Thursday, 11 May 2017

Cryptocoryne ferruginea needs a helping hand

Crypt ferruginea stems re-shooting in the ICU

A couple of decomposing Crypt. ferruginea stalks were given to me in the hope that I can pull them back from dead.  Hopefully not too little too late.   I know nothing about C. ferruginea other than what I can find online.

From Ipor et al (2006), it is naturally found in acidic conditions with pH 4.6 to 5.5, likes very soft water and shaded conditions.

 I loosely bedded the stalks into a mix of sand and composted oak leaves and flooded them with pure rainwater (pH 5.5-6.0, EC 10-20 ┬ÁS/cm) to the depth you see here.  There is a bit of soil in the leaf mix that is initially causing the pH to rise, so I've been draining the pot and reflooding with fresh rainwater every couple of days to maintain acidic conditions.  I'm waiting on fresh supplies of peat moss and I may switch them over to a fresh mix with more peat if the pH keeps going up.

Fingers crossed.

Further reading: Ipor, I. B., C. S. Tawan, and M. Basrol. "Growth pattern, biomass allocation and response of Cryptocoryne ferruginea Engler (Araceae) to shading and water depth." Journal of Bioscience 17.2 (2006): 55-78.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Cryptocoryne parva submersed vs. emersed

Crypt parva (submersed)

Cryptocoryne parva is a great small crypt from Sri Lanka that is sometimes grown as a carpeting plant in a planted aquarium. Hats off to anyone that achieves this as Crypt parva is a very slow grower so you need patience or to invest in buying lots and planting heavily at the outset. I've seen people closing down a tank sell chunks of "carpet" afterwards for $100+ to be snapped up by the impatient.

The top photo is a slightly manky lunchbox of Crypt parva in one of my tanks. I plant parva around the base of my Aponogetons as it looks good and stops the fish scattering the gravel.  Some people think the Crypt roots help oxygenate the substrate.  Perhaps thats true... but in this case the Aponogeton died leaving me with a nice crop of parva about 1cm tall.  I took a few plants and put them in a pot to grow emersed and they took off.

Crypt parva emersed

If you didnt know better you might think the emersed plants are one of the Cryptocoryne ×willisii group that is well known for the characteristically lanceolate leaves on long petioles, or even a dwarf sagittaria. The substrate mix is nothing special - sand, peat moss, and a handfull of shell grit to buffer the pH and add calcium and a handful of composted oak leaves for nutrition

Last year I lost my emersed Crypt parva in winter - tough love in a cold climate. This year the heaters are in early.