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Friday, June 29, 2012

The Life Aquatic: Hardy Aponogeton

Aponogeton aquatic plant with beta fish. 

In 2009 I bought a set of dried aquatic plant rhizomes at a big box pet store and plopped them in my beta bowl.  One plant sprouted and lived for over a year alongside my happy beta fish.  I loved the look of the real plant (versus those awful plastic substitutes) that I tried growing more from similar plant bulb sets but never duplicated my original success.  What was this hardy plant and why could I not grow it again?

Thankfully a F&M reader replied to the original post and indicated that the mystery plant is called Aponogeton.  After perusing some aquatic plant boards I put together the following information on this plant:

  • "Hardy" aponogeton is often grown from a dried bulb set, with as unsuccessful odds as I experienced (often only 1-2 bulbs from a set will sprout).
  • Once the plant is growing it can often live for a year or more, but will go through dormant periods.  One contributor suggested a few weeks in cold water may help spur the plant back to life.
  • Aponogeton can bloom and set a flower on the surface of the water.  I vaguely recall mine putting out an unimpressive flower.  If you want to stall the dormancy period of the plant pinch of the flower bud before it blooms!
  • Aponogeton will thrive in low light and - based on my experience- can handle still water.  
  • Aponogeton covers a wide and varied range of aquatic plants, with different foliage and sizes.  See a large array of images here.  
Have you every grown an aquarium plant from a dried rhizome?  Do you have more advice about aponogetons? 

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