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"Sounds nice (how did you keep the algae away?). My tank doesn't get any
direct sun, although (in addition to the fluorescents), it gets some
daylight from two sides, because it's situated in a wall, and open to both
sides. Perhaps this will be enough."
In my particular case, I set this tank up specifically FOR this dwarf
waterlily - everything else in the tank was kind of secondary. That why it
_might_ be hard to balance the needs of the lotus and the rest of your
plants in a standard mixed species tank. I'm sure that it can be done
however, it will just require you to pay attention to what the other plants
are telling you thru their growth patterns.
In the case of the tank I had set up, I was able to avoid algae by keeping
the water column as free of dissolved nutrients as was possible. I used Sera
Florenette T, a mineral fertilizer tablet designed for water lilies and pond
plants. Some "pond tabs" are big - these are individually about the size of
a large Tylenol pill, so I wasn't worried about overdoing it. I have no idea
what these things contain, there isn't a breakdown on the package. But since
I was using them in a specific tank for a specific purpose, I didn't really
care (there were no fish in this tank). Whatever they contained, it worked -
the plant bloomed continuously for months.
"I have all 3 kinds of Jobes, and perhaps in this case, rather
than using the usually-recommended palm & fern spikes, should I try a piece
of the ones for flowering (house) plants? Maybe for this, the higher 3rd
number is justified?? I can push it far enough into the substrate, so that
the fertilizer doesn't get into the water column."
I think that you are correct here - just don't use too many at once and
remember to let the growth of your plants guide you in how frequently you
re-dose. Pushing the Jobes sticks deep into the substrate will at least
minimize any possibility of fouling the water column and causing an
explosion of algae.
"I am curious, though, as to why the floating leaves are necessary for
flowers? The sketch I have shows that the flower grows up from the roots."
All water lilies and lotus plants grow from an elarged rootstock (or
tuber) - this acts as a nutrient reserve. It takes a lot of energy for the
plant to produce a big blossom every day for months on end, and I noticed
that when my plant eventually petered out, the root stock had shrunk away to
practically nothing. Growth comes from the rootstock, thats why you've seen
the flower (and the leaves too) coming from the roots in the drawing. I
don't know if floating leaves are NECESSARY before the plants start to
flower, but a floating leaf is a much better collector of light energy than
one which is submerged, and the plant may need this extra input to start and
sustain blooming. A floating leaf also has better access to atmospheric CO2
than a submerged leaf - so that might play a part in it.
You say that the placement of your tank allows daylight to reach the tank
from both sides, to supplement the fluorescent light from above. This will
hopefully be enough to keep your other plants going as the plant sends up
floating leaves. I don't know how many floating leaves you should allow or
if it is possible to get a plant to revert to only submerged leaves once it
gets into the habit of sending out floating and/or arial leaves - maybe
someone who has experience with pond plants can interject their thoughts.
However you manage it, hang in there because it might take several months
before the plant decides to start blooming. Common triggers for bloom
production can range from increased light to a sudden change in water
quality (from good to better). In the case with my water lily, I think that
the trigger was a span of about three weeks of sunlight in late December and
early January following a rainy and cloudy November. Anyone who lives in the
north knows that day length and light intensity is low at that time of year,
but it was enough. This is why I think that your efforts will probably be
successful. Are your lights new, or are the bulbs old? Most fluorescet tubes
lose intensity with time and your eyes aren't the best indicator of that
One other thing to look forward to is that quite often lotus and water lily
blooms can have a wonderful smell. It might be an added bonus to all of your