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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed Shalu's post #7 this morning in which he mentioned his experience of growing Tonina fluviatalis in relatively hard water (relative to NYC water, that is).

In my humble aquatic abode of very little KH/GH, Tonina fluviatalis failed completely. Yet, Tonina species Belem has done well in the same conditions.

Who is growing Tonina? and what are your water specs and dosing regimes? How successful have you been?

I have been using Flourite in all my aquariums along with regular dosing of KNO3, K2SO4, and PO4 via Fleet solution. I also add Flourish or CSM+B depending on the aquarium. I have not been boosting the GH. But am thinking of doing that. My water stats for NYC are:




Andrew Cribb
 

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Great looking Tonina sp. 'Belem'. So maybe slighter harder water can make both t. fluviatilis and 'belem' happy? I am considering lowering hardness for 'belem'.
 

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I have a bad track record with Toninas, but I have no problem with Eriocaulons which are very similiar, yet different. I use RO water with lots of light and co2. I am waiting for my aquasoil to come so I can test that out. From my experiences growing aquatic plants I would have to say that toninas are the most finicky of any plant I have ever grown. You may have them growing really well for a while and then they will just crash. I just want to grow my tonina forest already and I am not giving up!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The sp. Belem grows slowly. A myriad of fuzzy roots and root hairs tend to grow from the lower part of the stem. I interpret that to mean the plant is taking up nutrients from the water via the root hairs. It does not seem to be demanding of Fe but appreciates good supplies of NPK in the water. It might also like higher temperatures. I had better growth during the summer months when the aquarium was 86F plus.

The plant branches multiple times low down on the stem. Cut the stems and simply replant. It seems very durable.

What is the natural habitat of this plant? Who originally collected it? I suspect the plant might well grow in flowing water.

It seems to have a different set of characteristics and demands to T. fluviatalis.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Ah, Toninas... I've grown these before with reasonable success. The species I have experience with are Tonina sp 'Belem' and Tonina fluviatilis.

My Tonina fluviatilis:


T. fluviatilis originally comes from blackwater rivers in the Amazon Basin, the same areas where you would find massive schools of P. axelrodi (cardinal tetra), altum angelfish, corydoras, discus, etc. In my experience, it grows very well in Miami tap water which is GH 4, KH 3.5 or so at the moment. Growth rates were moderate. It grew best under high lighting (3.75wpg AH Supply PC over a 55g), although it also grew relatively well in 2 wpg and no CO2. Unfortunately, in the less intensely lit tank, the bottom half of the plant would turn a transparent brown color. I never saw this plant become stressed due to a deficiency in any of the nutrients (NPK, traces) -- usually the neighboring Ammannia gracilis and Ludwigia sp Cuba would let me know if something was wrong beforehand. In the beginning, apparently because the plant was shocked from the long journey, it produced about 8 or so sideshoots and the stem became very fuzzy. Since then, I have learned that Toninas are best planted as very short sideshoots since the plant does tend to produce a lot of hairy roots along the old stem otherwise. Starting with shorter sideshoots encourages 'cleaner' stems free of the root system. It completely failed for me in GH 14, KH 11 or so Chicago tap water.

My experience with Tonina sp Belem has beeb very similar, although this one is more willing to produce sideshoots than the former. Same tap water, same lighting. A little slower to gain height, apparently because it puts forth a lot of energy into sideshoot production much like Lobelia cardinalis 'small form.' Same pruning method applies. By the way, the city of Belem in Brazil is at the mouth of the Amazon River. The species must inhabit blackwater streams very close to the ocean. I can hardly imagine it growing in the main river, which would have some salt in it due to the nearby ocean. Just a thought.

Carlos
 

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I've had both for awhile and have little issue with them.
They are nice since they do not grow too fast and become weedy.
As far as all the yammering about them requiring certain substrates and soft acid water, I don't have that and they grow just fine.
GH is 6, KH is 4. Not exactly soft, but not hard either.

Plain old Flourite, general ferts: KNO3/KH2PO4/Traces.........

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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plantbrain said:
GH is 6, KH is 4. Not exactly soft, but not hard either.
That might be the key, it MIGHT not do well much harder than that. Current tap is KH8, GH13. 'belem' is experiencing a melt down in this condition right now, fluviatilis is growing, but most leaves are turning brown. I am not totally convinced that they will not turn around yet(some other plants had this melt down stage but eventually turned around for me), but I am trying partial RO in my non-CO2 tank with those. They are doing much better there with kh=4, gh=8.
 

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plantbrain said:
I've had both for awhile and have little issue with them.
They are nice since they do not grow too fast and become weedy.
As far as all the yammering about them requiring certain substrates and soft acid water, I don't have that and they grow just fine.
GH is 6, KH is 4. Not exactly soft, but not hard either.

Plain old Flourite, general ferts: KNO3/KH2PO4/Traces.........

Regards,
Tom Barr
You may very well be correct about the tonina not needing any special requirements, but the fact still remains that the majority of people do not share your same success growing Toninas. What gives?

I would very much like to see a set of guidelines from anyone within which you WILL succeed with Toninas. The Taiwanese and Japanese hobbyists seem to rely on aquasoil a lot for success, but I know that is not the holy grail for growing Toninas. Maybe it helps if your water quality is not correct?? I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
T. Belem has a fairly good root system. It even grabs Flourite - and that's saying something. I interpret that to mean it derives nutrients from the substrate, if available. Looking at the density of its leaves - a single stem of the plant has a lot of plant mass relative to other plants - it is nutrient demanding and ADA Powersand might give it that extra boost it needs.

Andrew Cribb
 

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I have successfully propagated T. fluviatilis for my local aquatic horticultural award program. It actually grew somewhat profusely in my tank with the following conditions.
3.6 watts per gallon
Ph 6.35-6.45
KH 2dKH
Nitrate 10ppm
Phosphate .5ppm or less (was having big time problems keeping it up at the time)

Also added Seachem Fe 3 mls daily and Seachem Flourish 3mls daily.

Not sure if you necessarily need to have such a dangerously low KH in order to grow it but the fact is that it grew very nice, large, and full for me under these conditions. I have since increased my KH to 3dKH and my Ph to 6.5 and what was left of the Tonina doesn't look bad although it doesn't seem to be flourishing as well as it did in the past. The change in KH and Ph is recent and I saved only a couple of small stems of the T. fluviatilis. I suppose only time will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Madmax (it's hard to call you that since you seem quite sane ;-) ),

That's interesting. What substrate are you using? Does the T. fluviatalis grow an extensive root system? T. Belem does seem to root well in Flourite, though Flourite is a bit rough to stick delicate stems in when the initial planting occurs. I was wondering whether to try out some Flourish Root Tablets under the Tonina as an experiment. Have you used any with fluviatalis?

Andrew Cribb
 

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Andrew, I am using a 50/50 mix of flourite to “river pebble” gravel. The river pebble is somewhat large. I only used it because it was free and accessible.

T. fluviatilis does not grow a very good root system. It seemed to put out a decent amount of roots, but the roots that are produced are very thin (less than a millimeter) and very fragile.

I never tried root tabs under the Tonina, and to be honest I don’t think they will help it root any better. The plant is all leaves and I believe that it will be much happier absorbing nutrients from the water column. When I first received the plant a friend of mine suggested putting peat underneath of it since it is well known for liking soft and acidic water. I decided against it because my water seemed to be ideal for it. Maybe give the root tabs a try. Experimentation is the only way to know. The worst that can happen is a wasted root tab. Good luck.

Hope that helps,
Tim Gross
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks, Tim. I'll let you know. I've softened down the texture of Florite with some coarse sand. it seems to help with the planting, if not the rooting..

Andrew Cribb
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Mor B said:

got them in very good condition from greenchapter and placed them in a few different tanks at my home :
1. 30L tank with 36w, temp 26, kh3, gh 5 and ADA substrate - they all propegating and look green and fresh, new side shots on the way but growing very slow
2. 200l with 220w temp 26 kh5 gh10 and QUARTZ substrate with peatmoss in the botom and even heating cable - static , not growing but not dead, green spot algae covering the leaves
3. 135l with 200w 27c kh5 gh10 baselet subtrate with under gravel fert. - plants are dying ...

all tanks with about 25-35ppm of no3, 0.6-1 mg/l po4 and good amounts of fe and micros from home made ferts.

my questions are as follows:
1. could u please share as much as u know about this toninas? (i remember someone wroth about them in the plant finder...)
2. what is the recommended temp?
3. is ADA substrate is a "must"?
4. are they slow growers in any case?
5. what other plants can go with special toninas tank?
6. do they prefer substrate ferts than liquids?

they are beautiful plants and im afraid to loose them all...
We all long for the Plant Finder - but surely it will be good when it comes back reincarnated.

Mor B, your post is interesting. It's sort of an experiment, isn't it. Expensive for you - perhaps informative for me. [smilie=s:

ADA substrate is not really available in the USA until next week, so I cannot say much about it being good for Tonina growing. Your experiment indicates it is. Mr Amano said during his demonstration at AGA 2004 that Amazonia/Powersand is good for growing "finicky" plants like Tonina species.

The Tonina sp. Belem I have is growing in pure Flourite with some sand addition. No fertilizer tablets. KNO3 (NO3 <10ppm), PO4 (2-3ppm) via Fleet solution, K2SO4 (dosing equal amounts to the KNO3 solution, and Flourish or Tropica Master Grow depending on mood. The GH/KH for local NYC water is very low (see begining of thread for details). I do not boost the GH/KH in any way. KH is less than 1dKH.

The tank gets up slightly more than 30C (86F) in the summer and down to 24 in the winter. I have good glossy leaf growth now at 26C.

Your tank 1 above seems to have some optimum conditions for growth.

Hope that helps.

Andrew Cribb
 

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ok, thanks - i think for the beggining ill try to dig out some substrate near the toninas and put ADA instead of the quartz and c what happened. if i wont c any changes ill try to use more RO water in the mix as my tap water are very very hard.
 

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mor b, in your tank with Ada substrate where kh=3, gh=5, is the lower kh/gh the effect of Ada substrate or more RO mix? I read that Ada Amazonia softens water to lower kh/gh.
 

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tsunami said:
By the way, the city of Belem in Brazil is at the mouth of the Amazon River. The species must inhabit blackwater streams very close to the ocean. I can hardly imagine it growing in the main river, which would have some salt in it due to the nearby ocean. Just a thought.
Just a bit of history and trivia, Ships that traveled to and from Europe and Brazil used to replenish their freshwater supplies directly from the ocean, up to 200 mi. away from the Amazon delta! It's amazing. The volume of water in the river is so great that the freshwater remains that far out, so I doubt aquatic plants around Belem have a brackish adaptation.

I noticed my Toninas started growing large green crowns when I started adding CSM+B with MgSO4 on a regular basis. I also grow it in the softer Flora Base, which is easier on the plant, but hasn't formed any root system.
 

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Guess I can add some limited experience with fluviatilis... I killed mine due to macro deficiencies, was trying to choke some red colors out of a plant in the same tank. Anyhow, FWIW, my Amano shrimp ate this stuff, dunno if it was because of weak tissue or that they just had a taste for it.

Jeff
 
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