Questions about stem trimming and also algae (56k warning photos included) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-10-2010, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Questions about stem trimming and also algae (56k warning photos included)

Hello all,

I wanted to ask a couple of question about the proper way to trim stem plants and also about the Algae I am seeing on my slow growers. And since a picture is worth a thousand words......I thought photos would help

First off is my question about stem plant trimming.

I thought if I cut a stem between two leaf nodes that it would "split" at the point of the cut and make two new stems....and that was how folks got bushy stems plants. Is that not the case for the particular plant in the photo below? I do believe this is Rotala Indica.

It seems that where I make a cut, the plant just sprouts one new stem and continues to grow up to the light. You can see in the photo below that the new stem is growing great and the little piece left is just dying and turning brown. Am I cutting too high from the leaf node?

In the next photo below you can see that my Glosso is growing straight up and not making a carpet. I do not have this problem with my HC lawn and it stays low and grows out instead of up. Am I not trimming the Glosso in the right place or not low enough?

By the way...I am not sure if I should grow Glosso and HC together like this as I am sure one will eventually win out over the other....but I am new to this and have never grown either I wanted to see how each grew and what it looked like.

And now for the Algae questions.....

In this photo below you can see algae growing on my Starougyne Repens and in the photo above you can see it growing on the leaves of the Anubis in the background. And on a related Starougyne repens is not spreading either and tends to just grow straight up like the Glosso.

Here you can see the same algae growing on a rock. This same algae also is starting to grow on my glass.

So what can I do differently as far as trimming and also what can I do to keep this algae at bay???

I have a 33 gallon tank with 2x24watt HO lighting suspended about 14~16" above the tank. I am using pressurized CO2 through a DIY reactor and my drop checker is always green (and yes I am using 4dKH solution). Also I have a (rated) 250 gph Eheim Pro3 and a Korilla Nano for circulation. I am also doing EI dosing (1/4 tsp KNo3 + 1/16tsp KH2PO4 + 1/16 tsp K2SO4 = 3 times a week and CSM+B 1/16tsp 3x week) and I add a cap-full or Seachem Iron after my weekly 50% water change.

I have 2 ottos and about 12 cherry shrimp and about 5 Nerite Snails....but I never see any of them eat any algae!!

Any help on these two points (trimming and algae) would be greatly appreciated by this planted tank noobie.

If it are some other shots of the entire setup.

I bought some window tint (darkest they had) that I will eventually get around to putting on the back glass.....just been too busy lately.

Thanks everybody !
And sorry about the long post (aka mini journal).

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-10-2010, 12:58 AM
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I have no idea how to answer any of your questions but I wanted to let you know that I think your tank is gorgeous!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-10-2010, 02:47 AM
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That really is a very nice looking aquascape. Stem plants don't automatically grow two new shoots everytime you prune a stem. Generally they do just as yours is. Sometimes, some plants will grow two shoots at the cut. The Glosso should be "mowed" down to just a leaf node or two above the substrate. That will encourage it to get more bushy and stay lower, but it will always try to grow higher. Even HC continually gets higher, until it would filll the whole tank if you just left it alone. Glosso and HC are also stem plants.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-10-2010, 03:33 AM
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Stem plants usually throw out 1-4 (1-2 seems most common) new shoots from the meristem just under your cut, but sometimes they grow from further down, in which case I go back and trim the old stem down to the new shoots. I wouldn't worry about the little tip rotting after the cut. That always happens, and it will be gone in a week or so. IME R.rotundifolia (I believe that's the plant in your picture) usually throws out 2 new stems, but that isn't always the case. It will get bushier if you keep trimming it, but maybe you're just expecting it to happen too fast?

A quick way to get bushy rotala is to let it grow up to and across the water surface for a week or two. Many new shoots will start at the surface. Then cut the last 6-10 inches from the top, and replant that part (Throw away the bottom if you like, or leave it.). You'll have more stems from the same center right away.

There are 2 downsides to this method though:

1. All the leaves will face one direction initially (Whichever way was up)

2. There will likely be alot of roots growing from the side away from the light. You can cut these off if you want as it doesn't really hurt anything.

Often times this plant turns red, pink, or purple at the top of the tank if there's strong light. The leaves will likely revert to green after you replant.
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