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Looking for a Low Humidity Marginal Rheophyte

NotoriousENG

Member
Joined
17 Jul 2021
Messages
143
Location
Eastern USA
Hey Everyone,

In one of my current tanks, I have a large centerpiece of driftwood that partially protrudes above the water line. I'd like to have some plants rooted to it with their leaves out of the water but my searches haven't turned up any likely candidates that can handle indoor humidity. My apartment does tend to run a bit on the dryer side as the AC is on most of the year and I have electric heat.

Also, if I attache moss to the wood just below the water surface, is it likely to crawl its way above the waterline? The wood does wick water an inch or two above the water line and I would think moss would help wick additional water.
 
Rheophytes will be difficult there aren't that many around in cultivation and rather is an odd term, Rheophytes are plants that are (bog) plants that prefer or can survive fast-moving water. This could be anything that grows emersed and lithophytic or epiphytic in and around fast-flowing water.

Take for example Anubias is such a plant, it's an Epiphyte that also grows as a lithophyte in nature I bet it can be found growing on top of rocks in flowing rivers at that point this would make it a rheophyte. In the same condition, Bolbitis sp. and or Bucephallandra sp. probably can be found like this and likely many other plant sp. as well. In our regions in Europe, we have the Adiantum capullis veneris (Maidenhair fern sp.) that can be found in such conditions growing to the cliffs alongside waterfalls and it survives the full blast in the rainy seasons with ease and this makes it a rheophyte. That is actually what the term Rheophyte refers to...
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The term rheophyte doesn't concern growing to a hardscape above an aquarium and could be any plant that can grow as or prefers to grow as an epiphyte. :)

And that's quite a lot to choose from if it will be a success is a matter of trial and error and several conditions other than air humidity that not always can be predicted. Temperature, light, fertilization, water hardness and air humidity in combination will play a role in success or not. Most plants that grow epiphytic are slow-growing plants that need time to transition to changes and I guess that is our greatest bottleneck for having long-term success in a rather fast-changing and rather unnatural indoor artificial environment.

I have seen Anubias sp., Bolbitis sp. and other types of Bog (aquarium) plants growing epiphytic and emerging on top of a hardscape above an aquarium and doing well. This proves it can be done but these are all very long-term projects with long-term transition and probably a tad of unintentional luck. For some it works for others it doesn't and there are no rules written in stone.

I would say hop into the Wabi Kusa hobby and use these techniques to learn to slowly transition plants to grow emersed in lower air humidity conditions. Learn and see what plants do best in the conditions you and your house can provide and work from there to pick a plant that does good.

Or you could go for houseplants that can grow epiphytic, but then make sure the roots are not in the water. Adiantum maiden hair fern and or Peperomia sp. might do good.

This is a Peperomia sp. placed in a bed of terrestrial mos from the garden and it did very well for over 6 months... But then all of a sudden it stopt loving that spot and died... Beats mee why... But those 6 months i did enjoy it a lot.
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This once was a High Tech aquarium with enough CO² added.
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When i ran out of CO² i thought to grow it on like this low tech... And it didn't, the sudden change was te much and all went down the hill from there.
It might be possible to grow this low tech but not with such sudden changes the plants don't get time to addapt to...
 
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Does it specifically have to be rheophytes? There are a lot of epiphytes to choose from, or rather plants that will grow epiphytically with their roots in water, including house plants that will cope well with low humidity.

Just for the sake of clarity, like Marcel mentions above, a rheophyte is a plant that lives in fast flowing water, where other organism may struggle to survive. Rheophytes can grow rooted in sediment but can also grow epiphytically.

Strictly speaking an epiphyte is a plant that grows non-parasitically on another plant. Or, as it’s more often used these days, to describe a plant that will grow on deadwood or rock, or not in soil.

These are just two examples of the Raunkiær system used for categorising plants using life-form categories, devised by Danish botanist Christen C Raunkiær
 
Hi all,
I'd like to have some plants rooted to it with their leaves out of the water but my searches haven't turned up any likely candidates that can handle indoor humidity
Most "house plants" would do.
Adiantum maiden hair fern and or Peperomia sp. might do good.
or a Spathiphyllum?

cheers Darrel
 
Does it specifically have to be rheophytes? There are a lot of epiphytes to choose from, or rather plants that will grow epiphytically with their roots in water, including house plants that will cope well with low humidity
No, it sounds like I was misuing the word rheophyte when I'm actually looking for an Epiphyte. I appreiciate the clarification.

What I am looking for is a plant that will root to the wood, ideally taking its water and nutrients from the tank but keeping its leaves in open air.
 
In my experience this is a difficult ask (always wet on the bottom and always dry on the top). So far I seem to be having some success with Riccardia chamedryfolia (to my surprise - I can't grow it submersed in a CO2-injected tank), and Lysimachia nummularia aurea is also successful for me even though it is not an epiphyte. Aquarium Gardens has a very nice tank where they've got this to work with Bolbitus heteroclita ‘Difformis’ and I suspect this is the type of look you're after, although when I tried it emersed in my set-up it eventually dried out and died - it does well for me fully submersed in a non-CO2-injected tank. My indoor relative humidity (Cambridge) is around 60% in the summer and will be lower in winter; it was 45% the other day.

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@Andy Pierce ’s post has just jogged my memory . I grew several aquatic plants emersed out of the top of a piece of hollow deadwood. They did fine in low humidity so long as their feet were in water. More info here


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Strictly speaking an epiphyte is a plant that grows non-parasitically on another plant.

It's Greek and translates as "Epi" = "Upon" and "Phytos" = "Plants" I can't find who initially launched this term into botanical science. It could be A. Schimper since he wrote the first book "The Epiphyte Vegetation of the Americas -1888" and there is no earlier literature describing epiphytes. I never did read it and would love to get my hands on it...

The misleading term "Upon Plant" sparked some long-time discussions in the scientific world of how this is meant. Is it 'Sit upon another plant' or could it also be "a plant that sits upon ...' A. Schimper was German and also was F. Went (1895) (the father of our C. Wentii) he was the creator of the term Hemiepiphyte "Half Upon Plant" (Strangler Fig) and there were still pretty recent discussions if this term is correct or misleading.

Anyway, although Greek the creators of the terms were Germans and looking at the German language it answers and seems they made up their minds a long time ago about how it is meant. The Germans are the only Germanic-speaking community in Europe that made a distinction in their language and adopted the translation "Aufsitzerpflanzen" or "Aufsitzer" for short in their vocabulary.

The "Upon Sitter plants" and not the "sitting upon the plants"
 
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