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Roots in Aquaculture

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Roots in Aquaculture

Here are some pictures of roots of cactus and succulent plants in aquaculture.

The two pictures above are of early experiments. The first picture shows roots of Myrtillocactus cuttings protruding from the bottom of an ice tray. The second picture is of an early shoe box setup. The problem with the ice tray container is that it is too small and the water evaporates too quickly in the hot Malaysian weather.

Here are two pictures of the root system of a Notocactus magnificus, whose head I've cut off to pot in soil. This is an example of the roots of a specimen in a nutrient solution with little oxygen. Masses of roots sprout to capture the limited amount of oxygen which dissolves at the surface of the solution.

The mass of roots chokes itself, and eventually turns brown. They break off easily; perhaps the roots are half dead from lack of oxygen. This is not really very healthy for the plant because rotting roots may kill the plant or foul the nutrient solution. However, if maintained properly, plants growing in such conditions will still have a low rate of attrition.

More Roots in Aquaculture (Dec 2000)

Here are pictures of the root system of plants in a large hydroponic vegetable kit box. Some of the root systems have meshed. Most of the specimens are quite large, so their roots are quite extensive. The roots are not terribly healthy, however, since they are being choked by the lack of oxygen. If no pruning is done, root rot may set in and the nutrient solution will have a foul smell.

Above are two pictures of another hydroponic vegetable kit box. Extra holes have been made in the styrofoam in order to accomodate more plants. The plants have not been in the system for a very long time, so their root systems are not as extensive.

The box has just been cleaned, the old nutrient solution dumped. In practice, I don't change the solution very often. I prefer to maintain the boxes the lazy way -- top up with water or solution every two or three weeks. A complete change of water is done only every three months or so. This practice does not kill the plants, and although the growth rate is probably not ideal, it is good enough for me.

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  Last modified: 2002-08-26  Copyright © 1997-2002.  Kein-Hong Man.  all rights reserved