Large plants going 'bonsai' in nanos? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Large plants going 'bonsai' in nanos?

I just recently (~9 months) started with nanos: a 12G 36" long and a 4G. What surprises and puzzles me is that normally large plants seem to 'sense' the size of their environment and remain tiny. For example, 3 Red Tiger Lotuses that I have planted ~9 months ago are barely 1" tall and 1.5" in diameter, but with healthy 5-8 leaves each. And that's for a species that easily overtakes my 65G and 75G with 18"x18"+ size. The same growth pattern is exhibited by other 'large' plants: Nymphaea Stellata ~2" tall with 6 leaves; C. Wendtii is just over 1" tall with 4 leaves; Hygro Corymbosa 'Siamensis' is at most 2" with 4-5 leaves; Echinodorus bleheri just over 1" tall with 5-6 leaves!! None of the above plants exhibit any deficiencies and are free of algae.

The 12G has 39w x 2 of T5HO, pressurized CO2, AquaSoil, the works.

My questions are: has anyone else noticed the same plant restricted growth and what's going on? Thanks.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 11:34 PM
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I was going to say that most nanos tend to be low light (it takes a lot more light than many think to make a high light nano) and this keeps plants smaller, but that doesn't seem to be the case here if you got that much T5 going on. I have definitely had crypts and swords totally take over and outgrow nanos though, so can't really say I have seen the same thing you are observing.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2011, 01:07 AM
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Wow

Post some pictures! I have two water lilies in one 10G tank, and a red tiger lotus in a 15G. I've used Seachem root tabs and their liquid foods (Excel & Comprehensives). Lilies prefer still water for optimal growth/bloom, but I have trouble balancing that as I have ludwigia repens, HC, and wisteria that demand recirculating water.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2011, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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12G Long

Here is the general picture of the 12G. On the very right bottom corner you can see the sword. The 2 lilies are on the right side. That what the tank looked like about a month ago. I'll try to take and post bigger pictures of the 'dwarf' plants...

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2011, 04:52 PM
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I had a sword growing very poorly in my 80gal. But my 80gal is not set up for plants. I moved that dwarf sword to my planted 10 gal. The thing took off. After a few months I moved it back to the 80gal and now it is growing well again. It's gotten much bigger.

Same happen to my Sag it was not growing well at all in my 80 gal so I moved it to my planted tank it has started to grow much taller greener and more leafs. So I am having the opposite happen.

With plant growth I don't think tank size matters it's all about wether your have the nutrients the plants need. My 80gal does not have good nutrients for plants so they don't grow well in it.

Your tanks looks awesome by the way.

80gal planted Angelfish community.
100gal SA cichlid, Silver dollar, and delhezi. No plants!
36 gal Planted Swordtail community.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2011, 06:14 PM
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Maybe with all those floaters the stems aren't getting high light anymore; hence shorter growth? Looks great though!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2011, 06:40 PM
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I love how large that tank looks. Looks Really nice.

75 Gallon Lowtech
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10 Gallon Cherry Shrimp Farm
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2011, 08:11 PM
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I would agree with the floaters, plants will outgrow tanks all the time, hence trimming, but with all those floaters, the light is filtered and also the sword being in the corner is not getting as much light as the center.... compared to the lawn in the middle, the sword and lotus look dark... could be the reason... sweet tank though!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2011, 08:25 PM
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I have noticed certain plants seem to grow small in shorter tanks. It doesn't have to be small, just short. I think it is one of two things. The first would be that the difference in light from the bottom to the top is much less of a difference between a taller tank. If this is the case, the plant probably isn't trying to "reach" higher to get more light. The second is although the plant is getting plenty of light, the amount of light overall is less.

I am not sure I am correct on either of these but I have found this to be true of anything that stays low with more light. I have had this happen with lotus but also other plants that carpet. I have even had Sunset Hygro carpet. Grasses often tend to stay shorter if they are a type that will stay low without trimming, and their runners tend to be narrower as well.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-17-2011, 02:15 AM Thread Starter
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Pictures and more observations

Thank you for the insight and kind comments. Certainly, some of the plants in question are shaded by floaters. In fact, I had to do a sizable trim last night just to take some of the pictures below.

The point made by talontsiawd certainly has some validity, imho. Looking at my 2 nanaos through other's eyes, I have other guesses as well:

The depth of the substrate in nanos is commonly shallower then in 'full size' tanks. Frequently I plant with rhizomes hitting the bottom of the tank. So, the small size of the plants might also be partially attributed to restricted root growth.

The follow-up observation is that some of my 'nano' plants are packed very tightly together (as observed by others in this thread), witch further restricts the space available for roots. The plants also might feel 'suffocated' by surrounding plants.

My partial goal for this thread was to try to determine specific set of conditions that would keep normally large plants nano-sized in smal aquaria, i.e aquatic version of the art of bonsai. Assuming relative equality of light and nutrients across differently sized tanks, the root development (like in bonsai) could have direct effect on plant's size. One way to test this theory would be to plant a large sword in a large tank completely in the open and to embark on a methodical regiment of cutting the roots. Comments?

Now for the pictures. All plants have been in the same location for ~9 months.

Sword, Lotus, and Hygro before HG trim:



Same plants after HG trim:



And now for some fun: I took red tiger lotus as my subject. All of them came at the same time from the same mother plant and were replanted within a day from each other in 4 different tanks:

Tiger Lotus in 65G under 6 x 54W of T5HO ~26" off substrate. The plant spans the whole depth of the tank at 18", reaches the surface at 18" and is about 18" wide:



Tiger lotus in 75G Tall under 4 x 65w CF ~26" off substrate. Much skinier then the previous one, about 20" tall, 8" wide (the light bulbs are old and the plant is heavily shaded):



Tiger Lotus in Finnex 4G under Finnex 26W 14: off substrate. The plant is < 1" tall, about 2" in diameter, planted 95% in the open:



Tiger Lotus in Mr. Aqua 12G 36"-long under 2 x 39w T5HO 9" off substrate. The plant is ~0.5" tall, ~1" in diameter, heavily surrounded by other plants:



Enjoy
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-17-2011, 01:36 PM
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This is an awesome experiment, how cool would it be to pick the size of plant as well as location... probably a lot of work to keep size in check, but very cool concept
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-18-2011, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozydego View Post
This is an awesome experiment, how cool would it be to pick the size of plant as well as location... probably a lot of work to keep size in check, but very cool concept
I was just looking at that now enormous Lotus (3rd picture) couple of minutes ago. That thing is definitely on a quest to colonize the whole 65G. I'm thinking: what a better candidate? It's going to get a major trim and I will cut it's roots ~8" in diameter from the rhizome. Maybe it will turn into a 'nano plant'.
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