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Ozelot daughter plants and Jobe's sticks

I've recently seen Steve Manby's Ozelot swords and his very nice 120
gallon system. Very impressive. I have a suspicion that maintaining the
12 hours of darkness may be helpful to getting these plants to flower
and produce offspring. Is that what you do Steve?

I think the tip plant grows faster than the rest because it produces a
growth hormone which suppresses the growth of the other plants on the
stem. I forgot the name of the hormone but a search of the APD archives
using hormone as a keyword might produce a few hits. Stem plants also
produce this hormone at the growing tips of the plants which is why they
do not bush out until you "top" them. At that point you get new growing
tips at each of the top nodes of the plant but they don't grow as fast
as the old top because they are inhibiting each other I suppose and
competing for nutrients.

As for potting, this is not a bad idea. Obviously what you're doing
right now is pretty successful! I would use a very conservative soil in
the pot; no super soil. Wait until the plant is well established before
adding any fertilizer sticks to it. Those sticks release enough
fertilizer to burn and damage the roots of a small plant. Larger plants
have big roots and are putting enough oxygen into their substrates to
protect their roots against ammonia. 

I would suggest a shallow pot about 3-4" deep and maybe 6" in diameter.
I'd put clay and a little micronized iron in the bottom, loamy soil and
5% peat in the middle and gravel/sand on top. Later, when the plant gets
going I'd add a little fertilizer for it.

Someone else on the APD asked about ammonia appearing after the addition
of several Jobe's sticks to the substrate. In the anaerobic environment
in the substrate, bacteria act upon nitrate and reduce it to ammonia.
Ammonia is not oxidized well by oxygen even when plenty of oxygen is in
the water; its relatively stable. I don't worry about using the low
phosphate sticks and use much smaller amounts instead. 5 sticks sounds
like too many to me. I'd start with one or two and break them into small
pieces. I prefer to use the Osmocote pellets in small clay balls. The
release of nutrients from these appears to be quite slow and the plant
roots can grow into the balls in order to get more nutrients.

Just like terrestrial plants, overfertilizing can be worse than no
fertilizing. ;-)

Steve Pushak in Vancouver