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Echinodorus, Osmokote and Stem Plants

Subject: Echinodorus

>   I was going through my swords yesterday (seperating daughter plants 
>and re-planting.)  At any rate, all of the older, established swords had 
>a thick 'woody' mass at their bases, about the size and shape of a 
>peanut.  Could they be storing nutrients, or is this something else?
>(In that vein, do swords ever go dormant like Aponogeton?)

These do seem to be a nutrient storage organ.  I don't know if they ever go
_completely_  dormant like Aponos, but they certainly sometimes start to
die back, and it has been found that if you uproot them, snap out this
woody "corm", they will start putting out leaves again with renewed vigor.


Subject: Re: Osmocote

Dan wrote:

>I don't think it would have ever occured to me that it was
>an empty capsule I was looking at. 
>    For sure, I won't waste any more time watching empty capsules, but
>maybe you will be interested in how long I can go on fish waste (or
>whatever) alone. 

First, of course, if you are satisfied with slower healthy growth (and
you've got the right kind of water to support it) fish food _can_ meet all
the nutritional needs of your plants.  Diana Walstad has done a fair amount
of researh in that area, and her tanks are proof of the pudding.  

But another thing to keep in mind is that just because you only had empty
capsule floating around on TOP of the substrate doesn't mean that there
wasn't nutrition from the Osmokote still down UNDER the substrate.  With
the much slower circulation in the substrate, things tend to last a whole
lot longer, whether they are "slow release" or not.


Subject:Stem Plants 

In the spirit of questioning "truisms" int the planted tank, here's one for
you.  Over and over I hear the advice to strip the bottom leaves off of
stem plants befor planting so that they don't rot in the substrate.  Many
years ago, in a desperate attempt to keep freshly cut stems down in the
substrae, I started leaving those bottom leaves on to act as an anchor.
I'm sure it's true that these leaves eventually rot away, but by then the
stem has developed some roots, and can stay down in the substrate on its
own.  I have never seen any adverse effects to the plants.  If anything,
they do better because they stay put so I don't have to mess with them over
and over again.  I _do_ remove any damaged or rotting areas on the stems
before planting.  Has any one had any problems leaving leaves on the lower
part of a stem that could really be attributed to this and not some general
Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association