Cryptocoryne Willisii: Ultimate Care Guide

Native to Sri Lanka, Cryptocoryne Willisii is a trouble-free plant variety with long, narrow, and bright green leaves. Suitable to beginning hobbyists, it doesn’t need bright lighting or CO2 injection. This can be a good plant for low tech tanks and works best as a foreground or midground plant. Like many Crypts, it can take a while for this plant to grow accustomed to a new aquarium environment. Cycled aquariums are best as their water parameters are more stable. New aquariums are subject to rapid water swings which can harm or kill this plant. While this is a simple plant to care for, there are some things you should know before adding it to your collection. This guide will show you the most important facts to keep in mind when raising this attractive aquarium plant.

Cryptocoryne Willisii Care

Cryptocoryne Willisii is easy to care for, but may need time to become accustomed to a new tank. This plant doesn’t need bright lighting or CO2 injection. Stable water parameters are critical as they are for most Crypt varieties. While Cryptocoryne Willisii doesn’t normally need added fertilizer it can benefit from root tab fertilizers if grown in nutrient poor substrates like fine gravel or coarse sand.

Cryptocoryne Willisii will need periodic trimming of runners to prevent it from spreading further than needed. As an alternative it is possible to place clear plastic dividers under substrate. These dividers will block runners which can keep this plant contained to a specific area of the aquarium.

Are Cryptocoryne Willisii easy to care for in an aquarium?

Cryptocoryne Willisii is easy to care for in most aquariums. This plant doesn’t need high intensity lighting or CO2 injection to grow well. It can be difficult to start this plant in a new tank, but once acclimated it isn’t picky, and will grow with minimum maintenance.

Cryptocoryne Willisii
Cryptocoryne Willisii

How to grow Cryptocoryne Willisii

Cryptocoryne Willisii is simple to grow, but does need nutrient rich substrate. Coarse sand or fine gravel are good substrate choices, but may need root tab fertilizers to sustain this plant. Like many Crypt varieties, Cryptocoryne Willisii will need some time to adapt to a new tank environment. Sometimes this adaptation is as minor and slow growth for the first month or two. In more serious circumstances this plant can die back, or melt, before new growth forms. Once Willisii has become accustomed to a specific environment it shouldn’t be subjected to rapid water quality or chemistry changes. It’s best to introduce this plant to aquariums that are cycled and mature enough to have stable water chemistry.

Lighting Requirement

Cryptocoryne Willisii will grow well in medium intensity lighting. In nature, this plant prefers to grow away from direct sunlight. However, it will tolerate high intensity aquarium lighting.


Cryptocoryne Willisii grows at normal freshwater aquarium temperatures between 71° and 80° F.

Water pH

Cryptocoryne Willisii prefers mostly neutral to slightly acidic water with a pH between 6.5 and 7.2. It can grow in water which is more acidic or alkaline, but needs stable water parameters: fast pH swings can cause this plant to melt back or die.

Growth Rate

Cryptocoryne Willisii grows slowly; especially the first month after planting. Once it becomes accustomed to a new tank environment it begins increasing in height and sending out runners. This plant can’t be encouraged to grow faster by adding brighter lighting or CO2 injection. While added light and CO2 won’t usually cause harm, they only increase growth slightly if at all.

Growth Height

In most aquariums Cryptocoryne Willisii will grow between 3 and 8 inches tall. Depending on the aquarium, this can be a good plant for midground placement or as dense ground covering.

CO2 Requirement

Cryptocoryne Willisii doesn’t benefit from CO2 injection. Hobbyists with high tech tanks which already have CO2 injection can include this plant in their aquascaping. CO2 won’t harm Cryptocoryne Willisii, but it won’t provide a boost to growth rate or color.

Propagating Cryptocoryne Willisii

Cryptocoryne Willisii propagates by sending out runners. Over time these runners will develop small plants with separate root systems. Once these daughter plants have their own roots it’s possible to separate them and replant in new locations. Cryptocoryne Willisii is delicate, and often has trouble acclimatizing to new aquarium environments. After planting, this species has a tendency to die back in a process known as melting. This melting will eventually correct itself and new growth will appear.

Where can I find Cryptocoryne Willisii for sale?

Cryptocoryne Willisii can be bought from online suppliers, and sometimes from local fish stores. This plant isn’t as common as some other Crypts so it can sometimes be challenging to locate. Expect to pay between $6 USD and $13 USD depending if you’re buying bare root or potted plants. Cryptocoryne Willisii can also be bought as tissue cultures. Plants grown from tissue cultures are guaranteed to be disease and pest free. Additionally, this plant has trouble acclimatizing to new tank environments, and tissue cultures can be easier to get started.

Cryptocoryne Willisii Types

Cryptocoryne Willisii is sold under a couple of different names. These names can be referring to a depreciated, incorrect name. They can also describe plants which have different growth patterns but aren’t truly separate varieties. We’ll take a quick look at some of the others names you’re likely to see when shopping for this plant.

Cryptocoryne Willisii Lucens

Cryptocoryne Willisii Lucens is the same plant as Cryptocoryne Willisii. Cryptocoryne Willisii was misidentified as Cryptocoryne Lucens for many years. Cryptocoryne Willisii Lucens is a commercial name for plant buyers who still look for the older name.

Cryptocoryne Willisii Nevillii

Cryptocoryne Willisii Nevillii has shorter and more oval leaves than Cryptocoryne Willisii. Cryptocoryne Willisii Nevillii isn’t a separate species, but it does have a different growth pattern. This is a good plant for hobbyists looking for a trouble-free ground cover plant.

Cryptocoryne Willisii vs Cryptocoryne Wendtii

Cryptocoryne Willisii vs Cryptocoryne Wendtii have similar care needs, but C. Wendtii is more common and has many more varieties available. C. Wendtii varieties include different color variations including red, brown, green, and several combinations of these colors. Depending on the variety, C. Wendtii can grow larger than C. Willisii.

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