Aponogetons and DIY substrate heating

Subject: Question - Aponogeton Care

> How should these plants be cared for?  There is a time when they
> isn't there? When they go dormant, I heard that they should be t
> the aquarium and placed in a pot containing soil and left out of
> for a period of time.  Any help or tips are appreciated.  Jeff

Soil will do nothing for the plant while it is dormant.  The most 
important thing you can do to help your Aponos break dormancy in 
good condition is to give them excellent conditions during their 
_growth_ period.  When they go dormant, place them in damp sand 
(to keep themfrom drying out, and place them in a cool location 
(not cold like a refrigerator) for about 6 weeks.  They should 
sprout soon after replacement in the tank if they have been able 
to store enough energy during the last growth period.

 Subject: Cooner Wire
>  Well, I received today in the mail two samples of wire from Coo
> Wire. I read about them in the Krib/Plants/Tech series of articl
> DIY substrate heating so I gave them a call. The gentleman I've 
> with was extremely helpful and sent me samples of the silicone r
> coated and the PVC coated one, both in 36 gauge. Unfortunately t
> are very, very thin (O.D. .0258, it doesn't say if that's inches
> mm). I was hoping they would be similar to the EKG hook-up wire 
> have at work, which is a thick 1/8" silicone coated. The Dupla o
> are 1/8" too so, until I setup the big tank, bye-bye substrate h

Just a note on thin coated wire for DIY substrate heating.  Our 
local club decided to use one of my tanks as a "Guinea Pig" for 
DIY substrate heating cables.  The only wire that the person who 
put together the system could find was quite fine.  When the 
cables were first installed, they were checked with a continuity 
tester(? Remember, I graduated from Gary Larson's school for the 
mechanically declined, so this may not be quite right<g>) and it 
seemed fine.  Somehow, in the next couple of weeks, something 
happened to the cable, and it started to electrify the tank.  Of 
course the voltage was stepped way down with a transformer, so 
Ididn't electrocute myself, (besides, it's not April 1 yet;-) but 
I had some _very_ unhappy fish until I figured out what had 

A couple of the fish started acting _extremely_ jumpy, and I went 
to check the pH, thinking, perhaps, that something was wrong with 
the CO2 system. (I know, probably stupid, but I told you I'm not 
very mechanically inclined)  When I went to fill the test tube 
with water, a cut on my finger hit the water, and YEOW!  I 
couldn't feel it with my other fingers at all.  I ended up losing 
my female Krib the next day, but all the other fish have returned 
to normal.

So the tank is again without substrate heating. (oh well, it's 
done fine without it for years) after this experience, I'd say if 
your gut feeling is that the wire is too fragile, don't use it.  
Someone has suggested installing 2 sets of cables at the time the 
tank is set up, that way if one set fails, you can hook up the 
other set.

If I were to do it again, I'd place a UGF plate underneath so that 
if the cables failed, I could go back to the UGF/heater system... 
I _know_ that works reliably!<g>  The other good thing about the 
UGF/heater system is that the electrical part is easily accessible 
if the need arises to replace it.


Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA