Rotala planting

Ekrindul

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When planting rotala indica (rotundafolia), is it best to plant each stem singly, or is there any disadvantage to planting several stems in a bunch, or in the same hole?

I planted it in my 29 gallon tank with 3 to 4 stems per hole, but I wonder if I'm crippling it's growth long term. The plants have just about reached the top of the water now and are taking a nice orange color, but I'm not happy with the health of the leaves, overall. I may cut the tops and replant in a month or so, which will give them time to grow several more inches. However, I'm considering adding this plant to my 55 gallon tank to replace a monstrous stem of h difformis, so I'd like to start off with an arrangement that will be manageable and healthy long term.

PS--side question. If the plant that has generally been known and sold as r indica is actually r rotundafolia, then what is the species previously referred to as r rotundafolia? As seen here:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...ZnZBg&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=26&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0
 
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dutchy

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I also have Rotundifolia, I always plant them in bunches of three. Never seen a problem. Did you rule out other causes?

regards,
dutchy
 

Wet

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PS--side question. If the plant that has generally been known and sold as r indica is actually r rotundafolia, then what is the species previously referred to as r rotundafolia?
Your picture is likely some variant of R. rotundifolia. This plant has many mutations and varieties ('Colorata', 'Green', likely "H'ra" (my guess), and so on). As far as I know the taxonomy and identification for R. rotundifolia has not changed.

For clarity, this was known as R. indica but is correctly R. rotundifolia. We should call it such moving forward. (The variants below are "H'ra" and "Colorata", respectively.)
slide_rotala_hra_20100814.jpg

slide_rotundifolia_colorata_top.jpg


What we used to know as Ammania sp. 'Bonsai' is actually R. indica. (On the right in the second pic.)
slide_rindica2.jpg

slide_rightback_top_20100128.jpg


I hope that makes sense.

I prefer to start Rotalas, be it rotundifolia or indica or mexicana 'Goias' or whatevs, by laying them horizontally on the substrate. This requires some degree of patience as you'll likely not be able to see it through the hardscape/other plants for a couple weeks, but once filled in you'll have a nice rooted planting and many more stems that take easily to topping. This can buy more time and, imo, looks more natural than vertically/traditionally planted groupings.
 
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Ekrindul

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Wet;57090 said:
I prefer to start Rotalas, be it rotundifolia or indica or mexicana 'Goias' or whatevs, by laying them horizontally on the substrate. This requires some degree of patience as you'll likely not be able to see it through the hardscape/other plants for a couple weeks, but once filled in you'll have a nice rooted planting and many more stems that take easily to topping. This can buy more time and, imo, looks more natural than vertically/traditionally planted groupings.

Interesting, Wet. I'm not sure I understand how it would work, though. Would you mind explaining a bit more?

Dutchy,

The main issues were pinholes, very fragile stems and lots of leaf loss, especially lower on the stems. This is the same tank I had trouble with h augustifolia having pinholes, so I began dosing K2SO4 and have seen a vast improvement already. The newest growth on the r rotundafolia is looking much healthier with broader leaves and very few pinholes. I've seen improvement in mayaca as well since I switched to DTPA iron (my pH is high). The flow seems good. I see gentle movement across the tank with the current setup, 1 koralia nano 425 and an Eheim Ecco 2232. The problems may have been the K deficiency, so it may be resolved now, but I wanted to look into whether my planting technique was an issue.
 

Wet

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Hey, Ekrindul. The trick is to either pull the stem close to horizontal when pushing it into substrate (tweezers help) or use some object like a small pebble to weigh down the stem. You'll want to leave the top of the plant free so it can grow upwards or continue to creep along as it'd like. The plant will then naturally send roots downward at every node to help anchor itself, and you won't need the pebble after a week or so. Once you see vertical growth, if you'd really like to accelerate propagation you could snip the horizontal stems every couple of nodes, just as you would with, say, runners of glosso. (Such a method will also shorten the amount of time you have before needing to uproot the planting once it gets so dense it's hard to deal with.) Try it out in some section of your tank you'd like to fill out and you'll see what I mean.

Great job watching your plants, by the way. Mayaca is a wonderful Fe indicator.
 

Ekrindul

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Thanks, Wet.

So, once the horizontally planted stem begins to grow vertically, does it just grow from the top of the stem, or does this method encourage side shoots to form along the length of stem? I think that's where I'm confused. I've seen horizontal growth in hygrophila difformis, but always as one continuous stem.
 

Wet

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It'll maximize side shoots along the length of the stem. The R. indica above was grown this way: most every node will either send down roots or the side shoot vertically. You'll eventually get side shoots up those vertical stems, too, of course. Think of it as building a base.

I don't have good set up pictures of this. But this is maybe a month? into that R. indica field. I started somewhere between 5 and 10 short stems in this spot.
slide_rindicafield_20100128.jpg


So, when I top those guys (trim off the tops and leave the bottom) I spread it further out, and repeat. Eventually you're trading like 100 stems at a time. (The R. indica in the back is from the plantings above -- it's all R. indica, not a physical terrace or anything. I also recall it being pretty buoyant at this point -- this is also the point where I'd suggest starting over.)
slide_spalsh_100705.jpg


Another Rotala example is the orange-y R. mexicana 'Goias' above cutting from the right foreground to middle left, which is a couple weeks into the lay-down method. Notice how the new growth kind of mounds up and you can shape it however you want. (I am lazy and this could be much tidier with better effort.) Same idea with R. rotundifolia, only in the midground or background. Then after you get the shape you want as dense you want, you stop trimming and let them go. (Or tidy up, whatevs.)

HTH
 
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Wet

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Found an example -- the initial planting of the 'Goias' above. Look at the R. mexicana 'Goias' in the front right. Now, per these pic's timestamps it took 4 months to propagate that to the last pic above, but what I'm trying to express is that after a given amount of time -- say, 1 month -- this lay-down method will get you a denser planting ove a larger area. (Many, many more stems than the traditional method.)

paradisefromtop_20100315.jpg


For clarity, the time estimates above are to fill in the area you're initially planting. Rotalas are super cool.
 
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Ekrindul

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Thanks again, Wet. I really learned something today. Seems the best thing about doing it this way is you can end up with a lot of stems with very little starting material. I'll give this a try this Sunday before the water change, once I figure out where in the 55 gallon I want to set it up.
 

Steven

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Sorry to hijack this thread but I have been wondering the Rotala sp. Green for a very long time, is there any 2 different species?

Rotalaspgreen1copy.jpg

RotalaspgreenTopViewcopy.jpg

This is my Rotala green growing in my tank and compared to the www.tropica.com
033A.jpg

is so much different.

Some said that the lighting and condition would render their growth different but some APC guys said that there are really 2 different species, the normal leaf and narrow leaf. Which one is true? Thank you.
 

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Hey Steven.

I believe Rotala 'Green' is yet another variant/mutation of Rotala rotundifolia, and am inclined to agree with those folks who suggest the differences you're seeing are due to tank conditions and nutrient/light parameters. There's been talk for a while of a longer leaved Rotala 'Green', but much like R. wallichii 'Long leaves' and stuff, I think such minor differences are more than likely unstable (I don't think two variants in the same tank for, say, a year will look different), if they exist at all.

But I'm no botanist nor scientist, just a hobbyist who's gotten lots of plants from folks who claim something really unique for a higher price than the regular stuff ;)

I'd give your guys a good hack and up micronutrients, and I'd expect lush new growth closer to Tropica's picture, fwiw.
 

Steven

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Thank you for your information Wet, I really like the Tropica's one and I noticed that you mentioned a lot of micro nutrient will make it change like the Tropica's one? What about lighting according to you? Should it be intense or longer photoperiod or even light bulb will vary its growth? Eg. should only be MH bulb or specific bulb? Again, thank you.
 

Wet

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Good micronutient dosing will make the new growth of Rotala sp - definitely including 'Green' - fuller and prettier. I think Tropica's pics are of excellent specimens with very good nutrient dosing and I think the long leaves and shape in particular suggest regular trimming and liberal traces.

For clarity, by liberal traces I mean something like 0.1-0.2 ppm Fe used as a proxy for all the other stuff from a well balanced trace mix, with perhaps an additional 0.1 - 0.2 ppm Fe from another form of chelated Fe. (Old Tropica's directions recommends less than 0.1ppm Fe/week from the trace mix Tropica Master Grow.) Many EI'ers suggest something like 0.5-1.0 ppm Fe from trace mixes, which I personally find too high when using my plants as indicators and not troubleshooting some other problem.

I'm the wrong person to ask about light, because I happen to enjoy having a very high uptake/dynamic/interesting/challenging tank, I think Metal Halide lighting is awesome for both it's effect on plant growth (for example, bending in a way they simply don't under medium light) and my enjoyment of the tank (I think the reflective shimmer in that tank's room, with no other lights, is fireworks-cool), and I totally think everyone who's interested in super happy plants should try it. The only thing stopping me from regularly suggesting MH to similarly-minded folks is the high power consumption vs LED, a technology I think is much more responsible to explore though I've not yet tried it properly on one of my tanks. High intensity light is fun, man, and I'm still not bored of it after all these years.

But to get the effect in Tropica's picture, I'd focus on trimming (encourage new growth!) and good micronutrient dosing. Rotala sp. 'Green' looks goooooood without very high light.

I've seen similar (downward new growth, smaller tip) to your plant pics when over dosing Excel as an algaecide, by the way, but from recollection you don't do this. Even then I'd probably suggest aggressive trimming first and then traces. Your pearling plants look happy: the new guys just need a little help and to grow a little denser (more nodes per inch of stem, or whatever) if you want them like Tropica's.
 
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herns

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Wet;57103 said:
Found an example -- the initial planting of the 'Goias' above. Look at the R. mexicana 'Goias' in the front right. Now, per these pic's timestamps it took 4 months to propagate that to the last pic above, but what I'm trying to express is that after a given amount of time -- say, 1 month -- this lay-down method will get you a denser planting ove a larger area. (Many, many more stems than the traditional method.)

paradisefromtop_20100315.jpg


For clarity, the time estimates above are to fill in the area you're initially planting. Rotalas are super cool.

Thats a good looking substrate. Do you know what it is?
 

Steven

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I'm dosing Seachem Flourish 0.24ppm, CSM+B Plantex 0.36ppm and Seachem Iron 0.21ppm = 0.81ppm of Fe every week though...Is this habit considered a good micronutrient dosing?

Overdosing the Excel will make the Rotala green leaves grow smaller?
 

Wet

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Hey herns. It's Red Sea FloraBase, an acidic substrate that I think is totally under appreciated. The darker bits is AquaSoil Amazonia that's worked its way up during planting. (I remove and cap substrate over the years on mature tanks for aesthetics and to get some acidity back [I have moderate -- >6dKH -- tap]).


Steven -- it's good under high uptake. My belief/method is that we dose to our targets more often under more uptake. I don't think you need to diversify chelators in the way you have, but this may be unimportant with regular dosing unless you also have moderate KH/pH tap. But instead of what I believe is your three times a week dosing, each time to that target above, I'd suggest something like

0.2 ppm from CSM+B every other day. (I'd replace this with Flourish until you run out. Flourish and CSM+B have differences in proportions of micronutrients, but I've never used Flourish and cannot speak to it and my plants. Micronutrient differences are always minor.)
0.1 ppm for Seachem Iron on the other days. Or some of the days. Whatever -- the point is to make sure there's always some Fe, since Fe is special in that it falls out of solution until churned by goodies in the substrate.

The idea is a) you always have available Iron, regardless of quality of chelator and b) you don't run away with any of the other micronutrients (some of which are relatively high in CSM+B).

I can understand how daily dosing reads as a PITA to some. Personally, I think doing it to target with stuff including N is the secret to maintaining any given target under high light. (You can see this modelled with http://ei.petalphile.com , too. The tricky part is finding that target vs plant uptake -- tricky being the algae you can see in the pics above from my habit of drastically reducing plant mass, and therefore uptake, when bored. It's also the same idea with the much more important CO2, and so on.)

Yes, I've found overdosing Excel will make Rotala sp small and new growth downturned.

I HTH
 
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Steven

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Thank you very much Wet for the nice info.

Seachem Iron is Ferrous Gluconate as some say and CSM+B is FeEDTA and I have soft water with 1-2dkH so I think the FG and EDTA are sufficient for me, should I need DPTA chelator?

Btw, I don't think I overdose the Excel but instead always stick to the Excel's recommendation doses. The dosage from the label is 5ml to 40L (major >40% WC), thereafter 5ml to 200L. I'm dosing 10ml every sunday at >70-80% WC, thereafter monday-wedsnesday-friday each 3ml but yes, some of my Rotala green have small leaves and some new growth look downturned too. I might stop the Excel since I have pressurized CO2 but I think it's a good way to control the BBA.
 

Wet

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The reason I wouldn't mix Ferrous Gluconate with EDTA is because they are so similar in terms of their ability to keep Fe in solution. The cost increase for DTPA (at least in the US) is so minor I think it's worth the risk that it is more stable under light and temperature (both of which affect Iron in solution: http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/depart...eenhouse_production/light_iron_marigolds.html ), b) it should release Fe at a time different than the other chelators (the driving reason to diversify chelators) and c) because Tropica and Tom do it, too. ;)

But if DTPA is cost-prohibitive, then no, I don't think you should worry about it or prioritize messing with it with such nice tap. Trimming and stability only costs time and are more important for nice looking plants.
 
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