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FAQs on Marsilea for Aquariums 

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Plants (Marsilea; and avoiding algae)   2/18/09 Hello friends, I have a few questions regarding a planted setup i am starting. My tank is 90 gallons, filtered by a Fluval fx5 and heated by a Hydor 300 watt in-line heater. It is lit by a 48'' 260 watt fixture with 4x 65 watt 6400k bulbs. My tank is fully cycled and starting small patches of green algae. <Green algae? That's good news! Green algae -- Chlorophyta -- are most similar to plants in their needs, and in fact green algae almost never grows in tanks with poor levels of lighting. It's also by far the easiest algae to control, in the sense that fast-growing plants tend to suppress it, and shrimps/snails happily eat it.> This is because my bio filter media came from my previous Malawi filter. <Doubt this has anything to do with it.> My question regards the plant Marsilea drummondii. I have read many contradictory husbandry statements about it and wanted to be set right. First is this a suitable submerged aquarium plant? <Can be, but isn't widely grown, the preferred species being Marsilea hirsuata. In any case, it's not a submerse plant in the wild. Normally it's found in wetlands, and while submerged at times, is usually either above the waterline or else able to keep its leaves above the waterline even if its roots (or rhizome, to be more specific) are under water. Like virtually all of these bog plants, if grown underwater, it is extremely demanding in terms of light and CO2. It just isn't able to grow easily underwater compared to true aquatics, so needs a bit of "life support" if it is going to thrive.> I would love for it to grow to the top of the water and hate for it to drown before it gets the chance. It will be planted about 19 inches from the top of the water. I know it prefers slower moving waters that my tank does provide thanks to obstacles i designed to quickly disperse the flow from my filter so i see no problem with that. <It's a bog plant, so bear that in mind when planning.> My tank will have co2 injection prior to plant placement that i am not adding now to avoid masses of algae. While I love the natural look of trace amounts of algae I need to be able to see in the tank. <Huh? Algae isn't the enemy, and shouldn't be viewed this way. Algae is best controlled by healthy, fast growing plants such as Vallisneria. Trying to hold back on the light and CO2 your plants need to settle in just isn't going to help. Far, FAR more important that you get your plants growing, and then manage what green algae appears using shrimps or snails.> I do use a mix of river gravel and Eco complete substrate. I borrowed the idea from Timothy Gross as used in his adventures in aquascaping article. <Most any plant-friendly substrate can work well, so pick and choose whatever you like. Almost never makes or breaks an aquarium.> My fish stocking plans are very small, perhaps a group of Neons or a pair of angels, I am unsure yet. <Neons are Angelfish food, so be careful.> Due to the wealth of knowledge on here I consider myself well armed with fish stocking knowledge and will be attempting to keep my list similar to an Amano style tank. This is the first plant in my stock list so my other plants will be chosen later to compliment and coexist in the same conditions. My other question is about bamboo as a decoration. I Know it will eventually rot but have read it could take a year or more. Am I correct? <Bamboo does indeed need to be replaced periodically. Once a year sounds about right.> Also would adding a layer of aquarium sealant to the ends of the bamboo prolong its life or just complicate mine? <Over here in the UK at least, a tube of silicone sealant would cost about twice as much as ten bamboo canes, so why bother?> Any input would be greatly appreciated. Also I love the new setup on your home page with the nanos, very creative! <That's Sara's work, and she'll be thrilled you noticed.> Thanks! Ed from Detroit <Cheers, Neale.>

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