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Old 11-30-2004, 07:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Riccia varieties - maintenance in substrate of Amano designs

Our Plant Finder lists two types of Riccia: Riccia fluitans and Riccia dwarf form. But is that the whole Riccia story?

Looking at some photos of Amano aquaria in recent days I am reminded of how often Riccia has been used as a foreground plant growing in or close to the substrate sometimes, but not always, along with Eleocharis sp. Some of these aquaria are very large and regular replacement of Riccia-bound rocks would be impossible or a heavy chore at best. I am thinking of how this works from the point of view of maintenance. It doesn't look like the Riccia is removed and re-tied frequently. It looks more like the Riccia is attached to the substrate, or growing in the substrate, and is trimmed every so often to allow light to get to the base of the thalli, thereby preventing rotting of the base plant.

I imagine, like mosses, there is some variation between the Riccia varieties which can be found growing around the world in different environments, some of which tend to partially dry out in the summer.

Do you know anything about the differences in these varieties? Is 'sinking' Riccia a real plant? How many types have we got growing in our aquaria? What is the trade secret of using Riccia as it is placed in the substrate of some Amano designs? I think we all know the fishing line and hairnet stories. I am wondering what other aspects there are to consider.

(Who wants to sell me Aqua Journal vol 38 with articles on Riccia? or other Aquajournals in either Japanese or English?)

Here is an old-time quote from...

Quote:
The Krib, Karen Randall; Date: Sun, 27 Jul 1997

There is more to this Riccia business than meets the eye. I have seen
Riccia stock directly from Amano, and in person, compared side-by-side with our typical aquarium stock, it looks quite different. It is a darker
green, and the individual segments are rounder instead of flattened, and
somehow "sturdier" looking. Most importantly, if you plop a wad of it in a
tank, it sinks to the bottom. In a well lit tank, if not tied down, it will tend to float back toward the surface while photosynthesizing (the O2 bubbles buoy it up) but it appears to have close to neutral buoyancy on its own.
Andrew Cribb
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Sinking Riccia is simply a dark green, negatively buoyant form which develops when Riccia is planted under very low lighting conditions. If you place sinking Riccia in high light and good growing conditions, it will revert back to the bubbling, floating form we all know.

There are several different varieties of Riccia fluitans (Tropica makes mention of this), but I am not so sure that there are more than a mere handful of species in the hobby overall. Since Riccia fluitans is a cosmopolitan plant, I'd expect there to be a lot of regional variation -- a normal part of being such a widely distributed species.

Carlos

p.s. you would not want sinking Riccia in your tank!
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Carlos, Thanks for the comments.

Searching around I did see some negative comments about 'sinking' Riccia. As you suggest, it is hard to imagine Riccia covered in bubbles not floating. Is the general understanding then that 'sinking' Riccia is 'sick' Riccia?

The admixture of Riccia and Eleocharis, along with Glossostigma elatinoides... does look attractive in/on the substrate.

I believe it was in Amano's book 1 (TFH's book 1) that there is a description of some marshland areas in Japan in which aquatic grass(es) and Riccia grow. These marshes are wet in the spring and tend to dry out in the summer during which the Riccia comes into contact with the substrate. The implication seemed to be that Riccia in such an environment is partly attached to the substrate much of the time. But then again, if it has no roots, how could that be (no answer needed to that question).

I expect this is once again to be the subject of personal experiment to better understand the situation. Reading The Krib or whatever cannot substitute for the results of experiment.

Andrew Cribb
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Riccia varieties - maintenance in substrate of Amano des

Quote:
Originally Posted by pineapple
Our Plant Finder lists two types of Riccia: Riccia fluitans and Riccia dwarf form. But is that the whole Riccia story?
Currently, I believe that there are four documented growth forms of riccia which I wrote a little blurb about here.

Quote:
The Krib, Karen Randall; Date: Sun, 27 Jul 1997

There is more to this Riccia business than meets the eye. I have seen
Riccia stock directly from Amano, and in person, compared side-by-side with our typical aquarium stock, it looks quite different. It is a darker
green, and the individual segments are rounder instead of flattened, and
somehow "sturdier" looking. Most importantly, if you plop a wad of it in a
tank, it sinks to the bottom. In a well lit tank, if not tied down, it will tend to float back toward the surface while photosynthesizing (the O2 bubbles buoy it up) but it appears to have close to neutral buoyancy on its own.
While I have not had the pleasure of inspecting Amano's riccia, a tight mat of Riccia fluitans will sink until it begins to collect bubbles. I am not familiar with the physics of how it happens: perhaps the collective weight of many riccia thalli makes the mat denser than water?

Quote:
Looking at some photos of Amano aquaria in recent days I am reminded of how often Riccia has been used as a foreground plant growing in or close to the substrate sometimes, but not always, along with Eleocharis sp. Some of these aquaria are very large and regular replacement of Riccia-bound rocks would be impossible or a heavy chore at best. I am thinking of how this works from the point of view of maintenance. It doesn't look like the Riccia is removed and re-tied frequently. It looks more like the Riccia is attached to the substrate, or growing in the substrate, and is trimmed every so often to allow light to get to the base of the thalli, thereby preventing rotting of the base plant.
What I know of Amano's method is that which is described in the English edition of Aquajournal in which Riccia fluitans is the focus. The edition is old and Amano may or may not have updated his techniques since its publication.

Amano uses "Riccia Rocks" which are nothing more than flat square pieces of rocks onto which riccia is attached with fishing line. As it grows, the riccia is trimmed to shape. If it detaches, then Amano simply places new Riccia Rocks to weigh down the floating mat. The result is an uneven riccia mat that gives the illusion of rolling hills typically seen in his aquascapes.

Eleocharis acicularis is often used with Riccia fluitans in Amano's aquascapes because IMHO for aesthetic purposes more so than a means to keep riccia anchored, even though Amano claimed as such. He just doesn't seem like the type to use so obvious an element for purely an utilitarian purpose.
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Old 11-30-2004, 09:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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cS,

Thanks for the enlightening information. There's so much to learn. This is like going back to university, except it's the 'university of life' and experiment. Too few tanks too little time.

Andrew Cribb
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Old 11-30-2004, 10:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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A related technique is Birgit and Wolfgang's Riccia weights, Robert H lost all the work we put into his old board (keep backups Art! ), don't know if the article existed outside that forum.. if its not still available, I use this technique and would be more than happy to re-explain it, its basically 7-15mm stainless steel rod (I pick it up at wield supply shops) bent into a waffle works pretty good but looks ugly until the Riccia grows thru... I was thinking of going back to slate and fishing line again..

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Old 11-30-2004, 11:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Jeff,

Here is a link to an article from Robert Hudson:
http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/...on_Riccia.html

Thanks for the input. I can imagine how it works. I was toying with the idea of using some stainless steel mesh but in the end decided that I prefer to have natural materials in the aquarium. I resort to old plastic onion bags, very fine 4lb monofilament fishing line, and hairnets. I'm experimenting with some slate too. Slate is a little harder for me to find around here. I should have picked some upm in Vermont this summer but failed...

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Old 11-30-2004, 03:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have the Singapore variety pictured in the Tropica article. It is larger and coarser than what we're used to seeing. It is NOT suitable for submersion, as it very quickly and easily converts to the darker green sinking form no matter what the conditions are and becomes a major pest. If you're looking for a floating plant for a breeding application or so on, it does well.
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Old 11-30-2004, 08:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pineapple
Thanks for the input. I can imagine how it works. I was toying with the idea of using some stainless steel mesh but in the end decided that I prefer to have natural materials in the aquarium. I resort to old plastic onion bags, very fine 4lb monofilament fishing line, and hairnets.
Mesh might be tough, make sure whatever you do weighs enough... I'm driving my tanks prolly way to hard, but I've had entire mats carry away my weights (8mm stainless rod) when they get a'pearling. Makes a mess

Jeff
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Old 11-30-2004, 11:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Thats funny Jeff, I was just thinking about that article from Birgit. I wish I did still have it. Ghazanfar and Ekim copied over some posts, such as Birgits article on aquascaping, but nobody copied over the Riccia article.

The probelm was that someone was hosting the forum for me as a favor, and set it up for me as a favor: one of my fellow defendants in the pets warehouse lawsuit. But the php software was not fully compatible with his server platform and it became basicaly unoperatable. Three months after I started the new forum, or however long it was, this person just went and deleted the archive from his server. Wasn't anything I did. He still hosts my entire WEB site. Now my forums are hosted by a paid service, and I pay for it straight up. So nobody is going to delete anything without asking me first. If anything they will just charge me more as the database grows. Infopops platform is proprietory, I think.

I was planning to ask Svennovich if he saved Birgits Riccia article. He saved a bunch of her stuff. I know he posts here once in a while, so you could ask him as well. BTW, Birgit showed up again briefly on Wet Thumb this past month. She and Wolfgang got married!

BTW, the late Dan Quackenbush, for those of you around long enough to remember him, had a method of mixing Riccia with Java moss, and claimed this was enough to keep the Riccia in place as long as you did not let the Riccia grow out to much. He would kinda sandwich the Riccia between two layers of java moss, the top layer would be very thin. The Riccia would grow through the top layer of java moss.

Oriental Aquarium has the Riccia species "dwarf" listed in their catalog. It says it comes from an aquarium shop and the origin is unknown. It grows in rosette shapes. It says when tied to rocks it will spread in rossete shapes. The picture is interesting. Regular Riccia or this specie from OA is expensive, and each portion is only about the size of a quarter. It seems to be common portion size in Asia, because even hobbyists in Singapore from Aquabid send out portion sizes just as small.
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