A remarkable ornamental plant suitable for the background of the back of any aquarium is Cyperus Helfer, the scientific systematic name for Cyperus helferi. This bright juicy green bush underwater plant of the Ospekov family (Cyperaceae) of the genus Cyperus is well suited for the design of completely different aquariums in size and shape.
In the wild, Cyperus Helfer grows in warm, well-heated bodies of water with standing or slowly flowing water in India and western Malaysia, Burma and Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. This species of one of the underwater sedges received the name of the naturalist John Wilhelm Helfer (1810-1840), who first discovered it in one of the reservoirs of Thailand and made its scientific description.
In nature, Cyperus Helfer grows in swamps and stagnant water bodies and reaches a height of 60 cm. In an aquarium environment, depending on the nutritional value of the soil, light, hardness and acidity of the water, its size is more modest. This plant, one of the few in its genus, which has more than 600 species, can grow under water. Ribbon-like thin, light green and hard leaves of the plant 5-7 mm wide with denticles along the edges and a faceted groove in the middle are collected in a socket. At the base of each leaf is a closed reddish vagina with a transparent and narrow leaf film.
The rhizome of cyperus is highly branched, creeping, its length is up to 5 cm, thickness is up to 7 mm. The peduncle is trihedral, can reach a length of 45 cm. At the end of the peduncle, a complex umbrella-shaped inflorescence is formed with 5-8 rays of different lengths and small daughter plants. From 2 to 7 spikelets up to 10 cm long are formed on individual inflorescences, each of which contains from 8 to 12 flowers. In the flower, in addition to the ovoid pointed and somewhat flattened spine, there are 2 stamens and a two-columned pestle. A triangular elongated light brown nut is formed in the flower.
Tsiperus Helfer propagates vegetatively, either by dividing the rhizome, or by already formed daughter rosettes formed on large surface inflorescences. When the daughter bush reaches the surface of the water and the root begins to form right away. At this time, it can be separated from the common peduncle and planted in a prepared place. From the rhizome of Cyperus Helfer regularly shoots arrows on which daughter sockets are formed.
Tsiperus Helfer can be called an unpretentious aquarium plant, but he needs a certain period of adaptation to new conditions. Place for him to choose free at the rear wall of the aquarium. The most favorable temperature for its cultivation will be + 22 ° C - + 26 ° C. Sensitive cyperus to the fertility of the aquarium soil, requires siltation and the presence of a clay component.
Favorable hardness of water for growing Cyperus Helfer will be dH 2-16 ° at the optimum acidity of pH 5.0-7.5. The plant is very fond of light and the brightness of the lighting in the aquarium should be at least 0.5 W / l. Additional supply of carbon dioxide to the aquarium will significantly improve the growth rate of this ornamental aquatic plant.
The leaves of the plant that have reached the surface of the water should be cut off at the very base, because if you simply shorten them, the leaf will turn yellow and die anyway. It should be ensured that small algae do not appear on the leaves of cyperus, with their appearance on the leaves it is necessary to change the light intensity. Cyperus Helfer grows remarkably in the humid and warm conditions of home paludariums on silty and clay nutrient soils.