Plants you weren't able to grow? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Plants you weren't able to grow?

I've never been able to really *grow* Java Fern. Everyone keeps talking about how easy it is, but all mine ever did was grow baby plants and look ratty. I think this plant is a lot harder to get to look nice than to 'grow'. Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing a true low light tank with a nice Java Fern in it. I've seen 'high light/tech' tanks with really nice Java Ferns, though.

Another plant I've had trouble with is Water Sprite. It's another plant that people say is easy to grow, and when it grows, it grows like a weed. I wish I could get some to grow like a weed. The first time I tried it, it didn't last, but that was due to not having enough light (less than 1wpg). I upgraded the lighting to just under 3wpg, but the second round of water sprite grew about an inch and melted away.

What are some plants that you weren't able to grow? Will you ever try to grow them again?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Darla
I've never been able to really *grow* Java Fern. Everyone keeps talking about how easy it is, but all mine ever did was grow baby plants and look ratty. I think this plant is a lot harder to get to look nice than to 'grow'. Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing a true low light tank with a nice Java Fern in it. I've seen 'high light/tech' tanks with really nice Java Ferns, though.

Another plant I've had trouble with is Water Sprite. It's another plant that people say is easy to grow, and when it grows, it grows like a weed. I wish I could get some to grow like a weed. The first time I tried it, it didn't last, but that was due to not having enough light (less than 1wpg). I upgraded the lighting to just under 3wpg, but the second round of water sprite grew about an inch and melted away.

What are some plants that you weren't able to grow? Will you ever try to grow them again?
well. With Java Fern, an untrue rumor is that it does better in lower light. Actually, the higher the lighting and CO2 levels, the faster and better it grows. What you need to do is cut off the baby plantlets when they have about 5 leaves per rhizome, and the leaves are about 2 inches long. Then, Tie these to a piece of wood (i assume you know not to bury the rhizome?)
I did this to mine 4 months ago, started out with 6 adult leaves. A few weeks later, I had about 7 plantlets, 20 leaves total... The plantlets will grow new leaves from their rhizomes. Now I have over 250 leaves, almost the size of the origional parent leaves. These have now grown old, ugly and ratty, and I'm going to take them out. The still produce massive amounts of plantlets.

One thing you need to know about watersprite: It is NOT a stem plant! You cannot cut off the bottom and replant it, then it will melt (it sounds like you did that)
It is a fern, and just like Javas, it sends out babies from the leaves. The Stems branch out from a central crown, which has roots.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 01:25 AM
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You can cut leaves from the Water Sprite and let them float for a week or so and they will start to grow roots, after a couple weeks they are big enough to plant. I had one that I would only allow it to have 3 stems at a time, after they reached the water surface I would cut them near the base and let the new branhes reach for the surface. This works fine but after a while you'll have a massive root ball that's not very attractive, that's where the floating leaves come in handy.


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 01:31 AM
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You can cut leaves from the Water Sprite and let them float for a week or so and they will start to grow roots, after a couple weeks they are big enough to plant. I had one that I would only allow it to have 3 stems at a time, after they reached the water surface I would cut them near the base and let the new branhes reach for the surface. This works fine but after a while you'll have a massive root ball that's not very attractive, that's where the floating leaves come in handy.
the floating leaves grow little plantlets which have roots. Look closely. Its actually a new baby watersprite growing off the old leaf. If you cut the leaf too small, it will die before new plants can grow, similarly to java fern. Im thinking this is Darla's problem

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Thanks
the floating leaves grow little plantlets which have roots. Look closely. Its actually a new baby watersprite growing off the old leaf. If you cut the leaf too small, it will die before new plants can grow, similarly to java fern. Im thinking this is Darla's problem
The plant that melted was rooted.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 01:40 AM
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than i dont know what's wrong... mine grows like a weed, even when its not in the substrate, but tied to wood.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 01:44 AM
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The floating leaf with roots is the begining of your new plant, just plant it and as it grows it will put off new stems, no cutting involved. Except when you cut the leaf from the original over grown Water Spite.


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 01:47 AM
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Sorry Darla, Some how I missed the less than 1 watt per gallon thing, that's your problem.
Man, I not doing to good today, missed the up grade too.


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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 01:57 AM
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Now that I've slowed down and looked again. Water Sprite does grow like a weed, so it sucks up a lot of nutrients. What's your substrate and fertilizer program?

.......And to really answer the original question, I started low light and had some Java, and all I could grow were some diatoms. The leaves were just coverd in brown. My other plant would be Green Cabomba (this is much later after the high tech revolution in my tank), the leave just fall like pine needles.


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 02:00 AM
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Java fern is funny... The first time I tried it was in a very low-tech tank of 35g or so, no CO2 injection, some ferts and root tabs(can you say 'algae'?) with about 2.5wpg and the java fern and java moss stayed alive(i didn't say grow). Then with a 20g and DIY yeast injection w/about 3wpg it sprouted all kinds of new plantlets up off the rhizome -- it always had new growth. This particular plant I actually had for a total of 3-4 years and it was in 3 different tanks). But I have some new java fern that I attached to a piece of wood that get 5.5wpg, plenty of ferts and about 40+ppm co2, but they have not grown much if at all, and the leaves are getting some black spots. It may be just because they're still settling in though....

Not really sure what would be causing it to not grow in your case. Perhaps its still in shock from transplant -- how long have you had it? If you have <1 wpg, yeah, it just needs more light. that's too low.
Water sprite like to have medium - higher light levels. The first time I tried it was in a low(1wpg or so) light situation and it never grew, turned brown and died. Then I tried it w/ 3wpg, co2 and ferts, it grew like a "weed" and I kept trimming it back lest it take over the entire tank.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 09:15 AM
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I gave up on riccia for now.. I have 2.4 wpg which is not enough and no CO2. Beginners luck just dont work this time.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 09:25 AM
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I definitely agree on Java Fern. On most plant sites it's labeled as "easy" and "for beginners," while a plant like Madagascar Lace is called "difficult," "experts only," "only a dream for many plant experts."

I have a VERY hard time getting Java Fern to grow. Usually it melts no matter how I try it.

I planted a Madagascar Lace bulb and it grows like crazy with hardly any effort.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 03:59 PM
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I had no trouble growing Java Ferns in my lowlight 1.3wpg tank. I had to chuck one chunk because it was overgrowing too much.

I attach mine on small pebbles or on a some nice flat rocks.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 07:18 PM
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There are many plants I can not grow, there are some that grew phantastically and then disappeared, others I could never grow and all of a sudden the took off, and yet others I never had any problems with.

That's one of the challenges and excitements of this hobby, you never know how your tank will look like exactly. Especially with low light tanks, you will need to try which plants will like your conditions and which not. If you have more than one tank you will notice that some plants thrive in one but not in the other, even though the water seems to be exactly the same.

I have relatively low light tanks with relatively high hard water. One tank has pressurized CO2, the others DIY. Different substrates, from Flourite to gravel and kitty litter.

There are some plants like Limnophila aromatica that will refuse to grow a single millimeter in any of my tanks. There is Ludwigia repens which is supposed to be an easy plant and fast grower, which I had for over a year growing nicely and then it just fell into piecesand disappeared completely. Cabomba and Myriophyllums and Stargrass and others will grow for a while, then croak. There is Riccia which got taken over by hair algae, I threw it out, forgot about it, and one year later when switching to pressurized CO2 all of a sudden it started to grow from out of nowhere to big beautiful cushions. Once I had Ambulia growing in all my tanks, until my Festivums decided they were tasty and just finished them up. Crypt balansae which I planted 3 years ago keeps growing one leaf and loosing one leave every two weeks. Doesn't live nor die. Some swords stay relatively small for a year, then explode into giant plants that take over the whole tank.

I never had problems with Java Ferns or Ceradopteris though.


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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 08:11 PM
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Plants are funny. As Wasserpest noted, some will grow profusely and then die out in a matter of weeks. Others will disappear for months and then return with a vengeance. Others will grow in bright (or dim) light for some people but not for others.

I have some java fern in a 2 wpg gallon 29 that is growing at various depths but not well at any. In a .8 wpg 20 long "junk tank" a single fern has grown in less than a year into a 12 stem, foot long rhizome with all of the leaves healthy and blemish free - and it is heavily shaded by hornwort and duckweed!

I have a feeling that water sprite likes hard water, but I'm sure that some are growing it in soft. For five years it was growng like a weed for me in that 2 wpg 29; now it is dying out and I'm down to three plants.

These things probably happen because one or more of the many variables that affect plant growth change. A slight change in nutrients, the addition of an incompatible plant, more or fewer fish, or a subtle change in lighting singly or in combination could cause established plants to fail. Or something could be amiss in the karma of the plant keeper.

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