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Re: Question, observation, and complaint

Jim Burrows <jburrows at ix_netcom.com> wrote Monday, April 14

>1st, the question. I have an Apon. crispus that sent up a beautifull white
>flower. Shortly after the flower cleared the water surface, the plant
>started sending up red floating leaves (currently 3 but looks like #4 is
>starting). Should I clip the leaves off, or is this a way to get the plant
>gets "more power (grunt grunt)" to produce the seeds?

If you want it to make seeds, definitely leave the floating leaves alone.
You can try self-fertilizing the flower with a small paint brush such as
the kind used for watercolors.
>2nd, the observation. My bunch of Trichoronis rivularis (Mexican Oak-leaf
>Plant) has got to be the fasted growing plant in the world. This thing
>grows about a foot a week. I swear if you blink, the plant is an inch
>taller. :) Also, it drinks nutrients like water (VBG) much to my algae's
>disapointment. Good thing I have good substrate fertilization.
The same seems to be true for its relative, Gymnocoronis, which I have.

>3rd, the complaint. Well, not really a complaint, but kind of a question.
>Why do plant books seem to always understate the size these aquarium plants
>get? My aquarium is 24" from the gravel to the water surface so I try to
>buy plants that have a max size of 20" (with a few exceptions). Then I have
>to clip the tops off, or remove the larger leaves. Orignally, I figured
>they were reaching for light, but at 4 watts to the gal, I should have
>enough, right?
It may be that they are growing bigger for you than they did for the
authors of the books.  If you give a plant a lot of light, room, and
nutrients it can get  bigger than the books say.  I had, for example, a
lace plant of the variety that has long narrow leaves and flowers with five
spikes (guillottii?) which got much too big for my 75 gallon tank.  the
petioles of the leaves were all the way up to the surface of the water.
Later, in the same tank (my biggest tank) a green, narrow-leaved variety of
E. uruguayensis started producing oversized floating leaves with three foot
stems.  I finally pulled it out, cut off all the leaves, and planted it in
my under-lit, low maintainance, 55 gal.  It has gone back to producing the
pretty, narrow underwater leaves.  I now have in my 75 gallon about 5
plants of the wider-leaved red variety of E. uruguayensis.  These,
thankfully, have not produced floating leaves, but they look a little too
big.  Their leaves reach the water surface about half way along the length
of the blade.  The tank has 160 watts of T-12 fluorescent lighting.

Kasselmann, in her book, Aquarienpflanzen, shows plants of uruguayensis
that have more than 50 leaves in aquariums where the leaves do not reach
the surface.  Either these are giant aquariums where the owners would have
to be lowered into them with a block and tackle arrangement, or the plants
have not reached maximum possible size, possibly because of phosphorus
deficiency.  Many aquarists try to limit algae by limiting phosphorus, and
mild phosphorus deficiency produces smaller, but otherwise normal looking

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174