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Which Stem Plants Can be Mercilessly Trimmed Over and Over Again?

Plants101

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Hi UKAPS,

I've recently started a 20g long aquarium and am doing a hightech dutch style aquarium. I was wondering what stem plants that you would recommend, which can continue to just be hacked down again and again, but will always grow back.

So far, here are the plants I currently have that allow me to keep hacking them down and will grow back just fine:

Rotala h'ra, rotala rotundifolia, rotala green
Pearlweed
Limnophila aromatica mini
Pogostemon Erectus

All I do is simply cut off and discard the tops, and the bottoms sprout up new tops within no time. Are there any other species that can be trimmed so aggressively without needing to always replant the new tops?

Additionally, I was wondering if rotala macrandra can be trimmed the same way, where the bottoms can be left in the tank and the tops can be thrown out. It's growing super good for me, but I don't want to mess it up by leaving in bottoms that won't grow back (or will grow back weird). Any advice for trimming rotala macrandra?
 

tiger15

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It depends on the light intensity and the demand of the stem. In super high light, say 150+ PAR at the substrate, I believe all stems can be hacked and will grow back from the bottom. In medium light, say 30 to 50 PAR at the substrate, if I hack medium light demanding Rotala rotundifolia and Limnophila aromatica, the bare bottoms won’t grow back. However, I have no problem hacking low light demanding Hygrophila polysperma and it will grow back with fuller density. In low light, say under 30PAR at substrate, even low light demanding stems won’t recover from hacking, so one must keep replanting the tops and discarding the bottom.
 

Plants101

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Have you read through this “sticky”

Crash course Dutch style Aquascaping

there are quite a few ukaps “Dutch style aquarium” topics - just use “dutch” as the search term and select
Search titles only

Pedro Rosa’s journal

Going Dutch by the book - tank sponsored by Tropica


Thanks, I will take a look at those threads.

It depends on the light intensity and the demand of the stem. In super high light, say 150+ PAR at the substrate, I believe all stems can be hacked and will grow back from the bottom. In medium light, say 30 to 50 PAR at the substrate, if I hack medium light demanding Rotala rotundifolia and Limnophila aromatica, the bare bottoms won’t grow back. However, I have no problem hacking low light demanding Hygrophila polysperma and it will grow back with fuller density. In low light, say under 30PAR at substrate, even low light demanding stems won’t recover from hacking, so one must keep replanting the tops and discarding the bottom.

I have an SB Reef Planted over this shallow tank. Although I don't have a PAR meter myself, I found some PAR data available on the Barr Report, and I approximate that I have around 160-170 PAR at the substrate level.
 
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The thought that went through my mind here was as below and led to a interesting question for any stem plant fans out there...

Stems will of course grow 2 shoots from the point of cutting ( or nearest node of whatever, don’t shoot me) so growth will become exponentially denser over time using the trimming technique described... I wonder if there are any stems that don’t behave in this way and so “denseness” would not increase under this trimming technique?? Any thoughts from stem plant fans??
 

Plants101

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The thought that went through my mind here was as below and led to a interesting question for any stem plant fans out there...

Stems will of course grow 2 shoots from the point of cutting ( or nearest node of whatever, don’t shoot me) so growth will become exponentially denser over time using the trimming technique described... I wonder if there are any stems that don’t behave in this way and so “denseness” would not increase under this trimming technique?? Any thoughts from stem plant fans??

From my own experience, myrio pinnatum, limnophila heterophylla, and bacopa caroliniana usually don't react this way. Bacopa is a weird one, sometimes it'll make one shoot and other times two shoots. For the myrio and limnophila, it'll only make one shoot from the point it was trimmed.
 

tiger15

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Branching or not after hacking also depends on light intensity. Under intense light, some stems will grow horizontally and if hacked, they will branch out to occupy more horizontal space. The same stems under moderate light will grow tall to reach more light and won’t branch out after hacking. Under lower light, the same stems will developed long inter node or bare bottom and won’t even survive after hacking.
 

Plants101

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Branching or not after hacking also depends on light intensity. Under intense light, some stems will grow horizontally and if hacked, they will branch out to occupy more horizontal space. The same stems under moderate light will grow tall to reach more light and won’t branch out after hacking. Under lower light, the same stems will developed long inter node or bare bottom and won’t even survive after hacking.

Let's say that I have an insane amount of light, CO2, and ferts, along with a specialized plant substrate. Any stems you can recommend that grow out and branch aggressively, without needing much replanting before the bottoms become ratty?

For example, ludwigia repens gets ratty bottoms quite quickly, compared to a plant like rotala rotundifolia. I'm just wondering if there are other stems that I've overlooked in terms of resistance to trimming.
 

Simon Cole

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I am just planting a 20G long with high intensity lighting; :) have a look at these:
Pearlweed (Hemianthus micranthemoides) (HM)
Heteranthera zosterifolia (Stargrass)
Microcarpaea minima
Rotala sp. "Wayanad"
Gratiola viscidula
Didiplis diandra
 

tiger15

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According to Dennis Wong, if stems are growing healthy with adequate light and nutrients, they can be hacked repeatedly to achieve greater density. However, there is an expiration limit as the bottoms will eventually age out and need to be replaced with tops. I guess this applies to stem carpet plants which are subject to regular hacking that can’t last forever and eventually need to be replaced.


Hygro.polyperma cut low at leaf joint will give a nice bushy look as favoured by Amano
Amano used very few stem plants and whichever he chose are easy low maintenance stems. Do you have a list of Amano favorite stems.
 

Simon Cole

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Hi @Witcher, I have just finished planting.
I actually wimped out from using the Gratiola because I couldn't find enough information on high light planting, which is a stroke of luck, as unfortunately yours melted. My concern was that it could bolt, and I couldn't find any information on how the leaf form might change. I was hoping to see an example of dutch planting with Gratiola, which was illusive, so I gave it a miss. I haven't started to measure the water parameters yet. It it is a 20G(L) and it is running T5 HO at 11400 lumens, 22680 lux, 306 PAR at substrate level, 22 degrees Celsius, Tropica soil powder, CO2 30ppm, moderately hard water. I haven't started dosing yet.
I am using a light filter to intermittently reduce intensity by about 50%. Neutral 9T20 perspex is ideal for this purpose. s-l1600.jpgAnd I'm rigging up a 24W UV sterilizer to help with algae spores.

Just in case anybody needs to know how to calculate the PAR: https://www.bannerengineering.com/za/en/company/expert-insights/lux-lumens-calculator.html then...https://www.apogeeinstruments.com/conversion-ppfd-to-lux/
 

alto

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Amano used very few stem plants and whichever he chose are easy low maintenance stems. Do you have a list of Amano favorite stems.
:confused:
Have you looked at Nature Aquariums Volumes 1-3 (and Aquajournals)
Amano was a Master of Stems, and would discuss their care in articles and interviews (and ADA Training Workshops)

 

PARAGUAY

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According to Dennis Wong, if stems are growing healthy with adequate light and nutrients, they can be hacked repeatedly to achieve greater density. However, there is an expiration limit as the bottoms will eventually age out and need to be replaced with tops. I guess this applies to stem carpet plants which are subject to regular hacking that can’t last forever and eventually need to be replaced.



Amano used very few stem plants and whichever he chose are easy low maintenance stems. Do you have a list of Amano favorite stems.
Dont know about favourite Amano stems because he, as I understand it, took inspiration from nature as in his many hairgrass aquascapes.Hes more thank likely helped make Rotala sp. a popular plant as it is today and even Bacopa often found in his aquascapes. He often used stems in rock scapes to give depth to his creations
 

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