Crypt Propagation, Nitrate and Discus

Subject: Crypt Propagation

> I have a curiosity to report.  Awhile back (about 2 1/2 months a
> bought a crypt, C. balansea.  I planted it and it's rather long 
> the gravel of my tank.  A short time later I noticed redish leav
> up approximately 2 inches away from the original plant.  Also, t
> growing in sort of a line.  Now I have approximately 5 baby cryp
> addition to the mom crypt.  I assume the babies grew from the un
> roots.  Has anyone else noticed this behavior with crypts?

That is the normal method of vegetative reproduction in 
Cryptocorynes.  Congratulations on your babies!<g>


Subject: Nitrate in Planted Discus Aquarium

> I have set up a 29 gallon, planted aquarium.  Ammonia and nitrit
> cycled to the not perceptible range, according to my kits.  I te
> for Nitrate with a Wardley kit.  The kit showed Nitrate to be in
> range, or aproximately 10.0 ppm (mg/L).  How important is Nitrat
> Discus home?
> The kit I used specified certain 'freshwater conditions' as bein
> ranges.  For fresh water, the kit indicated that for freshwater 
> should be 40.0 to 60.0 ppm.  Any advice?

Depending on your light levels, you will have more trouble with 
algae with higher amounts of nitrate.  With low - moderate light 
levels, some people find that algae is controllable with nitrate 
levels up to about 20 ppm.  For those of us who use stronger light 
levels, 5-10 ppm seems to be the higest you can go without 
problems.  Personally, I find that I seldom have any measurable 
nitrate level in my tanks.

While I've seen the advice that 40-60 ppm nitrate are acceptable 
for fresh water fish, this doesn't take into consideration that 
nitrate acts as a marker for other substances building in the 
water that we cannot easily measure.  I would not feel comfortable 
with levels this high even in a fish-only system, and particularly 
with Discus, which are particularly susceptible to problems when 
not kept in very clean water.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA