Barclaya Longifolia Aquarium Plant: Types, Care, Diseases

Barclaya Longifolia is an aquarium plant from the Water Lily family. In the conditions of a home reservoir, it can please the owner with flowering, throwing a peduncle with a floating corolla on the surface of the water. The dignity of the plant lies in the beauty of its underwater leaves.

barclaya longifolia aquarium plant

Barclay’s aquarium plant has a large underwater part up to 60 cm high.

Barclaya Longifolia aquarium plant features and charateristics

Barclay, or Barclaya Longifolia, has been used in aquarium design for about 100 years. For the first time, the plant was brought from Burma, but its habitat is almost all of Southeast Asia. Now, most of the varieties of Barclay are artificially bred specimens, adapted to be kept in a small volume of water.

Barclay goes well with other plants.

All varieties and species are considered demanding in terms of keeping conditions. They are most often purchased by aquarists experienced in caring for rare and unusual herbs. It is difficult for a beginner to provide the conditions necessary for the growth of a culture, and a beautiful bush sometimes dies.

When buying young outlets, you need to take into account that the underwater part is capable of reaching 60 cm in height. Barclays require bodies of water deep enough to grow completely submerged.

The plant secretes phytoncides and is able to suppress the growth of neighbors, therefore, it is advisable to use it for the design of containers of at least 150-200 liters, where there will be room for other representatives of the aquatic flora. Ferns, Marsilia, Rotala, Cryptocorynes do not get along well with Barclay.

The peculiarity of Barclay is the vulnerability of its root system. The plant does not tolerate root damage during transplantation, and it is not recommended to disturb it. The soil is selected so that the bush could not be dug out by the burrowing fish species, but siltation did not occur. If the root system is damaged, the foliage also begins to suffer, the death of the plant occurs within several days.

Barclaya Types and varieties

Red-leaved and green plant forms are found in aquaculture. This makes it possible to use the barclay as a tapeworm, a spectacular accent color, or even a background (in a small pond). For a tropical aquarium with Asian warm-water fish species, hydrostems will be a harmonious part of the underwater landscape.


Barclay long-leaved, which is often called longifolia among aquarists, is a natural variety that has retained the main features of the species:

Barclay long-leaved forms a rosette or bud on a long stem.

  • long, up to 40 cm, lanceolate leaf blades;
  • strong petioles up to ½ of the blade;
  • olive green color of the upper side of the leaf and an almost purple underside.

The surface of the plate is slightly wavy, with a pleasant silk sheen. The double coloration of the plates makes it especially attractive. There is an aquarium form with a pure green leaf color.

There is no stem, all leaves form a rosette. The petals of the flower are red-violet in color with a greenish underside.

Natural habitats are slow-flowing or stagnant bodies of water in Vietnam and Thailand.


The red-leaved variety looks smaller than the green form of the plant. The length of the leaf petioles is much shorter than that of the long-leaved, only a few centimeters. The leaves of the red Barclaya look sessile, and the plates begin almost at the very bottom. With an average leaf length of about 30 cm, red bushes do not form such high rosettes as the green form.

The upper part of the leaf has a light shade of red (greenish-red, with an orange tint, burgundy). The seamy side is darker, from burgundy to purple. Sometimes there are rare dark streaks against a light general background.

The flowers are white, up to 7 buds appear on the bush, but it is best to remove some of the peduncles so as not to cause depletion and death of the bush. Most often 2-3 buds are left.

Barclay crane-leaved has slightly smaller leaf sizes than the long-leaved variety.


Aquarium form of long-leaved Barclaya with rich wine-red foliage. Like the green-leaved form, it forms a powerful bush with long leaves (the width of the plate is up to 3 cm, the length is about 30 cm, the petiole is 15-20 cm).

It is found only in aquaculture, artificially bred and used as an ornamental plant for the design of large panoramic aquariums. The requirements for the content coincide with the preferences of the natural species, but shading is recommended: in bright light, the plant loses its noble color and turns brown.

The peculiarity of the Barclaya Longifolia is the unpredictable behavior of an adult bush. With external well-being, it can grow well and give daughter sockets, but suddenly dies even without changing conditions. Experienced aquarists advise planting 2-3 shrubs at once in order to be able to preserve the beauty of the landscape.


The name of this form in official botany is recognized as a synonym for Barclaya longifolia, i.e. long-leaved. Now the name Periana is considered the commercial name of the red-leaved plant. The bush has the same long petioles as Longifolia, but differs in a leaf extended towards the base.

The color of the plate is saturated red, mainly burgundy. In strong light, a green color appears, so it is recommended to shade the bush. For color intensity, all red forms are additionally fed with fertilizers with iron.

Barclaya Longifolia Plant Care in aquarium

barclaya longifolia plant care in aquarium

In order for all Barclaya to grow well and give root shoots, they need to provide conditions close to natural:

  1. Water temperature. For a tropical aquatic plant, the optimal environment is warm water (not lower than + 25 ° C). The optimal range is + 26 … + 28 ° С, with a possible increase up to + 32 ° С. Most of the representatives of the aquatic fauna are kept in the same conditions, and it is easy to combine barclay with any calm fish, shrimps, turtles, etc.
  2. Other environment parameters. Stagnant water bodies of Asia are characterized by low rigidity and sour reaction of the aquatic environment. At home, the parameters are maintained at 2-4 ° F with an average pH of 6-7 units. Barclay will grow in harder water, but growth will be slow. To acidify and soften water, use the same techniques as for creating an environment for fish: add a decoction of peat, prepare dark water, or use commercial softeners if the liquid in the region does not meet the requirements of the aquarist.
  3. Lighting. Red-leaved forms grow well in the shade of large plants with large leaves (echinodorus, etc.). Green will not damage lighting up to 0.5 W / L.
  4. Priming. Sand is used as a substrate, which is recommended to be cleaned once a week, avoiding clogging of waste from the inhabitants of the reservoir. The optimum layer thickness is 5 cm.

Barclaya Longifolia Diseases, pests and difficulties

Holes in the leaves can be repaired with aquarium compressors.

With a lack of light, the bush begins to form small and pale leaves.

Other signs may also indicate trouble:

  1. Holes in the leaves – appear when there is an excess of carbon dioxide in the water. The problem can be eliminated with increased aeration.
  2. Decay of roots and tubers – happens due to the accumulation of organic residues in the sand. You can save the plant at the first sign (loss of 1-2 leaves) by washing the tuber and transplanting it into clean sand in a separate container with diffused bright lighting.
  3. Death – can occur due to hypothermia or too hard water.

The leaf blades are often damaged by snails.

Barclaya Longifolia Propagation

The main breeding method is vegetative. Under suitable conditions, an adult bush forms up to 25 daughter rosettes per year. They must be carefully separated from the shoot in the phase of formation of 3-4 developed leaves. Daughter outlets can be transferred to another body of water through a quarantine container, gradually replacing the water taken from the old aquarium in it.

Seed propagation is rarely used since only experienced aquarists can get flowering specimens.

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