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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just set up an outdoor 20 gal to grow bulb plants and juvenile guppies. Last year in mid-summer I bought a few Nymphaea bulbs hoping to get a beautiful Tiger Lotus, but alas, nothing sprouted. Johnwelsley0's "porcelain posts' and affection for his lily inspired me to try again.

This year, I started earlier--before the bulbs dried out in the store. I bought Nymphaea, Aponogeton ulvaceus and Onion plant bulbs from PetCo (Imagitarium Brand) and planted them hoping that at least one would sprout. I put bulbs in pots with my clay garden soil and fertilized with garden bone meal. (There's a pile of wonderful forest topsoil from when mover crew originally leveled my mobile home site.) As you can see, the tank startup was a mess. The well leaked soluble iron causing the cloudiness. Then cold, rainy weather came right after I planted my bulbs. A temporary heater keeps temperature above 65F, plus I keep tank covered and wrapped tightly in bubble wrap at night.

One week later, things are looking up. Iron finally oxidized and settled to the bottom. Moreover, I was thrilled that about 5 days later, one of the larger Nymphaea bulbs produced 2 little red sprouts (see photo). I'm hoping that the lily is a Red Tiger Lotus! I've now added about 40 juvenile guppies to tank. Here are pics showing setup and the 5 day results. My goal is to get some lilies and other new plants going for a couple summer tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have two seedlings of the native Nelumbo lutea that are growing big enough to go into a friend's large pond. They are tricky, wish me luck.
Certainly do wish you luck! I didn't know that lotuses were native plants. They are so exotic.

Thanks for the info on lilies. Didn't given this a whole lot of thought. Just stuck the stuff into the pots.

Anyway, I'm excited about the one com that sprouted. What will it turn into? And if some of the other bulbs/coms sprout, then my $10 will be well spent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Two weeks later, I would like to report more activity from the one large Nymphaea bulb. Photo shows it in the 3rd pot from the left with the blue male guppy. A few of the other bulbs have also started to sprout. It has taken a little longer than I thought, but by summer I expect flourishing plant growth!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here's photo at 3 weeks. A couple days ago, the Nymphaea, which looks like a Red Tiger Lotus, shot up a leaf to the surface. It's been so overcast lately, that I added an LED lamp last week. Actually, I might as well have set the tank up indoors. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here's photos of my outdoor 20 gal at 1 month. The two Tiger Lotus bulbs have taken off with both submerged and emergent leaves. No flowers yet. Meanwhile, the other bulb--an onion--is struggling to come up and the Aponogeton never sprouted at all.

As to photography, it is interesting the effect of light. I used late afternoon sun to bring out the iridescent blue color on the guppies. The other picture using artificial light does not do the fish justice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
The submerged leaves are long triangles with deep notches at the base and undulating/ruffled. The emergent leaves are flat, bigger and rounder, which some small triangular ones. Attached are pictures of them in my 6 week-old tank that I've kept outside.

Never noticed this before!
Plant Plant community Flowerpot Houseplant Botany
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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Your beautiful bowl has clear water, fish okay, plants growing, etc). The lily is now starting to send up aerial leaves. That will help spur growth as it will now be able to bring oxygen into its soil substrate. Are you sure you want to mess with success? Instead, you could set up a small tank or bowl to tinker with new ideas, buy another lily, and play around with NC clay. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
The new little one looks like a different plant species to me. The leaves have deep indentations.
Your clay soil has big chunks and clumps. Hopefully, those chunks will disintegrate once submerged. However, if I were planting I would smash the clumps with a hammer or brick before planting anything in it. You can also push the soil beforehand through a mesh beforehand to get rid of clumps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
That's interesting. The redness of the leaves immediately made me think "red tiger". We shall see. Yes, immersion in water does seem to disintegrate the clumps; I discovered that when I replanted the second lotus; the clay had turned to pure mud within days.

But, I have another question for you. Do you think I have to keep that rescue bulb under water from now on? Is there no way of "storing" it indefinitely? EDIT: maybe, that peat moss I've been hoarding?
Good to hear that the clay chunks disintegrated!

As to what to do with rescue bulb, I think you have to keep it planted in regular soil. I'm not sure that you have to keep the pot underwater. You could try growing it emergent.

I would not put the plantlet in peat moss. Peat moss would work for temporarily storing a bulb, but your little fellow has already sprouted. Thus, it does not have the food reserves necessary for storage of more than a few days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
I have Lotus plants from same source in two tanks. The submerged leaves have quite a different color. One has more green leaves than the other. Not sure why, because lighting and soil are the same.

I really like this plant! I want to start propagating it and adding it to more tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Johnwesley's posts have inspired me to propagate my own Red Tiger Lotuses. I divided up the plantlets from one of the bulbs that sprouted in my summer tank. There were 6-7 plantlets with delicate roots--no longer than 2"-- that I divided into three of my new pots. (The clay sides are semi-porous and allow some gas exchange.) Attached is photo of one pot with a baby. I hope it does well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
Another birth in progress! Your porcelain bowl will soon be filled with these lilies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
I've thought about this and a number of things make lilies very appealing. First and foremost is the Aerial Advantage they have over ordinary submerged plants. It takes the whole problem of whether and how to supply CO2 to one's plants off the table. They get it directly from the air.

Ironically (and I'd love your opinion on this), they wouldn't be my first choice for getting a Walstad tank off the ground. It takes time for them to develop extensive root systems, so I wouldn't categorize them as "fast growers" in the conventional sense.
Excellent idea that I have been thinking about... :)

I would hesitate to recommend Red Tiger Lotus for NPT beginners. For you with a porcelain bowl with its top view, they have an attraction. But in my shallow tanks, I have found them a mixed blessing.

The lily pads block light for other plants but really don't contribute much to water purification. In contrast, Frogbit and Water Lettuce decrease light and oxygen exchange at water surface, but they are also efficient water purifiers. Their extensive root systems in the water take up ammonia and produce oxygen efficiently.

Today, I found old 2017 pictures of Frogbit taken in morning (8:00 AM) with no gas bubbles and again at 5:00 PM. Those gas bubbles attached to roots are almost surely the waste product of photosynthesis--oxygen.

Robust floating plants like Frogbit and Water Lettuce give you a lot of "bang for your buck." This may explain why my 9 tanks currently have almost no algae, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrite despite heavy fish feeding, no filters, infrequent water changes, and good lighting on 13 hours per day. I have to prune and thin out these floaters once every week or so.

Last picture shows Water Lettuce with an extensive root system in a current tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #67 ·
I've had the same experience with my floaters and it begs the (slightly off-topic) question: could you successfully run a NPT with only floating plants, and no dirt substrate/rooted plants? Or maybe another way of putting it - for someone who has a "traditional" tank with gravel and limited or no live plants, could they achieve some sort of NPT progress w/o redoing their substrate, just by adding floating plants? Or do the floaters not do enough on their own?
Healthy floating plants will always help control ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Getting them to grow is the challenge. Need good lighting, a calm water surface, and in some situations, iron fertilization (addition of chelated iron to water).

I think you just have to try it out to see if it works in your setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
I'm guessing that neither floaters (Frogbit, water lettuce, etc.) nor lilies contribute much CO2 to the water column during respiration periods, i.e., when the lights are off. Is that correct?
I believe you are correct. I sincerely doubt that plant respiration contributes much CO2 to the water column. Decomposition is the primary CO2 source.
 
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