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Journal of a
New Victoria Addict

By Alan Montour with Kit & Ben Knotts
Photos by Alan Montour - Click to enlarge

To start the new year, we want to reintroduce Alan Montour, an enthusiastic first time Victoria grower from Owingsmius, Maryland, who 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 including all the details because some of them either aren't part of our personal experience or are not addressed in the Cultivation Guide. All previous pages are linked at the top and bottom of this one.



The "melt" still exists as of this update or could it be "burn" from my new feeding formula? I am making a 25% water change weekly. Also I experience an evaporation rate of an inch daily which I
replace. All general water hardness tests indicate readings of only 4 and taken daily. The pH level is currently neutral (7.0) and nitrite and ammonia levels are all currently 0.

We don't think it looks like burn (which turns parts of the leaves bleached pink or pinkish green). It may be a little carry-over from the previous high hardness or just normal loss of older leaves. The seedlings can survive with just one floating leaf as long as another is on the way.

 Algae has also severely blossomed. It is forming around most floating leaves, covers most of the pots and the young remaining Atlantis seedlings. It is shading and deteriorating all new growth of Atlantis occurring at this time.  

It is having no effect on well-established Longwood seedlings and leaf formation. This bloom indicates to me that nutrient levels are high! Atlantis seems to me very sensitive in this environment and is struggling with the algae bloom. Maybe I should adjust the amount and time of lighting I provide to help slow the algae growth cycle?

Algae really won't hurt the plants but there are several things you can do to try to control it. You can add other plants to absorb the nutrients. Is your beneficial bacteria product Cycle? We think it works the best. Your goal is to mimic a healthy balanced pond. Adjusting the lighting might help control the algae but we doubt it would help the Victorias.

At this point, since you are so dedicated, we are going to suggest something else that may be difficult to accomplish but may make the difference in success and failure - creating actual flow into and out of the aquarium. We are thinking that the weekly 25% exchange is not enough. Creating flow is easy in an outdoor setup such as ours (we have made a new page detailing our setup) but not so easy indoors.

What you will want to do is to create a reservoir where you can clean existing water as well as add fresh water. The flow through the aquarium only needs to be a trickle. We really don't know how to accomplish this so we are challenging your creativity! We also would like to toss this to our readers -- can anyone come up with a fairly easy way to do this? Write kit@victoria-adventure.org

All hope for having a mature Atlantis transplant wanes! The second floating leaf is much smaller than the deteriorating leaf on this seedling. And the first floating leaf formation on another seedling, picture inset directly above, is still in sand and will probably never make it to floatation. It continues to deteriorate.

Even though this strong Longwood>>> seedling may lose the leaf near the top of the page (first leaf of four), it is replacing it. A newly potted second seedling lost a floating leaf of two but is sending up its replacement. And a third seedling has three floating leaves. (inset). A fourth very young seedling (inset) is making a valiant effort to make it with a first floating leaf. Maybe I should have separated Atlantis from Longwood into its own aquarium and environment?

Atlantis IS more sensitive than Longwood but really doesn't need separate treatment. We think you should consider going to the "cocktail" for feeding. The smaller second leaf on the Atlantis seedling is the clue that it needs more or different nutrients. We find all Victoria seedlings sensitive to the inorganic phosphate in all commercial aquatic fertilizers (including our beloved Pondtabbs) but they need it. The organic elements in the cocktail somehow balance everything out.

Overall, you are really doing well! Your survival rate so far is better than most of us have. Your algae bloom is a lot less than we have had and seen. Congratulations!

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