Re: (Q) Madagascar Laceleaf (Aponogeton fenestralis)

PacoIII at aol_com wrote:
>   I went to my local store and found this lovely plant.  I'm going a little
> crazy buying plants and this one is a little expensive as plants go that is,
>  I only have a little information about this plant so I was wondering if
> someone could give me some help on it.   It said in  " Aqualink/aquatic plant
> list" that it's difficult to maintain,  I will give it my full attention, It
> likes to have DIM to MED light ( what does that mean?), high in nutrients
> (how much and what should I use),   a regular supply of Iron (how much and
> what do I use). Can anyone help,  Please, this is a beutiful  plant and I
> would love to make it happy in it's new home.

The plant has a strong seasonal dormancy which means that you would need
to take steps that might be incompatible with keeping tropical fish in
the same aquarium long term. This cycle appears to be strongly regulated
by temperature. An ideal growing temperature is probably about 72 degrees
with a dormant cycle temperature of 50-60 degrees. You could expect
ich problems with most tropicals in the low 70s I think. Goldfish might
be ok in temps of 50-60 but I have no experience to support that.
The plant will grow at higher temperatures but less successfully. 75
might be an ok compromise.

I would strongly recommend planting only in an established aquarium
where the algae situation is well in hand. Algae can be a serious
problem as the leaves are easily attacked by brush algae or hair algaes.

I would also recommend a soil based substrate; probably with a goodly
proportion of composted manure (refer P Krombholz postings on that
subject) with a layer of gravel on the surface. It would be good to
put a few fertilizer tablets in the soil. Many people grow the plant
in plain gravel however, without soil or a reasonable facimile, the
plant will only be using stored reserves from the tubercle.

With a continuous soil substrate (no UGF), there should not be a 
serious Fe shortage. Fe is reduced to a soluble state in the slightly
anaerobic lower layer of a soil substrate.

The plant does NOT tolerate being transplanted well. It is best not
to disturb the roots.

A healthy plant will grow quite large so it might be wise to use
neighbours which you could move or trim if they got too big. I think
small Cryptocorynes make a very nice surrounding. I'd plant it about
8" from the front of the aquarium and not close to any large, well
rooted neighbours.

The recommendation for DIM light is probably due to the fear of
potential algae problems. I would suggest moderate lighting of about
2 watts/gal. Although I have not had algae problems in a soil/vermiculite
substrate tank with ~3 watts/gal, the additional light has not produced
better results than a setup with less than half that light intensity.

I have one growing plant after about 8 months and one dormant bulb.
I don't quite have the courage to remove the one which still has leaves
but I should remove the other one and try keeping it at reduced
temperature for a couple of weeks. The initial growth of these plants
was phenomenal; I regret that I did not have a suitable environment
for their first planting and they did not recover well from the

Steve Pushak            spush at hcsd_hac.com             Vancouver, BC