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Re: Looking for Echinodorus growing tips

On Nov 10, James (from western Canada) wrote:

> I have had some success with plants, but Echinodurus Var. have not
> been among my successes:( I have killed a Red Flame & and an Osirus,
> and the Bleeheri barely survive,and are definately not thriving.

James, if you described just how the plants fail, and over what period of
time, it would be easier to give tips that we can be confident about.  As
it is, all I can give you are the generic tips.

1) Some Echinodorus survive fairly well at lower light levels but
generally will grow slowly under those conditions; some will appear weak
and/or "reach" for light.

2) All Echinodorus (in my experience) are sensitive to calcium shortage
and don't do well at all in water with 2 or fewer degrees of hardness.  
In my case this sensitivity to hardness could be created in part by the
presence of proportionally high sodium concentrations.  The do respond to
calcium carbonate placed in the substrate.

3) Echinodorus in general are heavy feeders and respond well to root
feeding.  Stands of small Echinodorus sometimes need to be thinned so the
remaining plants can get enough nutrients.

> I have
> been adding Tropica Mastergrow liquid fertilizer to the the water,and
> have been placing Aquarium Pharaceuticals "Root Tabs" under the
> plants.

I don't know what's in the AP "Root Tabs".  If they're anything like the
Tetra substrate tablets then they may not be all that helpful.

If your plants are generally light colored and don't maintain more than a
few healthy leaves at a time then you might need to increase nitrogen
feeding.  Check nitrate levels in the water and consider Jobes spikes.  
Much of the nitrogen content in Jobes spikes is slow-release, so you may
not see a big initial effect from using them.

If new growth is very pale, then try adding more iron.  I use iron
gluconate tablets (broken into quarters and pushed into the substrate
below the plant) to feed Echinodorus in tanks where other plants don't
seem to need additional fertilizing.

> The tank is a 90gal(48"Lx18"Wx24"H),and has(for now)two twin
> bulb shop lights,one with Vitalites, one with Phillips Grow Bulbs,
> lights on a timer for 10 hours/day.I will be adding an additional
> shoplight(w/GE Chroma 50's)as soo as I have time to build a frame to
> hold all three.

Increasing the light should help with growth -- especially if your water
is strongly tinted. It will also increase the demand for nutrients.

>    Tank is kept @ ~79 deg F,Water is a mix of 25%tap(softened with
> peat) and 75% R/O,PH is at or near 7.0,hardness unknown,as it is
> impossible to get an accurate reading with the amber tint from the
> peat,my guess would be ~60ppm

It doesn't seem like a little amber tint should cause that much trouble
for a hardness test unless the hardness is very low.  At 60 ppm hardness
I think the color change at the end of the titration should be visible
enough to cut through most tints.  The change is not as obvious at low
hardness concentrations and in that case the amber tint could be more of a
problem. Is it possible that your hardness is quite a bit lower than 60
ppm?  You might look for a different test kit that gives a more obvious
change at low hardness concentrations.

How do you read pH if the tint is so strong that you can't read the
hardness test?

> .....a 15gal w/c is done every week to 10
> days.Filtration is by a Fluval 404 Cannister hooked to a home made PVC
> spraybar(kept below surface to minimize CO2 dissipation)supplemented
> by an old 203.

Hows the alkalinity?  Any idea what your CO2 levels are?

>   Substrate is quartz gravel w/First Layer pure laterite
> underneath(and a small amount mixed into the first inch of gravel)

>    Any suggestions/reccommendations greatly appreciated....and once
> this is sorted out,maybe we'll see if we can't get one of my several
> Apono's that are sending runners to actually produce some plantlets
> :):)

I don't grow Apon's any more so maybe I'm just clueless, but I didn't
think they put out runners.

Roger Miller