Journal of a
New Victoria Addict

By Alan Montour with Kit & Ben Knotts

Photos by Alan Montour - Click to enlarge

Alan Montour, an enthusiastic first time Victoria grower from Owings Mills, Maryland, has agreed to share his progress with 2003 Victoria seeds we sent him late in October. He received 10 'Longwood Hybrid' 03L52 and 15 'Atlantis' 03HXA61. Our comments, questions and answers are in italics. We're going to include all the details because some of them either aren't part of our personal experience or are not addressed in the Cultivation Guide.

Start date 11/14/2002:
I set up a 10 gallon standard aquarium with a standard side heater (my temperature is between 85 and 90 degrees) with a typical top filtration system. My setup is sitting in front of a kitchen window that faces southwest and I added a fluorescent grow light for supplemental lighting.

I also added a gallon of my ponds water to the 8 gallons of well water in the aquarium. I have measured a pH value of (7.0) with a standard pond test kit and a carbonate value of kh 3 (3'dh) and a CO2 concentration of (10mg/l). I am also experimenting by adding 3 drops of aquatic plant stimulant by Pond Care to this water.

November 21:
I must admit I overdid it on the "nicking" process and blame it on my excitement to get started. I was feeling I had ruined everything but the seeds are not letting me down.

We're frankly amazed! That is lots more of the seed coating than we usually remove. We would be concerned that exposing that much of the endosperm to the water would allow fungus problems to occur. BUT, since the seeds are still in their bags, the endosperm that is probably diluting in the water may actually be feeding the sprouts. Hmmmm -- food for thought!

It has been 7 days since I started this process and the pictures below shows the results.



November 30:
The Victorias (5 'Atlantis' and 5 'Longwood Hybrid' seedlings at this time) are exceeding my expectations! They all seem very robust and eager to grow. They are very stocky rather than leggy and some even have two hastate leaves with a third, what I believe may be, the formation of a floating leaf, amazing to me!

That would be next and the timing is right for healthy seedlings.

I do have one concern: my pH level is now at 7.5 - 8.0, the ammonia level is at 1.0and my nitrite level is also at 1.0. Should I be concerned about this and the Vic's safety?

They don't seem to mind these levels at all. The only thing we have found they don't like at all is a buildup of hardness.

I have potted the seedlings in Desert Sand already and believe it may contain some organic matter. That may explain the rise in the ammonia and nitrite levels. And of course the almighty algae wants to grow also but is not a concern of mine. I have added beneficial bacteria to help combat the ammonia level; decaying algae may account for the rise in this level.


The seeds want to work their way out of the sand and float to the surface since they are not anchored. I have even had to replant one or two very carefully adding more sand and covering them more deeply as their growth progresses. It is truly amazing to me how FAST they grow.

You may want to make little wire pins to anchor them. Once they develop some long roots it's less of a problem.

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Profile - Alan Montour

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