Tales from the Crypts
by Heidy Rubin

We gathered on Friday, 28th November 2003 at the home of Michael and Vonnie Cocks in Burpengary. There were 9 people in attendance on the night, with some others sending their apologies. After a bit of socialising and examination of the fish tanks in the house, our meeting got under way.

Bruce brought in a list of Brisbane River Waterplants from Adrian Tappin. He also mentioned Glen Leipa's list provided at the convention. Both lists were quite extensive. Perhaps after seeking permission from the author's we can add these to our BPSG website. They make nice little reference tools.

I passed around an email from Barry with photos of plants from the Maryland River at Rivertree. The Maryland river is part of the upper catchment area for the Clarence River, for those of you wondering. Barry mentioned that the water level in the river was very low with significant pollution from cattle, but the water plants seemed in good condition. It was thought one of his plant pictures looked like a broad leaf Valisneria sp. It is difficult in the best conditions to identify plants, so the photos were proving to be a bit of a challenge.

This night was the night for plant lists, as Tony brought along a list he is compiling of plants that grow submerse (underwater). The list was huge! He has tried a few of them out himself and wants to continue adding different plants. Tony advised that his tank is going quite well. He also brought in plant cuttings to share with the group.

I asked what plants are good for floating and fry cover, since both our ponds outside need more. Water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides) was mentioned, along with Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum). Hornwort doesn't like water treatment, is sensitive to chemicals and doesn't like chlorine or a great deal of sun.

Bruce mentioned he had some Riccia (he has actually been chucking it out by the handfuls) and thought if anyone was interested, he could bring some to the next meeting. Several hands went up, so I guess we will see some soon. Bruce wanted to know if anyone had tried to grow it on rocks before. Tony said he had tried and Peter said he had never had any luck. Bruce advised that Riccia seems to prefer cooler temperatures and a shaded area. He also has some native mosses that grow submerse to share with others if they are interested to give it a go.

Alan and I offered our gratitude and thanks for those who helped us with our recent move. All the tanks, plants and fish made it safely and are doing well. The only broken glass was the fault of yours truly. Oh well. Moving the fish tanks seemed to be a very smooth operation with the right people to help out along the way.

The search for true "laterite" is still on. Ken has picked up a few more samples of red soil, but hasn't been able to perform any tests as of yet. The Landsborough Sandstone area has laterite, but finding it has been difficult. Development and road works have probably shifted the sources.

Michael has Echinodorus osiris with a flower spike. The flower spike has aphid-like bugs on it above the water level. It was advised that the aphids will stunt the growth and best to attach a piece of lead to the spike to keep it submerged.

Discussion turned to the Charra sp. This plant has an odour, but only once the plant hits the air. The question was then put forward: Is this toxic to the fish? The answer, no.

Michael spotted a pond with some lovely pond plants. He asked permission from the owner of the house if he could have a closer look, and they said sure. He found a pickerell (Ponterderia cordata) with lovely blue flower spikes.

Before venturing out to the fish shed, Alan brought up the concept of using coal to control algae. Watch for more discussion on this topic. I think this might have been the best meeting of the year. Lots of good stuff.

The Brisbane Plant Study Group (BPSG) meetings are held on the 4th Friday of every month and begin around 8PM. We are starting off the year with a BYOE (Bring Your Own Everything) BBQ on Saturday, 24th January 2004. Start time is 12 noon and is at our new house in Northgate. If you need directions or have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email at bpsg2002@hotmail.com or via mobile on 0403 790 701. Our February meeting will be held on Friday, 27th February. For the latest information, please visit our website at http://bpsg.frell.org