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Here's another one guys....hope it is of some use.


Plants will often show signs of problems long before it is too late to fix.

When you obtain a healthy plant,take note of its' appearance.

Your powers of observation can make the difference between success and failure.

Here is one thing to take note of.....


Let's say you just got a nice healthy stem of Hygrophila.

Take note of the distance between the pairs of leaves!!

In a week or so,the plant will tell you if it isn't receiving enough light!!

If the distance between the newest set of leaves is much longer than the previous set,

you have Etiolation....the plant is stretching toward the light.

This indicates that it is not getting as much light as it was in the previous tank.

If it is getting MORE light than previously,the internodal length will decrease.

Just explaining what is happening guys.

All the best


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G'day Anthony,

Etiolation is a term I also know - this time from growing cacti - often you see etiolated plants where people have tried to grow them indoors - causes narrowing of plant body, weaker spination and taller, softer growth. Make the mistake of putting plants like this out in full sun immediately and the whole plant collapses.

I've also seen some aquarium plants I had in my pond do this when there was a covering of lilly pads and other aquatic floating plants - underneath the plant got really long and internodal distance increased and leaf size decreased.

Thanks for putting these terms up - they are relevant and important to growing plants.

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The plants we buy from the LFS are emerse grown, right? So what sort of changes would you expect to see when a plant is moved from an emerse environment to a submerse environment in terms of etiolation? Are you saying that we should note the node distance when we buy the plants and then try to provide the amount of light that will maintain the same node distance? If the distance between nodes increases does that mean the plant is suffering or about to cark it?

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Thanks Wayne......that is soooo right about putting the plant straight out in the sun.

Shows that our plants give us clues as to the best treatment.

Betta......I just meant to point out another way of noticing what is happening with our plants.

Hopefully,a nursery will cultivate plants under optimal conditions.

If the plant stretches too much in your tank,it is just letting you know that more light is indicated.

Basically,if the plant is etiolated,it has been weakened by lack of light.

Edited by JUNGLE
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Well as I said...it will get weaker...and maybe eventually die.

The key to healthy plant growth is to develop your powers

of observation.

That is why I posted these threads...to help people learn to

observe their plants.

If you know what a healthy plant looks like,these threads are

keys to help develop your skills.

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depends upon the plant, the lighting, fertilization routine, and the period of aclimatization.

for instance, re rotala macranda, when grown emersed is has scrogging massive leaves and looks bloody ugly! upon planting in subtrate and emersed, and if it gets enough light, you should eventually see much finer, compact growth. or a narrowing of internodal length. however, if your fertilize the plant, heavily, you'll get coarse growth, i.e., large leaves and, perhaps, reverse tappering, and long internodes. imo, it's best to plant into substrate, wait till the plant is aclimatized, then whack it back hard, chopping it down, leaving on a few leaves/branches below the chop. if it's a healthy plant, and it's not a conifer, it'll send shoots out below the chop. this way you can start again with the plant, thus removing most of that ugly emersed growth. if you're feeling particularly brave, you may chop all the ugly foliage off, but it can be hazardous as it might cause so much stress to the plant that it dies. otherwise you can gradually work your way down.

if you regularly fertilize your plants and provide sufficient lighting, you can let the plant grow out a bit, then cut it back to the first two internodes, then let if grow out again, cut back to the next two internodes that have grown out. repeat. that way you get compact growth. but be careful as the cutting of foliage results in less nutrition uptake by the plant, which means more nutrition in the water.

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