Barclaya Longifolia

Last week I purchased my first Barclaya Longifolia, a beautiful tall (~12 
inches) red plant with 4 good sized leaves.  The fish store said that red 
plants need intense light to survive.  Current lighting in the 125g tank is 
only 60watts, but a VHO retrofit kit was due in the mail.  Unfortunately, I 
found out yesterday the ballast is on backorder.    My concern is that 2 of 
the large leaves have "rotted off" of the plant.  Where the stem attaches to 
the leaf, the leaf tissue seems to have dissolved and I find the whole leaf 
floating at the surface.  The plant has produced one or two small growths 
that will eventually become leaves.  I just don't know how tall quite yet. 
 There are several small holes developing in the other original leaves.  I 
don't know if this is old snail damage (didn't notice the holes when washing 
the plants after purchase) or new.  Barry James' book _Aquarium Plants_ 
states that lighting is "not critical" but Ines Scheurmann's _Aquarium 
Plants Manual_ recommends 2 watts per gal.  The Krib doesn't give details on 
this plant and the aquatic-plants archives just talk about other people's 
success with the plant.  How critical is the lighting?  Could low lighting 
over a 1 week period cause the holes and rotting?  I moved another 15watt 
light over this plant yesterday.  Once the lighting retrofit is complete, 
I'll have 190watts, approx. 2 watts/gal of water.  Hopefully, the ballast 
will be here by next weekend.  Scheurmann's book also says excess CO2 causes 
holes to appear in the leaves.  Tank parameters are:  pH ~6.5, Fe 0 (I keep 
adding Kent fert and just get algae), PO4 2.0, CO2 6 ppm, nitrate and 
nitrite are zero.  Current problems in this discus community tank are red 
algae (SAEs are in quarantine with 2 more weeks to wait) and a nitrogen 
deficiency.  5 Cory catfish are also in isolation so nitrogen should 
increase in 2-3 weeks.  There are no hydroponic shops in the Atlanta yellow 
pages and local stores carrying pond supplies have only fertilizers with 
nitrogen AND phosphates - I don't need any more PO4!  I think I'll mix a 
very dilute solution of garden store fish emulsion and test the nitrate, 
nitrite and phosphate levels.  If there is no PO4 and low nitrate/nitrite, I 
will add a few drops to the tank.

Any comments or suggestions are very welcomed!
Rochelle Williams
williaro at ftmcphsn-emh1_army.mil
Avid gardener and aquarist,
   who does a little air pollution work on the side.