Reviving shipped crypts - Cryptocorynes - Aquatic Plant Central

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Cryptocorynes Cryptocoryne plant species consists of 50+ plant species, and make a unique addition to a planted tank.

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Old 01-29-2008, 03:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Reviving shipped crypts

While this has been discussed in the past I reckon this deserves a separate thread.

Shipping crypts isn't difficult (if done correctly) and often the plants will arrive healthy even after travelling for 2 weeks or longer. You may want to trim and rinse the plants (most of this should be done prior to shipping to reduce oxygen consumption as well as rotting of old/damaged tissues) and usually you can go ahead and plant the crypts right away. Avoid burying the rhizome though: leave the rhizome on top of the substrate (in very humid air or, preferably, covered with water); start with a minimal amount of soil and gradually fill the pot later once the plant got established and is actively growing. There are stainless steel "pins" commercially available which can help to anchor new plants but a bent iron nail works just as well. (No nickel, zinc, lead, or other metals though!)

Plants showing signs of melting usually benefit from letting them float in shallow DI water which has been incubated with peat of good quality for a week or more. I usually use DI water to discourage grow of bacteria/fungi and change it several times during the first week; you'd prefer water from a suitable aquarium for crypts needing really hard water and may want to change that more often (rainwater crypts and even keei do fine with DI water though). I prefer placing each new arrival in a dedicated container rather than letting them float in a tank (too easy to mix things up and also for quarantine purposes); a few grains of granulated peat may help to keep things stable

Sometimes the main growing point rots away and only a piece of rhizome is left. Don't despair - the crypts often come back, even after many months! Rinse the plant thoroughly and use a sharp tool (razor, scalpel, etc. - preferably no scissors) to cut through healthy parts of the rhizome. Place the blade in alcohol (over 90%) and rinse the rhizome again. Examine closely (10x magnifying lens) wether there are still any signs of rotting tissues at the cut or other surfaces; cut again if needed. I also let these float in little containers (label with pencil!). Most will come back soon and develop plantlets from surviving dormant growing points within weeks (up to a few months).

Sometimes the rhizome doesn't show any signs of life for months but still comes back eventually: I find that light helps - light levels could be a little more than regular plants of that species would prefer (if in doubt, use less light though!). If the rhizome turns green (or stays green), that's a very good sign (this is hard or impossible to observe with very dark colored rhizomes though). Basically don't give up as long as the rhizome doesn't get mushy!

In difficult cases, I guess temperature shouldn't be too low either - I head for 25-28C with plants that need a little pushing...

Once I see the first root or leaf developing I carefully put them on top of soggy or flooded substrate with very little nutrients to get things going. Usually, the plantlets start regrowing from resources stored in the rhizome (even if small) and more nutrients than just a little tease for the developing roots won't do much good and favor grow of algae, etc.
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reviving shipped crypts

Good write-up kai. Very detail.
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reviving shipped crypts

Nice write-up Kai.

For plant anchors I use hairpins that are U shaped. I bend them apart slightly and stake them over top of the rhizomes. It seems to work really well for getting Crypts to root that have very little root mass to plant.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reviving shipped crypts

I can attest to what Kai says; I got a strain of pontiderifolia he threw in that was quite small and had melted back when it arrived.

But from just the tiniest stump that was left I now have a decent looking plant with many nice leaves.

I've seen crypts grow from bits of rhizome the size of a grain of wheat.

http://images.aquaria.net/plants/Cry...ne/u/UND/nubs/
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reviving shipped crypts

Thanks, all!

Do keep in mind that not all crypts are born equal and report back the results of your experiences, please.

This should get you started with receiving rare plants though.
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reviving shipped crypts

Really nice write-up, it goes to my favorites folder.

Kai, in the pass I tested some kind of semi-tissues culturing with easy plants... only had success with the most rudimentary method.... Basically was a Taxiphyllum moss sandwich, with rhizomes into. I think I should test it again with blackwater ones.
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Old 01-30-2008, 01:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reviving shipped crypts

Hello Xema,

Yes, moss is also an option for an emergency substrate, especially to stop rotting. For blackwater crypts, I'd prefer live Sphagnum though (some species of this genus are easy to cultivate in a tank or bottle).
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reviving shipped crypts

Yeah I prefer sphagnum moss too, but really difficult to find alive here -at least-...

By the way, Today i put a little bit of keei rhizome in a plastic glass with RO water and moss as soil... only for testing... I tell you in few weeks...
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Old 01-30-2008, 10:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reviving shipped crypts

Specialized nurseries for carnivorous plants often have it (or, sometimes, orchid growers); it's best to have some own stock growing.

I can send you some starting cultures, Xema.
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Reviving shipped crypts

Kai, very helpful writeup, thanks! I had read something similar on Jan's crypts site, on the very last line of the howto page:
Rescuing Crypts
Perhaps the only way to rescue a 'collapsed' crypt is to put the rhizome in an 'old' aquarium. Let the rhizome float on the surface, snails and guppies do the job for you. With good luck, the rhizome will sprout again.

I did this with c. wendtii I received from a fellow GWAPA member; they had been in his tank for several years, and had huge rhizomes, so I trimmed the roots, and cut off enough rhizome so I could plant the main plant in my tank, then floated the rhizome trimmings in another tank I had. Within two weeks, new leaves had sprouted and I had more than a dozen new wendtii plants.

Needless to say, your article is a bit more detailed and informative!
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