Aquarium Plant Origins/Longevity
Since I don't have the appropriate knowledge to do so, I won't name or directly quote the book I'm referring to here. That being said, the author of the book states that, since the majority of aquarium plants originated on land, migrated to bogs and other bodies of water, and go through seasonal water level changes that cause them to flower and go to seed, the plants will most likely fade after a year - three at the most in an aquarium. The only thing you can do is replace them. What do you think ?
I don't know enough to even hazard a guess about the longevity of aquatic plants either, but it occurs to me that tropical aquatic plants would not have to deal with much water temperature change or seasonality (oops, I guess I forgot about rainy seasons). Also, I guess that plants that reproduce vegetatively would not show annual-like behavior, and, in a sense, are the same plant as the parent.
Anyway, so I'm not just talking through my hat, I came upon, after much googling, this person's opinion and experience:
"Have to agree there. Some of the oldest living things are plants, 4-5,000 years old in some cases, but eventually they will die of old age. Most aquarium plants in the right conditions will live for many many years.
Who is the author of this book? I know most of the authorities on planted tanks.
This is true of some plants such as Aponogeoton, but after their seasonal die off they do regrow if you give them some time. Even in an aquarium without a "dry season" the plants can eventually give out and the bulbs go dormant for a little while.
I don't think most aquarium plants produce seeds, as to have seeds you do need flowers, and to pollinate flowers you need pollinators. Flowering aquatic plants will flower above the water line. Plants like java fern asexually produce spores.
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I've seen that book, and with no disrespect intended to the author, I would not myself be inclined to accept his expertise at least with respect to plants in aquaria. Enough on that.
Many aquarium plants are flowering plants, though they rarely do so in aquaria for various reasons. But even when they do, the main plant does not die afterward. I have had flowers on Anubias and Aponogeton, both of which are easy in this respect, though i never bothered to cultivate the Aponogeton seeds. I have had flowers on Echinodorus major, even grown submersed, which the sources say is very rare, but again i did not artificially pollinate the flowers. The parent plant is still alive in my 115g tank.
It is true that most of the common plants that are "plants" in the commonly-accepted sense of being rooted in the substrate and producing leaves [like swords, crypts, Sagittaria, etc] are bog plants in their habitats. Fully submersed in the aquarium they rarely if ever flower, but vegetative reproduction occurs regularly via adventitious plants on the inflorescence (instead of flowers becoming seeds), runners, division, etc. Many of the stem plants are also flowering, some also being bog plants. Vallisneria also flowers although it is strictly aquatic, but this is seldom the mode of reproduction since female and male plants each produce different flowers and finding both together is extremely difficult.
I suspect most aquarists have plants die due to some factor such as inadequate light, nutrients, parameters, and so forth, rather than true old age. How long any species might actually live under ideal conditions is something I do not know, but most terrestrial plants have a set lifespan which varies with species.
OK, here's what it says. Please censor if necessary.
Plants often start out well in the aquarium but then fade. The major reason for this is that in the wild, most aquatic plants experience an annual period of low water-levels when they are at least partially out of the water. This is when they reproduce, bearing flowers with seeds that are pollinated by insects. (The majority of aquatic plants started as land plants that later colonized rivers and streams.) Most of the plants will not flower when submerged in the tank; after about a year they weaken, although some may last up to three yours. Some plants need a seasonal resting phase, but this, too, is impossible in the tank. The only solution is to replace the plants with new, strong and healthy specimens.
after about a year they weaken, although some may last up to three years.
He doesn't specify just which plants this refers to, but considering what comes before this phrase one has to assume he is meaning most plants, including swords, crypts, etc, and that simply isn't the case as i have already mentioned.
I agree completely with byron. I have killed a few species of plants for one reason or another. But over the years my tanks have produced so many plants. IDK how long individual plants last but you can grow a species of plants pretty much as long as you want in an aquarium. I bought 4 crypt wendtii over 4 years ago and I have grown out hundreds from those 4. I highly doubt I have any of the original plants anymore, as I don't keep track of individual ones. Many of the plants I have I bought years ago and all they do is grow and grow and grow. Its hard to make any one statement that is true for all aquarium plants. Not all are bog plants, some are true aquatics, some are more primitive mosses and liverworts. I have a plant called subwassertang which was only discovered in the last decade. Its supposedly the gametophye/prothallus of a arboreal fern. And least last I heard no one has ever gotten it to produce an fern. I have had it at least 3 years and it just keeps growing. Due to the type of plant it is I'm pretty sure you could stick it in a blender and it would still regrow from all the bits and pieces.
Everyone's feedback is greatly appreciated. I was somewhat taken aback when I read the subject paragraph and I wanted to bounce it off our fellow members. Back in the day, my friends and I traded offspring plants back and forth that were passed down from our fathers. Maybe I'm misinterpreting the author's intention. The book isn't long on fish and plant maintenance; however, it does have some nice aquascaping ideas.
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