Here's an Interesting Plant

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Fish Herder
Apr 11, 2022
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Hello TFF. Here's a land plant that you see in most offices. It's the Aglaonema or Chinese Evergreen. There are at least a dozen varieties that combine green with white, green with light tan and green with a lighter green. This plant will grow well under water too. We had one in our house until we learned the leaves contained a type of calcium that's toxic to dogs, cats and even horses. Fortunately, the plant was out of reach for our cats. I liked the plant, so I decided to immerse the roots in one of my fish tanks, because i read it would use the nitrogen from the dissolving fish waste. But, it was more accessible to our cats. So, I put it under the water. And, go figure, it grew just as well. Here's a photo of a variety called "Modestum", I think. I took this picture right after I removed half the tank water this morning.



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I have 3 plants ( Chinese Evergreen ), 2 different varieties on my tanks... rooted in the tanks, but growing above them… this one ( the pink & green one ) is actually in one of my filters…
Way back when it became popular to experiment with terrestrial plant roots and aquariums (and the plants on top), Chinese evergreens were the house plant of choice for the experiment. Our arsenal of pretty plants that provide back up to our filters and water changes has expanded, but that old standard is still a big one. I hunted the grocery stores and plant places of my city and they were hard to find. They seem to be everywhere now.
I have a good one I picked up in a discount bin that is really doing well. I'm planning to make paludariums out of 2 second hand 20s I picked up, and it's going to have pride of place.
My fishroom 15 years ago looked like a jungle, with vines all over. I'm slowly rebuilding that. I still prefer vines over Chinese evergreens, and my peace lilies have grown huge roots in. There's something really attractive about having tanks that are part of the living world outside the glass box too.

Until I was in my teens, a lot of the aquarium plants we bought were really plants able to withstand floods for a while. In tanks, they'd look good, then die. We of course would pay to replace them. Spider plants, 'snake' plants, many vines, etc do well above the water. My all time champion though isn't Chinese evergreens. It's peace lilies. They can get unmanageably huge on tanks, roots in. But they're easily divided and potted, or moved to another tank.

The crazy one that looks fantastic in my 40 gallon is the Canna lily. I get enormous red flowers a couple of times a year, and they are now on year three of flowering. They need their roots buried though, but are fun ones. Flowers are cheerful in winter.
My Nile Lily's in my African tank ( I have 6 pots of them in one tank ) look to be doing well... when I plant like I do, generally the plants are dormant for a month or so... the Nile Lily's are shooting out roots right now, & lots of new starts out of the pots...
Nile lilies. Those are new to me. I just googled and see there's a dwarf variety. This bears exploring...thanks!
Hello again. I really like the "Ag" plants. Their size is really unlimited. Here's possibly a "Cutlass" variety in a 100 gallon trough. I used a four bulb strip light to grow it. There are a dozen pretty good sized Goldfish in the trough to provide all the nutrients the plant needs.



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So my Chinese Evergreens are all in hang on the top pots, with the roots growing into the tank ( the bulk of my plants are also ) it's interesting looking at the variety of rooting styles of various plants... the 2 Chinese Evergreens I'm referring to above, are a variegated variety... the roots growing out into the tank, are thicker than any of my other plants, & so far, with no branches or forks, just long straight thick root shoots... I've noticed pretty much the same coming from my Lily's of the Nile... I'm wondering if these plants propagate via runners, & those are not typical "roots" ??? since the Chinese Evergreen can also grow below the water ( as stated above ) wondering if in the future I might end up with submerged plants starting off these ( if they are in fact "runners" ) ??? thoughts???
I read a bit on Nile lilies, and they have rhizomes, so they spread that way. I would guess like Anubias spp.

I like the thick roots on the Chinese evergreens, but peace lilies, with their fine roots, look better to me.

I wouldn't submerge the evergreens. They be able to stand it short term, but that's just a survive flooding mechanism. Floods end, or the plants do. They were one of many boggy plants sold to be submerged when stores knew they'd need constant replacing.
Curious if they will start out under water, out of a runner submerged??? and perhaps not have a problem with a long underwater life, if connected via umbilical cord, to my terrestrial plant growing above the water???
Hello Magnum. The "Ag" plants are the best natural water filter. The large root ball is a "nitrogen hog". The roots will remove the nitrogen as soon as it becomes available and removes toxins in the water much faster than the bacteria. The bacteria has a limited job in a tank with a large Aglaonema plant. It simply works on the nitrogen at night when the plant rests.

Magnum. I found a couple of before and after pics of a 60 gallon I set up several years ago. The first photo is the tank when I first set up the Aglaonema plants. At the time, I was removing and replacing half the water weekly. The second photo is the same tank a year or so later. At this time, I stopped changing the water and replaced the evaporated water with distilled. Just fed the fish normally and tended the plants. The fish lived in near nitrogen free water without water changes. The plant roots constantly removed the nitrogen from the fish waste. Of course, you can't have a tank like this one here anymore. Distilled water is much too expensive and I went through gallons and gallons a week due to the evaporation from the open tank. One other thing, the Ag plants eventually blocked the light and the Anacharis died off. But, the Anubias stayed pretty healthy.



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