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March 2006 Plant-of-the-Month: Glossostigma elatinoides

Original article by Jeff Rebiffe (Water Hound) and Spencer Rozell, The Fishmonger the official newsletter of the VAHC, March 2006 Vol. 6, Issue 3.
 
By Jeff Rebiffe (Water Hound), Spencer Rozell, Andrew Roberts (PPulcher)
 
Glossostigma elatinoides at a glance
 
Range: New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania
Height: 2-3+cm (~1")
Width: 3+ cm (1+")
Light: High to very high
Placement: Foreground
Growth: Fast
Demands: Very demanding
 
The Challenging Plant-of-the-Month, Glossostigma elatinoides, is one of the premier foreground plants in fishkeeping today, but can also be one of the most challenging plants to grow well.
 
Image
 
Commonly known as "Glosso", Glossostigma elatinoides originates from New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania. This plant will do best in a temperature of 22° to 26° C (72° to 79° F), pH ranging from 5.0 to 7.5 and medium hard water, which would be easy for most aquarists. A good quality, nutrient rich substrate is necessary. What makes this plant a challenge is primarily its light requirements. If grown with inadequate light, not only will growth be poor, but the plant will "reach" for the light and won’t retain the ideal compact form. To grow best, CO2 addition or other carbon dosing is also necessary. One alternative to CO2 that has worked for me in a smaller tank is Seachem's - Flourish ExcelTM.
 
Image
 
Propagation is very easy if this plant is happy. Glossostigma elatinoides will send runners and will spread across the bottom, eventually forming a dense mat. You can pinch or cut off individual plantlets or strands of runners and replant elsewhere in the substrate with tweezers. This plant definitely looks best when planted in large "lawns". Glossostigma elatinoides will require pruning on a regular basis to keep it from becoming overcrowded and leggy.
 
Additional Notes
by Andrew Roberts (PPulcher)
 
Although available in Europe in limited quantities in the early 80s, Glossostigma elatinoides was popularized by Takashi Amano of Japan in his emerging nature aquarium style (Ryan, suiso.com). This plant was very hard to come by in the U.S.A. in the early to mid 90s (as suggested by archived posts at the Krib), and there was a frenzy to find it. Previous to the emergence of glosso as the foreground plant of choice, other plants such as Echinodorus tenellus and Lilaeopsis species were the mainstays of aquascape foregrounds particularly in North America. Although glosso use dominates foregrounds in many aquascapes, a relatively new plant to the aquatic scene Hemianthus callitrichoides has even smaller leaves has come into favour.
 
References:
Tropica product card: http://www.tropica.com/productcard 1.asp?id=045A
"The History of Glossostigma elatinoides in Japan:" http://www.suiso.com/v2/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=20
"Glossostigma" http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Plants/glossostigma.html
 
Photos: Courtesy of Jeff Rebiffe (Water Hound)

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