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Bolbitis sp.


  1. Bolbitis heudelotti
    by (Karen A Randall) (Sat, 6 Apr 1996)
  2. Plant Attachments, Algae and Sunlight
    by krandall/ (Karen A Randall) (Thu, 19 Dec 1996)
  3. Bolbitis, Limnobium and Lotus
    by krandall/ (Fri, 24 Jul 1998)
  4. Bolbitis/ Limnobium/ Nelumbo
    by Neil Frank <nfrank/> (Sat, 25 Jul 1998)
  5. Bolbitis
    by krandall/ (Thu, 04 Feb 1999)
  6. Bolbitis V4 #206
    by Christopher Newell <newellcr/> (Mon, 10 Apr 2000)
  7. RE: bolbitis heteo
    by "Thomas Barr" <tcbiii/> (Sat, 13 May 2000)
  8. Bolbitis heteroclita
    by "btpmsi" <btpmsi/> (Sat, 1 Jul 2000)
  9. Bolbitis heteroclita
    by "Robert H" <robertph3/> (Sun, 16 Dec 2001)

Bolbitis heudelotti

by (Karen A Randall)
Date: Sat, 6 Apr 1996

Subject: Bolbitis Question

> I just bought 2 'portions' (approx. 3" rhizomes w/ a half dozen 
> each) of Bolbitis heulodoti (sp?) at a local store and would app
> advice on special needs it may have. The little I've found indic
> it likes moving water and being on rather than in a substrate. I
> rubberbanded each piece to a small rock and placed them where th
> gentle flow past them. The guy at the store indicated that their
> requirements are moderate - on a par w/ cousin java fern. True? 
> wisdom you'd like to share.  jp

In my experience, Bolbitis heudelotti is _slightly_ more demanding 
than Java Fern, but not much.  I have had better luck getting it 
to attach to driftwood than rock, and it doesn't start to grow 
really well until it anchors itself.  OTOH, many people wouldn't 
_want_ it to grow really well... It gets very large under good 
conditions. (CO2 and high light)  It jams against the cover of my 
70G tank, and the rhizome is as thick as a pencil.

Without supplemental CO2, and with lower light levels, it's almost 
prettier.  It remains lacier looking, and the petioles are not as 

Still, grown either way it is a very attractive plant.

BTW, you can keep it's size somewhat under control by removing the 
older heavier parts of the rhizome... those are the sections most 
likely to throw enormous leaves.

Plant Attachments, Algae and Sunlight

by krandall/ (Karen A Randall)
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996

Subject: Plant Attachments
>   Does anyone now if there is some trace element that must be pr
> plants like Java moss, Java fern and Bolbitis to attach themselv
> driftwood?  I have had several small aquariums were the plants w
> variety of surfaces from petrified wood to coconut shells and th
> the surface just as planned yet for some reason they refuse to d
> big show tank.  I keep retying tufts of Java moss to my driftwoo
> cotton thread, yet as soon as the thread rots the moss floats aw
> help but think that this tank is somehow lacking a key ingredien

Are the plants growing well otherwise?  If so, I wouldn't worry 
about them.  Tie them down with monofilament fishing line instead. 
 It can't be seen under water, and will not rot and let the plants 
float free.

Bolbitis, Limnobium and Lotus

by krandall/
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998

>i have just bought a Bolbitis, which i saw at a local store.  the leaves
>look horrid but i bought it because it has a nice, thick rhizome and i
>figure it's a healthy one.  i would appreciate hearing about what this
>plant needs to prosper.  i grow java fern and i have no problem with that
>one.  the water in my tanks are generally acid and soft.

There seem to be at least two different "varieties" of Bolbitis around in
the hobby these days.  One is the traditional B. heudelotii, which does
well in water that is quite soft.  It has a shorter petiole, and curlier
leaves.  The other is definitely Bolbitis, but the jury is still out whther
it is heudelotii or not.  Claus Christensen is of the oppinnion that it is
a different species.  It has a MUCH longer petiole, the leaves aren't as
curly, and is in general a much bigger plant.  This one seems to grows
better with a little more hardness to the water.  If you haven't grown
these two plants side-by-side it might be hard to tell them apart.  Once
you do, there is no mistaking which is which.

Both types needed to be attached to something, the same way you handle Java
Jern.  In my experience, though, Bolbitis grow better on driftwood, while
Java Fern doesn't care whether you use driftwood, rocks or the kitchen

It is definitely a plant where "critical mass" is important.  It took me
well over a year for my original small section of rhizome to get to the
point where I dared share a bit with anyone else.  Now the larger type
takes up about 1/3 of a 70G tank.  I take it out regularly, hack it in half
with a big kitchen knife to keep it in check.  The same thing has happened
with the smaller type.  I got my "start" about 15 months ago, and for quite
some time, I thought it just wasn't as robust as my older type.  Now it too
has reached critical mass, and is starting to need regular dividing.

>i have some Limnobium but it refuses to do well for me.  at first, it
>would produce lots of plantlets but never grow very big.  now, the
>numbers are dwindling.  i would appreciate hearing from anyone about what
>conditions it needs to thrive.

I grow it in my tub pond and in several aquariums.  Some of the aquariums
have supplemental CO2, some don't it seems to be undemanding.  It is bright
green, and produces offsets regularly.  Maybe you don't have enough light
for it?

>finally, today i saw lotus plants being offered at my favorite orchid
>shop in chinatown.  they were small plants being offered in buckets, many
>in bloom.  has anyone tried growing them in buckets or large containers
>inside a home or apt.?  would it grow well indoors?

I just found a wonderful book called "Water Gardening in Containers" by
Helen Nash ans C. Greg Speichert.Published by Sterling Publishing in 1996
ISBN 0-8069-8197-0.  It shows many of these miniature lotus in small
containers.  I'd give my eye teeth to get my hands one a couple!<g>  They
do show some indoors, but my impression is that they need very bright light
to bloom indoors.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association

Bolbitis/ Limnobium/ Nelumbo

by Neil Frank <nfrank/>
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998

>>Subject: >
>There seem to be at least two different "varieties" of Bolbitis around in
>the hobby these days.  One is the traditional B. heudelotii, which does
>well in water that is quite soft.  It has a shorter petiole, and curlier
>leaves.  The other is definitely Bolbitis, but ,.... It has a MUCH longer
petiole, the leaves aren't as
>curly, and is in general a much bigger plant.  This one seems to grows
>better with a little more hardness to the water. 

I have both types of Bolbitus as Karen mentioned above. I originally got
the tall one from her and I think she got the "curly" one from me. In my
soft water (40-50 ppm CaCO3) with CO2 injection and pH ~7, the tall
Bolbitus species grows much faster than the curly one. So, this variety may
do better than the curly one in many types of water. They both do better
with adequate CO2 concentrations. They are one of my indicator plants for
my CO2 injection system. When the CO2 stops (e.g. when the tank runs
out),the leaves turn dark ... then they start sucking carbonates and   get
encrusted with marl. This may have something to do with the relative
performance of this genus in hard and soft water.

>Both types needed to be attached to something, the same way you handle Java
>Jern.  In my experience, though, Bolbitis grow better on driftwood, while
>Java Fern doesn't care whether you use driftwood, rocks or the kitchen

I don't keep my Bobitus attached. For me, either Bolbitus does not need to
be attached to something. However, it may do better if it were attached.
- --Neil


by krandall/
Date: Thu, 04 Feb 1999

>Bolbitis is very much a low light,low temperature plant,growing pretty
>slowly,much like Anubias sp. (or java ferns) :-)

I grow it under 3w/g T-8's, and it grows quite quickly.  Not like Water
sprite by any means, but I need to divide it every couple of months or it
will take over 1/3 of a 70G tank.  Javs fern grows a lot faster than
Anubias too.  BTW, I grow Bolbitis at 68F in my son's unheated Axolotl
tank, and at 78F in other tanks.  It grows bigger and faster in the warmer
tanks, though that's probably not the deciding factor.  It also gets better
light, supplemental CO2 and regular nutrient supplementation in these
larger tanks.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association

Bolbitis V4 #206

by Christopher Newell <newellcr/>
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000

""bolbitis sp war stories

i have recently aquired a species of bolbitis 
possibly heudeloth.

what i would like is any ones war stories with
the regard to growing and maintaining this fern
successes and or failures



I've had varied luck with Bolbitis.  I'm only aware of
two species, the one you mention and heteroclita.  If
your leaves look like a Maple leaf then it's
heteroclita.  If it has a ruffled look, it's
heudelotii.  I'd be surprised if you don't have

When I've had my best luck, it's in a low light tank. 
Also, the plant has been wedged in so that it can't
float.  I've tried tying the rhizome off to a piece of
PVC, rock, or driftwood, to keep it in place.  But the
growth seems to be inhibited if the rhizome is
constrained.  It seems strange, but that's my
experience.  Once the plant is large enough, it will
stay put without additional measures.

I don't use any high tech gadgets and I need to
clarify low light.  My friends have a large square
tank (around 40 gallons).  The nearest light is about
6 feet away and not directly over the tank.  Their
bolbitis heudelotii is humongous and grows like a
weed.  Some more antidotal info, I have a 55 with two
48" florescents.  The ballast conked out about 6 weeks
ago.  The plants were receiving sun from a north
facing window.  I fixed the light this weekend.  The
little bolbitus doubled in size, both rhizome length
and leaf length.  That isn't the way I'd prefer to
grow plants but that's how it worked.

Good luck. It is a beautiful plant.


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RE: bolbitis heteo

by "Thomas Barr" <tcbiii/>
Date: Sat, 13 May 2000

>My LFS has got a tank full of B. heteroclita for sale.  Has anyone here been
>able to grow this submerse?  Would you share your secrets?

Yes but it looks nasty submersed. Good plant for the terrarium though. Can't
recommend it for a tank.

  It's cool
>looking stuff.  BTW, there are two other aquatic Bolbitis spp. out there
>(probably only in the wild!), has anyone seen/grown  these? 

The common one is a nice plant (B. huedelotii) or which there are two
varieties*(this might change to two species) one being a smaller bushier
type getting about 6-8 inches tall and another larger type getting 16-20
inches tall. I believe there another type called B. filipinii but I've never
seen it yet but am told that it does well submersed.

 I think one is
>B. fluvitalis (I'm guessing) and the other?

Sounds like the older nomenclature perhaps from Dr. Rataj's book? I don't
know what the the status of these names are now.
Tom Barr

Bolbitis heteroclita

by "btpmsi" <btpmsi/>
Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2000

Hi Folks,

Just a quick report on this plant that I asked about some months ago. At the
time I was interested to hear peoples experience with this plant. And the
few responses I did get were pretty much in agreement that B. heteroclita
was primarily a "terrarium plant" and that as such was not entirely suitable
for submerse culture. I had plunked down my $5 already for two specimins at
"The Wet Spot" (LFS) here in Portland, so I thought that I would throw them
in the 20 long and see how they fared with a minimum of attention.

pH 6.8, kH 3, temp 78F, Flourite mixed with gravel (50/50), Moderate fish
load, 12 hour lighting cycle with a pair of 30w flo. lamps (GE "Aqua Rays"
and a GE "Chroma 50") Gomberg CO2, Heavily planted, Amquel/Flourish added at
each water change.

The two plants both started to show small plantlet growth on the leaf tips
ala Java Fern.  I then noticed new leaves coming out from the rhizome;
translucent, minature versions of the "adult" leaves. When I was
"harvesting" from this tank tonight, I found a piece of rhizome floating in
the water with two sets of leaves growing from it. The most interesting part
is that the plants have sent root s down into the flourite and are now fixed
firmly to the substrate after being initially left to float in the tank.

Anyway, I just thought you all would find this of some interest:

my $.02,


Bolbitis heteroclita

by "Robert H" <robertph3/>
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001

>>They have a rhizomes, with leaves on a medium length stalk,
and have a triple leaf on each stalk. The leaf shape is very similar to
common Java fern, but I've never seen the 3 leaf arrangement grow on any
of my Java's.
The only picture I have found that comes close is Bolbitis heteroclita,
on page 124 of "AQUARIUM PLANTS, Windelov's Tropica Catalogue".
Assumeing I have correctly identified these plants, can someone suggest
the best way to grow them? I would like to put the hair roots down into
my flourite, leaving just the rhizome above the surface. <<

Thats what it sounds like to me. Heteroclita, known as Asian Bolbitis, has
become quite prevelant in the trade during the last year. The leaves are
generally three lobes: The two outer lobes much shorter than the inner one.
It grows much the same way as Java Fern, and like other aquatic ferns the
roots serve only as anchors, not drawing any nutrients, and the rhizome will
rot if buried. It is really best to attach it to wood or rock just as you
would Java fern or African Bolbitis. It seems to do particularly well
directly in the path of the filter outtake. Be sure to add nutrients to the
water colum, since that is the only way it receives its nourishment. Other
than that it is a pretty undemanding plant.

Robert Paul Hudson
AB Newsletter 987 subscribers

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