Native Plants? Java Fern, Anubias article & big tanks

Subject: Native Plants?

> Hi.  A week ago I was in Houston with my fiancee & we were hikin
> the local wetlands of Brazos Bend State Park.  I saw what appear
> huge specimens of emersed Echinodorus cordifolius growing on the
> was wondering if this is totally commonplace to you guys who liv
> more warmer regions of the US?  I must confess to be totally blo
> encounter something I'd only seen in tanks, poking out of the gr

Arie DeGraaf did a whole series on various Echinodorus collected 
in the S.E. U.S.A.  It was in TFH, perhaps 5 years ago.
> Another question: what about collecting wild specimens.  Anyone 
> list do this?  (Not from a State park, but otherwise...)  Is the
> problem introducing parasites or disease into a tank?

I've done it myself, Doug Valverde collected a bunch of stuff for 
me from Texas, and I got a bunch of stuff collected by the New 
England Aquarium in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana while we were 
working on the "Ponds" exhibit.

If your water conditions are compatible with the species 
collected, and you have sufficient light, many do just fine.  
Remember though, that wild plants often do not adapt as well to 
aquarium life as those that have been propagated specifically for 
the aquarium trade.  The growers have already weeded out the weak 
ones for us!

In my experience, algae as extremelt specific grow conditions. 
(moreso than many higher plants) the ones we have trouble with in 
our aquariums are those that thrive under those exact conditions. 
 I've found that most wild collected algae dies off the plants 
very quickly in the aquarium. 

I do _carefully_ inspect plants for large carnivorous insects such 
as Dragonfly nymphs.  I find that most of the smaller insects and 
crustaceans make great fish food.  I don't worry much about 
snails, because the copper in my water kills them off, but I do 
remove all the snails (and eggs) that I see.  If I had different 
water, this would probably be one of my biggest concerns.

As far as disease is concerned, I'm sure there's always the chance 
of bringing something in, but it's never happened to me.  I would 
not put first generation wild plants in a tank with any 
particularly valuable or hard to replace fish, however, just on 
the off chance that I _did_ import something nasty.

Finally, as you mentioned, do not collect _anywhere_ without 
permission.  Here in Massachusetts, the people at Fish and 
Wildlife told me that As long as I didn't collect in State or 
National Parks, and as long as it was for private (i.e. 
non-commercial) purposes that it was fine.  They did stress 
_responsible_ collecting. (take a few plants from large stands... 
never remove a large percentage of a particular species from a 
specific area)  They also sent me a list of endangered and 
threatened plants that were protected, and could not be collected 
for that reason.

Subject: Java Fern pruning(?)

> What do you do when a Java Fern becomes too large?
> It's a little too big. What should I do? Can you divide
> these things? 

Sure.  Just pull it out, cut or break the rhizome apart, and sell 
or give away the divisions you can't use.  Make sure you keep the 
leaves wet at all times, or the parts that dry out will blacken 
and die.


 Subject: Anubias article & big tanks

> Congradulations, Karen Randall, 

Thanks, Earle!
>  Re big tanks.  I finally got my dream of two big tanks.  Made b
> American advertised in FAMA.  Dimensions 72" l x 30 h x 32 w.

Boy I'm envious.<g>  I think, though, if I had my choice of tanks, 
it would be a 6 footer, but only 24" deep.  I can't even get to 
the bottom of my 70G without getting my armpit wet!<VBG>

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA