Skip to content
Plant Profile: Bolbitis Heudelotii Difformis

Plant Profile: Bolbitis Heudelotii Difformis

Family name: Dryopteridaceae

If you’re looking for a stable, slow-growing aquarium plant with minimal care, Bolbitis Heudelotii Difformis is the perfect pick. This Bolbitis is unique greenery that will fill the midground or background of your aquascape or fish tank with leafy vibes. 

Bolbitis Heudelotii Difformis is also known as the African Water Fern. This bolbitis is an epiphyte found in tropical, shady water sources with strong currents. It is a stable and easy plant to maintain that won’t quickly overrun your tank which makes it loved by aquascaping novices and experts. They are comparable to Buce, Anubias, and Crypts

Plant Specs:

Bolbitis Heudelotii Difformis has fern leaves that range from light to dark green and are intricately shaped. The leaves are long and flowy making them appear luscious and jungle-like.

Propagation of Bolbitis is super easy--just gently split the horizontal rhizome. This technique will help out aquascapers who want to spread this plant throughout their tank. We recommend waiting to propagate until it has at least 3 or 4 leaves on both sides. This plant grows from rhizomes that can be attached directly to your hardscape--such as driftwood or stone. 

When given minimal light, this plant will grow slowly and show a deep green color. With more light, the leaves will turn a lighter, sometimes transparent green and grow just a tad faster.

Although it’s slow growing, Bolbitis can grow to be up to 16-18 inches if cared for right--but this may take a while. It’s a slow growing fern that can be grown submerged or emersed.

Bolbitis Heudelotii Difformis plant profile

Plant Care:

Important note: you must make sure to never cover the rhizome of Bolbitis (or any rhizome plant). Do not directly plant Bolbitis into your substrate.  

In order for this plant to grow it must be attached to a hardscape. Like buce or anubias, covering the rhizome of this plant will cause it to rot. Instead, simply place this Bolbitis on top of your hardscape and weigh it down with plant weights if necessary.

Bolbitis will thrive with CO2 injection (although not absolutely necessary), low light, and soft, slightly acidic water parameters. CO2 injectionwill increase growth rate slightly. If you choose to fertilize, make sure to use a balanced liquid fertilizer no more than once a week and keep up with the CO2 injection. We recommend using Seachem Flourish Excel.

Bolbitis Heudelotii Difformis required low to moderate lighting of about 6-8 hours a day.

This plant is easy to care for but can be sensitive when it comes to water parameters. They love soft water ranging from 70 - 80 F, a PH of 5.5 - 7.5.

Bolbitis prefer to be placed in areas of an aquarium that have higher flow rates. 

  • Tip: placing this plant closer to the water flow will help prevent algae on its leaves. 

Keep in mind that like many aquatic plants, they do not adapt well to drastic changes. Unstable parameters will cause this plant to rot and melt.

We don’t recommend adding this plant to a tank with plant-picking tank mates. The leaves are delicate and wouldn't last very long.

Always keep this Bolbitis looking its best by trimming dried leaves at the base of the rhizome.

Bolbitis Heudelotii Difformis


Fun Facts:

Bolbitis Heudelotii Difformis is one of our favorite fern-like aquatic plants. It’s currently thriving in our 75S tank--shown in pictures in this blog. This plant easily brings a jungle-like aesthetic to any tank.

Bolbitis Heudelotii Difformis the larger leaf variant of Bolbitis Mini. 

Bolbitis Mini, which we have here, is also known as Bolbitis Mini or the Mini Asian Water Fern.


Tell us - Was this article helpful? Please leave a comment below!

If you have any questions regarding this article, please DM us on Instagram, Facebook, or email so we can assist you - @buceplant

Previous article 6 Types of Aquarium Pests (& How to Get Rid of Them!)


Matt Tompkins - July 6, 2020

Love the leaf shape of this one!

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields