Dwarf chain sword advice wanted

John58ford

Calling the planted experts. I'm guessing the high tech folks may have seen in a month or two what it took me 7 months to see. Would love some advice on proceeding.

I'm looking for some simple advice on propagation of my very slowly chaining dwarf chain sword. Disclosure, I do not fertize or supplement these tanks (I have been slowly running an experiment on the side with buffers but not in my displays). Some may consider my water parameters cruelty to plants .

I will preface this with some tank parameters: I keep my tanks in the 20-40ppm nitrate range, trace phosphate, trace iron, extremely soft sightly acidic water. .1-3 degrees gH and similar Kh. My pH stays in the 7.2-7.8 range, swinging a little seasonally with my well water source. This is considered a "spring well" so it's a bit different than the folks in the mid West with the well water full of liquid rocks.

The tank we will be talking about today is in slow river configuration with a rain bar on the right side, top draw weir in the back left and some air stones across the back wall. I have it lit by a pretty decent custom led array with full spectrum lighting in addition to some ~5500k bright white. It runs the light cycle full spectrum low level for 12 hours and moderate daylight white for 10 hours of that 12, I don't have any significant algae, ever, so figure it might be about right for my nutrient load.

So here's the deal, other than the obvious calcium deficiencies that most of my root plants display, my dwarf chain are all chaining hard up to the front glass and across the tank against hard surfaces. In the front right corner they curved away from the glass and followed a large stone I put in there to angle some eddy flow. Two dwarf chain swords were moved into the tank and planted dead center in between some swords in March. They have not been disturbed in ~7 months.

My questions:
1. If I unplant, break off the runners and replant each one back a few inches would they likely send out runners toward the glass again? This could help me achieve a low tech carpet I suppose.
1.1 If I leave them will they eventually throw runners toward the back or will they just overpopulate the front glass?
2. Why do you suppose they are following hard objects? I had assumed it was the light reflecting/too low of output but now they are cutting around a stone.
3. Any other random thoughts on this?
4. Is it possible or likely that the gentle back to front from the air stones is putting all the natural "fertilizer" in the front of the tank? The crypts on the back wall of this tank aren't doing as well as the crypts in some others that share the water system.

Thanks all for your time, regardless of the outcome aquascape wise, the fish seem to like these little plants, and I'm glad to see them doing better than my other sword varieties.

I'm really not considering this a problem, I just want to open a dialog of "why", "how", etc. I couldn't find anything about this specifically in a search.


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LeviS

Dwarf chain swords are heavy root feeders. You have a sand substrate or appears to be in the pic. Sand has no nutrients. All plants feed from both water column or roots but different types have preferred methods.
They have grown well across the front possibly due to some detritus settling there due to your flow and by the rock you describe( if ever had fake decorations and move 1 after a month or 2 its filthy, same principle).
You can attempt to propagate them by simply cutting the chain and placing the baby plant wherever you like, but it may melt/die due to conditions( sand, being weak plant, no real nutrients).
You would have far better success with a $5-$10 pack of root tabs.
 
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John58ford

Dwarf chain swords are heavy root feeders. You have a sand substrate or appears to be in the pic. Sand has no nutrients. All plants feed from both water column or roots but different types have preferred methods.
They have grown well across the front possibly due to some detritus settling there due to your flow and by the rock you describe( if ever had fake decorations and move 1 after a month or 2 its filthy, same principle).
You can attempt to propagate them by simply cutting the chain and placing the baby plant wherever you like, but it may melt/die due to conditions( sand, being weak plant, no real nutrients).
You would have far better success with a $5-$10 pack of root tabs.
I agree that root tabs would make it easier to grow plants, so would having harder water with enough calcium/buffering. I am not going to fertilize these tanks though. The deep sand bed method my tanks employ do add nutrient to course sand by the break down of detritus by various microfauna.

I'll take your input as a +1 to the theory I'm sitting on with the air stones/rock eddy pulling detritus to the front of the tank.

I might snip the runners and replant, maybe shallower, the sand in the back of that tank is almost 3 times the depth at 6 inches, it's sloped forward for viewing from a seated position. Maybe the nutrients available back there can't make it deep enough.
 
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Pfrozen

its impressive that you got a hard plant like that to grow with no ferts in sand. awesome job man. i dont think youll be able to address those deficiencies without ferts tho

to answer your question it does look like theyre all at the front with a small patch close to the middle going towards the back. if i had to guess id say thats exactly where your water flow is like you were saying. i think your theory is probably correct. theyll probably just send runner to wherever the water flow is making waste settle
 
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