Chemical Warfare Between Plants - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2004, 04:30 AM Thread Starter
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Chemical Warfare Between Plants

Does this happen? I'm very familiar with it from my reef tank days, but now I've got an Aponogeton bulb that appears to be "burning" the emersed growth form leaves of a red melon sword. It is only happening on the one sword leaf that is touching the apon leaf and it's very localized to where the two are making contact. The damage is spreading from an "epicenter" where the two touch and is making its way out across the leaf in a circular pattern almost like a ripple away from the point of contact. Hmmmm...

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2004, 04:45 AM
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I have/had some really old books and one of them does make mention of certain species of plants not doing well when kept in the same tank together. I'll see if I can find it and post more. I think it's called alelopathy.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2004, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
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Cool, that would be great if you could dig it up. Thanks!

I just did a quick search and per Webster's:

allelopathy - the suppression of growth of one plant species by another due to the release of toxic substances

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2004, 05:34 AM
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Here's what I've got: One book from the early 80's that lists for each of the species listed what they grow well with. Another book from 85 that says something to the effect that while it's a common belief, there's nothing to substantiate it. The first book doesn't say which plants will "fight" but it doesn't list aponogetons and swords as liking each other. I can't find any mention of it more recently than 85.

Most of my really old books focus on natural (correction--should be BALANCED) aquariums--which means unusual information on filtration, substrate, etc. I'd think modern filtration would negate much of the effects (if they exist).

Dang--guess I'm showing my age.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2004, 05:44 AM Thread Starter
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I'm wondering if carbon would in fact negate the effects. I don't run carbon in my filter and am not too worried about the burn, if that's in fact what it is, thus far. I'm going to keep a close eye on it, though...

Thanks again for the info!

Which books were you referencing by the way?

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2004, 06:01 AM
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Oops--I lied. The book from 85 is the one I thought had it that didn't. Interesting reading anyway. Advanced Aquarist Guide (received in 85 as a gift) copyright 1969 by Feroze Ghadially. Know Your Aquarium Plants (missing several pages including the date, but pretty sure it's early 80's) says there's no evidence to support the belief. Howell Beginner's guide to Aquarium Plants and Decoration (1986) lists compatible species.

It's fun to go back and read my old books--ideas about what works have changed radically since my first go at planted tanks.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2004, 03:45 PM
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I think most people agree that allepathy does not occur in aquatic plants, but it gets debated a lot. The thing I do notice in my tanks is that plants compete for resources and end up growing at different rates. I don't know if this has to do with one plant being healthier than another, or if one is 'stronger' than the other. For example, my glosso slows down when my Rotala gets real thick. I would think any phosphate that gets dosed is absorbed by the Rotala, and not much is left for the glosso. When the Rotala gets a hair cut, the glosso picks up speed and gets out of control.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2004, 03:59 PM
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Wow ...Ive heard of wars between mammals...

now plants ...


thanks for sharing.....its interesting..

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-28-2004, 04:09 PM
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Haha,
Diana Walstad's book has a whole chapter devoted to the subject. It is a good read, but I guess has to do more with terrestrial plants.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2004, 02:49 AM
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My copy of the Walstad book arrived today. It says allelopathy has been reported in 97 species of aquatic plants.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2004, 03:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by observant_imp
My copy of the Walstad book arrived today. It says allelopathy has been reported in 97 species of aquatic plants.

That is interesting...this is actually a common occurence to terrestrial plants (one of the best examples is the black walnut tree). I wonder if some of the aquatic plants are common? Interesting.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2004, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by observant_imp
My copy of the Walstad book arrived today. It says allelopathy has been reported in 97 species of aquatic plants.
Doesn't say it occurs (in living systems), if you grind up plant juice and put in a small culture dish, that is not the same as a living plants growing together.

Allelopathy has never been show in natural aquatic system to date.
There have been exhaustive literature reviews digging for it, I've written research papers on it while at UF as a Grad student.

I've never seen any evidence for it, I've thought I have, but I later went back and was unable to reproduce the effect and others confirmed the suspect was not ocurring.

If you see it, it's more an issue of not having enough nutrients for species X vs species Y. Species X may simply need more than Y, no allelopathy involved.

As far as algae = plant allelopathy, this is even less likely.
What are the odds that all 300 species of aquatic plants produce the same similar effect with the wide array of chemical compounds produced?

A watrer change or carbon can be added to remove the compound as a control(it'll remove other nutrients also so that must be taken into account).

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2004, 02:15 PM
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I have a Red Rubin Sword touching an Aponogeton Crispus with no ill affects. On land with the exception of the Black Walnut (and a small group of other plants) the damage done between two plants touching is most likely to occur from a constant rubbing motion. I've never seen this in aquatic plants but I guess under the right conditions anything might be possible.


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