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Elatine hydropiper Mystery - how is this possible?

louis_last

Member
Joined
23 Nov 2008
Messages
265
Location
Edinburgh / Dunbar - Scotland
I have a small low tech tank that's home to some shrimp and micro rasboras that has sort of been an ongoing experiment for several years now. A couple of times I've totally rescaped the tank, added and removed hardscape/plants etc.
I'm fortunate that I've never had too many problems in this tank but quite early on I had a very small patch of elatine hydropiper that I purchased as an in vitro plant and which never really took off, it grew a little but never spread much and then unfortunately I had to go abroad for a while and the tank was relatively neglected while I was away. When I came back many of the plants and mosses had been really badly choked out by algae and all, and I do mean all, of the elatine hydropiper had metled away. That was MORE than two full years ago. At the time I was running the tank slightly more high tech with a nano pressurised co2 system and higher light. I decided to totally rescaped the tank to deal with the algae, removed some plants and added some others and repaced the light with a lower wattage LED and stopped providing any additional co2. I also removed ALL of the plants and hardscape and thoroughly gravel vacced the substrate which has always been ADA amazonia. At no point during the years since then has there been any sign of elatine hydropiper in the tank at all, I've continued to occasionally do minor rescapes, and fairly regularly vaccum the substrate.
Here's the mystery - Somehow after completely dying out and being totally absent from the tank for at least two full years, Elatine hydropiper has suddenly reappeared in the tank and is growing very well, much better than when I was injecting co2 and providing brighter light and fertiliser. So well in fact that it's now rapidly overtaking the Marsilea crenata that has been painfull slowly spreading throughout the tank. I'm not confused that it's growing much better with lower light and no co2 or ferts - plants are weird sometimes - but how has it managed to reappear after such a long period of time? I know that E. hydropiper can produce seeds when grown emersed but I seperated individual plantlets from the in vitro culture when I initially panted and there was no indication of flowers or seed pods. Is it really possible that the plant somehow survived as a dormant rhizome buried in the substrate for more than two years without any leaves? or must I assume that somehow seeds were produced in vitro and have remained dormant all this time? If seeds were introduced with the initial plants then they have lain dormant in the tank for SIX years before now suddenly germinating underwater. I just can't figure it out and I'm wondering if maybe someone here knows anything about the biology of the plant that could explain this sudden reappearance and vitality after such a long time. Has anybody else had a plant take this long to adapt to their tank?
Elatine hydropiper does not grow locally to me and it's exactly a year since I last added any other plants, hardscape or animals to the tank. It could be some other species of plant but it looks exactly like E.hydropiper and it's growth habit is identical.
 
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