Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #250

Subject: Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #248


> 	What are the recomended water conditions for plants like amazon
> swords, etc?  I'm new to aquaria and everywhere I've turned, I've found a
> different answer (very different).  Since I've found this list, I figured
> I'd ask here and get an answer from ones with experince.  My tap water is
> acidid and very soft.  ph 6.8, hardness 45 ppm.  The plants are in a tank
> with angelfish.  I believe I need to raise my hardness, but how can that b
> done without affecting the ph?  Also, I've got 2 48" 40W bulbs in the
> hood, is that enough light?  thanx very much.

One of the reasons you have seen a number of different answers concerning 
the conditions need to grow Amazon Swords is that they are fairly tolerant 
of differing water conditions.  Your pH and hardness are fine for your 

You say you have 80W over your tank, but don't say what size the tank is, so 
it's hard to say if you have enough light.   If you are using full spectrum 
bulbs, and it's a 40G long, the answer is probably, if it's a 55G tank, 
maybe, and if it's larger than a 55G, probably not.

In my experience, what is more important for the growth of Echinodorus sp. 
is a good rich substrate and adequate trace element supplies.  Remember that 
in the wild, Echinodorus are only submerged part of the time. (some never 
are totally submerged)  For this reason, they have developed in a way that 
they are dependent to a large extent on root feeding.  If it is suitably 
enriched, you may be able to grow them directly in the substrate of your 
tank.  If you have throuble growing them that way, I find that they do best 
in my tanks potted up with potting soil and either laterite or micronized 
iron.  Sometimes I add an aquatic plant food tablet as well.

Occassionally I come across someone who grows good swords without the use of 
a trace element supplement, usually people with soft water and a lot of iron 
in their tap water, but most people find it necessary to add at least an 
iron supplement, if not a balanced trace element supplement.

> ------------------------------
> From: Alan Holloway <llabh at utxdp_dp.utexas.edu>
> Date: Thu, 17 Aug 1995 18:08:55 -0400
> Subject: Suggestion about restocking to fight algae?


When you have explosive algae growth, it is a sign that the tank is out of 
balance.  What you need to do is look at _where_ the tank is out of balance. 
 You have already noticed one problem... that the tank is not stocked 
heavily enough with plants.  While valisneria is fine, I would lean heavily 
on fest growing stem or floating plants for quick nutrient uptake.  You can 
always replace them slowly with more "choice" plants as the tank matures.  
My favorite "starter" plants are Water Sprite, Hygrophila polysperma, and 
Rotala rotundifolia.  The Water Sprite has the advantage that, as a floater< 
it has access to atmospheric CO2, and is not dependent on the CO2 levels in 
the tank.

Which brings us to the next imbalance.  While your light levels is fine for 
a tank with sufficient levels of CO2, at your current KH/pH, you have very 
minimal amounts of CO2. (about 5 mg/l, I think)  There _are_ plants that can 
get by with CO2 levels this low, but they are slow growing, shade tolerant 
plants.  You have two choices to bring your tank into balance.  You can 
either increase the CO2 level in your tank to balance your lighting, (this 
will give you the option of using a great range of plant species and 
stronger growth) or you can reduce the lighting to balance the current CO2 
level. (this will mean that you will need to stick mostly to low-light 
plants like Java Fern, Java Moss, Crypts and Anubias) With the high-light 
approach, you will probably also need to use a trace element supplement.  
With the low-light approach, it is probable that water changes and fish food 
alone will provide all the trace elements your plants need. 

Either approach will bring the tank back into balance and you will see algae 
production decline, AS LONG AS the nutrient (nitrate and phosphate) levels 
in the tank are kept under control with reasonable stocking/feeding levels 
and regular water changes.

A final change to make to your tank would be to remove or replace the 50/50 
bulb.  Actinic lighting is meant for use on marine reef tanks. It is not the 
best balance for a planted tank.  You'll do better with a full or wide 
spectrum light source.

Don't feel that you _have_ to add CO2 to your tank.  While this will 
certainly give you the most options, it is _completely_ possible to have a 
lovely, healthy, lush "low tech" set-up as long as you find the proper 
balance and use the right plants.  While I have 2 "high-tech" planted tanks 
that I enjoy immensely, to the casual observer, my "low-tech" tanks are just 
as pretty.  They too are packed with plants, just a more limited number of 
species.  In many ways they are easiest to care for... the algae growth is 
almost non-existant, and plant growth is slow enough that pruning is an 
infrequent chore.

> Subject: A. ellensis

>Don't want to sound like I'm bragging but my A. ellensis  just burst 
>into bloom after only 2 months and now I have seeds developing.   How do I 
>ripen and plant the seeds and does this mean that the parent plant is about 
>to go dormant or die?

While I am not familiar with A. ellensis, I would work on the assumption 
that it would behave similarly to the other self-fertile Aponogetons.  In 
most cases, as the seed ripens, the flower stalk begins to deteriorate.  
When ready to germinate, the seed will drop off the flower head, sprout, and 
settle to the bottom of the tank.  If left undisturbed by fish and over 
enthusiastic aquarists, the sprouts will develop tiny roots, and begin to 
grow.  You can maximize production by moving the seed head to a similarly 
set up smaller aquarium with a rich substrate and no fish.  This will 
guarantee that the seedlings can develop undisturbed.