is anaerobic good? and Plant ID's

Subject: is anaerobic good?

Stephen Pushak wrote:

> Crypts grow in a natural environment rich in dissolved iron and 
> there is a muddy bottom. Karen Randall, our Crypt expert, uses p
> soil and micronized iron.

Gee, I'm flattered, but I'm not sure I'd consider myself a Crypt 
"expert", just a Crypt afficionado.<g>  

Not that I'm strenuously arguing with much of what you are saying, 
but I don't have my Crypts growing in potting soil and micronized 
iron.  I pot my Echinodorus sp. and my R. macrandra this way 
because I have trouble growing them if I don't.  

Most Crypts do fine in my "normal" substrate, which is #1 gravel 
with laterite in the bottom 1/3-1/2.  I also have one shallow tank 
(my paludarium) set up with peat plates and laterite under the 
gravel.  This is the _only_ tank I have real success with C. 
affinis in, perhaps because the peat softens my moderately hard 
water.  There are other Crypts in this tank that do well too.

> > Is it a good idea to add solid fertilizer (of the kind contain
> > nitrates and phosphates) tablets or sticks in a substrate? Whe
> > would be the ideal level for these? bottom, middle layer?
> I'm experimenting with this and other people use fertilizer or p
> tablets with good success (notably Jim Kelly). I expect the
> best place is in the middle layer, not in an anaerobic zone.
> > Is there
> > a danger of those macro-nutrients getting into the water level
> > will the plants consume all the nutrients if the only substrat
> > circulation system is the roots of the plants?
> I would presume that all these macro-nutrients get used up by
> the plants as they are drawn through the plants circulation
> system. It should be safe to use macro-fertilizers if they are
> confined to the substrate.

I'm not arguing here, but I _am_ questioning.  I have been told by 
others that phosphate (and presumably other substances as well) 
will diffuse out of the substrate and into the water.  This would 
certainly jibe with my experiences the few times that I used DAI 
plant tabs in strongly lit tanks... I immediately got high 
phosphate readings and algae growth in the tanks, which only 
abated after a couple of months of stepped-up, larger than normal 
water changes.


Subject: Plant ID's

> One of the local retailers has just converted about 5 of its pre
> livestock tanks to live plants--and no "Bala Palms" or "Rose Hed
> In addition to the opportunities this presents, I figure it is m
> obligation to support their move.
> For better or worse (though far from surprising), however, I was
> with some of the varieties--and as many of you already know, my 
> library is woefully deficient.
> So, could anyone tell me anything helpful about the requirements
> following?  I apologize for spelling and misidentification, I ju
> the names from the tanks.
> Borneo Fern, Trichromanes Jayanicum

As far as I know, this plant is not an aquatic.  The Oriental 
Aquarium Catalog list it with their terrarium plants.  It is 
native to Malaysia
> Wildenowii Fern (selaginella)

This is also a Malaysian terrestrial fern, sometimes sold as 
"elephant ear" fern.

> Uraguay Sword (Muratius)--they wanted $20 for these!

Haven't got a clue without a scientific name.
> Marble Queen Sword

I believe this Sword was developed by Tropica.  It's _very_ 
attractive, but gets pretty large.  I think it is a E. cordifolius 

> They also had something labelled "Crypt"--they had 3"-4" red and
> leaves (the reddest plant I'd ever seen except in photos).  The 
> less than 1/2" wide and not ruffled at all.  Any idea what varie

There are several species of Cryptocoryne that are green on top 
and red below.  If the leaves have lighter veins on the top, it 
might be C. affinis.  If the green is solid, but more olive than 
"true" green, I'd guess C. wendtii.

> They also had "Hair Grass."  Could someone fill me in on the lat
> this?  I want some sort of foreground plant--should I get this o
> looking for pigmy chain sword or micro sword?

Most of the plants commonly known as "hair grass" are Eleocharis 
sp.  There are a range of sizes depending on the species.  I'm not 
sure any are quite as short as E. tenellus or Lillaeopsis though. 
The species of Eleocharis I have currently reaches almost to the 
surface of my 70G tank.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA