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Re: wallichii

Roger wrote:
>A few weeks ago I came across some Rotala wallichii at my favorite local
>plant shop.  I bought a couple bunches and promptly stuck them into my
>nursery tank to find out how they would do.  The stems were rootless and
>seemed unusually stiff compared to the stems of their close cousin - R.
>rotundifolia - in another of my tanks.
>The plants didn't do well.  After putting out a little bit of new growth
>they stopped growing entirely and the initially reddish growth at the tip
>of the plant turned green and the leaves fell off the lower half of the
>Most plants grow pretty well in my nursery tank, but it's lighting is a
>little dim.  After a couple weeks I started thinking that the plants might
>need more light so I pulled one group of three stems and moved them to
>another tank with brighter light.  The stems had developed almost no roots
>in the time they were in the nursery tank.
>In the brighter tank I started seeing bubbles collecting in the R.
>wallichii needles, but with a fine-leafed plant like this it's hard to say
>whether the bubbles were produced by the plant or were produced by a
>neighboring plant and merely got caught in the leaves.  Aside from the
>afternoon bubbles there weren't any changes for the better; more leaves
>dropped and the color went from green to brown.  Then, after a week or so
>a new bud appeared at the base of one stem and a healthy-looking,
>beautifully colored new stem began to grow.  After that I moved all of the
>other stems into the same tank.  They too had little or no new root growth
>and oddly stiff stems.
>I saw very similar behavior in some Heteranthera zosterifolia (actually
>sold as Didiplis diandra) and lysimachia numularia that I bought last
>spring.  In both cases the plants grew briefly then stopped, existing
>leaves gradually fell off, roots failed to develop and the stems became
>stiff and twisted.
>I threw most of the stems away, but kept a couple around to the bitter
>end, just to see what would happen.  After a couple months both plants
>produced new buds and set about normal rapid growth. I threw away the H.
>zosterifolia (which I already had plenty of)  once it became clear that it
>wasn't Didiplis diandra, but I kept the Lysimachia and now have a small
>stand of it that I've propogated from a couple stems.
>Last summer Stephane Andre posted the idea that some nurserys grow emersed
>plants under conditions that are so dry that they don't adapt quickly to
>submersed growth.  I took that as a good explanation for my problem with
>the H. zosterifolia (which didn't look like my submersed H. zosterifolia
>when I bought it) and the L. nummularia, which I think is naturally an
>emergent plant.
>But can that be true of the R. wallichii as well?  Has anyone else had
>this problem and found a way around it?  Stephane suggest setting up a
>little mini-greenhouse somehow and slowly adapting plants through very
>humid conditions to submersed conditions.  Has anyone tried that?
>I guess the upshot of the story might be, if your newly-purchased stem
>plants stop growing, go into apparent dormancy and seem to be dying, you
>don't necessarily need to throw them out.  Wait patiently and you might
>eventually get the plant you wanted.

I have had this happen in the **past** also but..........I have also dropped
in some fresh wallichii and hit the ground running and haven't had a problem
since. No stunting, no funny growth, no funny colors. SAE's are suppose to
eat it but I have SAE's in there and they are hungry. It's doing fine in 2
I had too much at one point and had to toss out quite a bit. Clean well lit
balanced tanks and snails. Light color does not matter very much if at all
(6700k to 3050K). Snails are the best cleaners for this and many other fine
needle plants. 
The stunting/leaf loss could very well be from a damage during shipping IMO.
The plant does have or should have great root growth first then the leaves
will start up soon after.
The stems are as you say...........like crypts.........ready to grow again
after things improve or the shock is over after a period of die
back/meltdown. Like many plants, after a shock they go dormant or "stunted"
like in nature after the rains or during winter etc.

It's a great plant but can be tricky as can be most fine needled plants.
Stunting is the main long term problem. Keep up on the trace/macro's
elements and regular maintenance and add some snails. My water is: Kh =5.5,
Ph 6.7, NO3 > 10, 30% water change weekly, TMG and add KNO3 and K2SO4.
Cooler water too, about 76 degrees. It does well at warmer temps too. Seems
to like very low to non existent Phosphorus levels. Gymnocornis species do
great for seeing if you have P limited symptoms as the leaves turned a nice
purplish color. Love them indicator plants!
Roots extremely well in Fluorite and also 2-3mm sand with Reverse Flow UG.
Heavy branching.
After a few trimmings it should be looking good.

H. zosterfolia is a weed by comparison. It's a very fast grower and I have
them in the same tank.
The L nummularia grows slower and is as you say, a more terrestrial plant
but does very well in most tanks. It tends to be very rooty and between B.
monneri and Mic. umbrosum it has a limited use IMO as these are better and
similar plants for most set ups. A matter of opinion but this is what I
Iike. I can't report the same on it being like wallichii in the least

This is why I think it might be due to the shipping or condition of the
plants when they arrived to you. Both are not the best shippers. This is one
thing that is a commonality.

I have tried the humid emersed tank method with Bacopa myriophylliodes. I
keep some growing in there because I can keep for awhile doing great then I
always get a crash after a month or two submersed. Pisses me off. Had a
similar issue with Ludwigia inciliata but seemed to have moved beyond the
few month phase for a more long term growth. Light color might have been the
key. It can be similar in some ways to the Rotala as far as the stems and

I wonder if any of this helped but maybe it did or made it worse. Hopefully
a little of both<G>!
Tom Barr