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Old 02-28-2015, 09:19 AM   #1
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Under gravel heater

I was talking with my local fish store about a problem I am having with my Amazon Swords. One day I pulled a dead leaf off it and the whole plant came up with it with all of the roots gone. The leafs look healthy (even though they only grow low near the gravel).

The owner at the fish store told me that the roots are being suffocated under the gravel and that there most likely isn't any water flow coming in and out of the gravel. He suggested swapping my heater with an under gravel cord heater because the heat will cause water to rise and fall through the gravel. Has anyone had any experience with this?

He also suggested removing some substrate to around 2" in depth.

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Old 02-28-2015, 09:44 AM   #2
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I've never heard of such a thing. But first, let's get the complete picture. What size tank, what's the lighting, fertilizer regimen, and are you using root tabs?
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:52 AM   #3
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That sounds like quite the sales pitch.. try root tabs first..

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Old 02-28-2015, 09:55 AM   #4
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I've never heard of such a thing. But first, let's get the complete picture. What size tank, what's the lighting, fertilizer regimen, and are you using root tabs?
I have a 55 gal, about 3.5"-4" of plane gravel, hob filter, drift wood throughout the tank.

I have been dosing it with leafzone once a week, root tabs once a month (only near rooted plants, and I just started dosing Florish Excel about a week ago. my lighting Is current USA LED Plus found here. Satellite Freshwater LED+ | Current-USA


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Old 02-28-2015, 10:07 AM   #5
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Are you planting the rhizome above the substrate?
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:15 AM   #6
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I didn't know it had a rhizome, I'll try and exposing it. hopefully it's not too late.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:22 AM   #7
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If you start getting some new growth in around a week, your plant will be fine.
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Old 02-28-2015, 11:58 AM   #8
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Amazon swords don't have rizhomes! You're confusing them with java ferns.


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Old 02-28-2015, 12:02 PM   #9
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I'm pretty sure that is incorrect. While young they have smaller ones but as they mature a larger rhizome develops.
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:04 PM   #10
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Trust me on this one I know my plants.


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Old 02-28-2015, 12:13 PM   #11
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I'm pretty sure that is incorrect. While young they have smaller ones but as they mature a larger rhizome develops.

Amazon swords do not have rhizomes. That's Anubias. Swords are very hungry and heavy root feeders


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Old 02-28-2015, 12:24 PM   #12
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Oh I'm sorry, I meant crown. They like their crown to be slightly above gravel (the white thing all the leaves grow from). Regardless, I think it is a good idea to use root tabs and see if they regrow like Brookster said.
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:33 PM   #13
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Under gravel heaters were popular in Europe a decade or so ago.

My understanding is that their effectiveness is questionable at best and not worth the hassle.
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Old 02-28-2015, 04:06 PM   #14
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I replanted both of my sword higher with the white part above the substrate hopefully they both recover.
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Old 02-28-2015, 04:07 PM   #15
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I read about under gravel heating in the English printing of "The Optimum Aquarium". The concept behind this is the warming beneath the substrate would promote circulation due to heat convection. This would encourage nutrient transfer, oxygen in the substrate, and root growth. Of course, root growth on its own will help keep the substrate healthy.
Not sure how much of this is accurate (though I would love to have a heated floor in the bathroom and kitchen).
I tried this once with a submersible heater and false bottom made out of egg crate and plexiglass on a 55g. Kept things warm. Could not prove or disprove the aforementioned claims. Was fine until the heater develop a short (was almost electrocuted). Never again.


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