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Rootbound Crypts

>Even with periodical uprooting, I notice that crypts root mass increasing
>in the substrate. The substrate around these plant clusters feel spongy
>and in places raised an inch over the average substrate. Earlier these
>crypts were large plants with lots of leaves, now they are individually
>"skinny" with not more than 4 leaves per plant, even though the cluster
>of plants is dense.

In my experience, when Crypts, in spite of a large root mass are not
putting out lots of good sized, good color leaves, there is a nutrient
deficiency involved.  In my tanks, it is almost invariably a sign of
nitrogen deficiency, BUT, I suspect that you would see a similar response
to a number of deficiencies.  I'd check the nitrate level in the tank, and
make sure I was dosing adequately with a balanced trace element mixture.
Check also to make sure the water is not too soft.  Most commercially grown
Crypt species require at least some calcium in the water.

If the plants are adequately supplied nutritionally, my next step would
depend on the species.  With C. wendtii, I'd show no mercy.<g>  I'd pull up
the entire stand, divide it, and replant the strongest, most vigorous
sections.  Wendtii can take it.   With some of the more delicate species
you have to be more careful.  What species are we talking about here?

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association