Plant update (week 17)

Before trimming

I have been trimming the Hydrocotyle sp. ‘Japan’ once per week, selling off 60-100 cm at a time. If you want some, send me an email or leave a message! The H. leucocephala, which can be seen growing at the centre front has been moved to the back now.

The Lindernia rotundifolia has also started to take off, and since I took the first cutting two weeks ago, a couple more stems are now close to the surface, so I expect to cut them back next weekend or the weekend after.

All of the Cryptocorynes are growing well, although slowly, with C. beckettii ‘petchii’ being the fastest.

I have even managed to find some Rotala rotundifolia cuttings which are recovering slowly!

Mosses are also doing well. While I originally added only Vesicularia ferriei, the weeping moss has sprouted strands of Taxiphyllum sp. ‘peacock’ and there are a few strands of what I suspect to be T. sp. ‘stringy moss’, which is also sometimes labelled as ‘Japan moss’.

Another couple of hitch-hikers have also made it into the aquarium: Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’ and Riccia fluitans. The Riccia is not doing so well, while the Hemianthus has gotten caught on one of the C. beckettii ‘petchii’ leaves and seems to be growing. Both species are often considered difficult or impossible to grow in “low-tech” set-up, so it will be interesting to see how these do.

The Pogostemon erectus is surviving, although no longer doing well. I added a root tab underneath it a couple of days ago and moved it out from under the C. wendtii ‘Tropica’, which had started trying to grow over the Pogostemon.

After taking the photo, I pruned back all the Hydrocotyle sp. ‘Japan’ from around the heater as I did not like how it looked and gathered the L. rotundifolia closer together, towards the back of the aquarium.

Update on Pogostemon erectus

Pogostemon erectus drawing by Kirsten TindSince I added the two small Pogostemon erectus cuttings to this aquarium, the parent plant in my larger display aquarium has done poorly. I think this is in part because of the lower light at 0.6 wpg (the plant growth stagnated), and that the plecos and snails have taken to it as dinner.

I have now moved all the remains of the plant to the back, right corner of this aquarium, the area where the Rotala rotundifolia was originally meant to go. They seem to be settling in. Although growth is slow, new stems and buds are growing consistently along all the stems.

The drawing is by Kirsten Tind. It is of a style known as botanical illustration, which are traditionally printed along side descriptions of the plants. This particular drawing was commissioned by Tropica Aquarium Plants and looks very similar to how my Pogostemon erectus cutting looked when it arrived in July.

Back to fertilisers and keyhole spawn

I received a new batch of 50 tabs of Sera’s florenette A so 4 of those went under the Hygrophila corymbosa var. siamensis, Vallis., Echinodorus tenellus and Cryptocoryne beckettii ‘petchii’ yesterday, and another 16 were dispered under some of the other plants today (Hygrophila polysterma, Crypt. wendtii ‘brown’, Echinodorus bleheri, Eichhornia azurea, Pogostemon erectum, Crypt. wendtii ‘green gecko’, Pogostemon helferi). I also noticed that the keyholes have spawned again and because as usual, I do not believe that they will do well, I removed 10 eggs using a paintbrush. Even as I was removing the eggs, the Melanoides tuberculata ((Malaysian trumpet snails) were already trying to eat the rest. One unusual thing did happen though: the male keyhole bit me, which has never happened before, even when they were breeding. On closer inspection, I am not sure if the female spawned with her usual mate or one of the younger ones because the older male and the bigger of the younger two now look almost identical.

Trying out Pogostemon erectus

Actual 60 litre plant layoutI have added two small Pogostemon erectus cuttings to the back right corner. This plant was on my original list from April, but was cut from the later lists because it is apparently moderately demanding. Because it came with a bundle of plants I bought recently, I decided to take a small cutting from the parent plant and see how it does in this aquarium.