Thanks, Yea they stay outside almost year round. I live in south Florida where the average temperature right now is in the mid 70's. I had moved my setups inside for a few weeks when it was in the 30's but other then that I kept them outside on my screened in patio. I would just bring them close to the house and huddle them all together and put towels and heavy wool blankets over them. I figured out that the sun could heat up the water in the trays during the day and then right before the sun was completely down I would move them in and put the blankets on them. The water would maintain throughout the night and stay above 70 degrees. I monitored them and when I found the temps below 65 I would take them all in. Talk about a pain in the ass... I had a few setups that I used a styrofoam cooler and those worked great. I never had to move them because the styrofoam insulated the warm water perfectly, Just put towels over them and they were great.
Usually I don't get excited about emersed crypts because if they are healthy they are beautiful and that's all there is to say about them.
Here's a solution for the white webbing you get:
First of all that fine white stuff looking like cobwebs wrapped on the plants is fungus. The part that you see above the substrate is actually good - it tells you you got fungus on the plants. The part that you don't see is under the substrate - on the roots of the plants. That's the bad part because it can kill the plants.
I used to grow HC hydroponically. HC is a super fast growing plant and whenever it got the white fungus I'd see decrease in growth the very next day. I learned that very much the only problem with my hydroponic setup was exactly that fungus. Sometimes the white stuff doesn't show above the surface but if you dig you can see it under the substrate. It would always lead to the HC dying very quickly unless I got rid of the fungus somehow.
I guess Crypts don't react as fast to the fungus because you don't report deaths on the plants you find infested with the white stuff.
In any case - I found a surefire way to get rid of the fungus. No, it's not spraying with anti-fungal chemicals that every hydroponic store has in abundance. It's very simple, no extra expense, and actually I started to incorporate it as a prevention measure - before any fungus even showed up.
Simply drown the fungus. In my case I'd flood my trays (you call them flats) for 1 hour every day. I could do it every 3 days, it still works. What's important is to cover everything in the tray with water for some time. That's it.
With your setup it maybe hard to flood the tanks/boxes every day. But you get the idea. It works perfectly and I don't understand why the thousands of guys that love to grow "strawberries/peppers..." etc. hydroponically and keep those hydroponic stores in business seem to prefer spraying with chemicals. Maybe a question of convenience and getting lazy when you make good money growing them tasty "vegetables".
Thanks Niko, that sounds like a good idea. Too bad I can't try this in my setups because the nursery flats can't hold water high enough for the substrate to be completely submersed. I did find that if I put some ecocomplete ontop of my substrate to act as a casing layer the fungus cannot grow up through the ecocomplete. I think this has an effect similar to vermiculite. I want to get some vermiculite and try that and see how that works. I've been working on keeping the humidity level down and thats been a major help.
rs79: haha thats great. We get a lot of it down here in south Fla. I love it, such a shame that everyone views it as a weed. I wish my grass was just hydrocootyle.
Don't flame me for asking but...what's so great about spathes?? Just trying to learn is all. I see people raving over it all the time when someone is able to get their crypts to send one up but I just don't find them at all attractive. Looks kinda like a deformed leaf. Is it hard to do? Congrats by the way on all your crypts...one of the best posts I've seen yet on growing them emersed and I've learned quite a bit.
Thanks I appreciate it. I was inspired by others posting in the forum. I wouldn't exactly say crypts are hard to flower but I've gotten only a few in just over a year. You have to have patience and keep attentive to your plants. They require little attention for the most part. I find it rewarding to finally get to see the plant flower, a picture doesn't do it justice. From what I've been able to observe when your plant flowers it will keep sending up spaeths and the overall health of the plant is very good. A lot of runners pop up and there is good coloration. During this time you want to make sure you are fertilizing as well as leading up to that point. I usually add fertilizer to the water and I will mist maybe 2 times a week with a dilute mix of fets as well. As for the look of the spaeth, I find them pretty cool, they remind me of a snorkel. How they pop out of water and tilt a little sideways and have an opening at the top. I can't wait for my longicauada to spaeth.