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Propagating Monosolenium tenerum (Pellia) Emersed

19621 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  duckdog
I was very surprised at how easily Monosolenium tenerum (previously Pellia) can be propagated emersed. I have some growing in a 5"-wide x 1"-deep bowl situated by a bright window (~6 hours of ambient lighting) that doesn't recieve any direct sunlight. The bowl only has enough water to barely cover the liverwort. When I am lazy, I fill the bowl to the brim with water and refill weekly. No fertilizers, just straight tap water. It just doesn't get any easier. Here's some interesting observations:

The liverwort appears to be anchorage dependent. Growth rate seems to accellerate when the liverwort is in contact with some kind of surface.

When I keep the container filled with water, only the M. tenerum on the perimeter of the bowl will put out new growth. However, when I forget about the bowl :oops: and the water level barely covers the liverwort, there's an explosive mass of new growths all over the bowl, regardless of mass -- see density-dependence inhibition below.

The liverwort also appears to be exhibiting characteristics of density-dependence inhibition, where an over abundance of the liverwort in close proximity can actually inhibit new growths.

I am able to speed up growth by not allowing the M. tenerum to grow too thickly (i.e. not allowing the individual thalli to touch one another). Whenever I cannot see the bowl's bottom, I divide the clump of liverwort. Otherwise, only the perimeter of the clump will put out new growths. Density dependence inhibition is less important when the liverwort is touching some surface (see anchorage dependence point above).

What does this all means? I don't know, but I thought it was really interesting so I figure I'll share the information.


When you first receive this liverwort, it will most likely be in tiny pieces of 1-2 cm long. Obviously, it would be a pita to attach them to anything. What you want to do is dump them in a wide shallow bowl with some water, and keep it in a brightly lit location until those tiny fragments put out new growths and interwine with one another. Then, you can tie it like moss to rocks/mesh/etc. and enjoy them in your aquarium.

Word of warning: Once M. tenerum gets going, it can be as invasive as riccia. Parts of it will get stuck all over the tank, growing where you don't want them. It took me over 2 months of judicious cleaning to rid my tank of this species. :evil: I am now in charge of keeping this species available for local folks just in case any of us decide to give it another try. So what I have now is contained in a bowl of water. Pretty neat.


Some nice pictures of this species being aquascaped by Tropica during Aquarama 2003:
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Hi cs,

Thanks for posting this very interesting information. It's amazing what we learn from mere observation.

I would love a little of the Monosolenium if you could part with it. [-o<
Hmm...I should try this out. I'll let u guys now my conclusions two weeks later.
Sorry if this is off topic. Do you find Pellia to grip driftwood well? I am hesitant to use it because i can't imagine how it would lock on firmly.
If you'd examine the liverwort closely, you'll notice there's a midrib along each thallus. Along this line, little root systems (rhizoids?) will sometime form like those underneath the fronds of mosses. These roots will grab hold quite firmly, but what triggers its formation is beyond me. As a whole, the M. tenerum doesn't grip to anything IME. Treat it like Riccia and secure it in place with threads. The thalli are very brittle and will detach at the slightest of provocation. Annoying little species IMO. Yuck! :-&
This is the ONE plant to date that I managed to kill outright. I had it in two different tanks, one high tech one low, and it disintegrated without a trace in a matter of weeks. I was looking narrowly on my Ancistrus, but he was only in one tank, so can't really blame him, can I?
those tiny hairs attach well enough to my eco complete, but I prefer the hairnet method. I don't know why it gave you problems. for me, pellia is extremely prolific (compared to my expectations of slow growth) high light, or shaded by other plants.
I'd like to try it again some time, but without knowing why it didn't work for me initially, I'm afraid I might not be successful again. I really like the dark green color. Maybe one day.
Ok Guys. Update:

Here in california, my Pellia hasnot been growing very well using the dish method explained in the first post. Anybody else having the same trouble?

I'm assuming it's the weather.

After getting the batch of Pellia from you, and then reading the first post in this thread, I thought I would try this method to build up my supply before planting it in some of my tanks.

I've got it in a 4 x 5 x 1 inch deep clear tupperware type dish.
I've been keeping just enough water in it to barely cover the Pellia (maybe 1/4 inch deep)

I have it on a west facing window sill that gets about 5 hours of direct sunlight a day.

At first the growth was slow, but I kept pulling it apart as mentioned in the first post.

The last few days have been much warmer and growth has really picked up. It almost covers the whole bottom of the container now.

I think I will steal another tupperware dish from my wife next week and divide it among the two.

So don't give up to soon Sam, I think now that spring is trying to start you might start to see more growth.

Cheers, CD
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I received some Pellia from a shipment of cheery shrimps by accident and I only have two or three pcs approx 1/2 x 1/4" I may try this I would like to grow some for my shrimp tank, I will keep ya posted :)

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