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Re: thoughts on sunny thougts
> Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 20:59:26 -0600
> From: George Booth <booth at frii_com>
> Subject: Sunny thoughts
Plants have been evolving for millions of years to exactly match
> the environment in which they find themselves. Then we arrogant humans go
> and yank them from their rightful place and plop them into our own little
> suboptimal ecosystems, created by us as if we knew all the details.
> Thus I ask, "Isn't it true that aquatic plants would grow better if we
> moved our aquariums outside where they could be exposed to nature's own lighting?" Darn it, just stick the aquarium in the sun!
I love simple solutions because I relate so well to them. But, if the
theory works, we are putting what's best for our plants over what's best
for us. I mean isn't a major advantage of an aquarium so we don't have
to observe the tank outside in the middle of winter.
MY opinion only, is that the sun doesn't grow better plants. It does
grow them cheaper though.
> An advantage is the natural shift of lighting, both in duration and
> position (daily and seasonal). Plants have adapted to a moving point
> source in the sky. I would certainly suspect that the movement they exhibit
> as they maintain their orientation to the sun (what's the technical term?)
> is equivalent to the excercise that we humans must endure to stay healthy.
Many plants, especially thin stemmed one like Hygros, will bend to
chase the movement of the sun. However, I don't think it creates any
advantage for a plant destined for an aquarium. If anything, it creates
some curves in the stems that I like, but some might not.
I raise a lot of plants outdoors and I suspect as much as half the
plants in the US are raised outside. I tried growing aquatics outside
because it did appear simple. I deceived myself. One of the biggest
problems outside is adjusting the lighting. Much of what is grown
outside is covered by shade cloth that blocks out (usually 20%) of the
sun. Other plants can take full sun.
I also notice much more CO2 pearling under artificial lights than
sunlight after large water changes. I don't understand that at all.
> Of course, there are some limitations to the proposed scheme. You would be
> limited to plants that have adapted to your locale. Surely plants adapted
> to tropical cycles would be fatally confused by time and positional
> differences in a northerly or southerly latitude.
I believe you contemplated one of the plant limitations I have never
even thought to observe purposely. I have watched plants from all over
the world both thrive and expire in "my" outside setting. My opinion is,
water temp. and plant husbandry influence outside growing conditions
more than sun movement.
I might add, that growing plants outside presents many obstacles not
planned for. Runner up to the winter for big plant kills, was a deer.
I'm just so thankful the deer didn't find these exotic morsels more
preferable than its regular chow. I figure the bill I paid on that deer
dinner was several and there wasn't even a thank you.
I also have seen some plants (same species) grow differently in
different outside environments. Ludwigia repens always seems to be nice
in Florida waterways. Same species grown in nearby lakes in Georgia, is
generally not as nice looking. The best comes from a grower in Florida.
> Likewise, having the tank outside may present problems in certain
> non-temperate climates. One solution is to have the tank on a track so that
> it could be moved ouside in the morning and inside at night where we could
> enjoy the better growth achievable with natural daylight. This is a simple
> engineering excercise.
I sometimes wonder if natural daylight is a big deal. Perhaps this is a
plant to plant, locale to locale judgment. For example, I can't get
Riccia to thrive outside even though the water temp is often preferred
outside. Inside I have observed it multiplying 7" inches from a 75 watt
incandescent bulb yet it disappears in the wild during the warm months.
> Or, better yet, build a greenhouse (wethouse?) for the aquarium!
I like this idea if it could just have a heater.
> Any thoughts?
I think I prefer a sun that didn't move for aquarium plants, but I love
the type of question.
Dan the kitty litter man.