Light requirements


 >> A "successful" plant tank can mean almost anything. <snip>
 The oft-maligned Kevin Osborne is perfectly happy with his smattering of
non-demanding plants.  I would be bored to tears. <<

 I think the hardest thing to get people to understand about lighting is that
it must be IN BALANCE with the rest of the technology of the tank.  It is
possible to balance a tank without artificial light... just ambient room
light.  Heck, this was the only option in the beginning period of the hobby,
and some people learned how to do it successfully with some plants. It is also
possible to balance a tank with a TREMENDOUS amount of light as long as the
aquarist has the knowledge money and equipment.

 >>  2) Your water conditions <<

 While you touch on this point in your list of variables for lighting, it is
an area not often discussed, and I wish I understood it better.  I believe
that the water chemistry of some people's tap water is good enough that they
can "get away" with taking liberties with the lighting that other people
plants can't handle.

 I can grow a large number of species WELL in my "high tech" tanks, (I know,
George, they're "medium tech" at best, next to yours<g>) But I am _very_
limited in what will even survive in my "low tech" tanks, and even more
limited in regards to what actually does WELL.

 OTOH, although I have not seen Dorothy Reimer's tanks, I _have_ seen what her
tanks produce, and the plants are lush, large and plentiful.  She uses so
little light that they make Kevin Osborne's tanks look like they're lit up
like Yankee Stadium.  What's the difference?  Well, she uses potting soil, but
that can't be the only difference, I've tried that in the past.  She uses no
trace element supplements, no CO2, and she must drive off a fair amount of the
CO2 produced in the tanks with her air driven corner filters.  As to water
chemistry, she couldn't tell me.  She knew the pH was about 7.2. (If I
remember right)  Beyond that, she didn't know or care.  It worked for her.

 I think that in a number of cases where people so cavalierly state that
growing plants is so easy without any special lighting or other
considerations, they are just _very_ lucky with their water supply and don't
realize it.

 Subject: Echinodorus flowers


 >>  Also, anyone ever see an echonidorus flower?  I think mine is about to--I
have a bud hanging on a stem 3" out of the water for two days now... I think
it's a bud which is about to bloom--it's not a baby plant--those look
distinctly different--I have another branch with one of those right now...and
as far as that's concerned, when a baby plant grows on the end of a
stem--should you cut it off when it reaches an appropriate size AT the
internode it has grown from to allow the other internodes to grow into baby
 Will the other internodes grow leaves or not I guess is the real question I'm
asking here.<<

 Many Echinodorus sp. flower quite readily in the aquarium. Mine do it
frequently.  Many produce both plantlets and flowers on the same flower scape.
To some extent it depends on whether the flower scape can get above the water
or not. Below the water, plantlets develop, above the water, flowers are more

 I remove and plant my plantlets when they have reached about 3" inches in
size and have at least a few good roots on them.  No one has told me one way
or the other, but I have assumed that as with terrestrial plants, you will get
better, bigger plantlets if you limit their number.  So I usually pinch off at
least half of the babies as they appear, so that no scape has more than about
6 plantlets on it.

 Subject: Siamese Algae Eaters in Millis, MA

 Uncle Ned's Fish Shop in Millis MA just got in a shipment of 100 S.A.E.'s in.
He says they're small but healthy.  The price is $4.50 each.  Ned often ships
African Cichlids around the country (and elsewhere) so I'm pretty sure he can
ship SAE's to people too.  I'm goin' over to pick mine up on Monday! :-)

  E-mail from: Karen Randall, 22-Jul-1995