Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Biemowo 03-30-2011 03:06 PM

Plant identification
I just replanted my tank with the offspring of my old plants, and some new bulbs so it looks a little sparse as it hasn't filled in yet. I believe what I have here is a type of Aponogeton, but perhaps a dwarf variety? The neons are directly over it, not in the foreground, the plant is really that small.
It is beginning to grow a tiny stalk just like a larger aponogeton. Hopefully I can get some babies from it. I was wondering why the leaves are all different colors? Brown, green, it because of not enough wattage of lighting? (1.5W/gal)

Also I don't have a scrap of algae in my tank, but what I do have is this dark green tiny little tufts of hairy stuff... Its hard to take a proper picture of but...
You can see it to the left of the onion on the glass.
and here on the back glass.

How do I get rid of it? Its starting to grow on the leaves of the other plants and is choking them. You can see it growing on the moneywort.
I have a mild snail problem and unfortunately they won't eat this stuff and neither does my Oto...
So before it kills my good plants how do I kill it?

Byron 03-31-2011 10:24 AM

The plant is a crypt, possibly Cryptocoryne albida; I always get confused over the small crypts so I wouldn't insist, but I think this is the one. It is not in our profiles (yet) but its care is similar to other small crypt species, so have a look at Cryptocoryne undulata or Cryptocoryne wendtii "red" [Wendts Red Crypt] for some info on requirements and care. Click on the shaded name to see the profile.

The variation in leaf colouration is due to environmental conditions and nutrients and light. Crypts make excellent "shade" plants, and having them in open light or shaded by overhanging or floating plants can alter the leaf colour. They reproduce by sending out runners through the substrate, but this can take a long time. The gravel you have is quite large, and in my experience with crypts they do not grow as well in larger gravel, I had some in a tank with very similar-sized gravel. They prefer fine gravel, grains 1-2 mm, or sand. This is mentioned in the profiles I suggested.

The black fuzz is black brush algae. It is technically a red algae, but always looks black or very dark green. Easily removed from the glass by scraping. Not easy to remove from plant leaves, and the problem here is that it will continue to spread and soon choke the plant leaf which will die.

Like all algae, it thrives in light. The trick is to have the light and nutrients balanced for the plants; when this occurs, algae is less likely to be a problem. But if the light is too strong, or on for too long, to balance the available nutrients, the plants can't use it and algae takes advantage. I can go into this more if you tell me the type of light (be specific, including watts, kelvin, name, etc), how long it is on, and what if any fertilizer you are adding and how much/often.


Biemowo 03-31-2011 02:38 PM

I'm hedging my bets that it is an aponogeton after all. Judging by the comparatively large stalk its sending up.

My lighting is a single 15W Hagen Power-glo i think its 18,000Kelvin but its a 50/50 bulb so that rating is probably not reliable. It's 50/50 actinic/daylight I think. It's on for about 12-14 hours a day. I adjust it according to algae growth or if there is a lot or a little of natural light from outside.

My substrate is about 1/2 inch or top soil and sphagnum peat moss with quarter sized pieces of pine bark to loosen the soil and to keep it from compacting and going anaerobic. Over that is about 1/2 inch of black and natural colored pea gravel.

For fertilizer I use Aqueon Aquarium Plant Food. It says to use a 1mL to gallon ratio weekly. I use about 5mL every 3-4 days.
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Aqua Jon 04-01-2011 02:03 AM

Can't say as too the plant type, but i can give you some short science on the leaf coloration, which may help you determine the plant species. The leaves vary in color because the amount of light absorbing cells seen can differ per leaf. The leaves will "turn red" when they are absorbing more red light than it can use, reflecting the unused light. That's the gist of it, more light = more redish color.

Byron 04-01-2011 12:58 PM

I have not come across an aponogeton with that leaf form. But that certainly does not mean there isn't one. The flower should tell us.

On the light, that is your algae issue. I would reduce the light period down to at least 10 hours.

Biemowo 04-01-2011 01:02 PM

The flower stalk reached the surface but I snipped it before it opened. It was definitely aponogeton-like. I didn't want the parent plant to die off after flowering, not yet at least. Once I setup my 20long I'll let it flower but right now its just annoying to deal with a dozen baby aponogeton in a 10gal.
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