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Re:Rotala macandra

Karl wrote:
....I'm looking for _tank-raised_ Rotala macranda.  R. macranda is readily
available through the usual channels, but it isn't tank raised.  I'd like
to leap past that meltdown stage.........

I am afraid that tank-raised R. macandra will also have the same melt down
problems.  R. macandra is a plant that tends to go downhill rapidly after
being pulled up or cut.  The cuttings just do not keep well and are hard to
establish.  The best thing to do is to have a well-lit location in an
established aquarium all set up to receive your R. macandra plants when
they arrive. CO2 additions along with some chelated iron in the water also
help the cuttings get established.

I have also seen the symptoms of calcium deficiency show up in R. macandra,
as well as R. wallichii, when the other plants in the same tank (crypts and
swords) were growing normally. I actually lost all my R. macandra to
calcium deficiency, but I got the R. wallichii, which was showing the same
symptoms as the macandra, to recover by adding about a half teaspoon of
lime to the aquarium.

The R. wallichii was growing normally, but starting to cover a lot of the
tank and shade out some other plants.  When I cut it back, I got severe
calcium deficiency symptoms immediately in the new growth (distorted small
leaves followed by death of the growing point).  This occurred when the new
growth was only a few millimeters long.  Apparently the well-established
plants were able to extract enough calcium from the water and soil, but
cutting them back down to 2 or 3 inch stumps also cut back on their ability
to extract Ca.  I got almost no growth for weeks, and, although the
recovery started within a few days of adding the calcium, the plants were
slow to get back to their normal rate of growth.  It may well be that the
damage caused by calcium deficiency reduces the ability of the plant to
take up calcium.  Now that I think of it, I had similar symptoms, although
not as severe, when I first established the wallichii in the aquarium.  It
would grow about a half an inch, and then the growing point would quit.
Eventually a side shoot would come up and get a little bit taller than the
previous one. That also was calcium deficiency, by golly, but I didn't know
it, because wallichii was a new plant for me, and I thought that maybe that
was its normal manner of growth.  At that time, also, the other plants were
doing fine.

I havn't got any macandra now, but if I ever get some again, I will make
sure that the plants I get are immediately put in a well-lit location and
add CO2 and chelated iron and make sure that there is calcium available.  I
think that both macandra and wallichii need higher levels of calcium than
many other aquarium plants, even though the books say they prefer soft,
acid water.

Several contributors to the APD have reported that macandra does well in a
peat-soil mixture,

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174
In Jackson, Mississippi with sunny, pleasant spring weather.