Bolbitis and Lotus

Subject: Bolbitis heteroclita (water fern)

> I've come across a plant for which I can't find any reference in
> books. In the plant index compiled by Neil Frank and George Boot
> saw that a  description for Bolbitus heteroclita is in following
> - -Aquarium Atlas, Baench Volume 2
> - -Aquarium Plants, Windelov's Tropica catalogue
> - -Picture Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants, Yamada
> If anybody on this list have any of the above books at home I'd
> appreciate if they'd drop me a few lines about the requirements 
> cultivation of this interesting plant.

Well, I have lots of books, but I'll tell you what I know of 
Bolbitis heteroclita from experience instead.  Almost all of what 
I've seen offered fro sale is emerse grown, and adapts _very_ 
slowly to aquatic life.  If you can get a piece from someone else 
already growing it submerged, you'll do better.  To me, the 
emersed form looks a lot like poison ivy.  The submerged leaves 
are much smaller and tightly crinkled.  

I have grown the plant submerged under a variety of situations.  
It seems to do best with supplemental CO2, but "best" is a 
relative term.  It's anything but a fast grower, and I keep it 
more as a curiousity than for it's decorative aspects.  It seems 
to do slightly better in my moderately hard water than in a 
friend's very soft water.  In his tank, it has hung on for three 
years, but has produced three leaves in this period of time.  In 
two years in my tanks, the small piece I started with has 
increased substantially, but it never looks very robust.

I have had better luck culturing it emersed in high humidity, 
(enclosed in plastic) but it's resemblance to poison ivy in the 
emersed state made me itch.<g>

Over all, I'd say that this plant is a poor cousin to either B. 
heudelotti or Java Fern in terms of decorative value.
> I would also like to know if  Malaysian sword and Java fern are 
> same plant. The plant I saw came from Singapore and was likely 
> cultivated in nursery(shape is a bit different than aquarium gro

There are several different forms of Java Fern, both due to 
cultural differences and the fact that the plant is naturally very 
variable.  There are also other species of Microsorum that are not 
currently being used in the aquarium trade.  Perhaps it was one of 
these that you saw.  I've heard Australian members of APD talk 
about "Malaysian Fern", and they say this is a different plant 
from M. pteropus, but I've never seen it personally.


Subject: Lotus lily question

> I  have three lotus lilies that provide a nice variety of color 
> 75-gallon tank. The plant that has been the most vigorous in its
> started out with many leaves and has continually produced many f
> leaves. However, the submersed part of the plant seems to be dim
> while it continues to send up stalks with floating leaves. (At p
> are five leaves on the water surface.) Are the floating leaves r
> for the submersed part of the plant diminishing? Do I have to ch
> one or the other?

Yes.  If you want a lotus to continue to produce submerged 
vegetation, you need to remove all floater before they get to the 
surface.  Usually, the plant "gives up" after a while, and stops 
sending up floaters. (at least for a while) You need to catch 
these leaves as soon as you see them, because they can easily 
shoot to the surface in 24 hours.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA