Planting a large water sprite question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-07-2003, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Hello all,

I've got a very large water sprite, actually two, but one is about 12 inches in diameter in my 38g tank. I was wondering how I would go about planting this int he substrate if the roots drop about 8 and a half inches from the plant. I know that you are not supposed to cut the roots, but, should I spread them out in the substrate in a deep or shallow hole?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-07-2003, 10:11 PM
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spread them out in the substrate as deep as you can. Never cut the roots of any plants.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-07-2003, 10:22 PM
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Actually in the case of Water Sprite, I would not worry about the roots. Each time a new leaf unrolls, it grows its own bunch of roots. Water sprite can be grown floating too, but it covers a lot of surface area this way. If you want to grow it in the substrate, I would use some weight to keep it down, and the roots will find their way into the substrate. Be careful when handling the plant as it is very brittle and breaks easily.

Just a word of warning... these can become monsters... I like them, but they seriously try to take over my 100 gal.


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-07-2003, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Wass.

I've had this sprite for 8 months. It started off just as an extra in a bag of plants I purchased at one of my aquarium society meetings. Now, I've got the mother and three of her kids that have grown from her.

So you're suggesting to just weight it down and not try to plant the roots?

How can you trim this plant. Do you have to cut it right at the base?

I use the water sprite in my severum tank. The fish love it (they don't really eat it, it just creates another element to the tank that the fish enjoy.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-07-2003, 11:29 PM
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If you manage to stick the existing roots into the substrate they will just die. They don't last very long, and you probably noticed that with every leaf new roots are appearing on the base of the leaf. Just weighting down should work fine, those plants have an enormous positive (?) buoyancy.

I trim those in two ways... I cut the older leaves at their base, and also when they get too huuuuuuuuge I take like half of the leaf off, with the lots of fine leaflets it isn't very noticeable.

These plants grow at an amazing rate... after a while you want to take out that monster and replace it with a younger one, and you notice that with the roots you will take out your entire substrate :mrgreen:


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-07-2003, 11:52 PM
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I would agree with WP.

I would cut the roots way back, probably cut them clean off, and then plant them. Never had a problem doing it this way.

Mike

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2003, 09:11 AM
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I hope nobody gets offended but I totally disagree with cutting roots. Plants grow roots for a reason. The larger the plant, the longer and more roots required to sustain it.

Denitrification takes place deep in the gravel where there is no oxygen. During this process nitrites are converted to nitrates which deep rooted plants can readily take up. This is not only good for your plants but also good for your fish.

Of course, one can take the easy way out and just put it on the surface with a weight to secure it. Sure it won't die, but is that all we aim? Just a way to do things so they just survive? Cutting the healthy roots of a plant will cause your plants to become weak, easily breakable and in case of water sprites, cause lots of floating break outs until your plant breaks up into smaller sustainable pieces.

If you ever tell a botanist you cut out some roots just so you can handle the plant better, he'll either kill you or die laughing.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2003, 12:24 PM
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johnd. I hate to tell you this but you are all wet. Anytime you move a terrestrial plant you trim the top and the roots. In fact trimming the roots is the best way to quickly get new root growth.

In a planted tank there are few if any nitrites available for denitrification. Not to mention that in a well planted tank there is plenty of oxygen in the substrate from the plant roots already there.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2003, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
johnd. I hate to tell you this but you are all wet.
Aren't we all in this hobby. :lol:

Cutting the roots has a lot of benefits to a plant that had stalled in it's growth. There is something about it that "stimulates" the plant to grow. When I pull a bunch of crypts from my tanks, I end up with twice as many popping out of the gravel from the root mass left in the gravel. I thought I had pulled all the C spiralis out of a tank, and now I have them coming up everywhere. :roll:

Isn't denitrification the anaerobic bacterial process of converting nitrate to nitrogen gas. Rex is right, while it can happen in a healthy planted tank it probably doesn't get much of a chance to. In a tank with no oxygenation of the substrate it will happen, along with the production of methane and hydrogen sulfide, lets just say if you stir up that substrate you'll know that it happened.

:shock:

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Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2003, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice.

I didn't plante the roots. I weighed them down with some rocks in certain places.


Looking pretty cool now.

Thanks.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2003, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
johnd. I hate to tell you this but you are all wet. Anytime you move a terrestrial plant you trim the top and the roots. In fact trimming the roots is the best way to quickly get new root growth.

In a planted tank there are few if any nitrites available for denitrification. Not to mention that in a well planted tank there is plenty of oxygen in the substrate from the plant roots already there.

correct. you trim the rotted or the dead roots. But you dont cut it if its healthy because you destroy the root hairs and they take time to grow back.

There is zero nitrites reading in a planted tank. Correct. However, to say that there is no nitrites for denitrification is wrong. Nitrites are constantly form and denitrified, thus the zero reading you get.

Also, in a planted tank oxygen is only available at the substrate surface, not below. The bubbles you see when you stir the substrate are not oxygen, they are nitrogen gas. If there are oxygen, then denitrification bacteria would not be present. In that case, your nitrites level will not be zero as it should be.

I do not mind being called wet or greenhorn or whatever names. However, please debate with facts alone. Personal feelings should be left out of a discussion in pursue of knowledge. Keep an open mind.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2003, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnd
correct. you trim the rotted or the dead roots. But you dont cut it if its healthy because you destroy the root hairs and they take time to grow back.
Right, they do take time and energy to grow back. And leaf production might slow to a halt for a while, but in a healthy environment this period of time is minimal and will net more growth in the long run. We all speak from experience here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnd
There is zero nitrites reading in a planted tank. Correct. However, to say that there is no nitrites for denitrification is wrong. Nitrites are constantly form and denitrified, thus the zero reading you get.
Again, correct, but Rex was probably referring to the fact that plants uptake Ammonia in preference to Nitrite or Nitrate. There is far less nitrfication and denitrification occuring in a planted tank than a conventional aquarium.

Have you tried cutting roots of Aquatic plants? If so, and it didn't work for you, tell us about the specifics. I'm curious.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2003, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnd
I do not mind being called wet or greenhorn or whatever names. However, please debate with facts alone. Personal feelings should be left out of a discussion in pursue of knowledge. Keep an open mind.
Hey John, Rex can be a little blunt at times but reading a number of his posts I think he means well. It's just frustrating sometimes to read something that just looks wrong to you. I can assure you that many of us manage to raise someone elses hackles when we post here. I know I've gotten someone's ire up recently. But I also know that the desire to help other people have stable healthy tanks is the driving force of the discussion and the immediate results of overly forceful remarks like mine will meter out into better discussions not bad blood.

Ok, did you know that a plant grows new root hairs every day?
The substrate of a planted tank has a lot more O2 in it than a plantless aquarium but it is not fully aerobic, infact it changes over the course of the day.
Having some anoxic conditions occur in the substrate is important to the process of releasing nutrients in the form the plants need.
Gasses that form in the aerobic substrate, CO2
Gasses that form in the anerobic substrate, CH4, N2 and N2O, H2S, CO2.

Anyone want to add to the lists?

Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2003, 04:11 PM
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Yes in 1997 I did a documented research on foilage and root dependence on each other. Unfortunately for the purpose of the research it was in my native language and not in English. However, a student tried to use my research in his paper and translated portions of it. I will try to contact him and make available his paper which is a research based on root parasites in the tropical climate.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2003, 04:19 PM
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In regards to root cutting I would have to say that I have tried it both ways and had much better results trimming the roots of plants, especially heavy root feeders when transplanting. Point in case, started with 2 Brown Wendtii crypts, they produced many daughter plants at the root base. I pulled the plants up, sperated them and replanted them with all the roots intact, the had almost 50% of them succumb to crypt melt, took months to recover. Did the same thing about 2 months ago with even more daughter plants but this time trimmed all the roots to about an inch in length and have not had 1 plant melt on me. Just my 2 cents.


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