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Old 02-04-2012, 03:07 AM   #1
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Default Water Sprite - a Practical Guide with pictures



I have been 'defending' this plant on several threads already, but here I go again. This plant has so many uses, provides so many benefits, grows in so many conditions that I recommend anyone to give it a try.

Evolution-wise, Water sprite resides between ferns and Rosette plants: it does not have a rhizome per say, but it's leaves 'un-furl' in a fern-like way.

Uses:
  1. This light, lime-green fine leaved plant will add a light spot to your all-green tank. Great backdrop for colored plants.
  2. Tank cycling: Water Sprite will slurp anything and everything you throw at it
  3. One of the best O2 producer in planted aquaria
  4. Hiding places for fry
  5. Renewable food source for goldfish and cichlids
  6. Lights too bright? Will provide finely filtered light
  7. Algae: will help to balance nutrients in the water column
Sustainability:
One way to view and treat Water Sprite would be as a perennial plant. Eventually, water sprite will reach the surface, regardless of the height of your tank. Moreover, some of the stems will decide to grow emersed. As Water Sprite ages, the new stems become progressively thicker and top-heavy. When the stems start reaching ~1/4" in diameter, it's time to replant, unless it's in a pond
Environment:
  • Temp: Low 60s (goldfish, unheated tanks) to high 80s (discus)
  • Light: from low to very high
  • H2O: lean to supper enriched, soft 2GH to hard 20GH
  • Can be grown imersed and emersed or both
How to Plant:
Water Sprite can be grown planted and/or floating
Floating:
Either just let it float freely or (best) pull the roots over the spay bar and between the spray bar and tank's side. Floating, Water Sprite develops an extensive root system consisting of thicker roots with finer sub-roots that look very attractive, provide shelter for fry and home for micro-organisms. Individual root can make it all the way down to the substrate.
Planted:
  1. Lay roots horizontally on substrate
  2. Put a stone/driftwood on the roots 1/2" to 1" away from the rhizome
  3. Let go off the plant to check that it stays in place
  4. Gently push roots into substrate or add substrate over the roots up to the retaining stone/driftwood
How to Trim:
Do NOT top the stems or remove 'leaves' from a stem: the stem will start rotting.
You have to remove the whole stem by cutting/pinching the stem right above the roots. In larger plants, some of the roots will come away with the removed stem: it's ok.


How to Propagate:
Water Sprite is a consistent self-propagating plant of impressive yield. The plant propagates via plantets (baby plants) attached to stems. The best way to 'find' new baby plants is to look for the darker areas of the mother plant. More likely then not, those areas will contain roots of new plants. The leaves (not stems) of the new baby plants and those of the parent stalk surrounding the new root system will start to decay and turn brown. The picture above has a circle around the root system of one of the new baby plants. It is not unusual to have multiple baby plants growing on a single stem of a mature mother plant. It is also not unusual to have baby plants with their own baby plants (grand-baby plants? )

How to Separate Baby Plants:
  1. Remove the entire stem with baby plants from the mother plant
  2. Cut the parent's stem away from the baby plant just under the baby plant's root system:



  3. Remove all leaves (not stems) that are growing directly from the root system:



    Now you have a new plant! (That has it's own baby )


Conclusion:
You get the Water Sprite you deserve: trim it, replant it - and you have a plant (or a 100) forever to enjoy.
Ignore it, and it will turn into a monster that will overtake your tank.

Every time I sell plants, most likely then not, a Water Sprite is included, either paid for or not.

[2nd Revision]
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