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Green Eusteralis

Cavan wrote:  "What about stem thickness and leggyness?  I've seen pictures
of Eusteralis where it has thick stems like Ammania almost and very dense
growth.  As I said, mine isn't bad, but it could be better.  Check out the
Eusteralis in the best of show AGA contest.  Assuming low phosphates make it
red, how low would it have to be (for the sake of curiousity)? 3?"

ES can have very thick stems, actually thicker than Ammannia IME.  In my 175
gallon bowfront which is 29 inches tall the stems will be a quarter inch or
more at the bottom as the tips reach the top of the tank.  With bright light
and good nutrition I don't think ES growth will be leggy.  Taking Detlef
Hupfeld's 21 gallon AGA Best of Show tank as an example, you see the leaf
whorls are quite close together actually, and even more so towards the
growing tips.  A 20 gallon tank is not that tall and so I imagine the stems
are less than a quarter inch thick when they are cut and the tops replanted.

A fun technique that I have been playing with recently takes advantage of
the tendency of ES growing tips to stop growing occasionally and sprout new
stems from a head that forms.  Instead of cutting and replanting the new
stems when they are big enough, I have been cutting the mother stem about
two inches from the head with the new stems and replanting the whole thing.
This has allowed very dense luxurious plantings which have been attractive
to my eye.  

Re the phosphate levels, notice that Detlef doses PO4 once or twice a week
(I can't quite tell which from his entry).  The level of redness shown in
the pictures of his tank is about half of what is possible in my estimation.
You will not need to restrict PO4 levels to the point where you are risking
algae outbreaks in order to bring out the redness in ES.  Tiny pulses of
phosphate are sufficient for good plant growth.  Try reducing the PO4 level
to half of your current level and see what happens.  You will notice the
color change in a few days.  If this doesn't do the trick, reduce the PO4
level by half again.

Re the micronutrients in your 30 gallon tank, I would be comfortable
doubling or even tripling the dosing levels of Flourish and Flourish Iron
that you mentioned.  I would just raise the levels gradually until all the
new growth is vibrant and healthy.  There is virtually no algae risk in
doing this if you keep the macros in the ranges mentioned in your previous

Regards, Steve Dixon
San Francisco

PS  I agree with all the good comments about the AGA conference this year.
It was a wonderful event and we just had a ton of fun watching Amano-san
joke with and tease the audience as he put together a 50 gallon aquascape.
At one point he asked an audience member to suggest the placement of the
all-important SECOND rock in a rockscape design.  After the gentleman placed
the rock, Amano leaned back and slapped his hand on his forehead indicating
that the location selected was quite obviously a disaster-which brought the
house down.  

And Charlene just did a wonderful job this year with the entire event.