catching up: APD#20-39

> From: olga at arts_ubc.ca
> Date: Wed, 17 Apr 1996 14:25:23 -0700
> Subject: Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #17
>  I posted the following:
> >From: olga at arts_ubc.ca
> >I just found a good looking plant I haven't seen before in my l
> >It apparently came mixed in with a shipment of Java Fern and lo
> >is related. It isn't in any of my books.
> >
> >It is a dark green with leaves of the same sort of texture as J
> >However the leaves grow on stiff, stand-up stalks are triangula
> >toothed and have an "accordion-type" surface. It appears to hav
> >sort of roots as Java Fern and grows on a piece of wood. The fe
> >in the store (who is quite knowledgable but doesn't know this p
> >that it reproduces like Java Fern -- off the leaves. It is howe
> >putting out growth from the base of the main stem as well.
> >
> I've found out that this plant is Bolbtis Heteroclite or Heudelo
> information on it is that it is an emersed plant but apparently 
> okay underwater, though slowly. It also has long Java Fern looki
> when it arrives at the store but puts out the trianglar leaves i
> cloverleaf like pattern submersed. So can anyone tell me more ab
> heteroclite/Heudelotii? Is it doomed to die submersed?

Sorry I've been so long in responding, but I've been away on 

What you have is B. heteroclita.  B. heudelotti is very different 
looking.  It has finely divided triangular leaves very reminiscent 
of terrestrial ferns.  In the wild it is a marginal plant, but 
only in very moist, humid locations, like the spray zone of water 
falls.  It adapts fully to aquatic life and is an attractive and 
vigorous addition to the aquarium.  It does fine even in subdued 
light, but gets much larger with brighter light and supplemental 
CO2.  I have only successfully kept it emersed in very humid 
enclosed terrarium-type conditions.

B. heteroclita is a very different animal.  It never adapts really 
well to aquatic life.  It will grow well fully emersed in dryer 
condition as long as it is misted frequently.  I have kept it on 
the windowsill over a tray of wet pebbles to keep humidity up.  
However, it's emersed form looks like Poison Ivy, IMO, and is not 
attractive enough to bother with.  

In the aquarium, it sort of limps along.  It's obviously a tough 
plant, as even in conditions that are obviously not to its liking, 
it doesn't die, but it doesn't increase either.  My first piece 
came from a friend who had kept it for 3 years in a "low tech" 
dimmly lit tank.  Under these conditions, it lost a leaf for every 
leaf it gained, and was no bigger at the end of 3 years than it 
was when he started.  

When I took it, I placed it in a strongly lit tank with 
supplemental CO2 and trace element supplementation.  Under these 
conditions, it approximately quadrupled its size during the 
following year.  But it certainly is not what I'd consider a 
strong grower.  It's leaves, while fairly attractive individually, 
especially when new, are not particularly decorative en masse.  
They seem to deteriorate and blacken with age without falling off.

I suspect that what we are seeing with the foliage change in this 
plant is not so much emergent vs. submerged foliage adaptation, 
but deformed foliage caused by the fact that the plant is not 
really capable of fully adapting to continuous submerged life.

I still keep the plant, but more as a curiousity than for any 
aesthetic reason.


From: "Jan Fidrmuc" <J.Fidrmuc at kub_nl>
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 1996 10:57:22 MET
Subject: Growing Sagitaria emersed

>>I recently bought a few Sagitaria plants, don't know the exact 
specie unfortunately. I've been wandering if I could grow them 
(partially) emersed as well. <<

It _is_ dependent on the species, but more species of Sagitaria 
can grow partially emersed than not.  Most of the ones that don't 
are little ones.  Some get enormous, and are among the large 
arrowhead shaped plants you see along the edge of ponds and 


From: JDAVIS at bio_tamu.edu
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 11:02:58 -0600
Subject: dwarf hair grass

>>Recently (about 6 weeks ago) I got a pot of what is called 
"dwarf hair grass".  It is very fine grass, about the same 
thickness as "bermuda grass to the southerners of the list, and 
only grows 1 1/2" (3 cm) high. It is growing really well in my 
tanks after a brief lag (tank is 20 high, very soft water, 1 pearl 
gourami, snails, 56 watts of compact flourescent lighting).  What 
i am wondering is does anyone know the scientific name of this 
little cutie :)<<

Unless someone is playing with common names again, "Hair Gress" is 
usually the common name given to plants in the genus Eleocharis.  
There are a number of different species ranging from quite short 
to fairly tall, so I can't tell you for sure which species you 


From: JDAVIS at bio_tamu.edu
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 11:43:26 -0600
Subject: hair grass

>>What would you say are the distinctive morphological features 
that differentiate hair grass from liliopsis (sp??)<<

Lillaeopsis produces single leaves that grow up from a rhyzome 
below the substrate surface.  Each leaf looks like an individual 
blade of grass.  In some some species the leaves are flattened, 
while in others the leaves are rounded. The leaves are fleshy and 
soft to the touch, and often curl slightly.

Eleocharis (Hair Grass) is a chaining rosette plant.  The 
individual leaves are _very_ fine, straight and stiff.  They will 
snap if bent.  The rosettes send out runners beneath the substrate 
from which other rosettes arise.  Some (E. viviparous is one) also 
produce babies on stems near the top of the plant.


George Booth wrote:

>>Two new 100g (60"x18"x21" high) "AMiracle" acrylic tanks are on 
orderand should be here in a week or so.  Once the room is 
finished, onewill be set up as a discus tank like before and the 
other will beeither a rainbow tank like before or maybe set up as 
a palludarium.  

I'm wondering if this size tank, with a hood, would work well as a
palludarium (Karen?). <<

My smallest Paludarium was in a 10G tank.  I haven't seen an uper 
size limit yet.<g>  My "permanent" one is in a 55G tank, but that 
size is not ideal.  I used that tank because it was on hand.  I 
would prefer to work with one that was at least 18" from back to 
front, preferably 24". I'm sure you could have a very nice set up 
in a tank with the dimensions of yours.

>> I'm also wondering if I spelled palludarium correctly. <<

I believe it is paludarium.

>> I would like to see a "river" like scene - the 60" lengthwould 
seem nice for that.  Perhaps have a circular path around acentral 
"dry" island with the rear part covered by the top of theisland.  
Might be fun to see fish come and go.  SAEs might likesomething 
like that.  With a circular path, it might be possible toset up a 
decent current with a good sized powerhead.<<

I've seen two with cetral islands that were very attractive, but 
in both cases, the tanks were custom made, and almost cubical in 


From: xero at localnet_com (toni)
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 23:23:50 -0400
Subject: river tank

>>I am sure some of you have seen the "River Tank" system that is 
for sale. Its the one that comes with plastic rock-like tank 
dividers and background parts that you glue together in side the 
tank to form little waterfalls and pools. I like the idea but the 
fake plastics rocks are really ugly. Has anyone ever built one 
from scratch so to speak, using real rocks ? Can anyone offer me 
some advice on how to go about doing this? <<

I have written a couple of articles on this subject.  One was for 
TFH, published about 3 years ago now.  The other was written for 
our club publication.  This second one I can do with what I want, 
so I will see if I can send it to Erik for inclusion in "The 
Krib".  I've had a number of requests for this information, so 
that's probably the easiest way to handle it.


From: cbay at jeppesen_com (Charlie Bay)
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 08:41:03 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: Re: Palludarium

>>The most *amazing* palludarium setup I've seen is one with a 
high back andsides, but part of the front is cut out.  I really 
liked the look of it...The back and sides gave plenty of room for 
rocks and waterfalls, thebottom was an area of water, and the 
sides and part of the bottom let you cover the area with 
bromeliads or bog plants.<<

If you can get your hands on them, the English translations of 
Aquarium Today had a series on an AWESOME paludarium similar to 
what you describe.  They went into minute detail concerning how 
this was constructed.  These magazines are still available from 
some dealer in aquatic literature.  I know Lee Finley has some in 

>>I rather like the idea of a palludarium where I don't have to 
worry aboutforgetting to water my plants.  :-)<<

That's what I like about _all_ my planted tanks... If I forget to 
water them for long enough that it presents a problem, I've got 
_real_ trouble!;-)

I don't think I will attempt a palludarium with a 100g or 200g 
tank... While it could look really good, I was quite taken with 
the "open front".

The ones I've seen with an inset tank were actually fully enclosed 
to retain humidity. (They also had built in "mist" systems on 

>>I'd rather use functioning 100g tanks for holding water, which 
seems to be a better use of their potential.<< 

If cost was no object, and I had total trust in my engineering 
abilities I'd agree.  As it is, I enjoy the saftey margin of 
having all the water contained within a waterproof vessel!<g>

>>I'm not sure how much of an impact on the humidity the open 
front would have, but I'm sure I won't suffer from lack of 
humidity in the tank; and it may help some plants (but evaporation 
would go up).<<

From the point of view of the terrestrial plants, I think it 
depends on what you want to work with.  Another consideration, 
though is the impact that laree amounts of evaporation will have 
on the house.  We were caretakers for a large reef tank for a 
friend who was moving one summer.  We had to buy a de-humidifier 
to ofset the 2 gallons of distilled water I had to add to the tank 
daily.  In the fall, when Dave pulled his winter suits out of 
storage in the same area of the house, we had to have all the 
zippers replaced because they had corroded shut:-(

>>So, here's my plan (which won't fit in my house and which has 
not yet beenapproved by my wife):  Square base, 4' by 4'.  The 
back and sloped sides are 3-4 feet high glass (1/4" is fine, 
because I'm not filling it with water). The front is 12" high, 
1/4" glass, and the water level should approach 10"  high.  The 
top will be open, with plants growing out.  The stand will hold 
the bottom 24" above the ground, for greater viewing ease.

That will give me quite a bit of vertical area for plants (I'm 
fond of bromeliads), and still 10" deep at 4x4' square for water 
(less loss from substrate, etc.) -- quite a bit of volume.  
Further, I could experiment with ultra-low maintenance ideas 
prompted by our David Webb. :-)<<

The water volume issue is a serious consideration.  Most of the 
paludariums I've seen set up in aquariums end up holding about 1/4 
of the stated volume of the original tank.  My 55G, which was set 
up to maximize water volume contains only 18G of water.

>>My eyes are bigger than my house.  :-)  I just can't constrain 
mygrandiose (my wife calls "excessive") palludarium desires to a 
*measely*100g tank.  :-)  :-)<<

Sounds like we'd better keep your wife and my husband 
apart...don't want them encouraging each other!

>>For technique (more in line with your question), I know the 
irregular rock faces...<<

A couple of comments on this subject.  I found that roofing slate 
is thin enough to be very workable.  I attached it to a styrofoam 
sheet which is, in turn attached to the glass with aquarium 
sealant.  I have a pile of old roofing slate on our property, 
which makes it even more convenient;-)  The styro sheetsare very 
easy to work with in terms of sculpting the shape I wanted.  After 
4+ years, they are still holding up fine.

The German Paludarium I spoke of had all areas above the water 
level sheathed in cork board, which again, is easy to work with, 
and a nice, dark unobstrusive background as well.

Last, don't get obsessive about the background in any case.  I 
spent a _HUGE_ amount of time and effort on getting my background 
"just right".  Within a very few months, it was _completely_ 
covered with plants, and has never been seen since!


From: Stephen.Pushak at saudan_HAC.COM
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 1996 5:30:46 PDT
Subject: Dorothy Reimer's low-tech tanks

>>I've been looking through all the materials I've compiled from
the APD and e-mail correspondence in the last 1.5 years to 
consolidate the materials on substrates and secondarily nutrients. 
(believe me, there's a TON) I came across an article by Karen 
about Jun 15, 95 where she mentioned Dorothy's tanks which get 
excellent results without special additives. I believe it was said 
that she doesn't use any nutrient additives and possibly no CO2 
and with relatively low lighting levels. I also understand from 
comments (I'm using the imperfect human memory archive ;-) by Neil 
Frank that Dorothy is a great believer in using ordinary soil.

Could either of you AGA members forward me any electronic copies 
describing Dorothy's methods and results or share observations 
with us here on the APD? Thank you! <<

Dorothy does _not_ use supplemental CO2.  

The way she sets up her tanks is to fill the bottom of her tanks 
with pots containing soil, then cover the whole thing over with 
gravel.  (She uses "chick grit" from the feed store)  The reason 
she uses pots is so that if she wants to remove a plant, she can 
pull the whole pot and not completely foul the tank water with 

She uses 1 (that's right, one) 4' 2 bulb shop light over four 55G 
tanks set side by side, long sides together.  I beleive she uses a 
combination of cool white and warm white bulbs, and changes them 
when they wear out.  

I don't know how she does it!:-)  I haven't seen her tanks in 
person, but I _have_ seen the plants that come out of those tanks, 
and they are beautiful.  Large, healthy, algae free and vibrant 

Perhaps you might be interested in a short article for TAG in 
exchange. Of course credit to be given to those whose ideas and 
information have been contributed etc. etc.

We're always interested in good material for TAG!  Please feel 
free to submit it to Neil when you're ready.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA