Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #294

You wrote: 

>From: Stephen.Pushak at saudan_HAC.COM
>Date: Wed, 6 Sep 95 11:42:17 PDT
>Subject: 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!

I am a marine biologist who has conducted considerable research on 
eelgrass (Zostera marina), a submerged aquatic plant that grows in the 
many of coastal Bays/Lagoons in southern Calif.  I also have a small 
backyard orchid growing business.  Hopefully, some of my prior 
experiences will assist in successfully growing A. mad.  I plan on 
keeping very detailed records with the hopes that it may assist others 
in growing this unique plant.
>> 35 gallons, 4-30 watt bulbs (2 are on for six hours, the other 2 for 
>> 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.

It was my understanding that lower temperatures such as you suggest are 
recommended.  However, there is not much I can do about the 
temperature, particularly in the summer months.  Right now at the 
height of summer in Orange Co. Calif., the temp. is pushing 84F (28C).

>> Ok, with this setup I have been able to successfully grow just about 

>> anything with the exception of the short leaved Hygrophila 
>> However, the larged leaved species of Hygrophila (corymbosa?) grows 
>> like a weed.  For some reason H. polysperma just do not make it 
>> 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?
The new leaves that grow are very small about 1cm in length and become 
progressively smaller, if you can believe that.  Then the stem rots 
away at the base.  There are snails in the tank, but if they were 
eating this plant I would assume that other plant species in the tank 
would be showing the same or similar signs.  The strangest part of this 
story is that I have never been able to grow this plant in a decent 
manner in 36 years, yet many other species grow quite well for me.

>>  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. 
>> far, I have not found any decent Cryptocoryne sp. that would 
>> 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.

I keep the water column area around the A. mad fairly free of other 
plants to ensure that sufficient light will reach it.
>> The Apon. mad. appears to adapted after the initial planting and 
>> 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 
>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?

This is a relatively small specimen of A. mad. from others that I have 
seen.  The bulb was very small approximately 1cm in diameter.  The 
plant was bought with six leaves ranging in length from 10cm (oldest) 
to 23cm (newest).  The first new leave was 12cm, second 20cm, third 
20cm and is still growing. 

>> does anyone have first 
>> hand knowledge of the environmental conditions where the species 
>> naturally grows (i.e., depth, light intensity, temperature 
>> 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

I keep the snails down to a reasonable number.  Their sole purpose in 
life, as far as I am concerned, is to control algae.  There is not any 
evidence so far of any damage to leaves from these guys.

 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 
>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.

Every 2 months I will provide an update on how the plant is 
progressing.  Perhaps others who are attempting to grow the plant will 
share their experiences as well