Plant of the Month
Subject: July 2011
Frequent Names: Pygmy chain sword
Native Distribution: North, Central, and South America
Aquarium Placement: Foreground
Necessities: Undemanding and really adaptable to many environments
Description: Helanthium tenellum, the pygmy chain sword, may be discovered as a lavatory plant from the northern United States by Central America to Paraguay, South America. Lengthy recognized each botanically and within the aquarium pastime as Echinodorus tenellus, it’s now categorised as a Helanthium species. These crops had been assigned to the subgenus Helanthium by Haynes and Holm-Nielsen in 1994. In 2007, the subgenus was made a full and separate genus by Samuli Lehtonen and Leena Myllys, based mostly on cladistic and molecular evaluation.
With such an unlimited distribution masking North to South America, there are numerous variations in leaf styles and sizes. Aquarists often see two distinct varieties. Probably the most out there, slim leaf selection displays dark-green leaves just one to 2 mm (1/16 inch) large, reaching a top of as much as 70 mm (three inches). New leaves can obtain dark-red coloration given excessive mild and good diet. The rarer broad-leaved selection has shorter, broader light-green leaves four to five mm (1/eight inch) large on the base tapering to the tip, however it could possibly develop as tall as 70 to 100 mm (three to four inches). Even at excessive mild intensities, this selection won’t obtain any pink colour.
H. tenellum is undemanding and may be grown in medium to low mild with no added fertilization or CO2. It may possibly tolerate tender or exhausting water and might adapt to pH ranges from 6.zero to eight.zero and GH values as much as 20 levels/350ppm.
Use in Aquascaping: H. tenellum is finest used as a mid- to foreground plant. It’s most at all times utilized as a garden, since that’s its pure development sample. In high-tech tanks, the narrow-leaved selection, because of the wealthy pink coloration of the brand new development, can shortly change into the focus to a structure. At different instances, the usage of sparse development intertwined up by a smaller garden of a special plant selection can add depth and dimension to the structure. It achieves a pure wild look that may be fairly pleasing. Extra time and care is required to take care of such an look as a result of the plant naturally desires to proceed spreading and filling in. In an iwagumi structure, H. tenellum lends itself to being the second-tiered foreground plant.
As a result of it’s naturally a plant of marshy habitats, H. tenellum can also be nicely suited to paludariums and terrariums so long as the roots keep submerged. If grown emersed, the leaves shall be wider and on shorter stems.
H. tenellum, whether or not grown emersed or submerged, spreads by runner chains (modified inflorescences) as much as 50 cm (20 inches) in size, with plantlets forming each 2 to five cm (¾ to 2 inches). These plantlets may be indifferent and planted individually. In good mild, with added CO2 and fertilization, a pleasant and thick quickly increasing turf may be anticipated. Conversely, low mild, with no added CO2 or additional fertilization, will end in slower, sparser development. As soon as established, H. tenellum might require frequent pruning to maintain it from invading the tank. It would additionally produce flowers when grown emersed, however runner manufacturing is much less frequent.