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Re: Emerse Echinodorus

Possibly the largest supplier of aquarium plants to the trade here in
Australia has switched to growing all his Echinodorus under misting in
greenhouses. He has a computerised switching system that switches the
high-pressure ultra-fine stainless steel nozzles on as soon as the humidity
falls below (or the temperature rises above) pre-set levels.

By keeping the humidity as high as possible he says the leaf quality is
maintained as close to the underwater texture as possible so when the
ultimate customer places them underwater there are no problems. Without this
extra humidity the leaves are usually thicker, harder, less-flexible and
waxy to resist dessication. Often when these are put underwater they tend to
degenerate fairly quickly.

He also said that the higher CO2 in air helps, there are no phosphate-driven
algae problems on the foliage and no aquatic snails. He grows them on
waist-high benches for comfort in trays of sand and uses pelletised tropical
strength slow-release fertilisers and the plants are superb by any standards
with the foliage maintaining the submerse rather than the emerse form.

I had the impression that his "amazonicus/bleheri" types had slightly
smaller leaves than well-grown submerse specimens but then he was just
trying to grow "pups" from the flower stalks on his parent plants to a
commercial size as quickly as he could.

I guess some species may not respond to this technique e.g. E. berteroi
where those beautiful "cellophane sword" underwater leaves when seedlings
are grown in deeper water, and perhaps E. gracilis which I have only ever
seen growing submerse, so I don't know anything about emerse forms.

I have seen small "misting units" available in aquarium shops that produced
a fine water vapour that might be useful at a hobby level and it wouldn't be
too difficult to build a "clingwrap" covered wire frame over an open topped
aquarium if someone wanted to experiment with this technique.

My understanding is that several species (that are difficult to induce to
flower in aquarium situations) come from lower latitudes and require lower
winter temperatures to induce flowering. For example E. opacus, which rarely
flowers in the hobby, was induced to flower in Melbourne ( Australia) by
leaving the parent plant outside all winter and I can assure you that
Melbourne gets some close to snowing spells each winter. Over here E.
horemanii is difficult to multiply in reasonable numbers in warmer areas for
the same reason.


Bruce Hansen, A.N.G.F.A., Advancing Australian Aquatics.

Bruce Hansen, ANGFA, caring for our aquatic ecosystems.

Please visit us at http://www.ozemail.com.au/~fisher/angfa.htm

>Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 08:48:27 -0500
>From: krandall at world_std.com
>Subject: Emerse grown Echinodorus
>All of the Tropica Echinodorus, whether species or cultivars are grown
>emersed.  Most other commercial growers grow them the same way.  The fact
>that most cannot stand up to the lack of humicity in the average home is
>not surprising.  Many terrestrial plants need regular misting too in order
>to do well.  The reason Swords don't like dry air  is that in nature, they
>grow in bogs, swamps, and at the edge of bodies of water.  They grow where
>the air is DAMP.  If they were desert plants, it would be realistic to
>expect them to do great in dry air.  As it is, they are beahving perfectly
>naturally for what they are, regardless of whether they are wild species or
>Incidentally, I've seen 'Ozelot' and 'Marble Queen' growing emersed in a
>local greenhouse without any trouble at all.  The plants were huge, and
>covered with inflorences.