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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #41

Subject: "Brazillian Sword"

Matt Kowske wrote:

>I went to the fish store and got some plants they
>reccommended to do good for beginners/low light.  But before that I bought
>a "Brazil Sword" from a normal pet shop (they don't specialize in fish).
>I thought it would be a nice centerpiece.  I picked the most healthy
>looking one in a tank of about 20 and took it home.  I got home and
>discovered that the little sign they stick in the pot said "Brazil Sword;
>Terrarium; Moderate Light"  It didn't say "True Aquatic" like I've seen on
>other ID signs.  I've read about stores selling land plants as aquarium
>plants but didn't think about it at the time.  So after I noticed this I
>called them back and told them they sold me a plant meant to be potted in
>earth and I want my money back.  They didn't give me my money back... told
>me "Oh! That's ok, it will do FINE in your aquarium, they live in both!"

In this case, "do fine" means that it will die more slowly than most
terrestrial plants, and even more slowly than most aquatic plants in the
average "fish" tank. (not set up for plants)  It' is _not_ aquatic, and the
best you can hope for is very slow death.

Your pet store needs some edicatin' ;-)

Subject: Good "carpet" plant

>Hello, I'm in the process of buying plants for my tank, and I would really
>like some type of plant that I can use to kind of "carpet" the floor.  I
>really like that look and I see it a lot in Aquatic Plant books.   I am
>not familiar with a lot of plants yet, but I have thought of possibly
>trying Pygmy Chain Swordplant or some type of small Anubias?  I don't know
>exactly... I need something that will propagate over the tank but remain
>low to the ground.  Any suggestions?

Both of the above work well.  Lillaeopsis is good too, if you have a fair
amount of light.  Amano uses both Glossostigma and Riccia in his tanks, but
both need a lot of light, and Riccia requires a fair amount of work as
well.    For lower light tanks, small Cryptocorynes work well, but require
some patience while they're growing in.  Java Moss can be tied to stones
and used as an almost "instant" ground cover, but must be trimmed
frequently to maintain this look.  

Finally, a good ground cover that many people don't even think of is
Hygrophila difformis. (Water Wisteria)  In strong light, this plant can be
trained to gro along the substrate with little trouble.  Just put a stone
down here and their on the stems until they take root.  This is another one
that needs regular pruning to keep short, but it makes a very pretty ground
cover, and fills in _very_ quickly.


Subject: Bio-Wheel and Co2 loss ?

>I check the APD archives and could not find any information on the =
>effects of from Bio-wheels on Co2-outgassing.  Has anyone done any =
>experiments comparing bio-wheel Vs no a bio-wheel in planted tanks ?  

I have experience only with the OPF's with biowheels.  Until I actually
tested, I though that these would outgas more CO2 than traditional OPF's.
They really don't.

With a canister filter, however, I'm sure you get more more outgassing than
with a canister without a biowheel and/or spray bar.  My preference is
always to allow the plants to get the first crack at ammonia.  If you find
that the plants can't handle all the ammonia being produced in the tank, my
first choice would be to decrease the bioload.  Eventually, you're going to
have algae problems beacuse of the high PO4 levels that also go along with
large, heavily fed fish.  If you need more bacterial filtration, and don't
want to offset the outgassing of CO2 by just supplementing _more_ CO2, a
fluidized bed provides the best bacterial filtration of all, and doesn't
outgas any CO2 in the process.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association