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[APD] bolbitis heteroclita

A frustrating plant I'd like to grow well is the Asian aquatic fern Bolbitis heteroclita. While Bolbitis heudelotti is the more known and used cousin, heteroclita has been described more as a "terrarium plant" or a "difficult aquarium plant" on the APD postings. I've seen it growing in the wild in the middle of streams, attached to rocks just at the waterline or on trees' roots on banks which must become seasonally sumberged during the rainy season.

So far, I've been unable to grow it any deeper than a couple of inches. The rhizome would develop new leaves, dark green and transparent as opposed to the light green and opaque when emersed. But the leaves would soon turn brown and rot. I removed the rhizomes to a spare tank with only indirect light, floating on top of hornwort, just a couple of centimeters below the water's surface and they've all been doing fine. Each rhizome now has more than 3 new leaves and none have turned brown or rotted. The aquarium is a bare tank, no substrate with just two inches of water. No circulation or filtration system. The only other plant in the tank aside from the hornwort are my spare Java ferns which are also growing a lot faster than in my planted tanks. No snails, just shrimp fed on crushed snails I take out of my tanks.

I have two other Bolbitis species I've yet to identify. One has bi- to tri-pinnate leaves with while the other has ovate paired leaves. Their submersed behavior is similar to the B. heteroclita but the latter grows a lot slower. Is there a lynchpin in making Bolbitis heteroclita thrive submersed more than an inch underwater? Placing them near the outflow of the filter doesn't seem to help...


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