Allelopathy in 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 04-25-2011, 10:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Allelopathy in Crypts

As the result of a discussion on a thread entitled "Submerged Crypts," the topic of allelopathy was broached. To quote
1/ Over the course of my crypt growing years, I have observed the results of the allelotoxins that some crypts distribute. I don't know if this is a common occurrence or not, but I do not seem to be able to grow crypts and vals anywhere near each other. The vals simply start to 'fade away' even though they were taking over the tank BC (before crypts) Whether that is a result of direct competition for nutrients or the result of allelopathy, I'm not sure but my plants are well fertilized with a mixture of cow manure, sheep manure, red clay, topsoil and iron filings, so I would suspect allelopathy.
From time to time I have also noticed that some crypts don't like close proximity with other crypt species. I can't really remember which species now because at the time I just thought that I had put a species somewhere it didn't like, so I moved it. It wasn't 'til many years later that I realized what was going on.
Perhaps this is fodder for a new crypt thread. "Allelopathy Amongst Crypt Species." Perhaps this could save us all time and plants if we shared our experiences.

2/ I would be interested to hear examples in detail.

I usually have my crypts growing very closely and haven't experienced any obvious signs of allelopathy yet. If I noted any "problems" at all, these seemed to come down to competition for light or nutrients IMHO.

3/ Yes i would love to see some examples also! because I usually grow crypts compact and tight to each other. thanx for your experience!

4/ Hi there Kai. I apologize for my lack of memory regarding the inter-species allelopapathy. Over the years I have changed my growing strategy so I do not see this anymore. Now I grow my crypts in separate containers with only a layer of sand over them as a topdressing so that the edges of the containers don't show. I started doing this 'just in case' when I started growing Crypt. cordata grabowskii with other crypts instead of growing them on their own. These were simply to scarce to take any chances of losing them.

5/ Sounds like a good idea. Start a thread on allelopathy in crypts, and I will make it a stickey. Let's have experiments with pictures, such as two crypts grown together versus each grown separately. To reduce effects of crowding, try to have the same plant biomass in each tank something like this:

Well, here's the new thread. As I mentioned previously, "I do not seem to be able to grow crypts and vals anywhere near each other. The vals simply start to 'fade away' even though they were taking over the tank BC (before crypts) Whether that is a result of direct competition for nutrients or the result of allelopathy, I'm not sure but my plants are well fertilized with a mixture of cow manure, sheep manure, red clay, topsoil and iron filings, so I would suspect allelopathy.

I would be most interested to hear from other members with similar experiences of allelopathy, either with other genera or with cryptocorynes. Please add your experience to the discussion.

To start, has there been anyone else with similar experiences with the prolixity of Vallisneria & Cryptocoryne? Everyone will benefit from your experiences with either positive or negative.
Thanks for the encouragement HeyPK eh
Jim
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Allelopathy in Crypts

I can tell my experience:

I used to grow 2 varieties of C. wendtii in a 120 cm tank: each was planted in a separate "island" with a few cm sand/gravel. between the "islands" was only 1 cm sand, where i occasionally removed roots (there were Corydoras in the aquarium, who greatly appreceate bare sand). Both varieties grew very well.

I then planted a wide variety of Crypto's, without a "bare-sand-separation", in the same aquarium with the same light and regular changes with the same tapwater. Some were growing well from the start, others did not and each new leaf was smaller than the former, untill they finally were reduced to a rhizome which slowly started rotting. This could be explained by less-optimal conditions for these "disappearing" species, exept for that one of the disappearing plants was one of the wendtii-varieties which did great before! The other is a different story, because I replanted it in a shallow tray which hangs on the back of the aquarium, here it continues to grow well.

I planted more wendtii-varieties: Tropica and Green never really got established and started to "get smaller" once the "bad guys" started to take over the aquarium (see below). Red Lucanas initially did great, but now seems at a standstill. A replanted bunch of Red Lucanas between C. spiralis and C. c. balansae does not really grow much but at least is not getting smaller.

C. parva and C. x. willisii never did well, but this might be connected with their higher light-requirements. I moved C. walkeri to an emersed setup as it did not do well either, for now also emersed it is not growing much (in a separate pot). C. pontederiifolia did OK, but I felt that it didn't fit in appearance so I moved it to the emersed setup as well, where it is now flowering.

I think that there are two "bad guys" amongs my crypts: C. affinis, which forms very dense vegetations rather quickly (now covering 2/3 of the aquarium) and especially C. usteriana, which grew from a small "shop-sized" plant in no-time to a monster with 40 cm long leaves (if you add up the leaf-stalks it reaches 60 cm easily) and a very extensive root-system. On the photographs in the former posts I don't see either agressive growth-style. I think that much of the interaction takes place at the roots, so yes, I agree, planting them in pots will probably reduce these negative interactions.

There is also another thing going on: originally planted C. spiralis are "hanging on", but their offshoots, which sprout in the middle of C. affinis, do a lot better than the parent-plants. I think that this might be an effect of replanting, from which the original plants never recover fully (they are now growing in this aquarium for a year).

It sounds very nice, such an experimental set-up. Apart from that you either need really many tanks or a lot of time to try all combinations, I think that the outcome is also strongly influenced by water, soil and light parameters so you have to controll these (and test on a wide variety of say, water hardnesses ...). And I think that some plants can simply gain the advantage when they are having a better start (say a well growing specimen of plant A is planted alongside a specimen of species B which is not yet recoved from transport stress - in that case it is not strange that species A quickly takes the upper hand).

p.s. i love both C. affinis and C. usteriana, so rather than reducing their growth, I gradually remove the species that suffer.
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Allelopathy in Crypts

Quote:
To start, has there been anyone else with similar experiences with the prolixity of Vallisneria & Cryptocoryne? Everyone will benefit from your experiences with either positive or negative.
Thanks for the encouragement HeyPK eh
Jim
As far as I remember Vallisneria did great in my aquarium, untill C. wendtii started to get going, so yes, i agree that they appear difficult to combine. On the other hand, Vallisneria is especially doing well in new setups while Crypto's generally do better in aquariums which are well-established ...
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Old 05-02-2011, 05:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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From my experiences most plants which were sensitive to excel were also effected by the crypts(vals, anarchis, floaters). Anyone else? Seems to be heavy water column users, which makes sense.
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Allelopathy in Crypts

I have no problem growing Ceratophyllum in the Crypt-aquarium
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Allelopathy in Crypts

The development continues: wendtii "Red Lucanas" is clearly declining now: hardly any new leaves are formed and old leaves start to deteriorate. This plant did great some time ago, in the same aquarium. It grew easily to the water surface, meaning some 40 cm high.

Another wendtii, a red-green variegated one (probably "Indonesiae") is growing on as if nothing changes. In the same aquarium.

But not all is the same. Red Lucanas is rooted in the same sand as affinis and usteriana, while cf. Indonesiae is in a tray hanging on the back of the aquarium. cf. Indonesiae is rooted in about 0,5 cm gravel without any additions so it has to take all nutrients from the water. But it's roots are NOT in contact with any other species.

I am thinking about re-planting Red Lucanas in a small pot to see what happens if it stays in the same aquarium, but with it's roots away from the other species.

Last edited by illustrator; 05-30-2011 at 07:36 AM..
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Old 06-11-2011, 02:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Allelopathy in Crypts

I gently pulled out some wendtii Red Lucanas. To my surprise they have very few roots! I now remember that this was also the case with other varieties which I lost in a similar way: above ground they looked still reasonably, but below ground things were worse. This can hardly be because of the soil/temperature etc. because before the expansion of affinis, the same wendtii did great!

I planted some of the wendtii-plants in a pot, filled with aquarium plant substrate (Tropica) topped off with river sand. Others I left where they were in the aquarium. I placed the pot next to the plants which are still left. I guess that this is also the next stage in my crypt-hobby: having plants in pots in the aquarium rather than in a landscaped set-up (now it is landscaped + 1 pot )
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Allelopathy in Crypts

Hey. I find this allelopathy between cryptocorynes to be interesting. This may be a stupid question, but can there be allelopathy between different varieties of Cryptocoryne wendtii? could one have a mixed thicket of c. wendtii 'red', 'green' and 'tropica' etc. without having to worry about allelopathy? Thanks
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Old 06-29-2011, 05:06 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Allelopathy in Crypts

Try!
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Allelopathy in Crypts

i have grown several crypt species in very close quarters, the only issue i have had was C. nuri ... which melted away. i attribute that to my soft water.
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