Anubias nana 'Snow White'
The snow – Anubias ‘Snow White’
biOrb Amazonas root ornament
The mountain

Anubias nana – ‘Snow White’

I was looking for an epiphyte to grow on the large sculpture in the aquarium which has lots of nooks and crannies that could be colonised.  Such a plant has to be small and stay small.  Narrowed down to either anubias or bucephalandra, one of the smallest is anibias “snow white” where the leaves are a very pale green.  The conventional wisdom seems to be that absent significant chlorophyll (resulting in the whiteness), this plant is difficult/impossible to grow.  There is some text on the interwebs relating, “in the Anubias Snow White plant, photosynthesis takes place exclusively in the rhizome and in the roots. Therefore the roots must always be left free.

I picked up an in vitro grown pot from Riverwood Aquatics which arrived in fantastic-looking condition.  Sure enough, the leaves are a creamy white with possibly the faintest green tinge, but the non-leaf bits are dark green.

Ludwigia palustris post-trim, aquarium with lights off
Post-trim aquarium – lights off

Today I gave the ludwigia palustris its first trim. A couple of the stems were just under the surface so I clipped off the three tallest.  This ludwigia, in contrast to some reports, doesn’t have very many aerial roots but where there were a few part-way down the stem, I trimmed to just above the node below the roots to allow (hopefully) new growth, then clipped off the stem to just below the node where the roots are and planted those pieces on the far left of the tank in a region that was more thinly grown, very likely due to less light off to the side and in the shade of the taller stems in the centre.

Ludwigia palustris trimmed tops replanted
Ludwigia tops planted behind the lobelia cardinalis ‘wavy’

I was following this guide to trimming stem plants from dw1305 so we’ll see how that goes.  Seems straightforward and reasonable.  There was some question as to whether the shrimp would just immediately dig up the newly planted tops, but happily that hasn’t happened yet.

Lobelia cardinalis 'wavy' nearly full-grown submerged

Now that the plant is settled in and well-established (19-Dec-2020) it’s at 17 cm and while the tops are still attractive, it has an exposed bare understory layer with plentiful “aerial” roots – at least that’s what they’d be called if the plant weren’t underwater – that are somewhat unsightly.  I’m not sure what to do now, so I’ll take some advice from the UK Aquatic Plant Society.  Some possibilities are to plant something smaller in front to hide the bare stemmy rooty patches which would need something small that doesn’t mind being shaded, or alternatively there might be a trimming method for the lobelia that would keep it small(er) and filled in on the bottom, as it was a couple months after it was planted.  Alternatively I suppose it could be removed and replaced with something else, but I like the pretty bright green appearance of the leaves and it is thriving in the tank.  I could take the front ones out I suppose and leave one or two in the back which would then give some light for something else in front.

Drop checker mid-light green colour
Drop checker – the photo makes it look a little darker than it it appears by eye

It’s challenging with a small tank getting the CO2 flow to be both low and stable.  I use 600g disposable CO2 cylinders with a single stage regulator that is ok, but not very useful for fine control.  There are several downstream valves that further reduce the gas flow.  The CO2 over the last month or so has been fine, but yesterday and a few days before the flow has been creeping upwards as measured by the bubble counter and today was coming through more than what I’d like, with the drop checker appearing the morning after a 50% water change a little aggressively pale in what might be the 35 ppm CO2 range – that’s ok for today but could be problematic at this rate over the next few days.  I adjusted the CO2 at the regulator down from 10 L/min to 8 L/min – going much lower than this is quite unreliable – then tweaked the downstream controls to get back to 120 bubbles / min which is about right.  Something to keep an eye on over the next few days.

The Kessil LED light and LED lights that come as “point sources” rather than as strips of lights can have a feature called “shimmer” which is where they make ripples of light on the bottom of the tank.  I’ve never really observed that with my set-up in the past, attributing that to not having the light over open water but rather shining through a clear lid that gets condensation on it for a more diffuse type of lighting.  Recently however I had to relocate the powerhead up higher in the tank to avoid getting the ludwigia sucked into it and that resulted in a lot more surface water turbulence.  Suddenly, there’s all kinds of shimmer-like effects.  Is that was people generally mean – that the effect is caused by wavelets on the surface of the water?  The powerhead alternates every two minutes beween the lowest setting, and the next-to-lowest setting, and while on the lowest setting the shimmer is visible – look on the sculpture inside the tank and on the roof of the fireplace above the tank – on the higher setting it is very apparent.  Some people like shimmer and some don’t; I didn’t even notice it until a week after adjusting the height of the powerhead.  When the powerhead is deeper in the tank there is still a lot of water flow but the surface stays relatively calm and there’s no “shimmer”.

The fish don’t seem to particularly notice or care in either case.

Videos included after the break…