Re: Water Sprite

>From: Earle Hamilton <ehami at sunny_ncmc.cc.mi.us>

>At any rate, the water sprite will in time grow right out the top and 
>when I pull these monster plants to throw them away the plant is 
>typically 24-30 tall with 8 inches of root.  
>Here's my question.  After it is growing for several weeks some of the 
>stems develop an area that looks like something is eating them.

Sounds exactly like what happens with my Ceratopteris thalicroides. I have
two varieties and they both do the same when they get large (2' and over). I
can't tell you exactly in scientific terms what the problem is, I'm sure
someone on this list could. But in my humble experience, Ceratopteris prefers
a consistantly higher level of light and nutrients (including nitrate) than
many other aquatic plants. When I'm very diligent with my fertilizing and
trimming, my Ceratopteris do very well, and can dominate the tank in a matter
of days.

If I'm neglectful, i.e. the nutrient levels fall and/or the tank starts
getting shady, the stems will develop those dark areas that look eaten away.
This is not a problem for me tho, because by that point the plant's usually
so large it's time to toss the parent plant and start again with one of it's
little plantlets. I'm at the point where I try to keep only one specimen of
each variety in the tank. More than that and they use up too much of what
they and the other plants need.

I'm of the mind that this may be a normal response in the plant anyway. The
larger, older stems that start to "rot" are also usually covered in little
plantlets and this stem rotting may be a way for the stem to seperate off the
parent plant and let the new plants float off somewhere else, thereby
spreading itself.

Given adequate light, this plant seems bound and determined to use up every
last bit of nutrient available to it, which is why it's great in new tanks.
It'll just keep growing and propogating faster and faster until it does, and
gets limited by a lack of something. Just my experience, take it with a grain
of salt.

Kent Elliston
Sacramento, CA