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FAQs on the Genus Aponogeton

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Madagascar Lace - Aponogeton madagascariensis       3/8/15
Hello, crew.
I have a perplexing situation that I cannot find any information about. I was hoping you would be able to help. A few weeks ago I purchased Madagascar Lace bulbs (Aponogeton madagascariensis, I assume, though it could be one of the other forms) from an online source.
<Nice plant. Disposable. But nice for a while.>
The bulbs arrived with all of their old foliage cut off about a quarter inch from the top of the corm.
<I see.>
Once submersed in my tank they began to grow quickly and in a few days I started to suspect that I had a problem. There was no fenestration apparent in the new leaves.
I will attach a photo of a week's growth. I contacted the seller and got a very earnest reply that this is common when buying Madagascar Lace plants as a bulb. I was told that it takes about 3 months before these leaves will shed and the typical fenestrated leaves will grow in.
<Really? Not experienced that myself. It's been many years since I grew this species, but I don't recall the leaves being anything other than fenestrated. For sure the leaves are initially whole but a very obvious crisscross pattern is always apparent, and before long the holes start appearing.>
The seller saw my photos and said they they were definitely Madagascar Lace and that this was very common.
<To be honest looks more like Aponogeton ulvaceus to me. Definitely isn't a standard issue Aponogeton madagascariensis of the sort you paid for/expected.>
My own research has not been able to discover references to such a phenomenon. Have you ever heard of Aponogeton bulbs growing different leaf forms for part of their lives?
Also, these bulbs had already been growing prior to shipping, as indicated by the cut foliage.
<Not uncommon. I believe the corms are grown emerse in greenhouses, cut back, then shipped. Historically this species has always been treated as an annual novelty, unlikely to grow continuously without a cooler, above-the-waterline stage like it'd experience in the wild. Since the corms are cheap (at least in the UK) buying them as something for a few months to a year is no big deal.>
Thank you for your assistance.
<I would contact the retailer and ask for a replacement, perhaps linking him back to this email. Mistakes happen, and this is likely one of them. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Aponogeton madagascariensis, repro./inflorescence 5/11/2011
I love what you guys are doing! Since I constantly use this site as a reference for myself and promote this site to customers, I thought I should share things that I cannot yet find on your site.
<We thank you>
I have attached a few photos of our Madagascar Lace (Aponogeton madagascariensis) flowering. The flowers are very light purple and very fragrant. The flower stalk seems to have only taken 3 days to bloom and reaches over 2ft.
<Ah, very nice>
This tank a 65G with angels, Neons, and Japanese algae shrimp. Substrate is Seachem's Flourite Black sand, filtration is 1x Eheim 2217 and 1x Rena XP4.
This tank gets 192W from 2x96W CL Colormax power compacts.
No CO2 is used, but air bubbles are released when lights are out at night.
<Interesting... Usually such gas is released during periods of peak photosynthesis>
Krystal Wessels
<Cheers! Bob Fenner>

Transplanting Aponogetons 5/19/07 Hi there Crew, <Nicole> I haven't been able to find too much information about this topic online, so I thought I would ask you fine folks. I'm facing a move in the next few weeks, and would like some advice. <Okay> One of my tanks is moderately planted. The substrate is just plain old silica sand. <Not generally useful for planted systems... too sharp, smooth, chemically inert...> Aponogetons have taken over! <Ah yes... "bring their own food"> One of the plants has flowered and taken to seed, so there are 4-5 tiny plants growing in little nooks and crannies, mostly towards the back out of sight. The plant that has flowered has many long leaves that float at the surface, shading the tank. <Neat> The other two main plants are Aponogeton crispus, I believe. One is younger and thriving, the other has browned and the leaves have gotten very long. <A lack of... nitrogen likely> All of these plants seem really too big to be in a 15 gallon tank, but they seem to be faring all right. I fertilize twice monthly with Hagen's Iron Enriched NutraGro, <Ohhh> and perform small daily water changes of about 1/2 gallon to a gallon. <Wow, good practice> I use a teeny gravel vacuum - a piece of rigid airline tubing connected to regular airline tubing. This gets the particles off the sand without too much disruption. My questions are these: what would be the best way to transplant these plants? <Mmm, to pull out as much of the existing root structure and "bulb", along with a good bit of the substrate... and place all in a new setting... best in a pot of some sort, that you can move easier going forward> I chose the sand for aesthetic reasons, but is there another sandy substrate that the plants would prefer, that might provide a bit of nutrient? <Oh yes... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/substraags.htm and the linked files above> The plant on the left (picture attached) doesn't look very healthy any longer but the leaves don't fall off or get holes in them, they are just a rusty brown to olive color. <Do take a read on "the Krib.com" re nutrient deficiency diseases> Before transplanting, might it help this plant to receive a radical pruning? <Yes> They all could probably use some pruning, but I am not sure how to go about it - should I just pluck out the stems? <Mmm, no... Pinch, crush the unwanted leaves near the base...> This tank may seem like a tangled mess, but it all came together in a sort of random fashion! I'll know more next time about how to go about it. <Ah, yes> Lastly, would it be beneficial to alternate NutraGro with Leaf Zone? <Mmm, yes... do read on the Krib re PMDD...> I have heard different opinions about whether to use different kinds of fertilizers or stick with just one kind. <There are better products, lines...> Sorry for all the questions! Thank you so much for your help. <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Growing water plants... - 05/01/07 hello, I recently bought betta plants for my little betta. However when putting in the spuds, <? Spuds?> I let them sink and now a few days later there looks like a white film around the spuds. Is this normal? <Maybe... are these Aponogeton bulbs?> I've looked all over the place yet no one has an answer for the white film slime stuff that's on the spuds. are they bad spuds? will they hurt my betta? what's going on? I need help! PLEASE!!! Paul <Do take a look on the Net re the above genus... likely whatever these plant parts are, they need to be planted... Perhaps a bit of decomposer populations are taking advantage... Plant them. Bob Fenner>

Sprouting Old Plant Bulbs 9/8/06 Disregard the title if it sounds like an emergency - it's not. No fish are suffering! Just my pride. What I have done is so idiotic! Hopefully I will not be barred from ever writing you again. < Hey, we live off this stuff!> I was cleaning out a section of my utility room (mostly full of fish equipment and hurricane prep -- after all, this is Florida here) and I came across this package of plant bulbs I must have purchased a few years ago and forgot about. They are Aquarium Plant Life brand, a package of about 5 bulbs that you're supposed to be able to drop into an aquarium and have root in a few days. Ok, so I also stumbled across my old 10 gallon glass tank and a bag of blue and black gravel mix, and a bag of perlite and vermiculite mix. (In case you can't tell, I mix things.) Somehow, I thought I would experiment with all three of these! So I covered the bottom of the tank with perlite and vermiculite --which I figured was probably not aquarium safe but thought it would be ok, since I was only meaning half-heartedly to grow these plants and never add fish-- then topped it off with nearly an inch of the blue and black aquarium gravel. I mistakenly thought this layering would give the plants some nice deep airy rooting substrate with an (albeit thin) anchor of dense gravel! Well, I poured the water in from my faucet attachment and boy oh boy do I have a mess. I put a screened top over the tank and a shoplight is casting ghostly formations into the brown water. I cannot imagine this ever clarifying. After reading online about perlite and vermiculite (apparently these materials are used for pool construction and fireproofing? hmm...) I can see now that these probably will not ever do well submerged. I netted out most of the perlite, which floated to the top as though made of Styrofoam. I believe it's the vermiculite that is causing the brown clouding of the water. I dropped the bulbs in already along with a couple of fertilizer tabs... once the water filled the tank it was impossible to scoop them out, like bobbing for apples! Should I dump this mess outside? < Take the tank outside. Pour the water and floating things through a fish net. Pluck out the bulbs and dump the rest into your flower bed. Rinse the gravel in the 10 gallon with a garden hose until it overflows clear and the gravel is clean. Empty the water and set the tank back up where you want it. Place the bulbs back into the tank. If they spout at all then you can worry about lighting and fertilizers then. If they don't sprout then just fish them out with a net.> I could do so easily, the tank is right near the front door. It probably wouldn't hurt the plants outside. I was tempted to tonight, but I thought I would ask your opinion. I don't think this stuff will ever settle... if it does, isn't it bound to cloud right up again? Also after mucking around in this water, my hands feel dry as all get-out. Maybe it has to do with the fact that these are pool construction and flame proofing materials!! ;) I feel so dumb having this tank which now looks like a....liquid intestinal evacuation! So, would it ever be *feasible* to grow these plants of *questionable* origin in this *experimental* substrate, just add hard tap water and fertilizer tabs? I'm so sorry to ask, but I would love to know... if not, I'd be happy to pitch the fowl soup... Thank you for even reading this far! Nicole < Plant the bulbs. It is the only way we will know if they are any good.-Chuck>

Hardy Aponogetons - 06/07/2005 I got some live aquarium plants called hardy Aponogeton bulbs from a pet store and I don't know much about them; could you tell me more about them? <Aponogetons are pretty neat plants. Some are very easy to grow, and others require a bit of attention; chances are, at least some of your bulbs will grow into nice plants, maybe all of them. Here is an article about this genus of plants: http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Plants/apons-randall.html . If you go to http://www.google.com and do a search on the word "Aponogeton", you'll get tons of information. My own personal favorite is Aponogeton ulvaceus, which is a very beautiful plant with broad, wavy leaves....> Please Email me back with info. <There is a wealth of information awaiting you on the web; read that article and do a Google search, and you'll soon know all you like.> Thanks. <You bet. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

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