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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #609

>From: Dave Phillips <dphillip at gbc_gbrownc.on.ca>
>Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 13:59:12 -0500 (EST)
>Subject: Substrate, Plant Maintenance
>	I've currently got two 20 gal tanks, one all guppies, and another
>guppies, tetras, and catfish.  I've some live plants in both - Cabomba,
>something floating, Lloydella, Red Ludwigia, and Valisneria.  
>	Is it normal that the plants uproot themselves on a regular basis,
>and require re-planting?  Some of them do grow quite well (esp.
>Lloydella), and often require trimming also.  

Plants never uproot themselves; they are not animate.  8)  Usually fish or
currents get them moving, though, and if they're not rooted, they'll go for
a swim.  I assume you mean your Cabomba is constantly going swimming; rest
assured, it WILL root, given a chance.  You'll find it (and other aquatic
plants) root best when the substrate you plant them in has little oxygen.
If you have large, loose gravel, it will take a long time to root, and even
then will not be rooted well.  If you place a rock over the gravel where the
Cabomba is, not only will it hold the Cabomba down, but you'll find that
Cabomba will develop nice roots there.  Also, if you can plant your Cabomba
under gravel under larger ornament, such as a big piece of driftwood, you'll
find it grows so many roots it's hard to pull out!

I find it easiest to plant Cabomba, and similar plants, via the large
forceps (big tweezers) method:  remove several leaves from the bottom end of
the sprig; grab the very bottome of the plant in the forceps, with the other
end of the forceps up by the top of the sprig (i.e., the forceps should be
held in parallel with the plant, not perpendicular); drive the forceps deep,
deep into the substrate, preferably at an angle under a rock or other
ornament; relax your grip on the forceps and withdraw.  It's quick, easy,
and doesn't disturb the substrate much (creating a mess).

>	Someone was mentioning kitty litter or other soils as substrate.
>What substrate or other tricks are there to keep the plants stuck to the
>bottom??  :>  

Crazy-Glue Gel (c).  I got the idea off this list, and it works like a charm.

> 	Another problem I have now that my guppies are breeding like crazy
>is that they're eating all the plants.  If I were to set up a plant-only
>10 gal tank, would I need anything other than gravel and light?  Is it
>beneficial to keep the light on 24 hours a day?

It's hungry, pregnant females that usually cause the problem.  If you feed
them more often, they'll leave the plants alone.  Of course, then your
phosphate and nitrate levels will start to rise, if your plants can't
consume it all.  You may have to change water more often than if you hadn't
so many fish, but I think the fish are half the fun.

Also, a 24 hour light is very beneficial to your algae, and won't help your
plants.  The plants, being more complex creatures, prefer a normal day/night
cycle.  So do the fish.  The exact day length that will serve them best is
up for debate, but many people seem to recommend only 8 hours of intense light.

Good luck, and have fun!