Next step.

Moderator: SCMurphy

Next step.

Postby SCMurphy » Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:34 am

At the beginning of my travelog post I said everyone had some homework to do which was reading these two articles.

http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/Crypto ... howto.html
and
http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/Crypto ... s_soil.doc

Now we get to move to the experimental stage. The one consistency I noticed in the leaf mould discussions they had was that moving from limestone areas to other areas made the leaf mould more effective for growing the black water crypts. That makes me wonder if it matters whether we use actual beech tree litter or if we can adequately use other tree litter to good effect.

While oak seems an obvious choice we should also try other trees, maple, birch, alder. The first thing we should do is make the trials consistent with Kai's experiment as he explained it at the ECS. As soon as he posts his write up, we can duplicate his testing method. So, let's set up the list of trees/people here to be ready to get that started. Pretty much you have to know what's in your area to test. Please pick an area you know doesn't have any limestone.

I'm currently using a mixed hardwood forest litter/soil dominated by catalpa trees, no limestone but some sedimentary stone in the area. I'm planning on visiting another forest soon with my field guide in hand. What I remember is a mixed oak hardwood forest. Something I discovered when I got my new field guide is that I am VERY bad with tree ID beyond the very basics. New skill to learn.
"したくさ" Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

If you've got bait, I've got wasabi!

That IS an aquascape, it's titled THE VACANT LOT.
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Postby AaronT » Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:13 am

I made up a 'litter' soil using silver maple leaves and added some peat in for good measure. My parent's house backs up to some woods and my father dumps the leaves from each season in the woods. I brushed back the pile until I got to the nice black decaying leaves underneath and I collected those to use for my soil.

I have Crypts minima, ideii, pygmea and albida growing in the mixture. I haven't tested the pH yet. The albida and ideii put out new leaves in a week's time.
In the D.C., Maryland, or NOVA area? Come check out The Greater Washington Aquatic Plants Association! www.gwapa.org
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Postby plantbrain » Thu Dec 14, 2006 9:49 am

You might consider sticking to the same genus of trees if you seek the same or similar chemicals and fungi.
Generally, the tree genera produce similar secondary chemicals.

European:

Fagus sylvatica

And our tree in the USA:

Fagus grandifolia

Both are fairly common.

Florida has many blackwater habitats that might prove useful for a source of similar leaves to Crypt habitats. Water oaks etc.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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Postby SCMurphy » Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:51 am

We are trying to step out of the "Fagus leaf mould" box with this effort, the ECS guys tested Fagus litter from all around Europe and found the best results from areas with no limestone. The idea now is to expand beyond Fagus to other trees in areas without limestone to see if that is the limiting variable. That way anyone who wants to make up a workable leaf litter can go someplace local away from limestone deposits and get what they need without having to find a stand of beech trees.
"したくさ" Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

If you've got bait, I've got wasabi!

That IS an aquascape, it's titled THE VACANT LOT.
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Postby Gomer » Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:24 pm

I'm curious on how "almond leaves" used for tanin leaching etc for breeding fish would work for leaf litter substrates.
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Postby EDGE » Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:26 pm

I am using indian almond leaves from Singapore for hydroponic crypts. Seems to be working so far; however, the leaves don't last long and rarely goes below 5 pH. 2 new leaves every week in a 10 gallon. pH sits around 5.0 to 6.3.

I have ferruginea, scurrilis, and unconfirmed griffithii growing in the 10 gallon. Hopefully, I will have a decent size plant in a few months for photo purpose.
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Postby Gomer » Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:40 am

Not quite fare to compare the pH of leafs in a relatively dilute solution to leave "mush" highly concentrated in leaf matter
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Postby EDGE » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:31 am

The leaves doesn't lower the pH to more than 5 pH. I have tried different size of leaves (up to 12") and even increase the number of leaves. pH is still close to 5. The only difference is how long the pH remain in the water before the good acids get used up.

This was done in 1.5 gallon of water with plants consuming the acids.

The pH stays around 5 in a bucket/tank of untouch water (aerated or not)
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Postby dirtmonkey » Fri Mar 30, 2007 8:01 am

I'll add that Chestnuts (Castanea) are in the same botanical section as Oak and Beech. I will be trying these as soon as I can get some blackwater crypts. Chestnuts are common in mych of the USA. Horsechestnuts though (Aesculus) are closer relatives of Maples, though.

When I have enough plants for more experimenting, I'll be trying other acid decomposed leaf litters; we have a very wide variety of trees growing here in the PNW.

I'm hoping to locate a Beech with leaf mould as well, to compare with other locally grown leaves. I expect to find that most acid compost hardwood species, or a mixture of them, will work about the same. But we'll see. I've already started collecting and drying possible substrates, even though I don't have any blackwayer crypts yet.

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