fw: Need to rescue an E. hormanii

Here is some email from Keith Rogers.  Don't know why the !@#$%^&*
server bounces an article every once in while.  I guess we should be
thankful that it doesn't just lose messages.

Shaji Bhaskar                                              bhaskar at bnr_ca
BNR, 35 Davis Dr., RTP, NC 27709, USA                      (919) 991 7125

---forwarded message---->

From: Keith Rogers <krogers at canopus_sim.es.com>
Message-Id: <199506202013.OAA05288@canopus.sim.es.com>
To: Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com
Subject: Need to rescue an E. hormanii

I have to let out my dirty little secret.  I'm looking for help to
save an E. horemanii plant which has much sentimental value.

The story: George gave me a few chunks of E. horemanii rhizomes from
when he and Karla hacked the monster specimen last summer to put it in
the 120 (SLAG).  I put them in a newly setup aquarium and they grew
like gang busters.  I gave a few away, gave a couple back to George,
kept one.  After a few months, though, they started getting
"chlorotic" in that the veins stayed the nice dark red (it's the red
variety) but the area between started going green, then almost
transluscent.  They've been like that for about 6 months now, and few
new leaves have come out (down from something like 60 6" leaves in its
heyday).  The old leaves are starting to decay now and I'm afraid of
losing the plant.

Tank Hardware: 50 gallon (I know, I know, a happy horemanii will
vastly outgrow such a small tank, but there's another bigger tank in
the works...), CO2 injection, Dupla tablets at water change, 3 drops
daily, 2 wide spec fl bulbs.  Main thing to note is no laterite in the
substrate and no heating cables.  A submersible heater keeps water
temp at 76.

Comments: The tank is in an unheated basement which hovers around 60
degrees in the winter, mid 70s in the summer.  The leaves started
going bad with the onset of fall.  I suspect the horemanii (and some
Crypts which also went a bit "chlorotic") are plants which really need
to get their nutrients from the roots, not leaves.  My theory is that
the water could circulate reasonably well when the room temp was the
same as water temp, but during winter, the substrate got significantly
cooler and little water exchange occured.  The lack of laterite might
be contributing to poor leaf formation, but I think abismal
circulation and/or cold feet are more likely causes.  Other species
grew well all year long.

Questions: Have others had similar situations and what cured the bad
leaves?  Do you have a feel for the relative importance of substrate
circulation vs laterite vs warm feet, etc?  Any relavent expreince
with horemanii's would be great.

Courses of action in order of increasing pain to implement:

1) Get rid of the plant - grow something else.  Well, it IS an option,
and the easiest.  But I'm don't want to take this course.

2) I have some laterite in a box.  I have some gel capsules.  I could
distribute small doses of laterite at the roots of the plant.  This is
pretty easy as I don't have to tear down the tank.  However, I don't
think spiking the roots with clay will do the trick if I don't get
circulation too.  Note that the parent plant grew to massive
proportions in George's 85, which was a UGF filtered, no-laterite
affair.  In other words, good circulation, no laterite.

3) Tear down the tank, put in some home-brewed heating cables and the
laterite.  A couple day heavy job, but doable.  Major pain, but should
guarantee success.

Comments welcome; thanks for any help,

Keith Rogers
krogers at es_com