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Re: Macrandra Dilemmas...

How long have you  grown Macrandra successfully? About four months (the tank
is only 8 months old). The hardest part was getting some that survived the
shipping. It took four or five orders of four or five bunches each to get
one living stem. Now it's a bush and I just turned in a nice bag of
trimmings to the LFS.

Before you were successful, were you unsuccessful (and what changed that)?

What are your tank conditions: 90 gallon tank, 48x18x24, working length is
42", see below
Lighting - 3 - 96 watt AH Supply CF, 2 - 5500K, 1 - 6500K, on a split
photo-period, 6 hours on in the morning, 4 hours off midday, 5 hours on in
the evening. (The split is to harass algae, it works)
Temp - 76 - 78F
pH - 6.6 - 6.8
KH - 4-5
Ca (ppm)- 180 ppm TOTAL hardness, which isn't really "soft" per Tropica (see
below) but seems to work for me.
Mg (ppm)- included in above #
Cl (ppm)- huh?
Fe (ppm)- Enough to register on the Seachem test kit, usually around .2 to
additives/frequency (PMDD, KNO3, CaCl, CaSO4, etc...)? PMDD - 10-15 ml
daily, includes KNO3 to get to around 15 - 20 ppm nitrate.
Substrate/additives/cables... 3 1/2 inches or so of 2-3 mm silica blasting
grit with Aquarium Pharmaceuticals laterite in the lower third, mixed per

Anything else you can think of... These lights are BRIGHT, the CO2 is
constant (M3 econo CO2 system, left on at night). This plant is a fast
grower once it gets going. The other fast growers in the tank are h.
difformis and a few strands of anacharis (since it supposedly puts out
anti-algae toxins, dunno if it has any effect, but what the heck) The
remainder of the tank is planted in mostly short versions of swords. I do
occassionaly use a nasty looking syringe to inject the PMDD into the bottom
of the substrate, but I doubt this is any magic bullet. This tank is
intentionally run at full bore - everything is in "excess" of recommended
numbers and it looks like champagne sometimes. I think the trick is to not
let anything run low and cause the plants to stall out because of a shortage
in any one nutrient. I just did a major hack, and have a little spot algae
appearing, but I know it will go away once the plants recover. This is sort
of a filterless tank - I put a bulkhead in at one end about 6" in from the
end so the show part of the tank is 42". The water overflows into this
in-tank sump, through some filter floss, and then is returned to the tank
via piping from a submerged pump at the bottom of the sump. The CO2 collects
under the filter floss and burps out every now and then. There is no
noticeable water movement except at the overflow.


Austin, Texas

Per Tropica: Rotala macrandra is an unusually beautiful aquarium plant, but
unfortunately it makes such big demands that it only thrives in a few
aquariums. It needs very good light to develop its beautiful red colour, and
CO2 addition and soft water are vital to ensure reasonable growth. It is
most beautiful in groups, but do not plant individual shoots too close
because this will prevent light reaching the lower leaves. To ensure good
colour there must be sufficient micro-nutrients in the water.