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Is there such a thing as a 'highlight' plant? An experiment

GreenNeedle

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19 Jul 2007
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You know the saying 'me and my big mouth'. Well I did it again on TFF :rolleyes: and was suggesting that I didn't think there was such a thing as a plant that needed high light to grow, just that highlight can make a plant stay low or change colour etc.

Aaronnorth part agreed with me but said that I wouldn't have a chance of growing Rotala Macrandra under low light so rather foolishly I joked that I would get some and try :wideyed: . Someone else went on to ask if I didn't believe that plants had compensation points which even after their explanation of what they meant went straight over my head and I thought why not and so here goes another silly thread by me of little interest to anyone wanting to buy fragile plants because they like their pink colour. lol

Off I popped to P@H and bought some cuttings (about 10 for £1.99)

the details are 33USG/125Ltr, 10x lph, pressurised CO2 (25-30ppm), PMDD+PO4 dosing and (wait for it) 0.9WPG T5HO<---wish me luck ;). Photoperiod is 8 hours. I am making no alterations at all from how I have been running it for the last 2-3 months.

I trimmed the bottom of the stem and planted 4 in the front where they will be unshaded and have full access to the light and the other 6 are placed at the back where they are slightly shaded and surrounded by heavy feeding crypts.

My aim is not to prove that they will be an intense pink nor that they turn into a massive bush. The aim is to prove that even under this light, they will grow, look healthy and not curl their toes up and die. I am getting so boring these days. lol.

This pic shows the tank (sorry it is daylight so a few reflections)
macrandratop.jpg


This one shows the 4 at the front and if you look closely you can see the rest through the Crypt stalks.
macrandrafront.jpg


Any opinions on what the results might be? A sweepstake on my chances or just plain abuse will be read with the utmost interest.

I will update weekly for a couple of months before I take the ones at the front out. At this point I will decide wether I want to keep the ones at the back or not. This of course is assuming that they don't die!!! :twisted:

AC
 

Joecoral

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24 Nov 2007
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Carmarthenshire
I dont see why it wouldnt work. By increasing the light, all you do is increase the demands of the plant, so surely any plant should grow in low light (with sufficient ferts and CO2), albeit slower than under more intense lighting
Thats my interpretation of the matter anyways
 

Ray

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31 Oct 2007
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676
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Switzerland
I'd say don't underestimate the power of T5HO. It throws WPG out the window. I think they will grow, but maybe greener than desired. However, experiment won't be complete until they reach the surface...

By the way Andy, really like the way your tank is looking - this is definitely your best scape - the wood you found is excellent and the narrow leaf java fern awesome!

Cheers,
 

GreenNeedle

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Thanks I like the way it looks at the mo although the needle is going absolutely mad.

Look at this comment on the TFF version of this thread. lol:
LOL...Tthat plants will melt like plastic hitting my stovetop....lol....but, that's just my opinion, and I am no expert.

LMAO.

AC
 

a1Matt

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10 Mar 2008
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Bromley
hmmm. Not exactly what you would call constructive criticism! I hope you prove them wrong Andy :)
 

altaaffe

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13 Jul 2008
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Thornhill, Egremont, Cumbria
It'll be interesting to see, I've taken cuttings from other plants to use try in lower wattage tanks and they have struggled & given up under 1wpg T8, whereas they continue to grow (albeit very slowly) under a lower wattage T5 setup.
 

GreenNeedle

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thats encouraging news altaafe. I am not after speed growth of course but would be cool if they did grow slowly and turn out pink/red. Patience will be key as with everything I do. lol.

AC
 

Dave Spencer

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I would be interested to see how HC copes. I suspect it would reach for the light, rather than cling to the substrate.

I doubt whether Zig`s scape would have worked under too low a light level. Still, I can`t say too much unless I try it myself.

Dave.
 

aaronnorth

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worksop, nottinghamshire
Dave Spencer said:
I would be interested to see how HC copes. I suspect it would reach for the light, rather than cling to the substrate.

I doubt whether Zig`s scape would have worked under too low a light level. Still, I can`t say too much unless I try it myself.

Dave.

here is llj's tank, 2.5g, 13w, no CO2, no Ferts with HC,

http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?s=& ... &p=2132556
 

GreenNeedle

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Just seconds after updating on TFF I read this. patience is the key young man. lol. Here is the update:

I said I would update this weekly and I will try to from now on. this is after 2 weeks:
CIMG2217.jpg

CIMG2221.jpg


Th new growth starts out pretty similar to Ludwigia Repens in colour, a yellowy/pink peachy colour. It seems to turn red though after a while.

Each stem has new growth and is noticeably slower than when grown in a highlight tank but so far it hasn't turned leggy. The only noticeable difference is the speed of growth.

As you can see the original leaves from the stems are starting to melt but with this plant having such fragile leaves I expected this to happen. When you get this plant almost all of the leaves have damage of some sort.

As for the colour I am expecting the yellowy/pink growth to turn as red as the rest because it is now starting to peek out from beneath the shadow of the needle ferns!!

In summary so far so good. 2 weeks in and looking healthy, most stems losing leaves lower down where there is minimal light but new growth looking good. This should be OK because the stems at the back will only have the top section visible.

AC
 

Dave Spencer

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aaronnorth said:
Dave Spencer said:
I would be interested to see how HC copes. I suspect it would reach for the light, rather than cling to the substrate.

I doubt whether Zig`s scape would have worked under too low a light level. Still, I can`t say too much unless I try it myself.

Dave.

here is llj's tank, 2.5g, 13w, no CO2, no Ferts with HC,

http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?s=& ... &p=2132556

I don`t think Llj`s tank is proof of anything yet, regarding HC growth. My money is on it not carpetting properly, and reaching upwards for the light.

Dave.
 

GreenNeedle

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4 weeks in now and the results are not wholly surprising although the only deterioration of the Rotala Macrandra is that the leaves that were already on the stems when I bought them are slowly disappearing. This was always going to happen due to the fragile nature of the leaves. You could see the damage on them when I got them home.

If you look at the plants at the front the one on the right which had more accessto light is going straight upward. the 3 to the left are veering towards the light coming forward, so rather than dieing off they are surviving and look healthy. They aren't as red as many examples you see but more of a Ludwigia Repens colour.

One of the 4 stems I planted at the back is starting to peer out from the crypts. I will be pruning the ones at the rear to see how well they bush up:

mac4.jpg

mac1.jpg

mac2.jpg


AC
 

GreenNeedle

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I'm going to remove the Rotala from the front of my tank tonight. They've been in there a month and we've seen that they are growing nicely.

Problem I have is that I have changed my filtration setup around and the flow is coming along the front of the tank and the Rotala is bending over.

The ones that are on the back are starting to become visible and they are out of the way of the 'blast'. So I will leave them and continue the experiment with them for the next month before pruning them to bush them up and see how they look.

AC
 
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