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Anyone interested in Tissue Cultured plants?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by tv205, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. tv205

    tv205 Junior Poster

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    Hi everyone,

    I have been a lurker for a long time on this and other forums. I'm a botanist/horticulturalist who has, amongst other things, spent a lot of time creating tissue culture lines of aquarium plants. I have over 90 of them now, and I am just putting out some feelers to see if folks are happy getting their plants the way they currently do, or if people would be interested in receiving plants directly out of tissue culture. I've developed species such as HC, pogostemon helferi, suesswassertang, as well as some of the more common stems, echinos, anubias, ferns, and mosses. If enough people thought that they would be interested in getting plants totally free of algae, snails, fungi, bacteria, etc, then I would consider packaging these plants. Thanks for any responses!

    PS I have also posted this question on APC, sorry for the double post.
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    FAN, Tropica and Oriental all do TC to some degree.
    Dr Kane at UF does most of the aquatic species research for TC, in the USA.
    Nice guy.

    He has a lot of Lace plant and other species.
    I think with some species that are tough to keep, Erios perhaps, some plants from Oz, maybe a few others, are good candidates.

    But....most aquatic plants are rampant weeds, particularly when given nutrients, enriched CO2 and good light. So clonal reproduction is more suited to horticulture as far as labor and cost.

    As far as pest, it's nice to have a clean plant, but algae, and other pest are easy to control using emergent growth(which accounts for 95% of all aquatic plant grown in horticulture), then switched to flooded submersed conditions, the pest are no longer a problem.

    Most pest issues are related to poor aquarium keeping, not the vectors from the commercial growers.

    TC is best suited for a rather small market of speciality plants, Crypts are an excellent group to work with, particularly the rare species. You will not find much $ there, or in general with TC in aquatic ornamentals, it is a labor of love, not profit.

    At a small scale, doign TC is worth while and you could make some $, working with a specific species that is harder to culture, I think the Erios, Crypts, and a few other species would be worthwhile.

    HC, downoi are easy to grow emergent already, so they would be harder to make a go of it commercially. You need to work on getting the rare harder to grow species and Tc those. Then you'd have demand and have decent sales.

    Can you beat 2$ a pot of for HC?
    Same for others?

    There's a lot of individual labor involved with TC, if you are quick and have done a lot, fine, or you are doing other work along side............still, I think it would be much more successful going at this with a better understanding of the species and demand of the market for aquatics and shipping issues etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. Brian20

    Brian20 Guest

    Thats that says Tom Barr is true. I want to reproduce and grow aquatic plants (both emersed ans inmersed) to sell and have a profit from it. Not good idea, I only have a progress wth the echinodorus family, have a few emersed and havin plantlets all the time, so I sell it $2 pero medium plants because one the plantlet is planted in the aquarium it make long white roots in 2-3 days and grow very fast in this time, I think that it is because the plantlets have nutrients inside it to grow with it in a period. Also I grow dwarf hairgrass emersed and inmersed for sale and it grow fast. All the other plants that grow slow I preffer to buy and resell it rather than cultivating it. well some plants that not sell fast start growing and reproducing so I make a a profit for "free" with the plantlets. But with these easy plants what you going to earn? not a lot of money!. selling plants in $3, $4 dollars not make it, you need to sell a lot to gain $50 bucks in one day. So Im going to the more costly partof the hobbie, the rare and hard plants. Firt have experience with it and then sell it. Im not saying that the normal easy plants are priceless, i have good profit sometimes with this plants and also are the best selling in my country because here in Puerto Rico the planted aquarium are something "exotic"
    Here we have a lot of salt water and reef keeping aquarist but only a few in the planted aquarium. Im trying to inyect the planted aquarium side into the aquarist here and it is growing, 4-5 new planted aquarium aquarist in 5- 6 months.
    I sells plants in my country a lot more cheaper. Example: dwarf sag. in $1 a plant. In the lps $5 the same plant.

    sorry for the big reply that you are doing is good and making thatis saying Tom Barr is better.

    Brian Soto.
     
  4. Greg Watson

    Greg Watson Administrator
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    Hi tv205 ...

    I think you might find success and/or interest if you targeted some of the rare species where TC is most valuable.

    For example, a few years ago I was one of only 4 people in the US who had Cryptocoryne striolata ... and I am afraid that it is gone from the US hobby.

    The cost to acquire that plant species when I got it was deep three figures.

    There is a very small volume market for niche specialties. I could never successfully cultivate it in a submersed form in any quantity. I was only able to share it with two other hobbyists who lost it. And the tragedy is that with one accident I also lost it.

    The only person I knew of besides myself who still had it unfortunately passed away a number of years aog. And I don't believe it is available anywhere in the US right now.

    So if you want to pursue TC in the hobby, I think you will find it a challenge unless you develop a reputation for being able to source and provide rare species.

    And if you can source and successfully TC striolata, I would love to get my hands on it again. It is truly beautiful.

    The negative argument - is that popular aquascaping tends to focus on "mass" and "volume" of plants ... and thus many people are not looking for single focal points of beauty (unless it fits into their preconceived notion of a "centerpiece" plant i.e. large)

    I personally would love to have you keep us (especially myself) appraised and updated about your activities. But I think all of the comments above are valid ...

    Best Wishes,
    Greg Watson
     
  5. tv205

    tv205 Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the responses and PM's! Tom, I agree with you that some species are better suited than others. I have many crypt lines at the moment, as well as erios and toninas.

    I've seen the work done by FAN and Tropica, but I feel there is too much time between the point where they leave the nursery in (I assume) good condition to the time they are received by us hobbyists. When I have taken plants from my tissue culture and planted them in my tanks, I have found extremely rapid transition (HC will pearl in 10 minutes, and have doubled in size in 5 days). Maybe I've just have rotten luck ordering plants online and from petstores, but I feel lucky if 60% of my plants survive. Sometimes they do just fine, other times not so great. So, if there were enough people like me out there that wanted plants that have started off the way the big nurseries start them, then I'd consider doing just what you suggest. $2 a pot for HC isn't bad either!

    Greg, I happen to really like crypts, if I am able to find a source of c. striolata I'll definitely keep you appraised. I actually had some myself a few years ago, but was never able to generate sterile culture lines from it. Too bad.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I do not think the problem is with Tropica or FAN's transit time, the problem is middle men.

    They buy and resell the plants, and when they do, they often sit on the plants a week, 2-3 etc in some less than ideal holding tank full of everything that TC tries to get rid of to avoid contamination.

    Same is true for most grower/producers of live plants, not just TC.

    If you focus on Crypts, you can likely pay for the habit if you specialize. Bob Gasser did this and had a decent little business for many years in Florida.
    Lag's, Rare harder to grow species, Crypt lines, hybrids, you have a small, but a good market if you specialize.

    You will never make as much as FAN, Tropica etc, but, for a 1-2 person PT passionate enjoyable job, not bad either. I would strongly encourage you to focus on Crypts, and keep those lines clean and well labeled much like Jan B suggest.

    There would be a larger market for them if more where available.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. tv205

    tv205 Junior Poster

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    Thanks Tom,

    I really appreciate your helpful and insightful responses. I will focus on crypts and allies as you suggest - Afterall, this is a subhobby for me anyway :rolleyes: . Crypts are one of the most enjoyable plants to tissue culture as it happens, so in a few months I'll have built up a respectable number of lines and we'll find out if I can help make crypts popular! Thanks again to everyone who's replied, have a great summer!
     
  8. aquaticscapes

    aquaticscapes Junior Poster

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    pogostemon helferi

    Hello, I would be interested, I run an aquatic plant nursery and would like specifically to locate Pogostemon Helferi, do you have any available? You can reach me at plants@freshwateraquariumplants.com Regards, Don Matakis
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Don,

    Most all the P helferi is grown emergently like most everything else.
    I can only see a few difficult to grow Apono's, Crypts etc, things that take awhile and have endogenous slow rates of growth worthwhile.

    Downoi grows pretty fast when happy.
    Same for others, I see being sold often in large amounts within the hobby.

    The market needs to be considered at a professional level very well before TC is going to make in roads, even then, you best have a well established business 1st with a high volume, or a smaller outfit that can target very specialized markets and be willing to lose some for awhile before breaking even.

    The USA/Oz is a much smaller market for these types of plants than say Europe or some markets in Asia.

    I considered Tropica brand in the USA, but to break even, I'd have to sell no less than 700K$ a year worth of supplies and plants. That'd be tough to do.

    Few LFS take care of the plants and training them and finding folks that would pay 2-4X as much for the same plants at another non Tropica LFS would be a tough sell no matter how good the marketing might be.

    ADA does not brand and market plants, perhaps for that reason.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. aquaticscapes

    aquaticscapes Junior Poster

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    Pogostemon Helferi

    Hello Tom, actually I am not interested in tissue culture growing, I am interested in obtaining some Pogostemon Helferi, I have not been able to find it anywhere in the US. I had some a while back but had issues with the aquarium it was in and it melted away on me. Believe me when I tell you, you are not going to get rich selling aquatic plants and equipment. We make a living and pay the bills but that is about it. It is more a labor of love than money. We put probably sixty plus hours a week into it. A lot of it is educating customers. So, do you know of any I could purchase? On a separate note, it seems to me that the Seachem Equilibrium has extremely high potassium levels in it, is it possible that using that product could affect nutrient uptake of magnesium or calcium in the plants, I know at high levels this has been stated? Regards, Don Matakis

     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Whaah?
    I thought you where a big aquatic plant Baron with thousand's of hectacres?
    :eek:

    No, the issue of mono valance displacing a divalent is really a very old myth.
    I could ever find any evidence experimentally in a reference aquarium there was any thing to this at 10X the ratios and ppm's suggested, nor could a few other folks with the most sensitive specific plants that claimed to have issues.
    Even in agriculture/soil fertility it is very difficult to have this occur.

    Ca++/K+ is a signaling cascade inside plant cells for endogenous communication, it has nothing to do with stunted tips or anything to do at all with the external environment.

    Some still harp on this and imply there's something to this still:rolleyes:
    I like to say "A good myth is hard to kill". I know a few that still run around claiming it.

    GH booster is similar to SeaChem Eq.
    I lard it on in many tanks as do/have many for a long time as well as SeaChem Eq.
    We all did in the SF bay for a few years.

    You might try looking at TPT in the Mart, might take a bit, but there's some.
    My Downoi is still filling in and being trimmed to make the foreground. After 2-3 months, I'll have a bit.

    Staruogyne round leaf is a nice plant also from Tropica.
    I'd suggest you get some of that and grow/sell.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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