Re: propagating lace plant

> From: bhoffma1 at ix_netcom.com (Robert Hoffman )
> >From: "John Y. Ching" <jyching at watnow_uwaterloo.ca>
> >My Aponogeton madagascariensis has send up a flowering stalk to the 
> water
> >surface. Are the flowers of this species self-fertile? Do I have to do
> >anything to help it along. Obviously there are no insects to do their
> >thing in my house :). I think Steve Pushak had an A. madagascariensis 
> that
> >flowered but I don't remember if any viable seeds were produced.  Any
> >possibility one can grow this species from seeds? If so, how? TIA. 
> >
> I do not know if they are self-fertile, but if you use a small artists 
> paint brush and brush the flowers that should better ensure 
> pollination.  Can you provide any information on how long you have been 
> growing your A. mad, aquarium conditions, and anything else that may 
> help others successfully grow this species?

It is self-fertile. Use the paint brush. Mine flowered but after a while
the stalk rotted and I assumed it had not been successful. Later I
heard that this stem rotting is normal. I think I still have the 
seed pod so I could try seeing if the seeds would germinate.
The flowering and seed business took about 2 weeks and happened while
I was away. I have some pictures but not yet developed.

Here's the trick: we need a shallow tank with no fish and containing
sand and clean water.  I think carbon filtration would be indicated.
The seeds float for a bit, sink (I think) and then produce tiny plants.
This is the critical stage. If we knew the optimum environment, we'd
know what substrate it should be in at this point. Possibly, very
sterile water with all the nutrients in a sand or sand with a little
clay would be the ticket. Flow of water is probably indicated. I'm
thinking that a paludarium-like environment (emulating a stream)
with a diatom filter with activated charcoal and frequent water 
changes might be the way to go. 

Another trick for Aponogetons I heard of is to use a floating
egg crate thing. Anything floating in my tank has a danger of
getting algae on it due to high MH light intensity. I have problems
with blue-green smear algae right now but it could be I'm causing
it (not to blame the vermiculite ;-) This is happening near the
top of the tank and started on the breeding trap where there was a
lot of platy poop and mucho brush algae. Dang stuff. Where's the
straw? Will plastic straws work? ;-)

This (propagation techniques) is educated guess work. 
The problems that I see are:
1) getting an algae free environment 2) getting the plant to grow
and store sufficient reserves to form a larger bulb. It may require
multiple warm/cold cycles (seasons) but perhaps the cold spells
could be shortened somewhat. Probably requires an air-conditioned
environment and might be beyond my resources. I understand 
people in the tropics commonly use water cooling devices for their