CO2 reactor, low pH, Aponogeton madagascariensis propagation

> From: David Webb
> Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 17:07 CST
> Subject: CO2 and open tanks (was Re:Growing conditions for plants and...)
> I have found on my tank that opening it up has a pretty big effect on the CO2 
> retention.  My a.crispus are currently flowering, so I have the top of the tank 
> open on one side.  Since I've done this, my pH has gone up from ~7.0 to ~7.5, 
> using two yeast generators.  It might be time for me to go with a more 
> efficient CO2 reactor design.

I looked at some of the reactors and even the fancy ones just had a spiral shaped
glass tube which allowed bubbles to slowly escape out the top to the air. Do any
of the commercial reactors employ more active methods for dissolving the CO2?
Circulating water and CO2 through some kind of pump would be good esp. if
the bubbles weren't allowed to escape but got retained and recirculated. Just a
thought but haven't formed a picture of how to accomplish it.

> From: KB Koh
> Date: Tue, 16 May 95 08:34:00 PDT
> Subject: PH
> discovered my PH is way too low, going below 5.0 even with 25% water 
> change weekly. Quickly did a 50% water change and PH went up to 6.5. 
> My question is what can cause the PH keep going down? I have a large 
> drift wood. Could this pose a problem?

Is it feasible to put a piece of your drift wood into a container of neutral water
and then test it in a few hours/days? I think you have something bad in your
tank to cause that much acidity. I've read/heard of varnishing/sealing wood for
aquariums but have no practical experience to share.
Subject: Cover

mleather in APD#73 said (s)he likes plexi-glass better than regular glass. I forgot
who, but didn't somebody post an analysis on the newsgroup re the absorption
characteristics of glass and plastic?? I don't have a copy but if I remembered
pyrex glass was best, followed by regular leaded (green) glass and then plexi-glass.

Subject: Aponogeton madagascariensis propagation

Many thanks to Peter Staehler for shipping the bulbs to me. There were two large
bulbs and 6 small ones. The large ones had large leaves which did not survive
the 10 or so days in transit. They had turned brown and had a musty smell and
quite well into decomposition but no evidence of mold or fungus that I could see.
These two were shipped moist in plastic bags. Interestingly, the bulbs didn't stop
growing and had each sent out about 3 small, white shoots about 1-3" in length. 
These two bulbs are the largest I have seen at about 1.5" dia. x 2" long. The other
bulbs were the last of the stalk and very small so if they grow I will be ecstatic.

Step 1) The bulbs all went into my 49 gal. tank (CO2 injection, 2 x 40watt  fluorescents.
12 photo period, soft, slightly acidic tap water, regular liquid fertilizer, trace mineral
supplement and U.G. fertilizer tablets) for the time being. I'm hoping to see the
leaves regenerate somewhat and begin forming roots before Step 2). (Mainly because
I'm not sure exactly what Step 2 will be)

Step2) I'm thinking of putting the bulbs into flower pots with a mixture of coarse
gravel, fine gravel, chips of composted cow manure and some laterite. I think I'll
drill holes in the pots to promote circulation. The question is how much organic
material to use. Has anyone used manure in this kind of application where the pots
were placed into a tank with fish? The tank has plenty of fast growing plants so
hopefully the new nutrients and nitrates won't tip off wild algae growth. I'm also
thinking that it would be good to put the plants in the flow from the top filter since
what I've read indicates they grow that way in the wild.

Step 3) the paludarium. no fish (probably). This would have a uniform substrate
material probably of the same composition as what goes into the flower pots if
that works out. This is a 2' x 2' base approx. 3' high. The idea here is to provide
sufficient nutrients to permit growth of the bulbs and flowering. The flower rises
up several feet and extends above the surface of the water. I'd like to hybridize
the A.mad. with some other Aponogetons but how is this done? Do you try to
cross pollinate? Will the seeds be viable? The site I'm thinking of is next to my
west facing window and against the wall so that there is only indirect light. I'll probably
supplement the light artificially although there's probably enough daylight to do the
job. Comments? Shaji, Karen, do you use CO2 in your paludariums?

Step 4) the seedlings. This is the hard part. Anybody raised Aponogetons from seed?
Here is what the book (Aquarium Plants - Rataj & Horeman) says:
 "The seeds are sown on the surface of washed sand and then transferred into tanks
 some months later. Development is better if the seeds are kept in a bottle of clear 
 water for a period of four to eight weeks and are transplanted (to tanks without fish)
 only when their leaves are about 25 mm long and the roots about 50mm long."
They also mention that several wild species develop best only if illuminated from
above; i.e. the tank should be situated on the floor below the window. This seems a good
reason to use artificial lighting.

Sorry to go on so much; I'm a bit fanatical on this at the moment and quite excited.
Thanks to one and all for advice and esp. to Peter for the assistance.

--Steve    :%))