Freshwater aquarium plants - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-12-2004, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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Freshwater aquarium plants

Does anyone keep live plants in their tanks? I just bought a water wisteria (spelling??). I got it to put into my 5 gallon hex that is being attacked by algae hoping that the plant would help to counter act the algae. The tank has strong fluourescent light, and the plant is doing GREAT. However, I notice some of the leaves at the bottom are brown and ready to be trimmed off, how do you go about this? Do you just cut it with regular scissors? Any advice on live plant care would be GREAT!

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-13-2004, 08:23 AM
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OOOH! You're speaking my language! I love aquatic gardening and I have a 20-gallon long aquarium dedicated to aquatic plants. OK, here we go!

If I'm thinking of the right plant, your water wisteria is hygrophila difformis and should look like this:


Your plant will help your algae problem only if its healthy enough to use up the nutrients in the water before the algae can use them. I don't grow this particular form of hygrophila, but I do grow hygrophila polysperma and it does very well in a low-light aquarium. It's important to use the right spectrum of light in your aquarium, though. If you're using a regular lamp, consider finding one made specifically for growing plants. Do you use any fertilizers? If you have fish in your aquarium, you probably won't need any. A good iron-rich substrate such as Flourite will also help the plant. And plants usually do better with a source of carbon dioxide in the water. For a five-gallon, you can probably get away with using fizzy tabs. If you want to go a little fancier, you can make your own CO2 injector out of a two-liter pop bottle, some yeast, sugar, and water. A little fancier than that and you can get a $30 CO2 injector from your local pet store that you just add sugar and water to. Much fancier than that and you'll be spending hundreds of dollars on a CO2 injector and tank.

As for your question about pruning. Yes, regular scissors are fine.

One last note. I'm not sure about difformis, but hygrophila polysperma is a highly invasive plant. It's even outlawed in some states because it outcompetes the local plants. Please wrap your trimmings up in plastic and put them in the trash. Don't allow them to get out into your local ecosystem.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-13-2004, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Yup, that is my plant! I have kept live plants before, but that was a long time ago. I actually got one of them to flower!

Anyways, yes there is fish in my tank. Just one betta and a long finned blue danio to keep him company. I like understocking my aquariums so that they have lots of oxygen and lots of room to themselves! So since I have fish I guess I don't need fertilizer.

Ok, I will prune the plant today. Is there any specific way to do it? The top is looking SO nice, but it's the bottom that has the brown leaves and even looks like small roots hanging off. Can I just snip these off?

Thanks for your help!

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-13-2004, 11:08 AM
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I'd carefully snip off the brown leaves near the stem, taking care not to cut the stem itself. My h. polysperma also gets those little roots growing off the near the leaves. I've even gotten some horizontal growth out of them in the past!

I found this on thekrib.com. It was written by someone named David Webb.

Quote:
H. difformis (water wisteria) is a very non-demanding plant. It will grow both
emersed and submersed, although it prefers a pretty high humidity environment
when grown emersed. No particular substrate needs (it will grow in a floating
bunch, but it is a stem plant and does not behave like Indian fern or Water
sprite, and it doesn't require a lot of iron. This plant prefers moderate to
high light and will go nuts over CO2 injection or if grown emersed. In very
high light, it will send horizontal stems across the bottom of the tank. If
you have a waterborne nutrient problem, this plant is difficult to clean algae
off of because the leaves break relatively easily, although it's less brittle
than h. polysperma.

If your nutrient level drops completely to zero, the plant will just stop
growing. Emersed growth does not do well when submersed, and vice-versa. It
is capable of sending out rootlets from each leaf node, whether grown emersed
or submersed. It kinda looks strange in my micro tank with airborne roots.
Underwater, the roots become relatively fine and branch out. In a substrate
with mulm, the roots become very fine and resemble the "Crystalline Entity"
from Star Trek in color and pattern.

I've kept it with a strain of h. polysperma that has a pinkish cast to the
leaves (not alternathera), rotala indica, anubuas nana, java fern, java moss,
bolbitis heudetrollis, v. spiralis, c. wendtii, and probably some others that
slip my mind without problem.

David W. Webb
Enterprise Computing Provisioning
Texas Instruments Inc. Dallas, TX USA
I also read that if you cut it off at the top, it'll get bushier.
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