Thread: Aerial roots
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Old 06/20/2014, 07:29 AM   #2
saltwater sam
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
Posts: 553
I just came upon this post from 7 years ago to which you never replied. 7 years ago, I grew my devoted mangrove tank as your article described, tying them to stakes, suspending the plants and keeping the roots from becoming anchored. They all eventually died. That's because this method is flawed, no that is too soft a term, it is completely incorrect and lethal to mangrove plants.

If you do not allow mangroves to anchor their roots in substrate (whether it's sand, mud, rubble, rock, etc.) they will not produce healthy roots that can absorb nutrients. The leaves will grow in a very slow stunted fashion because all the plants energy is being devoted to root growth, not leaf growth. The roots do not produce the plant's food, its leaves do. After 1 year of growing mangroves with this method, plants will wither and die.

Your article encourages impatience with these plants, and instructs people to force their mangroves to produce aerial roots from seed. This is not how mangroves work. They don't produce aerial roots from seed in nature, they don't float in water and grow, and they won't do it in an aquarium either. It takes patience and time to grow aerial roots: no less than 2 years is necessary for them to form.

I would also like to address the fact that you said that black and white and basically any other mangrove species that aren't red mangroves are unsuitable for marine aquariums. That purely incorrect, and in fact, black mangroves and white mangroves tend to be much hardier than red mangroves, and grow much faster.

And one last correction to the flawed article: red mangroves do not export salt crystals through their leaves. Spraying them with freshwater is definitely a good thing to do, however, your article states that it is misting off salt to aid in salt excretion, which is factually incorrect. This would be correct in the black and white species of mangroves who excrete salt through their leaves, but red mangroves restrict salt absorption through their roots.

It's not too much to brag about if your fish can eat someone else's fish, but if your fish can eat somebody's dog, now thats an accomplishment!

Current Tank Info: 40 gallon SW mangrove/macro planted tank
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