger light and good all round fertilization (and yes, carbon dioxide injection). More red/blue spectrum helps pigmentation. With less intense lighting, or less than optimal growth conditions, some of the leaves may be olive colored rather than pink.
KEY SUCCESS FACTORS
- Sufficient light (medium onwards) to get good coloration
- Avoid extreme water parameters
- Long term stability (probably the hardest aspect)
- Fertilization/CO2 levels need not be high, but needs to be consistent
HOW TO GET IT REDDER
TRIMMING & PROPAGATION
As the plant ages old leaves can be trimmed at the base of the plant. Adult plants send out runners in the surrounding areas and plantlets will begin to develop. These plantlets grow faster if they are left attached to the mother plant. Once they reach medium size (leaf size of 5 to 6cm), the runners can be cut and they can be transplanted elsewhere.
ACCLIMATIZING TC PLANTS
Tissue culture versions of this plant give tremendous bang for your buck (if you can get them to convert smoothly) as you can get more than 10 plants out of a single cup. However, as with most TC plants they are more delicate than adult plants.
To transition these small plants - only plant them in matured, fully cycled tanks. Avoid planting in fresh substrates (especially ammonia rich aquasoil which melts TC easily).
I would also avoid herbivores/fish/aggressive shrimp that pick on tender plants. Avoid fish/livestock that stir up the substrate.
Tank cleanliness is important - water changes and light vacuuming of substrate surface is important to remove organic detritus and prevent algae.
It takes the plantlets quite a few months to reach adult size, so being able to keep localized conditions stable for a long period is necessary for success.
Cryptocoryne flamingo has very attractive, patterned foliage. Plants show even coloration when in good state of health. Deterioration of older leaves when new leaves are strongly pink may indicate fertilization issues.
Close-up view of leaf patterns on Cryptocoryne flamingo
Once they reach adult size, adult plants send out runners regularly as long as growth conditions are good.