Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Hawkian 11-19-2009 08:43 PM

Hygrophila Polysperma/Difformis Questions
OK so I have a 32g and added a bunch (5 strands) of Hygrophila Polysperma, a bunch (5 strands) of Hygrophila Difformis and a bunch (you guessed it) of Hornwort to it about 60 days ago. I had to get plants that did not need a deep substrate because... well... I don't have a deep substrate. After 2 months of dealing with a "planted tank" with the plants I listed above, here is the outcome and some questions:
  1. The Hygrophila genus seems to grow roots out of their stems. For example, both my hygrophila polysperma and difformis are protruding shoots towards the bottom of the tank. While I initially believed that this "looked cool" when my plants were smaller because it made it look more heavily planted, I now find that these "shoots" ot "roots" are somewhat of a nuisance because they interfere with the other stems and just generally make things look messy. Can I trim these shoots/roots without hindering (killing) the plants?
  2. The Hygrophila Difformis I had was initially planted at the forefront of the tank and it quickly overpowered everything in its path and started reaching for the back of the tank where the "sun-glo" bulb is located. It looked nice but gave little space to the fish for swimming. So I removed it and replanted 2 smaller cuttings in the back of the tank. I understand that this question will have nothing to do with the rambling (I tend to do that...) but does this plant ever stop shedding leaves or looking like its bottom half is dying... (many battered-looking leaves and dead leaves at the bottom half of the plant)? The top looks like a million bucks and the bottom... well... like a slum...
  3. Hornwort. The thing was reaching to the surface. Every other day. After I cut 3 inches out of it... every other day. and it makes no roots at all which means I keep having to anchor it. The bottom half gets bogged down with all kinds of waste and looks more like weeds than an actual plant as time goes by. Not to mention the needles all over the place. So... while I have to admit that it is a very nice looking plant in the aquarium, I am having a harder time each day finsing a reason to keep hornwort in my tank as it is turning out to be more of a nuisance than what I initially thought. Does anyone have any positive feedback on this plant - other than its looks?
Don't misunderstand me please. I understand that keeping a planted tank will require maintenance and I am prepared to do that maintenance. I guess that I am now simply questioning my plant choices and would like to hear what you think on these specific plants.


WisFish 11-19-2009 10:33 PM

Quick answers:
1) yes you can cut off the shoots or roots without hurting the plant.
2) It's common with stem plants for the lower leaves to brown and fall off as the plant gets bigger. That's mainly because the lower leaves just don't get enough light. I tend to cut off the bottom of the plant and replant it about every 4-6 weeks.
3) I threw my hornwort out for the same reason. It grew fast but I didn't know where to put it or what to do with it. I didn't even buy it. I started with a 2 inch piece that came with something else I bought at the LFS. Over time I got tired or moving it around so I no longer have it.

Mikaila31 11-19-2009 10:37 PM

The "aerial" roots are normal. You can trim them if you want, but it will just sen out more. Your H. polysperma is probably having its lower leaves shaded out. The denser you plant our plants, less light makes it to their bottom leaves. when this happens a plant will drop those leaves. It requires energy from the plant to keep them healthy and if they are not getting enough light. Then it is in the plants best interest to shed them. The reverse is why the top always looks so nice.

IMO hornwort is a weed. I don't keep it.

LOL! Seems I'm slower.

Blaxicanlatino 11-20-2009 10:40 AM

i have hygrophilia in my 10 gallon tank as a background plant and love it! but i can see some of the bottom leaves browing and falling off. it only does this with me when i replant the cutting but as far as hornwort, it is a weed. Maybe try cabomba maybe? it looks about the same and theres even a red cabomba

Fishin Pole 11-20-2009 03:52 PM

cabomba does look similar to hornwort, but would require a little more light..........I think hornwort could grow by candlelight if given the chance.........Hornwort is a great plant to have for freshwater shrimp tanks or guppy fry tanks..........i just let it float and it still grows like crazy!

Hawkian 11-24-2009 08:52 PM

OK I've officially given up on Hornwort. It is outta here baby! More trouble than it worth. And whatever lives without roots must be a weed right? :-D

Bye bye hornwort!

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