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Discussion Starter · #121 ·
Bubbles in the soil substrate can be normal. Did the bubbles smell in any way?

My Anubias also has these wild moments of growth. I kinda like it as I wasn’t expecting it.

Also, not entirely the same, but the only lily pad type plant I keep is the banana plant. Mine got bushy before it sent a stem and pad to the surface. I’m not sure if it relates or not.

Food for thought: I wonder if you create a “protection ring” from the floaters directly above the lily, it would allow better light to it and grow differently?

By the ring I mean some airline tube cut to a certain length and connected. Place this above to lily and the floaters won’t be able to cover it.
Haha. Great minds think alike, @ronnie:
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There's no question that the tubing is more aesthetically pleasing than the rectangular feeding ring (which, btw, did not float - a downside to ordering on Amazon) and I can make it as big or as small as the situation demands.

Yeah, I think there are lots of parallels between lilies and banana plants, at least the domestic so-called, "hardy" lilies that grow from rhizomes. I was in @dwalstad 's neck of the woods for a week of visiting cousins and when I came back I noticed that the lily's newer leaves seemed to be bigger and more spear-shaped than the earlier ones - so, maybe it is entering a new phase. TBH, if this were a glass bowl, I would be over the moon with how it looked; I now have two bushy foreground centerpieces, one of which may send up emergent leaves. As they say in North Carolina, "We'll see."
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I'm also rethinking your suggestion about the umbrella palm. It's a good looking plant and would give the eye something else to look at above the water line. I'm hesitant about buying one online, though. Thanks, for sharing your thoughts. Isn't this a wonderful hobby?
 

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Discussion Starter · #122 ·
Oh, and about those bubbles.

Uh-oh.

I just removed the chopsticks that had been sticking in the lily pot these past few weeks in order to support the rectangular feeding ring (the plexiglass one that couldn't float?) Well, with each one there was a fairly noticeable belch of bubbles that followed their being plucked out. And, there was a faint odor of rotten egg when I held the end of one stick to my nose. This led to a round of poking all around the pot and with every poke there was a small column of bubbles.

With all the talk lately about the foibles of driftwood, I think I made the classic mistake of burying the ends of three wooden ornaments (chopsticks) into a bed of potting mix. It doesn't seem to have affected the lily. But, who knows? Maybe, the H2S has been inhibiting its growth?
 

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Discussion Starter · #124 · (Edited)
Wow. I stopped by Pacific Aquarium & Plant after they offered to sell their display umbrella palms over the phone. They were slimmer and less obstructive than I was imagining them. There shouldn't be a lighting problem, especially since they'll have the "air advantage" over all the floaters that are there now:
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Really bumps up the look of the set-up:
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It certainly meant more dirt:
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Starting with an old cannister cartridge and bed of gravel

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About an inch of very old potting mix (mainly for cation capacity)





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And another layer of gravel just to fix the plastic boxes in place.
 

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Personally, I love it! It kinda brings the whole bowl together as a statement without having to be directly over it. And I find that plant to be really cool looking, especially in water.

haha, and a lil soil never hurt nobody! I imagine it will grow much better with it there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #127 ·
Personally, I love it! It kinda brings the whole bowl together as a statement without having to be directly over it. And I find that plant to be really cool looking, especially in water.

haha, and a lil soil never hurt nobody! I imagine it will grow much better with it there.
Ah, were you thinking of having the palms hang over the water like pothos? That sounds like a DIY project. LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #128 ·
The Umbrella plant is a lovely addition to your bowl.
Thank you! I felt a little guilty spending the money, but that particular store is not cheap. They were charging essentially the same price for one 18in stick of lucky bamboo (which is outlandish considering how close they are to Chinatown where lucky bamboo is ubiquitous), but umbrella plants are way cooler.
 

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I would take the Little plastic container out when planting the umbrella plant so their roots can spread out.
you can find pond plants at Home Depot in the summer months, maybe you can find a reasonable Priced umbrella plant there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #130 · (Edited)
I think we have a runner! Maybe even a couple of them! Here is one lily leaf two days ago after I returned from a trip:

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Here is the same leaf this morning:

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It has nearly tripled in size and is not done growing. More importantly, it and its buddy to its immediate right are not much more than an inch from the water line; if they continue on the same trajectory, they will be touching the surface in another day or two.
 

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Yay! Congrats. I wonder if the ring above it helped it receive more of the light it needed.

In terms of looking over it… no nothing crazy! I meant more of: you don’t have to be directly over the bowl to see any sign of life. But now, can see it’s a living system even from afar.

(that’s meant to come across as a compliment, haha, I hope it does).
 

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Discussion Starter · #133 ·
Yay! Congrats. I wonder if the ring above it helped it receive more of the light it needed.
Difficult to say. The new ring had only been in place 24 hours before I started noticing the first leaf's sprint to the surface. The timing also seems to have coincided with a lot more bubble activity from the soil directly underneath. Some of that was clearly H2S, but it also indicates significant decomp is presently underway. It's like all of a sudden, the soil is "hot"?

Partly because of that experience, I actually wound up repotting the umbrella palms; I didn't want the plastic baskets they came in to compact the soil underneath them. I probably needn't have worried; the palm's roots had already escaped their confinement and were well on their way to burrowing underneath the containers. But, I feel better.
 

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Expect rapid growth after that leaf makes it to the surface. It will have more light and access to unlimited atmospheric CO2. Water lilies also have a strong ability to move oxygen from the leaves to the roots. This enables them to grow in anaerobic soils.
 

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Discussion Starter · #135 ·
Expect rapid growth after that leaf makes it to the surface. It will have more light and access to unlimited atmospheric CO2. Water lilies also have a strong ability to move oxygen from the leaves to the roots. This enables them to grow in anaerobic soils.
I think this is almost certainly what is happening now. Ever since the first leaf reached the surface a week ago (the big floppy one at around 4 o'clock on the tube ring) others have followed. There are now four that are at least touching the surface, with a fifth candidate that is growing rapidly. Part of the problem with identification is that the lily's pot is only six inches below the surface. So, you would think emergence would be a fairly low bar to achieve. But, it's taken the better part of three months to reach this stage:
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Also, the floaters have been culled (they can probably use a bit more) in order to actually promote their growth. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but I think it's like any population that experiences overcrowding - it can't be good for the individual plant. And, they're my nutrient vaccum cleaners; When they stop growing, my nitrates very likely go up. Anyway, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it for the time being.
 

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Discussion Starter · #136 · (Edited)
The big news this week is the discovery this morning of a different sort of leaf on the hardy lily. It is a leafless stem that has shot right up to the surface. Every other leaf until now began as an actual, diminutive leaf that grew progressively taller and floppier, sometimes reaching the surface. This morning's discovery stands in stark contrast due to the speed (or stealth) and the single-mindedness with which it has reached the water's surface:
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On the salvinia minima front. It is backfilling nicely since its cull last week and the nitrate level has actually decreased rom 20 ppm to 10 ppm, supporting my theory that floaters are at their peak efficiency as nitrate removers when they are multiplying. It's as if each plant is part of a bigger organism.
 

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Discussion Starter · #139 · (Edited)
This week's news is that there is indeed a second aerial leaf on its way and like a parent with a second child (I was a second child) I am much more chill about its arrival. It will continue to unwind all across the water's surface like fishing line until it decides to unfold its single waxen leaf. Did I read EPA correctly and that certain lilies use one leaf to "inhale" CO2 from the air and the other to "exhale" (somewhere along the line O2 is manufactured and delivered to the roots?)
(EDIT: Actually, I remembered incorrectly. The intake leaf is actually inhaling O2 directly from the air and distributing it to the roots. I'm assuming the second aerial leaf will be specially adapted for exhaling CO2? EPA, pp.150-151)

(EDIT: It's also more than likely that the aerial leaves aren't assigned one task over the other, but perform both ventilation functions at once - I shouldn't take the illustration literally. It's less creepy that way.)

I'm looking back several months ago when I first purchased the lily bulb and it is clear to me now that the packing material was some sort of clay. It doesn't excuse the pet store help for failing to know - but, it might explain why they were stumped:
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Discussion Starter · #140 ·
Well, it's always nice to come back from a vacation and find not only that your critters are still alive but that your parameters are actually better than when you left them! There is indeed a second aerial leaf on the lily (it currently seems to be in the process of righting itself so that the waxy part is facing up instead of in the water):
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As for the parameters, my nitrates are now at 5 ppm. IIRC, they were closer to 10 when I left 10 days ago. Nitrites are still -0-. The only thing that has changed in my absence is the amount of water surface covered by my floaters (salvinia minima) which went from about half to two-thirds and is probably due for another culling:
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