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RE: [APD] two questions

Derek asks: "First off.  I guess you can say I'm still fairly new to
aquatics plants... So my first question is, what are some good books on

Well, it depends on what you are looking for in a book. First, I'm assuming
you are interested in only those published in the English language and this
limits your choices. The Amano books (Nature Aquarium World, #1-3, TFH) are
mostly nice photos of all different sized aquariums that have been
established for a while. The Natural Aquarium, (Yoshino/Kobayashi, TFH)
goes into detail more on the layout/design aspect. Aquarium Plants: The
Practical Guide (Tepoot, TFH) gets into plant requirement details and shows
photos of the plants individually. The Baensch Atlases #1-3 (Tetra) give a
good description and care requirements along with photos, although there
are a few mistakes. And, of course, there is the newly translated
Kasselmann book, Aquarium Plants (Kreiger) that I don't have yet. Then
there are some catalogs that are quite helpful such as Tropica's Aquarium
plants catalog, Dennerle's System for a problem-free aquarium, and Oriental
Aquarium's Aquarium Plant Catalogue. I should mention that one of the best
printed sources for current information is the Aquatic Gardeners
Association's journal called The Aquatic Gardener. Now, these are only some
of the books I have and I would invite you to ask others and see if there
are any book reviews.

Derek: "Secondly, I have a Java Fern in my tank,  which doesn't seem to be
growing... When I bought my Java ferns, I was told not to actually plant
them but to let them rest on top of the substrate... doesn't seem like it's
growing, nor dying. what could I do to help it grow better? my other plants
are doing fine."

Regarding the Java fern: This plant basically has three parts to it: the
roots, which are long thin and brown; the rhizome, which is the green stem
looking thing that grows horizontally; and the leaves that grow out from
the rhizome. The plant likes to attach to something solid like a rock or a
piece of wood. You can attach it with a rubber band or those wire ties you
use on a trash bag. The plant will also grow on the gravel base if you
don't move it. If its rolling around or the fish keep moving it won't take
hold and grow. Once it gets going the rhizome will creep along the surface
of the gravel and extend the roots into it. It is not a particularly fast
grower and may take some time getting acclimated to your tank. If your
other plants are growing well than this should grow also. Give it some
time. Try attaching to a rock so it stays still. Hope this helps.   

--- Eric

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