[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: Growing large amounts of Elodea

> > Chris Thompson wrote:
	> I am new to the list, and need some advice.  I work at a
college Bio.
> > Dept., where we use a HUGE amount of Elodea for teaching plant
> biology
> > and basic microscopy.  We have been buying batches of Elodea every
> > semester, and to assist in my effort to get a tenure-track position,
> I
> > volunteered to grow the plants, so we wouldn't have to spend the
> money
> > on it. A quick inventory of existing equipment:
> > 
> > 1 20 gallon long tank w/~3 inches plastic gravel
> > Hood with 1 flourescent fixture
> > Air pump
> > An ancient canister filter that I don't trust
	Hi, Chris--

	Since this is plant biology you're teaching, I won't bore you
with the
	taxonomy and environmental requirements for this North American
	cool water species.  ;-))

	This is a fast-growing stem plant.  Huge amounts simply means
	huge amounts of space, and lots of light (it's a fast growing
	Since you didn't indicate the amount of biomass required, adjust
	these numbers accordingly.

	I can get 1-2" of growth per day per stem in my tanks.  In a
	20 gallon tank, I'm guessing you should be able to harvest 10" a
	in maintenance.  If you prefer to clip the terminal meristem and

	want to keep propagation from the base, you will take a time hit

	until the lateral buds develop after IAA drops off from clipping
the top.
	One flourescent fixture isn't enough... you probably want two or
	three, or just stick it in the window.  I have a 55g here at
	with tons of the stuff and I haven't had a light bulb over it in

	Do NOT spend a lot to grow this plant, or you lose all your
	motivation to stop buying it (it's cheap).  I recommend you
	don't fertilize at all (the plant will do better with a couple
	fish, though...) For your needs (and mine), I recommend
	less than 1" of fish for every two to four gallons of water.

	If you must have a steady supply, you want either several
	tanks for redundant (backup) systems in case one crashes,
	or a very large system that isn't likely to crash.  I prefer the

	If 10" a day isn't enough, you want the cheapest body of water
	available.  Go get a $150 stock tank used to water cows.  These
	above-ground fiber-glass tanks are the cheapest way to hold
	a *lot* of water, and you should be able to generate all you
	ever need.  Keep it outside if weather permits, because sunlight
	is free.  The plants over-winter pretty well if you have 3'-4'
	depth and you don't get a solid freeze in the tank.  You can
	aerate and heat (very modestly) if you don't have that depth (a
	stock tank usually gives 24-30" of water).  You can bring some 
	Elodea sp. indoors to grow in the winter.  If growing outdoors 
	you will probably want to put some fish in there like the 
	ever-famous  Cyprinus sp., to keep the mosquito larvae down.

	If you do it right, the stock tank is a beautiful thing that
	best sitting next to a lawn chair, good books, and a chocolate
	malt machine.

	charleyb at cytomation_com