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[APD] RE: Anubias advice

Shireen Gonzaga asked:
> For folks who have successfully grown lush bushes of
> Anubias, what kinds of lighting and nutrient conditions do
> you have?

I have Anubias in 3 aquariums. My lighting is quite high, double T8s with
excellent wrap-around metal reflectors in all three. In one tank, the
Anubias are usually quite shaded until I do a major clean-up. They have been
steadily growing in there for around 5 years and have been sending roots
down into the substrate. Once they reach a certain size, the output of new
leaves increases since the plant has a bigger root system & greater
photosynthetic resources.

All of my aquariums have soil (of various kinds & mixtures) & my Anubias
seem to benefit from soil in the substrate. One of my best tanks right now
has a substrate made from mud sent to me by Dave Huebert from the McKenzie
river delta. The Anubias rhizomes in there are approaching 1 foot in length.
(or would if I stopped harvesting them!)

You need to provide all the nutrients necessary for growth in order to get
growth (a solipsism) so in a soil based substrate, where the soil does
contain some phosphate sources, typically you need to boost the supply of
nitrogen (assuming you have looked after everything else). If there are no
serious algae problems, a pinch of potassium nitrate or ammonium nitrate
(urea) will usually produce noticeable growth response in a week or so.

A slower acting but longer duration growth boost can be gotten by adding a
nitrogen source at the roots of the plant. I do this by taking ordinary
fertilizer granules (14-14-14 Osmocote) & rolling about 10 granules or so
inside a small clay ball & letting them harden. Then I push one or more clay
balls into the substrate right at the base of the plant I want to stimulate.
The roots have to grow into the clay to get the biggest boost & it will do
that over a period of months. I'd expect to see a benefit in about a month
but the boost lasts much longer; 6 months to a year I'd guess.

Sometimes a growth problem is as simple as a lack of calcium or some other
nutrient in the water. If your tap water has calcium, water changes every
few weeks can supply enough. I need to add a little calcium carbonate mixed
with water to all my tanks every few months to keep things going well.

When you add nitrogen to the tank water, there's usually a rapid growth
response but not always of the plants you want! sometimes the algae will
bloom. Ensure enough iron (in substrate with peat) or chelated in the water
or you might experience a BGA bloom. Paul & I have been speculating about
the importance of iron for nitrogen uptake. Its certainly also very
important for growth.

Steve P in sunny, above average temperature Vancouver

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