Bringing Bucepalandra in a conversation is like opening a can of worms. This family has a lot of different species and each has its own separate set of requirements. This plant family is so like Anubias in many ways but the similarities vanish once hardiness and ease of care is discussed. Some Bucepalandra species melt when out under intense lighting. Some require slightly softer and acidic water. Some require neutral PH. It really depends on the species. To generalize this plant family’s care like what is normally done with Anubias and Java Ferns would be a very big mistake. It would be wise to approach care for this plant like caring for Rotalas: Some are relatively easy to care for and some are just generally difficult to care for.
Bucepalandra are found in the forest streams of Borneo and neighboring countries. It only requires minimal lighting for it to flourish. It will show more vibrant colors when fully adopted to a brighter submersed setup though. Unlike Anubias, Bucepalandra boasts a ray of colors ranging from purple, olive green, pink to red.
These plants will generally display an overall healthy, vigorous appearance when supplemented with CO2. Some would advise to treat Bucepalandra like Anubias when it comes to CO2. While this would be generally true with most common Bucephalandra species, it does not apply to every species. CO2 supplementation in general would always be dependent on the intensity of the light being provided in the aquarium.
Keep Bucepalandra in neutral Ph water with TDS of anywhere from 120-150ppm. This will ensure that CO2 saturation is at maximum.
Planting and placement
Accent! Definitely Accent. Its unique leaf shape, color and overall texture will definitely garner enough attention. Tie or glue Bucephalandra to driftwood or rocks. Do not bury the rhizomes otherwise this plant will definitely rot.
These plants have a reputation of melting when transitioning from emersed to submersed environment. If this happens check the rhizomes. If the rhizome is intact then chances are the plant is ok and is just trying to replace its leaves with the submersed form. So do not throw away the Bucephalandras that have melted its leaves.
These plants are generally very slow growers, not a lot of trimming is required. Some varieties and species of these plants are very expensive and rare. Do not trim like trimming regular stem plants. Cut individual rhizomes which are no longer needed.
Some species would appreciate regular dosing of micro and macro fertilizers. Some species may not require it while some absolutely need regular dosing.