Re: Bob H's Aponogeton madagascariensis

> From: bhoffma1 at ix_netcom.com (Robert Hoffman )
> After 36 years of freshwater, marine, and reef aquariums, and always 
> wanting to try a Apon. mad., I finally took the plunge and purchased 
> one two weeks ago.

Good! The more of us trying, the better!

> 35 gallons, 4-30 watt bulbs (2 are on for six hours, the other 2 for 15 
> hours), temp. usually hovers around 78-82

Hmmm... what I've read is it likes cooler temperatures, say 70-75.
Due to the warm summer temperatures I find it hard to keep the tank
cool so my window stays open at night. It seems they are doing better
with the cooler temps.

> Ok, with this setup I have been able to successfully grow just about 
> anything with the exception of the short leaved Hygrophila polysperma.  
> However, the larged leaved species of Hygrophila (corymbosa?) grows 
> like a weed.  For some reason H. polysperma just do not make it under 
> these conditions.

Odd! What is the appearance of the leaves? Can't imagine a nutrient
deficiency. It is a soft leaf plant. Could something be eating it?

>  At present, I am growing in this tank  H. difformis, 
> H. corymbosa(?), 2 different Echinodours, Sagittaria sp., Apon. 
> crispus, Ceratophyllum sp., Rotala sp., Ludwigia sp., and Bacopa sp. So 
> far, I have not found any decent Cryptocoryne sp. that would compliment 
> what is growing in the tank.

A lot of these are stem plants and might tend to hide the lace plants
if they surround them. Cryptocoryne wendtii is very nice foreground
and in front of A. mad.

> The Apon. mad. appears to adapted after the initial planting and three 
> new leaves have grown in to weeks (each larger than the last).

This is fairly usual. How large are the leaves? The first ones from a
large bulb can be very large and prolific. Good that you have a good
environment for the initial planting. I've found they don't take to
being moved or uprooted. One book I read recommended the use of charcoal
mixed with sand for Aponogetons. I've not tried this but wonder if
anyone else has and with what success. Wonder what the purpose of
charcoal is in substrate?

> does anyone have first 
> hand knowledge of the environmental conditions where the species 
> naturally grows (i.e., depth, light intensity, temperature (seasonal), 
> substrate type, currents(?), etc.)? 

Precious little. An article in TAG reprinted from a very old magazine
article described it as growing prolifically in sandy streams. This
would indicate running water. It flowers emersed, so the water level
must be low enough for the flower stalk to reach the surface. I think
the temperatures for this plant are lower than other tropicals. During
the winter dormant phase, it could drop to 60 degrees. Many books
describe it as a low light plant but I'm not sure of this. Most plants
do better with stronger light and some do MUCH better! Algae on the
leaves can be a problem so its good if you have an established tank
with few algae problems. Lots and lots of algae eaters like otocinclus
(or SAE?) help. Snails might help but snail spawn seems to damage the
leaves. Brown dead spots appear on the leaves after a while and this
might be where snail spawn has been. The leaves of an active plant
can be very large; two feet or more!! I advise only planting small plants
like C. wendtii around it to give it room to spread out and to show it
off. Several books advise growing it in a "rich" substrate. Fertilizer
tabs presumed good. I've also heard third hand of it growing in mud
or ponds. I think it is being cultured in the Philippines now so that
is good. I've heard the Florida farms don't or can't propagate it. I 
wish I could!!! It is very difficult to find here in Canada.