Aponogeton capuronii

Subject: Aponogeton "capuroni"

> I just purchased an interesting Aponogeton labeled "A. capuroni"
> There is no mention of this plant in either volume of Baensch or
> Booth plant list (my only plant references).  It matches the pic
> and description of A. stachyosporus almost exactly.  Is "capuron
> real species, a cultivar name, or is this plant simply mislabele

I have an A. capuronii too.  It is listed (and pictured) in the 
Oriental Aquarium catalog.  It is a Madagascar native, and if you 
compare it to A. stachysporus it really is quite different.  A. 
capuronii doesn't cork screw the way stachysporus does.  The 
leaves are incredibly ruffled, and very stiff and "crispy" (they 
don't even feel like leaves if you touch them, more like plastic!)

I've had mine since March, and it didd well all summer.  It seems 
to be heading for a rest period now.  I don't usually bother 
"resting" Aponos, but I like this one enough that I'll probably 
give it a try.

Subject: Balance and lighting 


Sorry it's been a while to get back to you, we've been away for a 
few days, I haven't been ignoring you.

> Karen balance is a term for which I have no good definition, and
> my science background, I just *have* to ask.

> From what you say above, balance seems to be some function of > 
light CO2 and nutrients. 

Do you not agree that these things must be supplied in a balanced 
way in order to avoid problems?

> Also from what you say above, balance is
> apparently not the same as "long-term, trouble-free growth of > 

Why not?  I would consider any tank that has achieved long-term 
trouble-free growth to be in balance.
> Do you have a more precise definition?

Well, from my art rather than science background, I think of 
balancing a planted tank as I do balancing a mobile.  There are 
many, many possible variations.  on any axis of the mobile, you 
must achieve a state of balance.  This can be done by adding more 
weight to one end of your support piece, lightening the other end, 
or moving the balance point between the two.  

This is why aquarium keeping is and art/science.  There are too 
many variables to be able to give pat answers.  In the end, it is 
up to each individual aquarist to find the way to balance in their 
own system.  We can only stand on the sidelines, from a position 
of experience and give helpful hints.

If I see a child trying to balance a mobile with an orange on one 
end of the axis, and a wiffle ball on the other, I will _know_ 
that it won't work in spite of the similar size of the two 
objects.  I can suggest another object, or another arrangement 
that _will_ achieve balance.

When an aquarist tells me that they are having a terrible algae 
problem since increasing the lighting on their tank, my experience 
tells me that _probably_, either their nitrate/phosphate levels 
are too high, or they are not backing up the light with sufficient 
 CO2 and/or trace element supplementation.

This is where the science comes in.  We _know_ what is neccessary 
to acheive good plant growth.  We also know that what ever is in 
the least supply will be the limiting factor.  

Some times it gets confusing because the aquarist has a number of 
potential problems at the same time.  Such as in a tank where the 
nutrient load is too heavy, _and_ there is not enough CO2 
available for the plants.  Fixing just one situation or the other 
will not solve the problems in the tank.  Both parts of the 
"mobile" must be balanced to make the whole thing work.
> Is balance to you a yes/no proposition (i.e., either there is 
> balance or there isn't)?


>  If so, how do we determine from a set of conditions
> (light, CO2, nutrients) whether we have balance or not?

Let your eyes tell you!  If the fish and plants are healthy, and 
growing well, and algae is at a manageable level on a _sustainable 
basis_ (and I'll quantify this here by saying sustainable for at 
least a year or more)  the tank is in balance.

This is not a static balance, however, because it is a closed 
system.  One of the items to be balanced is the the work the 
aquarist is willing and able to put into the system.  That too, 
will vary depending on the situation.

> Or, are there different degrees of balance? if there are degrees
> balance, how can we compare one set of conditions (light, CO2,
> nutrients) with another and say which of the two is better? 

I would never say that one system is "better" than another if the 
OWNER of the tank is satisfied with the results.  My goal is to 
help those who are _not_ satisfied with the results they are 
> How does "out of balance" as a function of light, CO2 and 
> nutrients translate to "problems"?

The problems are as varied as the systems themselves.  Algae 
problems are often a result of an imbalance between light and 
macronutrients, but could also be caused by too much light and not 
enough CO2.  Too much light without sufficient CO2 can cause 
serious pH swings, but this can become even worse in the presence 
of plants that are particularly adept at splitting cabonates.  Too 
little light on a tank planted with light hungry plants can cause 
a failure to thrive.  Lack of a specific trace element can cause 
deformed growth.  Plant eating fish in the tank can cause holes in 
the leaves.  Shall we go on?<g>

> The above are hard questions with no perfect answers.  I'm 
> hoping a discussion of the issues involved will help us come up 
> with some sort of guidelines about what combinations of light, 
> CO2 and nutrients go well together, and why.  It would be even 
> better if we could explain what is likely to happen when we 
> deviate from this optimum mix, and why.

Oh good ;-)  I thought you were just picking on me in 

I personally feel that the best we can do is introduce people to 
the concept of maintaining balance in the tank.  To think each 
time they add (or remove) something what the consequences might 

The only other alternative I see is a set of rote "rules" or 
directions that will produce a balanced tank if followed to the 
letter.  The basic problem with that approach is the vastly 
different water supplies we use across the U.S. (and around the 
world, for that matter)  The only way this approch would work 
invariably would be to specify the use of R.O. water as a 
pre-requisite.  Oh... then we'll have to give them an exact list 
of what species of plants and how many of each to use... and the 

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA