Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #250
Subject: Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #248
> What are the recomended water conditions for plants like amazon
> swords, etc? I'm new to aquaria and everywhere I've turned, I've found a
> different answer (very different). Since I've found this list, I figured
> I'd ask here and get an answer from ones with experince. My tap water is
> acidid and very soft. ph 6.8, hardness 45 ppm. The plants are in a tank
> with angelfish. I believe I need to raise my hardness, but how can that b
> done without affecting the ph? Also, I've got 2 48" 40W bulbs in the
> hood, is that enough light? thanx very much.
One of the reasons you have seen a number of different answers concerning
the conditions need to grow Amazon Swords is that they are fairly tolerant
of differing water conditions. Your pH and hardness are fine for your
You say you have 80W over your tank, but don't say what size the tank is, so
it's hard to say if you have enough light. If you are using full spectrum
bulbs, and it's a 40G long, the answer is probably, if it's a 55G tank,
maybe, and if it's larger than a 55G, probably not.
In my experience, what is more important for the growth of Echinodorus sp.
is a good rich substrate and adequate trace element supplies. Remember that
in the wild, Echinodorus are only submerged part of the time. (some never
are totally submerged) For this reason, they have developed in a way that
they are dependent to a large extent on root feeding. If it is suitably
enriched, you may be able to grow them directly in the substrate of your
tank. If you have throuble growing them that way, I find that they do best
in my tanks potted up with potting soil and either laterite or micronized
iron. Sometimes I add an aquatic plant food tablet as well.
Occassionally I come across someone who grows good swords without the use of
a trace element supplement, usually people with soft water and a lot of iron
in their tap water, but most people find it necessary to add at least an
iron supplement, if not a balanced trace element supplement.
> From: Alan Holloway <llabh at utxdp_dp.utexas.edu>
> Date: Thu, 17 Aug 1995 18:08:55 -0400
> Subject: Suggestion about restocking to fight algae?
When you have explosive algae growth, it is a sign that the tank is out of
balance. What you need to do is look at _where_ the tank is out of balance.
You have already noticed one problem... that the tank is not stocked
heavily enough with plants. While valisneria is fine, I would lean heavily
on fest growing stem or floating plants for quick nutrient uptake. You can
always replace them slowly with more "choice" plants as the tank matures.
My favorite "starter" plants are Water Sprite, Hygrophila polysperma, and
Rotala rotundifolia. The Water Sprite has the advantage that, as a floater<
it has access to atmospheric CO2, and is not dependent on the CO2 levels in
Which brings us to the next imbalance. While your light levels is fine for
a tank with sufficient levels of CO2, at your current KH/pH, you have very
minimal amounts of CO2. (about 5 mg/l, I think) There _are_ plants that can
get by with CO2 levels this low, but they are slow growing, shade tolerant
plants. You have two choices to bring your tank into balance. You can
either increase the CO2 level in your tank to balance your lighting, (this
will give you the option of using a great range of plant species and
stronger growth) or you can reduce the lighting to balance the current CO2
level. (this will mean that you will need to stick mostly to low-light
plants like Java Fern, Java Moss, Crypts and Anubias) With the high-light
approach, you will probably also need to use a trace element supplement.
With the low-light approach, it is probable that water changes and fish food
alone will provide all the trace elements your plants need.
Either approach will bring the tank back into balance and you will see algae
production decline, AS LONG AS the nutrient (nitrate and phosphate) levels
in the tank are kept under control with reasonable stocking/feeding levels
and regular water changes.
A final change to make to your tank would be to remove or replace the 50/50
bulb. Actinic lighting is meant for use on marine reef tanks. It is not the
best balance for a planted tank. You'll do better with a full or wide
spectrum light source.
Don't feel that you _have_ to add CO2 to your tank. While this will
certainly give you the most options, it is _completely_ possible to have a
lovely, healthy, lush "low tech" set-up as long as you find the proper
balance and use the right plants. While I have 2 "high-tech" planted tanks
that I enjoy immensely, to the casual observer, my "low-tech" tanks are just
as pretty. They too are packed with plants, just a more limited number of
species. In many ways they are easiest to care for... the algae growth is
almost non-existant, and plant growth is slow enough that pruning is an
> Subject: A. ellensis
>Don't want to sound like I'm bragging but my A. ellensis just burst
>into bloom after only 2 months and now I have seeds developing. How do I
>ripen and plant the seeds and does this mean that the parent plant is about
>to go dormant or die?
While I am not familiar with A. ellensis, I would work on the assumption
that it would behave similarly to the other self-fertile Aponogetons. In
most cases, as the seed ripens, the flower stalk begins to deteriorate.
When ready to germinate, the seed will drop off the flower head, sprout, and
settle to the bottom of the tank. If left undisturbed by fish and over
enthusiastic aquarists, the sprouts will develop tiny roots, and begin to
grow. You can maximize production by moving the seed head to a similarly
set up smaller aquarium with a rich substrate and no fish. This will
guarantee that the seedlings can develop undisturbed.