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HC & Microsword

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by pat w, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Hi,

    Back with more questions.

    1.In my planned setup I want to try to run a ribbon of Microsword through a bed of HC. My concern is that Microsword is classified as invasive. Will I be able to keep the delineation between the two fairly clean without turning the project into a pruning career?
    2.I'm planning to start the HC DSM. How does Microsword fair starting DSM if at all?
    3.Would I be better off starting the HC alone, establish it, leaving a channel in the substrate for the MS, and then, after the HC forms a well defined mat, introduce the MS? Might this help keep the MS at bay?

    I know this may be a little ambitious for the first time out but I have a theme in mind, and plenty of start-up time to learn as I go.

    Thanks,
    Pat

    90g
    Custom hood w/4x55 CF from AH Supply
    Tank based CO2
    EI dosing
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Where Is The Remote?

    Hi Pat,

    If by MicroSword, you mean Lilaeopsis brasiliensis, this plant monster does not believe you could prune enough to keep that plant monster in its place. ;)

    The stuff is amphibious, after it takes over the tank, stomping out your lovingly tended Hemianthus callitrichoides, it will climb out of the tank and rearrange your furniture. :eek: And don't even think you will get the tv remote back! :D

    Biollante
     
  3. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Rats!!

    Thanks for the heads up. I was afraid of that.

    I want to try to create the illusion of a 'stream' flowing through the HC with a contrasting texture. Any suggestions on a substitute?

    Pat
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    No Brain

    Hi Pat

    This is one of those times my lack of a coordinated central nervous system puts me at a disadvantage. :eek: There is a plant I think might work, I can picture it, I know I was talking to someone about it just the other day, but the lack of a brain gets in the way.

    I do have a plant I really have come to like a lot and it just might work, especially if you haven’t started your tank yet. :)

    Blyxa japonica, a bit larger than you may have been thinking and it has a bit of a reputation for being difficult. I have not found it difficult at all, Blyxa japonica does like rich substrates and CO2 but I really don’t it find difficult or as picky as Hemianthus callitrichoides and likes similar conditions.

    If you were to form some acrylic runners through the substrate, giving a path an inch-and-a-half to two inches deeper than the surrounding substrate, give the Hemianthus callitrichoides a head start and plant clumps of Blyxa japonica two or so inches apart the train the runners to fill in the path, just might give the look.

    I would advise a rich substrate, along the lines of Tom Barr’s worm poop with peat moss and kitty litter clay, covered with relatively fine gravel; I like sand blasting material for this purpose. ;)

    I do not how big a tank or what kind of equipment but this is a good time to consider plumbing and water changes, planters, and such as well.

    If I can think of the other plant, I will let you know. Nevertheless, I really do like Blyxa japonica and am propagating a bunch to use all over the place.:)

    Edit: Forgot links for Blyxa japonica.
    http://www.plantgeek.net/plant-38.htm
    http://www.tfhmagazine.com/resources/plant-of-the-month/2009/august-blyxa-japonica/
    http://www.aqua-fish.net/show.php?what=plant&cur_lang=2&id=153



    Biollante
     
  5. mstasa

    mstasa Junior Poster

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    Micro sword grew great for me when i grew it with the dry start method. but once i added water to my tank, it all died, due to me not haveing any CO2 being supplied to the tank.
     
  6. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Plan dujour

    Mstasa,

    Nice to know, but Biollante has convinced me the point is mute. I just can’t commit to that much upkeep.

    New plan

    Maybe a ‘stream’ of Helianthus callitrichoides running through a field of the Blyxa japonica would work. Grow the HC DSM and develop a good mat pruning to get the desired effect.

    I’ll be building a new hood with 4 55 watt CF’s from AH Supply but to start off I’ll have to settle for the two 40 watt standard fluorescents I have now.

    Meanwhile build the hood with the new lights, replace my old ones, and save up for the CO2 gear. I should have plenty of time to get the HC just the way I want it.

    Once the HC is well established, fill the tank and plant the Blyxa and add remaining plants (TBD) with full light, CO2, dosing according to EI. Let the Blyxa grow in, propagating and pruning for effect.

    Thoughts?
    Pat
     
  7. LoudCreature

    LoudCreature Prolific Poster

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    Not sure about Blyxa, but HC is gonna need co2 and pretty sure more tahn 80 w light.

    LC
     
  8. pat w

    pat w Member

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    The 80 Watts will only be for the first period till I build the new hood with the 4x55 watt CF's from AH Supply. That will be compleated during th DSM dry phase. Can't grow the Blyxa DSM (at least I don't think so) since it's classified as an obligate aquatic. Correct me if I'm wrong.
    I haven't settled on the rest of the plants. I know i'll need some stems in the background and I've allways wanted a big Amazon Sword but I'm not sure there will be a good place for it in the layout I have in mind.

    Later,
    Pat
     
  9. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Back to Lilaeopsis brasiliensis

    Bio,

    I was thinking that if I somehow sequestered the Lilaeopsis brasiliensis and didn't allow it to wander into the HC's territory that I could get all the ground cover setup DSM and spend the time building the hood and saving for the CO2 gear.

    What I have in mind came from this post at Aquascaping World.

    http://www.aquascapingworld.com/forum/aquascaping-showcase/104-after-rain.html#post956

    If I constructed a channel, sealed at the bottom of the tank with silicone, do you think the L. brasiliensis could be contained effectively.

    Alternately, what is the name of the ground cover used in the the scape in that thread, and might it be a candidate. I think the larger leaves would form enough contrast to work out the effect I want.

    Thanks,
    Pat
     
  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Like The Concept

    Hi Pat,

    The problem is not sealing the channels at the bottom; Lilaeopsis brasiliensis will ‘creep’ over the top. The only thing I can think of is making the channel for the Micro Sword a couple of inches deeper then really watch and trim the stuff.

    I like your concept, :) have you considered something other than HC?

    Biollante
     
  11. pat w

    pat w Member

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    I'm open to suggestions. Any two ground covers with contrasting textures would be worth considering. I'd like to do that part DSM if possible that's why I was leaning away from the Blyxa.

    I really appreciate the help here. I've kept fish only tanks for a while, but this is my first try at a planted tank, so any suggestions will be taken seriously. I'm willing to do the prep needed to succeed and I'm aware the work doesn't end there so please don't give up on me.

    Thanks again,
    Pat
     
  12. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    How about the old standby of glosso and the bright riccia running through it?

    Nice contrast of texture and color......
     
  13. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Like it.

    I had to check the names to be sure I really knew which plants they were. I like the idea. Any info on whether they can both be started dry and do you have any links (here or elsewhere) on the particular needs of each and any special propagation methods

    For now just consider me a sponge ... Keep it coming.

    Thanks bunches
    Pat
     
  14. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Glosso for sure...Riccia develops VERY rapidly, so no need for dry start. Plus, the structure of Riccia is designed to float....

    Both are very easy to grow and care for. Riccia is a nice c02 indicator plant as it will pearl well if c02 is good and stable.

    Glosso is also a weed and both will take over quickly...........

    Tying the riccia to stones with netting and letting the riccia grow through the netting is a nice way to use flat stones to create your 'stream' by attaching the riccia to them. Easy to lift the stones out for trimming and replanting, etc.

    Just an idea.
     
  15. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Doing HC with DSM feels like cheating. It's very, very easy to get rooted this way, and most of the issues that arise are due to moisture balancing which is easy to control. I've currently got around 2-3 square feet of the stuff growing emersed, and it grows rapidly.

    Working with it has mostly been a matter of good pruning practices. The HC will overgrow its self in DSM as in submersed, so runners need to be pruned off. Some develop their HC into a mat by allowing a large number of runners from a sparse seeding. I tend to cut runners quite frequently so that small independent patches are formed. Once these plugs are formed, they can easily be pulled up individually or trimmed off of much more easily than dealing with the whole carpet.

    I've also found carpeted HC can be prone to being uprooted as a large mass if your fish get a taste for the roots, or you happen to have some blackworms burrow into the substrate. I lost my first batch of HC that way; it was pretty much a horror storry. Still, this is an obscure problem, and keeping it in a dense mat can be convenient if you plant on moving large chunks between emersed growth trays/DSM tanks.

    Glosso is honestly very similar in methods, but easier to keep and seemingly faster growing. I probably spend about 5-10x more time trimming glosso than HC because of its growth rate, even though it's easier to work with.

    One of the issues with glosso would be vertical shoots. The leaves will actually change growth form into a more teardrop shape and start growing straight up. Pull them out on site.

    Looking at the origins of the growth, it seems to come out of thick overgrown patches in a bid to end up on top of other plants around it. I've also seen it happen with inconsistent light. Reverting it back to typical growth is something I haven't managed to do very successfully, though it seems that under the right conditions it will pull its self back down and grow in a more desirable pattern.

    As for the other species, I'll leave that to people with more experience with them. I've kept them all briefly, but haven't really gotten into observing or working with them in a big way.

    Oh, if you want a neat ground cover try Elatine triandra. I'm trying to take advantage to its similar texture to small staurogyne right now, and it looks pretty promising. The stuff is a headache to do emersed; much of the plant dies and little lateral buds turn into vegetative growth rather than flowering. From there you end up with tons of little plantlets clinging to dead matter that eventually decomposes, and the whole thing begins to carpet. If you want some, Zapins over on APC or TPT usually has tons of the stuff. It ships poorly, but it bounces back and grows like a weed once established and submersed.

    -Philosophos
     
  16. pat w

    pat w Member

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    My "need" for DSM

    Thanks for the responses guys;

    The reason I'm so set on starting dry is financial. I can buy substrate and lights; or substrate and CO2 gear; but not both right away. That's what's driving my plans. If I can grow the ground cover DSM then I can wait till my $$$'s catch up with the CO2 requirements, otherwise I'll have to wait for the money and just look at an empty tank till I have the whole rig up and running.

    That said, I think I've found a potential source for the propagation medium for the riccia. Check this out.

    http://www.hartsfabric.com/51485.html

    I was thinking I could stretch this stuff out just a little in a pan/tub/somewhere offline and when the riccia fills in just cut to shape and anchor it in the tank. Working this out on the bench would give me the ability to grow as much as I need, picking it apart and re-seeding the net as required until I have enough to transplant into the tank.

    Later,
    Pat
     
  17. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm pulling dry start and I've got my full hardware sitting around. It's a great way of getting fine rooted, delicate plants in place. Getting HC to grow in otherwise is a definite pain.

    The fabric looks a bit tight; perhaps try cutting into it some to enlarge the holes. Hair nets are about perfect size IMO.

    -Philosophos
     
  18. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    On The Cheap--Yeah!


    Hi Pat,

    Get the CO2 gear, lights if you can, we can fake the substrate. Personally I think commercial substrates are grossly overpriced. You can do better cheap. :D

    I love doing stuff on the cheap and well. :p

    Local sewing or fabric stores think wedding veil material.

    CO2 stuff is good place not to scrimp. http://www.rexgrigg.com/ or http://sumoregulator.com/ I use and like Rex Griggs, I know that Sumo is excellent as well.

    Reactors and such are easy to build. :rolleyes:

    Ohh goody!

    Tell us what you got and what you want it to be.

    Biollante
     
  19. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Ok, sell me...

    I'm listening ...

    What can I use as substrate that will hold, is visually acceptable (my wife likes light browns for 'gravel') and is cheep. I'm not wild about the idea of layering as it seems to me the layers will tend to mix anyway sooner or later.

    I doubt I'll be able to come up with more than $450 in the short term. New job, new town, new house, will make future funds hit or miss.

    I like Rex's stuff but as ex Navy (gator Navy at that) buying from a Marine is going to be tough,
    ...(You listening, Jarhead?)...:D
    but if he has the good stuff at the right price, what the h**l. Anyone know if his regulators one or two stage?

    What kind of FLAT stone can I use? Slate, Granite, Tile?


    Feed me Seymore,
    Pat
     
  20. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Turface seems to be the popular substrate to go with if you want cheap and CEC, and it matches your color requirements. I haven't gotten around to using it, but plenty have and do. You may want to look into kitty litter as well. A little osmocote is what Tom has been recommending if you want nutrients in an inert soil right off the start. Reliable dosing will also build up nutrients in the above substrates, and any others with decent cation/ligand exchange capacity.

    Multiple layers are definitely not a fun way to start planted tanks. A fine dusting of something on the very bottom is the most I'd ever recommend. I've found by the time you're serious enough to do layered, you're dedicating enough money to pay a few dollars extra for aquasoil.

    Given your budget, making this a slow project isn't too bad of an idea. You can expect to throw about $200 at an entry level CO2 system. Rex's stuff is a bit more expensive, but he's got a reputation for quality. The regs should be 2 stage. Definitely pay attention to the Dual Stage Regulators thread though. A little DIY and smart shopping will give you a good system at a pretty good price from the look of it.

    Slate and granite can definitely be safe. I tend towards liking the look of jasper and other microcystaline quartz stones with interesting texture/colors, though those will not all be flat. I prefer igneous or metamorphic over sedimentary unless the sediment is pretty pure/SiO based. The best immediate checks I've found are to look at hardness, bleeding colors/oxidization and the usual acid test. Softer rocks usually have CaCO3 or MgCO3, and what ever they have will leech out faster. Ones that oxidize very red or especially green on the outside but don't look the same when broken open obviously bare a good bit of iron or copper. HCL or vinegar works well for testing for carbonate loaded rocks as a second test to be sure.

    -Philosophos
     
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