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Family: Aponogetonaceae

Common Name: Ruffled Aponogeton

Origin and Habitat: Southern India and Sri Lanka. Grows in slow and still water, including temporary pools and small lakes that dry out during the dry season.

Ideal position in aquarium

A good plant for the sides and back of taller aquaria.

Lighting requirements

Moderate. In low lighting, growth will be steady but slow. In bright lighting, CO2 fertilization is necessary (Kasselmann, 2003).

Growth rate

Moderate; may require a dormant or rest period during which leaves will yellow and die. If the tuber is left in the aquarium, new leaves will usually emerge after a period of a few months.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

20g tall.

Water parameters for Ruffled Aponogeton

Soft to medium hard, slightly acidic to slightly basic (pH below 7.5) water, temperature 20-30C/68-86F. The true species prefers soft and slightly acidic water; in hard water CO2 fertilization is necessary (Kasselmann, 2003). As noted under "Physical Description," available plants will often be hybrids that can be readily cultivated in water within the given ranges.


This is another relative hardy Aponogeton and thus well suited to the aquarium. This plant is sometimes seen under the common names "Ruffled Sword" or "Wavy Swordplant," but should not be confused with the true sword plants of the genus Echinodorus.

This plant requires good nutrition, achieved with an enriched substrate, soil substrate, or regular substrate and/or liquid fertilization. In good conditions, the plant will readily grow long leaves that float across the surface. It thus makes a good specimen plant in larger aquaria, as well as in groups along the sides or back of the tank. As it needs a good source of nutrients, this plant should be introduced to an established rather than a newly set-up aquarium.

The long (up to 50cm/20in) and narrow lance-shaped leaves have ruffled margins and can vary from dark green to reddish-brown in colour. The leaves arise in a rosette from the tuber which is up to 5cm in size.

This species readily crosses with other species, and plants available under this species name are frequently hybrids; A. crispus X rigidifolius was developed by the Tropica nursery in Denmark, and A. crispus X undulatus is another more common hybrid. The advantage of hybrids is that they are usually better suited to aquaria, not requiring a rest period, though flowers are normally sterile. The true species will require a vegetative rest period occasionally, when the tuber should be lifted and stored outside the aquarium in a fairly dry environment (Kasselmann, 2003).

A. crispus was described and named by Thunberg in 1781. The species epithet crispus refers to the crisp undulation of the leaf margins.

Aponogeton--the name derived from the species name Potamogeton (anagram)--is the sole genus in the Aponogetonaceae family of true aquatic plants, with 44 species (Kasselmann 2003). With the exception of A. rigidifolius that has a long, thin rhizome, all species have a tuber used to store reserves of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and minerals to carry the plant through the rest period. The leaves arise from the tuber in a rosette and are submersed or floating; only two species occasionally form emersed leaves.

The genus is endemic to the Old World and species occur in tropical and sub-tropical regions in Africa, Madagascar, India & SE Asia and Australia. Most of the popular aquarium plants are native to India and SE Asia. They readily flower in the aquarium, producing long inflorescences that extend above the surface where the flowers are borne. Seed production in the aquarium is very rare.

Most species have a rest period, coinciding with the dry season in Africa and with temperature differences and water level changes for Asian species. Previous literature recommended removal of the tuber and dry storage for all species, but this will in fact kill the plant depending upon the species. Proper handling of the tuber during the rest period is mentioned above for this species. There are several hybrids now available, developed for use in aquaria, and these are probably frequently seen under species names.


Kasselmann, Christel (2003), Aquarium Plants, English edition.

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