Re: Low Foreground Plant on TAG Cover (E. tenellus var. tenellus)

>Subject: Low Foreground Plant  on TAG Cover
>> I was browsing the AGA home pages and saw the Tank at Mizukwa Cl
>> the cover of TAG volume 8, 1995.  Can someone please tell me wha
>> grass-like plant is in the foreground of the tank ?  Does it sta
>> or does it need to be trimmed (mowed?) ?  
>Karen: you are partially correct....
>It's hard to tell for sure from the photo, but I think it's 
>Echinodorus tenellus, "Pigmy Chain Sword".  If so, in good 
>conditions it will spread readily, and make a very pretty green 
>"lawn".  And, no, it does not need "mowing"<g>

As best I can remember, the plant is Echinodorus tenellus var. tenellus. In
bright light it becomes reddish. So, it will make a pretty reddish green lawn.

There are two varieties of E. tenellus. The other one is called E. tenellus
var. parvulus. This one always stays green. The one pictured is the thinner
leafed variety, never getting wider than 1-2 mm. I have both types and they
are each quite variable in leaf length depending on the tank conditions. The
literature is not consistent in its use of the words chain sword, pygmy
chain sword and tenellus.

E. tenellus var. tenellus is my smallest species.   This variety grows from
4 to 16 cm (1.5 - 6 inches) in length, depending on tank conditions.  It is
also my tallest species.  Of course, the leaves bend over, so the actual
height appears to be less.  Under some of my growing conditions, my plants
are longer than the maximum length described by Rataj or Baensch.  The
longest leaves occur in dimmer light.  An interesting characteristic of this
plant is the leaf color, as noted by Scheurmann and Baensch.  Under most of
my growing conditions, it has an interesting reddish color.
Scheurmann (Water Plants in the Aquarium, 1987) differentiates between the
two  varieties and states that the leaves of E. tenellus var. tenellus are
very small, dark-green to reddish; the leaves of E. tenellus var. parvulus
are somewhat broader,  grass green.   The new plant encyclopedia (System for
a Problem-Free Aquarium, 1993) by DENNERLE, a German grower of Aquarium
plants guide, states that the color for their E. tenellus is reddish in
bright light.  

E. tenellus var. parvulus was described to me by the Florida grower simply
as 'tenellus' and is probably the same plant which is native to the Southern
U.S. It is also known in the U.S. plant trade as the narrow leaf chain
sword. The leaves are approximately 3-4 mm in width and grow in my tanks to
9 -15 cm (3.5 - 5 inches); it is always wider than var. tenellus.  Under
some of my growing conditions, this variety of tenellus is also longer than
the maximum length described by Rataj or Baensch.  They match the
dimensional description for E. tenellus by James.  

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