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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm suddenly seeing weird leaf growth with my Elatine triandra (aka "Ah Pek's Plant or APP). It looks like the leaves were pinched in the middle and twisted, sort of like a candy wrapper. According to most people who grow this plant, it's a nitrate-guzzler, so I quadrupled my KNO3 dosage today, and added a lot more phosphate, too. Will this, in all likelihood, be enough to correct the problem? I'm thinking that this may also help my Micranthemum umbrosum to green up. Maybe when these plants get established and grow into dense stands, they need more nutrients to keep up with the increased plant mass? It's really a shame that the Elatine started growing out these weird-looking leaves, because up to this point, it was getting so lush and forming this beautiful patch in the foreground.

Is there anything else that could cause these twisty leaves? I'd appreciate any help. Tanks a lot! ;)

-Naomi
 

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Ummm... I've gotten twisty leaves usually for 2 reasons... Ca deficiency or trace nutrient deficiencies. Any of your other plants doing the same thing yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was afraid of this. I've been trying to keep the hardness as low as possible in this tank because I've got a couple of Tonina spp. that are *barely* hanging on. If I raise the GH but keep the KH low, would the Toninas be okay? I do have some CaSO4 (gypsum) and epsom salt to do this.

I also have a teeny Eriocaulon cinereum that I bought on Monday and paid a lot of money for. I want to make sure that whatever I do to this tank doesn't affect this plant adversely.

Please let me know about the GH and how it might affect the Toninas and Eriocaulon. Oh - and M. umbrosum, too - how will they be affected by raised GH? Thanks!

-Naomi
 

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Before you worry too much about Tonina and super soft water, you might want to talk to Tom Barr. He had some growing here in Florida where the water's not all that soft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just tested my GH - once with an old solution of Tetra test kit, and once with a fresh solution of the same. Both came out 6 degrees. Now, I have no way of knowing how much of this hardness is from calcium and how much is from magnesium, but if I assumed that it was mostly calcium, a dH of 6 is okay, right?

Maybe I'll try cutting back on nitrate and instead, add more Flourish. I'll try that, today. Bert, I saw a post (started by Ghazanfar) where Tom and Carlos mentioned being able to grow Tonina in moderately hard water. So I guess it's something else... I'm just not going to worry about them for now - they're beautiful, but too fussy for my clumsy ways. If they die, they die. I'd like to see my Elatine and baby tears thrive at the moment. If I can achieve this, I'll be very happy.

Please keep the suggestions coming. Gotta get rid of "candy wrapper leaves." Thanks!!!

-Naomi
 

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Hey Naomi,

I don't know anything about APP because I don't grow it, but what is your temp. If your temp. is 80 or above the tonina will melt. For some reason it doesn't do well with heat.

Ethan
 

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The Tonina sp. Belem I have has been well above 80 (nearer 86 and more) for weeks (unfortunately) and it has been thriving, branching, and steadilly adding a lot of dense plant matter to each stem.

Andrew Cribb
 

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pineapple said:
The Tonina sp. Belem I have has been well above 80 (nearer 86 and more) for weeks (unfortunately) and it has been thriving, branching, and steadilly adding a lot of dense plant matter to each stem.

Andrew Cribb
interesting...
 

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I do not think the umbrosum will be affected by Raising GH. Its a pretty forgiving plant in my experience. I dont know about elatine or tonina but i would like to hear if the Elatine improves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi, All!

Sorry I haven't replied. Busy weekend...

Well, I'm pretty sure temperature isn't the problem. There's no heater in this tank, and we've been keeping the house cool with A/C.

Thursday or Friday I added some gypsum (CaSO4) and added just enough to get a GH reading of 7 degrees. I did this because, as I mentioned before, I wasn't sure how much of my original hardness (6 dH) was attributable to calcium vs. magnesium. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any improvement with the Elatine, but the M. umbrosum seems to have found one of my dosing changes to its liking - could be the gypsum or the increased levels of everything else (except Fe). The E. cinereum is not suffering from any of this (boy - it's just the cutest thing!) BUT the Tonina sp. 'Belem' is now showing necrosis at the tip, which is definitely a bad sign. I may pull them out or top them to see if they branch. But when I did this with T. fluviatilis, the base just turned black and died. I imagine it'll be the same with 'Belem'.

Well, I'm supposed to be unloading some of the Elatine to somebody (sending it tomorrow) and I'll probably pull it out tonight. I'll also uproot the portions I'm keeping and replant the branching pieces, basically starting over with them. Maybe they just need to be replanted. The problem seemed to have started when they grew too densely and began creeping all over each other. I'll keep y'all posted. Will also try to get a photo on my site with the symptomatic leaves.

Thanks for the replies and suggestions! :)

-Naomi
 

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So... It did grow for you well for awhile. Does Albany Ever carry Blyxa japonica or Cyperus helfari?
 

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Shane,
I got my Blyxa japonica from Florida Driftwood. It took them about a month to get it in stock and ship.

What I have has been struggling to do much of anything in my 40g tank. I don't know if it's something in the water or if the fish are nibbling on it but it's never gotten past looking more than a small stub.

I think I'll try moving what I have left over to my new 125 tank and see if it does any better there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi, All!

Well, I uprooted all of my Elatine and replanted a few pieces. It may be nothing more than my imagination, but it seems like the newest leaves that are unfolding are doing so without the "pinching" and "twisting"! I'm sure it's impossible to see such changes happen overnight, but I've got a good feeling about this (or maybe I'm just jinxing it now).

I actually got an e-mail reply from somebody who used to grow it beautifully, and he said that he saw the exact same thing happen with his, *particularly* after the stems really started taking off. So I think it may have something to do with letting the biomass exceed the nutrient supply. Or something weird like that.

After I uprooted all of it, I stuck a few pieces of Jobe's in that area before replanting the dozen or so pieces. Hopefully, this will help to sustain the health of the plant longer. Then again, it may only speed things up that I'll have to do this all over again sooner. Boy - what a PITA plant! If it weren't so pretty, I wouldn't bother with it.

For now, I think this is the "trick" to this species. I've read numerous accounts of people having to regularly uproot and replant Elatine, but I wasn't sure what was going to indicate this. Most say that the lower leaves get blocked of light and rot off, and eventually, the stems rot and the whole plant just floats up to the surface. So I wasn't expecting "candy wrapper leaves" to be a signal for "refreshing" the stand.

Well, here's to hoping that I've got it figured out, and that I don't get green water. I'll post back in a couple of days with a report of how the Elatine is doing. Thanks, everybody!

-Naomi
 

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I have been keeping Elatine triandra for quite some time now. I have exactly the same experience with you that the new leaves grow out crinkled. I got over the problem by adding Equilibrium at every water change (we have very soft tap water here).

With this plant, you've gotta trim it quite frequently to keep the layer thin. If the layer gets too thick, the lower layer will almost definitely start dying off. This will cause the plant to die back in patches and you will have to start the replanting process again.

Keeping a healthy level of NO3 is also a must for this plant.

Recently, I have found that it grows very well in a non-CO2 tank. The plant grows more compact have looks nicer than those I have in a CO2-enriched tank.

BC
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
BC, I've seen this plant growing for others at a 45-degree angle, but mine actually creeps along the substrate. After a stem gets about an 3 or 4 cms tall, aerial roots grow out, reach down into the substrate, and actually "pull down" the stem so that it proceeds to grow horizontally. Then the nodes sprout new stems (from those little ball thingies) and these stems eventually grow aerial roots and get pulled down to the substrate. The stand eventually gets very dense after stems begin to overlap and this is when I began to see strange leaf growth. Elatine is very similar to Hemianthus micranthemoides in the ways it can grow and "kill itself" by growing too lush and smothering itself out.

What's interesting is that the tanks in which I've seen the stems grow more "upright" are the ones in which there's CO2 injection and very strong lighting; rich-rich-rich. I have somewhat weak CO2 (from yeast generator) and not extremely strong lighting (14W normal-output fluorescent over 4-gallon 'long') but enough of both to get plenty of pearling. My Elatine hugs the ground closely. Sort of counter-intuitive when you consider glosso and pearl grass and other "potential creepers."

I don't like Equilibrium due to its high potassium content, but I can raise GH and KH (independently of each other or in synchronicity) if you're pretty sure that this is what the Elatine is starving for. What do you raise your GH to? If I remember correctly, Equilibrium raises GH and not KH, right? The other day, when I added CaSO4 to raise the GH from 6 to 7 degrees, it seemed to make my M. umbrosum very happy. Then again, I've also increased the nitrate dosage, which could have been the cause of its improved health. It didn't appear to do much for the Elatine, however. Nothing seemed to help so I had to replant from square one. I think it helped, but I won't know for a few days.

I guess I'm going to have to experiment in between re-plantings. I don't mind - Elatine seems to be one plant for which there seems to be a constant shortage. I've been having great success in mailing it so I don't think it'll go to waste when I have to uproot and replant.

Thanks for the info. I've gotten a lot of my information about this plant by searching over at AQ. There are not very many inquiries being posted regarding "APP" these days. Maybe people have given up because it's such a frustrating plant :lol: . But then I look at Jacian's E. triandra photo in the plant database and I feel it's worth "figuring out" this delicate species that has such great potential.

-Naomi
 

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Naomi,

I think that your plants may be more horizontal because they have more room. Even if another tank has higher levels of CO2 and nutrients, the Elatine may tend to grow more upright there because the tank is more crowded. Plants are quite sensitive to other plants growing near them. If there is a lot of space to spread out and if there is nothing nearby cutting off the light supply, then, because light is coming from all directions, they go into "take over" mode.

Have you tried increasing the iron to see if that doesn't improve the twisted leaf syndrome?
 

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gnome said:
...
What's interesting is that the tanks in which I've seen the stems grow more "upright" are the ones in which there's CO2 injection and very strong lighting; rich-rich-rich. I have somewhat weak CO2 (from yeast generator) and not extremely strong lighting (14W normal-output fluorescent over 4-gallon 'long') but enough of both to get plenty of pearling. My Elatine hugs the ground closely. Sort of counter-intuitive when you consider glosso and pearl grass and other "potential creepers."
...
-Naomi
That is exactly what I experienced too. No CO2 the plant will hug the ground. When I turn the CO2 back on, they grow more "upright". And it is definitely not a case where there is no space for the plant to creep into.

BC
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm back...

Seems like re-planting the pieces didn't do anything "magical" but did improve the overall health of the plant a little bit. For the first few days, the new leaves were growing out smooth with good color. Then things got busy and I forgot to dose anything for almost two full days. At the end of the second day, I noticed that some of the new leaves were looking a bit "pinched" again, and the color was not so good. I immediately added KNO3 and in only a few hours, it seemed like the bright green color returned, at least.

Part of the problem could be that I'm not regularly doing water changes. I should do that anyway because I'm starting to get greenwater again (after having removed all that Elatine and also some M. umbrosum).

Hopefully, I'll have better news to report in a couple of days.

-Naomi :)
 

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Hey Naomi,


I didn't read through this whole thread, but I might have some advice

I don't have experience with AAP, but I'd assume it will react similar to HM and HC. If it does, then I have found this plant to be really responsive to phosphate and nitrate (phosphate especially). I was keeping nitrate around 10ppm and phosphate around 2ppm and had really really healthy growth. Using KNO3, I only dossed about an addition 5ppm K weekly. Traces/Fe wasn't really dosed that high and it didn't seem very criticle with those plants.


Good luck!
 

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Naomi,

This won't help with the pinched leaves, it is just another 'observation' about ET. Mine will grow to about 5-inches, bush a little and then die back. The odd thing is that the die back also seems to be at a time when it drops seeds from the tiny flowers found at the base of the leaves, (axillary flowers?) I watched a substrate 'grow' all these obvious seedlings that I did not identify until they started their 'adult' growth.

I have been able to stave off the die back by trimming the tops and replanting before the plant gets to the 5-inch mark. If I am diligent, and I really hate to be, I can groom this plant into a pretty bush. I don’t see the substrate sprouting when I do this so it may be the trim cut interrupts the flowering process.

As to the leaves, I have a rich substrate and CO2 and strong lights and a very sporadic dosing regime, but I don’t get the pinched leaves so I can’t tell you what fixed them for me.
 
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