| | Alternanthera Question
I have a 29 gallon aquarium that has been up for about 9 months now with 96 watts of 6500K T-5 light and CO2 that I keep around 35ppm. I also dose EI for a tank of my size. The PH is usually around 6.5 and the water is soft. I do not have any fish or shrimp in the tank yet.
For some reason, my Alternanthera Reineckii 'Roseafolia' has been looking kind of bad lately. It never seems to actually grow roots under the gravel, it just grows tons of aerial roots from the stem. Because of this, a couple of stems have floated right out of the gravel. It also doesn't seem to want to grow many leaves lower on the stem, just at the very top. This leaves the lower 3/4 of the stem looking kind of bare. I think this is normally caused by low light, but I only have about 3-5 stems growing and they are spread apart, plus I have fairly high light and nothing really blocking the lower stems. The stems themselves are fairly narrow in diameter and soft and bendable.
The plants seem to grow right up to the surface of the water and then grow horizontally across the surface, which leaves a large dense clump of leaves right at the surface with a thin bare stem holding it up. The leaves themselves are fairly small and kind of oval shaped, which is really weird because when I first got the plant and had it in the tank for awhile it had longer leaves which came to a point at the tip. The leaves are still kind of an orangish brown color and the undersides are still metallic pink, although not quite as bright as before.
I can't replant the floating part because the entire bottom half of the stem is completely bare and doesn't have any roots or leaves at all. The upper half is covered in a tangle of leaves that face all directions. I'm not really sure if it's growing, but it seems to constantly be losing leaves.
Everything seemed to start the first time I trimmed the plant. It had grown all the way up to the surface and was just starting to get it's first leaves on the surface of the water, and I trimmed it back a little bit. It never really recovered. I've never trimmed it again because for a long time it never got any taller, it just sat there and now that it has finally started growing again it's growing strangely. I have some Ludwigia Glandulosa in the tank and it responds very well to trimming, so when the Alternanthera stopped growing I was surprised.
Is all of this normal for this plant? Does it naturally grow horizontally and get so thick and bushy? Are the stems supposed to be so thin and flimsy? Does trimming this plant set it back?
Any help would be greatly appreciated