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Green Eusteralis

Cavan wrote:  "My Eusteralis stellata is growing, but growing green and a
bit leggy.  Many stems are a bit thin.  I have 146 watts of PCF and T8
(mostly under the PCF), good co2, .5 phosphate, 5ppm nitrate, 1 ml Flourish
per day, .5 ml Flourish Iron per day, 12 mls Flourish Potassium per week.
It doesn't look bad, but after looking at the awesome tanks in the AGA
showcase, I think it could look much better.  What gives?  More iron?  Those
tank conditions are good for so many other plants (even though my
angustifolia has gone to @$#% with big rotten patches and stunting after
doing very well for two years - could the massive increase of Phyllanthus
have anything to do with it?)."

Since you didn't mention the size of your tank it's hard to judge the
Flourish products dosing amounts, but I'll hazard a guess.  I have been
somewhat obsessed with Eusteralis stellata (ES) over the past year or so,
and have learned a little bit about the plant.  The most interesting point
is coloration.  ES will grow in a nice bright green if there is enough
phosphate present.  With 0.5 ppm phosphate in the water column, I would
always expect to see green coloration.  If you restrict phosphate and
provide adequate levels of other nutrients, ES will adopt a red coloration
and in the extreme case a very dark red-purple coloration.  Based on
discussions with a Ph.D. plant physiologist, I suspect this extremely dark
coloration is evidence of leaf senescence, as the plant is dying.
Accordingly, I think the cover of Kasselmann's book shows an extremely
distressed form of ES.  I set about attempting to prove this point
scientifically several months ago and began growing and drying both green
and red forms of ES with the view of analyzing leaf nutrient levels.  If the
red form shows extremely low levels of phosphate in the leaf ash, that is an
indication of leaf senescence.  I haven't yet got sufficient quantities of
dried material to perform the ash test, but after several rounds it becomes
so obvious what is going on, that the formal proof has become less

After last year's AGA meeting I asked Neil Frank, who had always grown a
very red form of ES, to experiment with phosphate dosing and he immediately
confirmed the coloration point re phosphate levels.

Having said all that, Cavan, I suspect you are short of micronutrients.  I
would experiment with increased dosing of Flourish and Flourish Iron.  These
are the same products that I use in my tanks.  I have not noticed that ES is
particularly sensitive to Potassium levels, but I always try to maintain
around 25 ppm K.  My general impression is that ES grows well with adequate
(your levels of macros look good to me) but not excessive nutrients, and in
bright light.  It also seems to do better if the conditions are kept fairly
stable.  It does not seem to thrive if the conditions change all the time.
So it looks like you should up the micro nutrients to me and keep all the
other conditions quite stable for a few months and see what happens.

Good luck with the plant.  It is one of my favorites.

Regards, Steve Dixon

San Francisco