Bucephalandra Challenge

Onoma1

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While Bucephalandra is described by the sadists in Tropica, Dennerle and other plant growing companies (there is a conspiracy) as an easy plant (I can almost see them cackling as they label it) this hasn’t been my experience (https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/bucephalandra-crisis.56541/page-2#post-551513).

I think, however, that this is a fascinating plant and one which needs to be conserved as its natural environment (and ecosystem to which it belongs) is being rapidly degraded and subspecies are being eradicated as a result of both logging, farming and poaching for the aquarium trade. Rather counter-intuitively it's also been suggested that aquarium trade could be the salvation of this plant species as aquarists propagate subspecies of the plant that are now extinct..

I found Kalum’s Buce Drift Thread really interesting (https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/buce-drift-bad-bba-good-pwl-shrimp.56037/page-3), read whatever I could on the forum then watched Jurijs Jutjajevs’ review of the tank Adam Paszczela is maintaining – full of thriving rare Bucephalandra. So I do realise that Adam Paszczela is a bit of a genius when it comes to Aquascaping and plant growing but it gave me faith that this is being done.

I do realise that I am in contrast a rather inexperienced Aquascaper with a spotty record when it comes to Bucephalandra! The challenge that I have set myself is to see if I can change this and grow and propagate different varieties of Bucephalandra. It seems like a reasonable challenge and one which is potentially useful.

So that’s the purpose of this new journal - to follow my journey and see how far I get. All the plants that I will buy will be propagated (not taken from the wild).

The tank is a bit of an experiment in three other ways – it’s using a part dirt substrate, it needs to be put together on a budget and I am using wood (for the first time) and ‘found UK wood’. So this is going to be a bit of an interesting process.

Following advice from the forum I went for a substrate made up of John Innes Number 3 capped with Unipac Limpopo Black sand (https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/substrate-for-crypts.56567/#post-551595). I used a soil retainer between the two layers and then chickened out and impulse bought a small bag of tropica soil to go on top of the sand. I will combine this with a lean dosing approach.

I have used part of a Beach Tree root from a hedge that was cut down last year and grubbed up and left to dry. Each section of this was boiled for a 3 hours over the course of a day. Unfortunately, although I removed all of the bark from the thicker pieces I wasn’t able to remove it from the smaller ones. These are the bits that can be seen so I am hoping that they can be removed over time. I may live to regret this.

The other bits of equipment were bought over a period of months from ebay, Aliexpress and more recently Aquarium Gardens.

The plants were bought (Aquarium Gardens or few from ebay) and I have also planted quite heavily with some rapidly growing plants to help keep algae at bay. The intention that these will be removed once the Buce and Crypts are established.

Any advice, support or comments would be welcome.

Photo's will follow shortly.

Details of the setup and costs are below:


The headline costs are as follows:

Plants £45.97

Substrate £22.50

Opti-White Rimless Tank 60cm @ £50

Lighting @ £50

Pump £25

Inline Hydor Heater £52

Co2 Equipment/ Piping for Pump £82.62


Total Cost: £328.09


Bought Plants:

Cryptocoryne Rubella Tissue Culture £ 5.99

Cryptocoryne Costata £ 5.99

Vesicularia Species (creeping Moss) - Linea In-vitro £ 3.99

Bucephalandra Midnight Shadow, Lamandau Rain, Diamond, Blue Sea (£30)


Cuttings from my other tank:

Pygmaea Helvola Dwarf water lily

Ranunculus inundatus

Micranthemum monte carlo

Eleocharis acicularis 'Mini'

Water Sprite

Bolbitis heudeloti

Alternanthera (possibly Reineckii Pink)

Bucephalandra Biblis x 2 – Given to me

Cryptocoryne green gecko

Cryptocoryne bullosa

Sagittaria Subulata (I am not 100% sure on the identification - this was a gift).


Substrate:

Unipac Limpopo Black Sand Sand 2KG (£8)

Tropica Aquarium Soil 3kg (£15)

Soil retainer (old green greenhouse shading mesh)

3 inches John Innes Number 3 (50p)


Hardscape

Section of a Beach Tree Root from hedge. Boiled and 80% of bark removed + temporary rock to keep it down.


Equipment


The tank: 60cm X 35cm X 40cm (100 pounds with Oase 250 Thermo External Pump thrown - which I used for my other tank)

JBL CristalProfi E701 Greenline External Filter (700 l/h) transferred from my other tank £25

Chihiros A-Series 39W 117 PC Led 5800 Lumen, 8000k 'ADA' style £50

Hydor External Aquarium Heater Eth 16mm Hose, 300 Watt £51

Frosted Background (spare from my other tank).


Transferred co2 setup and glassware from my old tank to the new and bought the following for my old tank:

13mm/ 17mm Aquarium Glass Inflow/ Outflow Poppy Pipe Set For 12/16/22mm Tube £9.99

Glass Drop Checker CO2 Aquarium £1.17

Qanvee atomizer £12.21

Regulator/ Solonoid/ Bubble Checker £27

Co2 Art CO2 Tubing 3m £5.99

Fire Extinguisher for Co2 £10

Clear Silicone Pipe £16.26
 
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Onoma1

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I have attached a photo. Any links to info on growing Bucephalandra, advice or comments are more than welcome.

A few caveats:
  1. The water is still a bit cloudy.
  2. I may have been a bit over-enthusiastic with the application of super glue (thanks to Zozo for recommending in one of his posts a safe type which is also easily purchased).
  3. The very large rock on the right hand side will be removed once I am absolutely convinced that the wood won't float.
  4. Again sorry for the quality of the photo - it was taken on an rather aged LG phone.
  5. The Cryptocoryne bullosa which looks great under the WRGB lights looks pretty awful under the A type white lights - just creates a dark point at the heart of the scape. This will be moved.
20190218_175858_HDR.jpg
 
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Kalum

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Fair play to you trying again mate and I really hope you succeed with them this time

I think I might just have got lucky with them so far tbh. They have done great so far in my high tech with no melt at all and are starting to grow out, this was using both potted and in-vitro plants. I have 2 potted buces in my low tech and they are surviving but I do have a bit of melt on one

I'm going to be adding another couple of species in the next week or 2 so that will make 7 different types between the 2 tanks, I'd love to grow these out and see them take over in my high tech and funnily enough none are the same as what you've got so will be great to see the comparison

Looking forward to seeing how you get on mate
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Have you tried neglecting it @Onoma1 ?

upload_2019-2-18_19-19-35.jpeg


There’s a mixture of red and green in there. All grown from one red and one green originally a while ago. Low tech, no Co2, ferts daily, 50% water change every three to five days. Skimmer is only there to occasionally remove surface film if it appears. Filter agitates the water surface but is set as low as possible.

It’s actually lit with an e27 screw in LED bulb from amazon. It’s a holding tank on my computer desk for the odd plant and new fish. Got fistfuls of the stuff.

One thing I’ve found is Buce does not like being broken up straight away. I just trim the roots and leave it together to begin with, then pry off a few more plants later on.

it needs to be put together on a budget and I am using wood
PS the tank was a second hand aqua one 20l with filter for £20. Doesn't have to cost the earth to propogate plants.
 

Onoma1

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Have you tried neglecting it @Onoma1 ?

View attachment 121904

PS the tank was a second hand aqua one 20l with filter for £20. Doesn't have to cost the earth to propogate plants.
Months of planning, 330 quid and now you tell me :banghead: :lol:

Seriously the Buce look amazing. Congratulations! Thanks for the the advice. I thought of going for the regular massive water changes to control algae, however, given the size of the tank (and time available) decided against it - this time.

I also thought of trying for the high flow, high light approach Denis Wong suggests as an alternative https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/bucephalandra.html but decided this may be a bit too risky. So I am trying more of a middle ground approach - ferts, water changes (frequently at the start and then fewer when the plants establish themselves), medium light and co2 injection.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Buying equipment is an investment, it extends what else you can try and do @Onoma1

Kudos to you for committing to this :clap:

I tried some Anubis’s Nana in a high tech and also in this tank for a year side by side. By the end of the twelve months the low tech sample was greener, cleaner and a larger specimen. This was due to having to cut failing leaves off the high tech Anubias sample. Things don’t always go how you would expect.

Different Buces seem to behave differently yet again. Only recently started trying out Theia, Biblis and Green Velvet so reticent to say anything yet.
 

Onoma1

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Fair play to you trying again mate and I really hope you succeed with them this time

I think I might just have got lucky with them so far tbh. They have done great so far in my high tech with no melt at all and are starting to grow out, this was using both potted and in-vitro plants. I have 2 potted buces in my low tech and they are surviving but I do have a bit of melt on one

I'm going to be adding another couple of species in the next week or 2 so that will make 7 different types between the 2 tanks, I'd love to grow these out and see them take over in my high tech and funnily enough none are the same as what you've got so will be great to see the comparison

Looking forward to seeing how you get on mate
Thanks Kalum for the encouragement! Congratulations on getting in-vitro Buce to grow - a feat I have failed at (consistently). I have been watching your thread for a while - really inspirational Journal!
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Just read your other thread @Onoma1 and it appears @Konsa has had a very similar experience with Buce and also doesn’t break up Buce at the beginning either.

Certainly found this to be quite important. Interesting.
 

Onoma1

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Just read your other thread @Onoma1 and it appears @Konsa has had a very similar experience with Buce and also doesn’t break up Buce at the beginning either.

Certainly found this to be quite important. Interesting.
I agree sounds interesting! I will follow this with the next lot that I plant.
 

Kalum

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I've seen it mentioned a few times now about planting in the substrate, might give it a go in my low tech and see how it gets on
 

roadmaster

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I tried several of the "arrogant blue' in low tech with good success.I placed a drop of super glue on thumb nail size small stone, and then attached the plants and gently pushed stone with plant attached into gravel over dirt tank.
other's I attached to wood and rock and they did OK but the ones where roots could grow into substrate seemed to do a bit better.
also used daily Metricide 14 at 20 ml for 300 litre tank.
 

Steve Buce

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im sure you will have more luck with your buce challenge this time round

Agree with above, dont mess too much with new arrivals, but i do remove badly damaged leaves

Substate planting does work, i find it easier to do this with smaller plants

If a plant does melt back to its rhizome, give it a tidy up and put it at the back of the tank and it should bounce back with time
:thumbup:
 

X3NiTH

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I've been at this challenge for a while now, totally worth it though!

Bucephalandra Single Specimens (came with no substrate)

Cherry Red
Pink Lady
Black Phantom
Brownie Ghost Upper Stream
Black Gaia
Alamanda
Theia N Blue
Brownie Purple
Catherinae Super Mini
Elegant Blue

Lost all the single specimens over time, melt, rejuvenate, melt, etc until they were gone, except Cherry Red, which survived multiple Buceocalypses, it has been the proverbial cockroach in the tank in terms of survivability to unknown extremes that cause tissue loss in the others.

I start to make lots of calculated changes to lighting, fertilisation and remineralisation here in an effort to turn things around for another try.

Commercial Tissue Culture Pots (Rockwool substrate, mix of Aquafleur and Tropica)

Motleyana Wavy Green
Theia Blue

Cherry Red health gave me optimism that the above two wouldn't give me problems so I bought a bunch of them, Motleyana first, as per usual after a period of adjustment deficiencies and melt continued, cue more changes in an apparent positive direction and I bought the Theia Blue (a pile of them) -

43203046481_a0fb41f590_k.jpg


Half went on that lump of Mopani, the other lot got distributed between 3 tanks with different fert regimes. Things were going great for a while but inevitably at some point to some unknown it went south again, totally disheartening, wasn't happening to the whole tank Cherry Red trooped on, and Motleyana wasn't completely outright melting but it looked like a slug ravaged cabbage and any fully intact leaves were showing Mg deficiency (there was plenty in the water so this was clearl evidence of antagonism). That was it, no more Buce buying and certainly no rare types until I figured this out. The survivors were recovered and rejuvenated as best I could and a serious head scratch later ended up doing fertilisation and remineralisation completely differently again but this time I'm getting good results.

With cautious optimism I have upped the stakes in my own personal challenge and have ordered a few I haven't tried before, so two 8.5cm ø In-Vitro Tubs of one each of Braun-Rot/Serimbu and Mini Needle Leaf are coming and also a Pot of Lamandau Purple, (BraunRot is pretty close to Brownie Ghost though, could even be the same thing just different collector). Also have ordered a mesh pad of Solenostoma Tetragonum (Gunung Sumpit) Liverwort, I'm already growing Monoselenium and M.Pteropus Windelov prothallium well so hoping this plays nice also (fingers crossed).

:)
 
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Onoma1

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The survivors were recovered and rejuvenated as best I could and a serious head scratch later ended up doing fertilisation and remineralisation completely differently again but this time I'm getting good results.
Very relieved to hear that it isn't just me!

Have you any advice on how I should approach use of fertilisers to ensure decent results?
 

X3NiTH

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The first thing I did to get my head around this was have a serious look at what Vasteq does for ferts since I suppose he's the most well known Buce keeper, had a good look at his source water and did my best to replicate this (the base minerals may have been different but the ratios and ppm's I wanted to get as close as possible), I also compared this information with whatever studies I could find on the real environment for Buce. First conclusion from some of that minutia was that Vasteqs tap water is naturally high in Fe and Mn and interestingly enough this was also the case out in the wild (super pure rain water over a Karst landscape with a decent amount of Fe and Mn in it).

I wanted to try add extra Mn, I could add extra Fe by using DTPA, but how much Mn was going in at the same time using EDTA Fe chelated traces, to boost it I bought Manganese Sulphate. I was also boosting my KH using Potassium Bicarbonate (my GH component was bee shrimp mineral GH+ which is composed of chlorides of calcium and magnesium) to keep my pH profile high (7.8 - 6.3 after CO₂ addition) for better bacteria health (on the assumption that the bacteria that forms a beneficial symbiosis with Buce roots for encouraging health and growth thrive best. I found a paper describing this function but I stupidly forgot to bookmark it and I've not been able to find it again, it was really obscure), Darryl's got a nice graphic he posts occasionally on bacteria and pH.

Had to stop using EDTA traces as I was getting antsy about it giving me issues for being out of pH range for my profile so I swapped to Flourish Comprehensive (had some to hand so could try it out) and Flourish Trace (fortified with Fe DTPA and extra Mn). Fe Gluconate is short lived and light sensitive so I dose before lights on, (0.1ppm of Fe Gluconate and 0.05ppm of FeDTPA ends up as around 0.025ppm or less the next day (best guess using titration testing). Dosing Flourish Trace at EI levels gets expensive fast so I bought all the salt to DIY it, I also swapped out the comp as I didn't need the extra traces in it and so I now get my Iron Gluconate from Fishkeeper (Microbe Lift Plants Fe).

I front load the weeks dose of Macro at water change (along with some Rhizotonic) and dose traces daily before lights come on. I dose a bio CO₂ supplement every second day (Microbe Lift Bio CO₂), mainly for the humic and fulvic acids that are highly plant available natural chelators.

I remineralise RO/DI because I want a blank slate and I want to replicate Karst water so my GH remineralisation is now using carbonates of magnesium and calcium, I also want it to be entirely nutritious without unnecessary fillers the plants have no use for and can even be problematical (sodium). It is a little more convoluted to prepare but in combination with the ferts I've got going I'm having the best results I've ever had, I can follow this daily trace dosing for three weeks without water change before I notice issues (leaf curl, if left a week longer partial leaf melt), not yet worked out if something is either bottoming out or accumulating, whatever it is the plants reaction is a stress response and if cation efflux is extreme enough and prolonged enough it results in tissue loss (holes) and plant triggered leaf senescence (melt), go on long enough and the rhizome implodes (rot). Apparently it's a speciality for plants with leaky roots and that's Buce in a nutshell.

There's more info on my remin method and fertilisation in this thread over in the water chemistry forum.

Reconstituters

Hopefully this info is of some help.

:)
 

Onoma1

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Thank's for all the advice and support. So far the Buce are doing reasonably well (i.e for me this meant they haven't yet melted) , however, I realise that it's very early days.

Interestingly, the Cryptocoryne bullosa and Rubella both melted within a week of being introduced the the tank. The other Crypts seem, however, to be ok.

@X3NiTH, I am using TNC GH Boost to increase Magnesium, Calcium & Potassium levels in combination with the aquascaper complete at the moment (until the aquascaper complete runs out) which I think will give me the Iron that I need as well as other traces. I think this mirrors (in part) your approach, however, I can't go for RO water.

Just added my first livestock (four Green Neons from my large tank and some amazing shrimp from @Steve Buce ).

I have had a similar experience to @Geoffrey Rea and @Konsa in that the Buce that were separated have performed much worse than those that were kept in small bunches. Equally, those in the substrate seem to perform better than those attached to the wood.

It's my first attempt with wood and in particular wood that was found rather than bought. The larger branches that I was able to fully clean have a white fungus/ slime on them (which I understand will go with time) and the fine bits that still had bark on them are largely clear, however, seem to be being stripped by shrimp.
 

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Onoma1

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Thank you for all your helpful and supportive posts on the thread. I am (famous last words) making some slow progress and the plants seem to be surviving! The tank is slowly moving forward and developing. The list of Bucephalandra in the tank is below:

Bucephalandra ' Green Pear '
Bucephalandra ' Lamandau Rain '
Bucephalandra ' Diamond '
Bucephalandra ' Blue Sea '
Bucephalandra Midnight Shadow

Bucephalandra Sintang
Bucephalandra Theia Red
Bucephalandra Biblis

The first five in the list are very small leaved plants. The plants themselves were really small (4-5 leaves), however, seem to be doing reasonably well, are acclimatized and are slowly growing.

The last three are broader leaved plants from Aquarium Gardens (their normal superb quality). Interestingly the last two (which arrived yesterday) are produced by Aquadip and are marked as terrarium plants. The Biblis seems particularly well acclimatized and is growing strongly.

I am planting in the substrate and gluing them onto the wood. The ones in the substrate seem to perform slightly better. I read on-line that the seeds of the plants germinate in moss on rocks or wood. So the next idea is to plant to try some out in the moss on the wood.

Given @X3NiTH's experience I am on the look out for Cherry Red.

I have also turned a small perspex breeder box into a small mossy area (I have planted three different types of UK moss into it). The moss hangs over into the tank and capillary action ensures that the moss stays moist. This idea was shamelessly copied from one of the journals on the forum - sorry I can't remember which. I want to see if I can encourage some of the Buce to grow up the moss and into an emerged form. I am hoping that the damp moss will offset the dry environment.

I have attached a couple of photos. On the left hand side I have a mass of plants to soak up any excess nutrients and shade this side of the tank. As the Buce and other plants grow I will slowly remove these.

I think the tank looks ok, however, am really unhappy with the position of the wood. I need some basic advice on scaping with wood! Any comments, advice or constructive criticism would be much appreciated.
 

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Onoma1

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'Planted' a few Bucephalandra into the moss and started the process of removing some of the faster grown stems and floating plants.
At the moment the Bucephalandra in the substrate seem to be out performing those on the wood.

Just added the variety sent over by @bloskas . These are much larger Bucephalandra. One has been planted in the substrate on in moss and one is loosely attached to the wood.

I noticed that flow wasn't great and as a stop gap added an internal filter.



20190406_232451_HDR.jpg
 

TBRO

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Nice Jungle type feel. The water looks a bit hazy, could be tannins from the wood. Purigen in the filter is pretty good at clearing that out.

In terms of layout, I’m no expert but look up “Rule of thirds” and “golden Ratio”.

Keep up the good work, interesting journal. T


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