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Subject: Aponogetons

>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?

Your plant is a hybrid between A. natans and some other Apono, possibly
crispus.  Natans has been introduced to many aquarium hybrids because it is
a very vigorous species, even if it is not as attractive as those species
that have fully submerged leaves.  It is _possible_ that if you snip the
floating leaves, the plant will continue to grow submerged leaves.  But as
with other hybrids, results are variable.  You may have gotten one that
resembles its A. natans ancestors more than others.

>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?

Now you know what Neil Frank was talking about a few weeks ago in his post
about the different stages an aquatic gardener goes through.  It sounds
like you've got the "growing plants" down pat.  Now you need to learn to
manage the growth.  While it is true that plants in an underlit tank will
"reach" for the light, the growth will be spindly and unattractive.  From
what you've said, that does not seem to be the case in your tank.  It
certainly shouldn't be with 4w/g!

The stem plants will always need to be trimmed, that's just the way they
grow.  The best way to trim them is to cut back the stems just above a
branch 1/3 -1/2 of the way to the top.  Don't cut too many at once, or your
plant will look like is got a crew-cut!  The plant should branch and become
fuller with this type of trimming.  If you must limit the growth of big
rosette plants (like Echinodorus) you might want to try decreasing the
amount of light and CO2 available to the plants.   If your lighting
arrangement precludes the possibility of removing a bulb, you can reduce
the photoperiod instead.
Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association