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Re: Mysteries of the Wood Chunk

About some strange growth I found among my Christmas Moss, Kwek Leong wrote:

>Chuck, my guess is that those "aliens" on your wood chunk are Java Moss,
>Windelov and, or Riccia.
>I try to send out only the Christmas moss and narrow leaf java ferns but what
>you get could possibly include any of the plants I mentioned above.  You see,
>there are many types of plants in my nursery tanks and they get entangled
>with the moss.  I try my best to remove them, especially the Uticularia and
>Black Brush Algae, when I send the moss out to the good folks on this list.
>But my eyesight is not what it used to be so inevitably, a strand or two of
>some other plant or a plantlet may come together with your moss.  The Riccia
>that I have also consists of both types, the normal bright green ones that
>and the mutated one that is of the same colour as moss.  These latter ones are
>really hard to detect when mixed up with moss.

Well, I hope you didn't think I'm displeased with or alarmed at the new 
growth.  I consider it a bonus prize.  One of the things that gives me the 
most thrill in this hobby is the little surprises that show up along the 
way.  I'm very excited to see new and strange things in my tanks so long as 
they are not harmful to the environment or inhabitants.  Sometimes these 
little surprises can teach you things that might not be learned otherwise 
too.  For instance, Paul Krombholz's reply to this thread revealed that 
Java Fern can revert to a diploid gametophyte growth form from the 
sporophyte form (that's sorta like an adult reverting to an infantile 
state, but even weirder).  I didn't realize this could happen.

>Take note too that the Java Moss I know could be different from what
>you have seen.  A plant importer told me several years ago that there
>are more than 40 different species of Java Moss.  He could be exaggerating,
>of course, but I'm inclined to believe there's more than one type of Java 

I think part of the problem is that mosses are very hard to positively ID 
just from an eyeball inspection.  I've learned that just from the wild moss 
I found that I told you about.  I'm pretty sure that it's a specie of 
Fontinalis (aka Torrent Moss), but I can't be sure.  In my research, I also 
found that common names for moss seem to be applied to genera rather than 
individual species in many if not most cases.

Speaking of screwy common names, I've seen and heard Otocinclus catfish 
referred to as Chinese Algae Eaters several times lately---it's a new one 
on me.  O. affinis comes from South America---Brazil, I think.  Is there a 
Chinese oto?

Anyway, enjoy that sunnin' and funnin' in Thailand. :)

Chuck Huffine
Knoxville, Tennessee  USA
mailto:grendel at usit_net