Elodea/Vallisnara - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-05-2011, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Good Evening Forum

I have a question about Elodea trimming. Is it possible to trim any branch off of the plant, or is it better until said branches form roots? What's the best way to trim Elodea? Up until now, I've just been cutting them off - but I noticed this causes some to die. Also, shorter Elodea are browning - can I safely assume it's from a lack of light? (Most likely blockage from the Vallisnera...)

My Vallisnara are literally trying to take over the tank. I'd cut the leaves, but this only encourages the plant to shoot off and produce more plants (I started with 2. I have 5 or 6 now). Is there some sort of compromise I can make between cutting the leaves and having the plant grow more, or should I just keep cutting and cutting?

My other plants; a tropical java fern, some sort of sword, and some sort of crypt, are doing well - although I think the sword may have lost a lot of leaves, but is still very green.
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-05-2011, 09:24 PM
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I just pinch off the portions of the shoots I want to root, nothing fancy. The newer shoots grow much better than older shoots. I strip the leaves from about 1/4 inch or so and stick the new shoot in - grows like crazy even in the dim parts of my tank (does get a little "leggy" if the lights not really bright).

What are your lighting details, tank substrate, and fertilizer?
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-07-2011, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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I have two T5-HO lamps (Search Results: Products) Flora Sun and Ultra Sun.

I use NutraFin Plant-Gro (NutraFin Plant Gro Aquatic Plant Essential Micro-Nutrients at PETCO) once a month, or once every two weeks depending on the status of the plants.

I have FlorinGro (Brightwell Aquatics - FlorinGro) but was told it was unecessary, so I don't really use it.

My substrate is small gravel.
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-07-2011, 10:07 AM
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Based on my recent experiences, you probably have too much light if your T5HO is less than about 12" above the tank. Unless it's a really, really deep tank, you fall into the very high light level. Without using pressurized CO2 injection into the tank, you will have fewer algae issues if you drop down to 1 bulb. You'll also likely need to fertilize heavier to keep your swords happy. Might consider using some root tabs in the substrate, particularly for the swords. My val also grows really well, reducing the light will slow the growth rate some, but those rascals grow... You may want to consider using something like Flourish Excel for an additional carbon source for the plants, but it can get $$. Check out the many helpful information stickies on this forum and you may want to check out The Planted Tank - Articles, Forums, Pictures, Links forum for additional info. Realize the planted tank folks are hard-core plant growers with high-maintenance tanks!

I prefer 2 T5HO bulbs, but I've dropped to one bulb until I can mount my light (same bulbs you have) in a canopy about 12" above the tank. That elevation will reduce my light level to the "medium" range and I've also got some floating plants established now to shade the tank. You'll just need to experiment with what works best for you.
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-07-2011, 11:51 AM
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+1 on all comments. I would also try to buy some flourish comrpehensive whenever you run out of what you're using.

It has most micronutrients and is a bit more concentrated.

Originally Posted by Christople View Post
^^ genius

Soil Substrates Guide:
Part 1
--------- Part 2

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post #6 of 11 Old 03-07-2011, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by redchigh View Post
+1 on all comments. I would also try to buy some flourish comrpehensive whenever you run out of what you're using.

It has most micronutrients and is a bit more concentrated.
Concur - I didn't mention the Flourish comprehensive, but it is recommended by many folks on this forum and I'm very happy with it.
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-08-2011, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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The dimesnions of my tank are 20" x 20" x 10". Does that change anything?

To be honest, I'm a bit iffy on two of the plant species I bought. I should post a picture and see if anyone can identify them.

Also, if I was to keep to one light, which one should I keep on? The "Ultra Sun" or the "Flora Gro?"

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP EVERYONE you have have been most insightful.
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-08-2011, 08:38 AM
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of the two bulbs, it's your option. I like the spectrum of the plant bulb, but it's personal choice.
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-08-2011, 03:16 PM
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tank dimensions should not impact anything, unless the light is sitting right on top of the plants!
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-08-2011, 08:26 PM
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I would use the Ultra Sun for one tube, as I do not like the purplish/ghoulish hue the "plant" types give, it distorts plant colours and fish too though it accents blue and red but unnaturally. But that is a personal preference issue. More importantly, they are half the intensity of daylight types. But ironically in your case that may not be a problem. You will have better plant colours (natural) and fish too, under the Ultra Sun; it is comparable to Hagen's Life-Glo.

On the ferts. I agree, Flourish Comprehensive when Plant-Gro runs out. I do suggest Plant-Gro if someone can't get Flourish, although I have not tried it, but the nutrient list is better than many others (though not complete, as Flourish Comp is).

I would not personally use that other product you mention, FlorinGro. I looked at the link, and it says it is a nitrogen supplement in the form of nitrates. While this will work--sort of--it is not the best thing. Most plants in the aquarium prefer ammonium as their source of nitrogen. Ammonia produced by the fish and bacteria (I'm talking the aerobic/anaerobic bacteria in the substrate, not the nitrifying bacteria) and through the breaking down of organics (waste) changes to ammonium, either automatically in acidic water, or in basic water the plants will use the ammonia and change it to ammonium in order to assimilate it. If nitrates are added, the plants must change the nitrate back into ammonium to assimilate it, and this takes more energy from the plant so they only do this when ammonia/ammonium is not present. It is less "work" to change ammonia to ammonium for the plants. As there is likely to be sufficient ammonia naturally, I wouldn't dose nitrogen. There is some in Flourish, more than sufficient in an aquarium with the usual fish load.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 03-08-2011 at 08:29 PM.
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