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Variants of Bolbitis heudelotii

12561 Views 26 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Stan510
There are several variants of Bolbitus that i have kept over the years. One that had very thick rhizomes, tall stiff "stems" that would reach the top of a 22" high 125g tank. The leaves were very erect. Folks from the Northeast may remember this plant. I originally obtained mine from Karen Randall in the early 90's. Also know to aquarists in the BayArea; it was frequently offered at the SFAS auctions during the late 90's. (Maybe it is not even B.heudelotti!).

There is at least one other variant which has more delicate rhizome and stems; its leaves tended to bend and sway with the current. I seem to recall that it only grew 6-10" tall. I obtained this much smaller plant in the early 1980's. In the same tank, it never grew as large as the "tall" variant. When i sent some to Karen, I seem to recall learning that it was uncommon among the NEC crowd. Since then this smaller variant has become relative common. Probably more than one clone. Unfortunately, i lost mine during my recent move.

I am looking for some of the "small" variety. Of course, as with most plants, environment can also change morphology, but only to some degree. We know how variable are Java Ferns (Microsorum). No reason to believe that is not also the case for African Water Fern. I dont think it has received nearly the same attention.

Most likely many imports of Bolbitus have occurred over the past 25 years. I am trying to figure out how many variants may be circulating and how much a factor is aquarium environment.

APC's plantfinder lists it at 18". Lets hear how tall are the Bolbitus that you currently keep. If possible, please provide pictures of the entire plant, its leaf shape lying on a piece of white paper and changes you recall since you acquired it. Also helpful is the shade of green (some are very dark) to further help document the different versions. Finally, try to remember from who you obtained the plants to help establish the lineage. Tank conditions would be helpful, but I can't guess what the most important factors might be (KH&GH?). thx, Neil.
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I don't think the ones I got were difformis, just the common heudelotii that is dark green, stiff, and tall with thick rhizome. In my tank, it turned black green because it was covered with BBA. I trashed it after a few months with no sign of growth.
How were the other plants doing? If the other plants were struggling,maybe the filter was overmatched with the fish load or water changes were too far apart.
How were the other plants doing? If the other plants were struggling,maybe the filter was overmatched with the fish load or water changes were too far apart.
My other plants, mostly low light Anubia, Buce and Java fern are doing fine, lush and free of algae. For unknown reasons, easy plants like Bolbitis, Wisteria, and Amazon sword just don't make it in my water. I do have heavy stocking, but I do large weekly 75% WC to reduce organic waste.


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I just got my B.heudelotii a week or so ago..and its doing fine. Meanwhile almost all my B. "difformis" melted away and right now,only a part that is resting o n old live rock from my reef days has surprised by sending up 4 or 5 tiny croziers all at the same time. They might grow..or rot off. Wait and see.

On youtube Lucas Bretz has B.difformis in a tank with Co2,and it really looks nothing like appears to grow wanting to reach the surface..thin and wide gaps between fronds. It also looks nothing like the parsley leaved plant they are when they are sold in emersed growth.
Plants grown emersed often have leaves with different forms than submerged and the emersed leaves often melt away.
Reading the OP posts,I would say that the mini Bolbitis in the photo is not b."difformis". It might be a smaller clone of B.heudelotii..but that can't be B.difformis.
Maybe I shouldn't say B.difformis being sold wont grow..but it's got to defeat a high percentage of people who buy them!
One small tip only growing B.difformis is growing near the outlet of my pump. Maybe on non Co2 tanks..water flowing strongly over it helps the plant breath. Not in stone though..;)

PS.That page in Chinese when translated by google says that B.difformis is native to South America-its not. BUT! It also mentions this plant likes acid water,soft water and a strong flow. There IS some wisdom in those characters.
A little more on the Bolbitis difformis. It seems to be a detritus magnet. I have it just starting to grow.
This plant really is for the connoisseur. It's not going to make the scape. I have spotted it only once or twice in a Co2 YouTube vid aquarium doing well. Even if its reaching 4-5" long fronds,it's pretty much a nano tank plant. In that case when a B.heudelotii is too large.
I've had one for 6 months and its only threatening to break out with more than the 3 fronds it has..far less than it had when grown emersed by the grower.
I think there is much truth to this plant taking a year of making roots before it rewards you.
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