Sphaerocaryum malaccense

May 28th, 2009

Sphaerocaryum malaccense is one of the newer plants in the hobby that was originally traded erroneously as Arthraxon sp. ‘Malaysia’. Native throughout much of Asia, S. malaccense grows in swampy conditions forming loose mats of vegetation. In the aquarium, it is a very unique aquatic grass with leaves looking like trowels protruding from the stem via a sheath.

Sphaerocaryum malaccense

In a large group, Sphaerocaryum malaccense forms a nice bush, but doesn’t seem to form as tight a bush as a plant such as Rotala rotundifolia. It seems to grow well in medium light with CO2, but can really take off in higher light conditions. I’ve seen it grown successfully in some dosing and soil-based tanks, so it should grow in most situations.

Sphaerocaryum malaccense

When doing well, my friend Dave has observed that it pearls more than most other plants in his aquarium, with the oxygen bubbles get trapped in the curves of the leaves. Under high light, the leaves can get reddish brown highlights, but some green still remains. Overall, due to the unique aesthetic and relative ease of keeping,  Sphaerocaryum malaccense is an exciting new plant to grow and aquascape with.

4 Responses to “Sphaerocaryum malaccense”

  1. Dave Says:

    Quickly becoming one of my favorite midground plants.

    The pearling effect is just stunning in a group, easy to take care of, takes trimming very well. The light green really makes a nice transition between typically darker foregrounds and colored background plants – in a stand, it is almost lime green.

  2. Phillip Says:

    What great photographs and this looks like a most useful addition.

  3. hydrophyte Says:

    What beautiful pictures!

    Is this the same one known commonly as “purple bamboo” in the hobby?

  4. guitarfish Says:

    Thanks Hydrophyte. No, purple bamboo is something different. Sphaerocaryum was erroneously known in the hobby as Arthraxon sp. ‘Malaysia’.