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I sent the following letter to Karen Randall at AFM but she is no longer writing her column so I thought I would post it here:

Karen,
First let me start out by telling you how much I have learned from
reading your articles over the years. Please continue the outstanding
work. I have a couple of questions on pruning plants.

My show tank is a 180 gallon (24" x 24" x 72") full of live plants. It
has 640 watts of light (4 160 watt VHO tubes), CO2 that runs 10 hours
during the day, a base of laterite, heating cable in the gravel, two
Eheim 2229 wet/dry filters, etc. I dose Kent Freshwater Plant fertilizer
four times a day and add supplemental iron every other week when I do a
30% water change. The tank has been set up for almost 3 years.

The plants in the tank have grown very well over the years. The problem
now comes in how to prune the anubias that have grown to the top of the
tank. The rhizomes on these plants have a very strong growth of runners
on them but for the most part, the leaves are at the top of the plant,
near the surface of the water. How can I prune these plants back so they
are less than a foot tall? Can they be divided? As an aside, all of the
varieties of anubias that I have in this tank are continuously flowering
with hooded blooms.

I also have a lot valisneria in the tank. How does one shorten these
plants when they grow to over three foot in length and start to cover
the entire water surface? In the past, I have just cut the long leaves
off at about 20" long but this seems to cause a lot of browning of the
remaining leaves until the plant recovers. Is there a better way?

Thanks for you help.

Art
Champaign, IL

Please feel free use this letter in your column if you feel it is of
general interest.
 

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Art Pesch,

Welcome to the APC forum! It's nice to hear that you've had your tank setup for 3 years now and that your Anubias are blooming. Your plants must be in good health. It may be time to start seriously considering the arrangement and layout of your aquarium, if you haven't already.

As for the Anubias barteri var. barteri, you can prune them by removing the entire plant and cutting off the desired pieces with a sharp knife or large pair of scissors. Discard what you don't want and replant the Anubias back into the aquarium.

As for the Vallisneria, unfortunately, there is no better way. The only thing I can recommend is to try replacing it with a new, more controllable plant species such as Cyperus helferi and Eleocharis montevidensis.

Carlos
 
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