Trimming schedule for Rotala wallichii

Joined
3 Jan 2016
Messages
376
Location
Woking, UK
I grow a clump of Rotala wallichii in my 25 litre nano tank. It grows quite well, and has a nice pink colour on new growth. I’m experimenting with leaner NO₃ in my fert mix to see if I can get it to go pinker still, but I’m basically fairly happy with it.

But it only looks its best for a few days out of every fortnight - the couple of days when all the stems are at the right height underneath the water surface. Then it gets too long and blocks the spray bar flow, so I trim it hard, cutting it down to stumps a couple of inches long, and wait for it to regrow. It takes a few days before new shoots start to appear, and it must be 10 days before those shoots are looking really good.

So how can I optimise my trimming schedule to maximise the duration of the plant’s best appearance? Is it a mistake to prune it down hard every time?

I often look suspiciously at those pictures of tanks where every stem of the stem plants is at the perfect height. Are those pictures merely taken at a carefully judged moment 10 days after the last trim, and the tank actually looks a bit rubbish for 90% of the time?
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,992
This is why many replant some (most) of the trimmed tops :cool:

In early Aquajournal interviews/articles Takashi Amano discussed the art of trimming - only 1/3 of the stems at one time and cutting back~1/3 of the stem height (ie trimming more frequently)
The photos showed his tanks before/after trim and timed photos over some months ... the stems always looked good

(I saw the English version on VectraPoint which was involved with the English translation and publishing of AJ at the time ...unfortunately the venture failed to make required sales volume and folded after a year or two, the website remained for some time, but then became just a few hundred photos of Takashi Amano aquascapes/photographs, then disappeared completely)
 
Joined
3 Jan 2016
Messages
376
Location
Woking, UK
Yes, at first I did replant the tops, but the clump has become so dense it’s no longer possible. Next time I trim, should I pull up and bin the bottoms?
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,992

Some stem plants don’t mind being trimmed more than Amano’s suggested 7 times, others such as Micranthemum umbrosum definitely do much better when replanted at some point

As you mention, density can become overwhelming - if you watch Green Aqua videos, they often just push the tops into the lower portions, not even trying to reach substrate

You can also do some triangle shapes or thinning when cutting back the group of stems, so some are trimmed back to the substrate, again while some stems will regrow from substrate trims, many won’t compete effectively for the limited light

Note that plant regrowth after a severe trim can lag if plant is in poor health or light/CO2/nutrients are limited
 

Similar threads

Top