Tuesday, 30 April 2013

week3 RPN2

the total root length (mm)321

Mod, Dev X
Good Dev
Root Mass
Root ball
Plant height(mm)147
 # new shoots 6
week three


NO3 (mg)




pH < 6,4

what are mealy bugs?

There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what mealy bugs are and how they look like.
I have the answer to cure your curiosity.

Mealy bugs (mealy bug) mealybug: scale like plant-eating insect coated with a powdery waxy secretion; destructive especially of fruit trees  and are common on greenhouse and indoor plants.The visible mealy bugs are actually the females. They are small (about one-tenth of an inch) insects with fringes around their bodies and, depending on the species, twin tails. Male mealy bugs are tiny winged insects that are rarely seen on plants. 

There are many ways to get rid of these pest, one of the easiest ways is to wash them away. Mealy bugs can be dislodged with a steady stream of water. Repeat the treatment as necessary. Here are some pictures to show you exactly what you are looking for.

The first picture shows the mealy bug up close.

On the plant it looks like mold the leaves.

I hope that this helps all of you would do not know what mealy bugs are. Let me know if this helped.

MY hOME PLAnt (contiuation of water quality results for week 3)

The water quality for the third week has improved drastically due to have 2 water changes done per week.

for BPN1: the results have stayed the same no changes have occurred, where as for BPI1 the nitrates and nitrites have decreased to where there are no traces of these elements in the water which is a good thing for the fish and the plant.

It was asked if we should still carry on with 2 water changes or should we go back to doing 1 water change per week. It was decided that we would carry on with the routine of doing 2 water changes per week as to avoid the water quality going back to what it used to be.

Back to my plant at home, i have not noticed any insects on my plant, most of my leaves are going darker green and the colour of my water has not changed since i brought it home. I have only changed my water twice and after that all i had to do was top it up twice a week.

what i have noticed about my plant is that my leaves have started to tear by themselves and i am not sure as to why that happens. If anyone knows, feel free to comment.

The visit to the nature reserve was an amazing experience for me, it was also another way of improving my knowledge. I am now able to differitiante between  the sand plain fynbos and the thicket, i also have discovered that glass companies use poor nutrient soil to manufacture/ make their glass. The nature reserve also its self offers great natural habitat to non-living organisms and living organisms of an ecosystem.

Visit to the Nature Reserve

I heard that the University had a nature reserve, but never actually knew where it was. We visited the nature reserve last week and Thursday. Mr Knight and the manager first gave us some information about the reserve before we went for a walk trough the reserve to observe the different animal and plant species. The walk turned out to be tough because it was very hot and there was almost no shade. We learned about the different animals and plants in the reserve, it was surprising for me that the reserve was so near the university. We learned that the Sandveld is located on the slacks, it is acidic, it contains low nutrients, it is the older region of the land. We learned that the Cape thicket is located on the dunes, it is alkaline, it is not low in nutrients and is the younger part of the land. There was a unplanned fire in the reserve, but luckily there was not so much damage. As we walked trough the reserve I noticed that the reserve was close to the train station and I never even saw it, The most interesting thing I saw in the reserve was the man made wetland.

This is a picture of the different plants and the wetland.

Monday, 29 April 2013

My plant not doing well.

Hi colleagues, well I must say I'm really disappointed at how I have recently neglected my once precious plant, and I must confess that sometimes the school workload leads me to that. Most of the leaves have wilted and the roots were about to change to brown had I not reacted quickly to change the water. Again, my plant was not not exposed to enough sunlight and a few flower shoots that grew also wilted and only one left. From now on I have pledged to take more time and engage with my "Big Ben".

BRI1 (Betta) Update

Hey everyone. I'm pleased to share the usual news that our fish is doing very well so far. We paid him a cordial visit today and he seemed to be quite interesting because he looked excited, for what reasons we also don't know. The water was very clean and the plant's roots looked very healthy as well. We also noticed that a bubble nest floated on top of the water, a clear indication that he was at ease.

My plant

My plant is still alive and doing alright. There are about 5 dead leaves and 3 new shoots that I noticed. It almost got dehydrated because I only noticed this morning that there's about 5 teaspoons of water in it. Shame it is a sign that I should not be trusted with lively things that do not make a sound.

Beta Fish BRI-1

Beta Fish BRI-1

My group and I went to check on our fish this afternoon and I think it was better than the last time we were there. It was swimming around and forcing itself through the roots of the flower. There is also bubble nests and when you put your finger on the jar it does not get scared or move away, it was just chilled. Our plant also has 1 flower which is purple...

Other Beta Fish

When we went to check on our fish I took a look at other fishes. They all seem to be swimming a lot especially the female beta fish. There were some not so cool things that I saw though like the other fishes' water was dirty and some roots of the fish were green(algae) which can be good but excessive amounts of algae is harmful to aquatic life. There was also this one red Beta fish which in my eyes was big, bigger than the rest.

Dirty water compared to the one on the right.
Clean water
Green roots.

Red big fish that I saw

Unwanted attention

for the past 2weeks i have not been giving my plant much attention, i did not do water changes, i did not follow through on changing the container size as i said i would do, and guess what my planted has grown faster over this past 2 weeks when i was not giving it any attention than than in the 4weeks that i have been maintaining it, my plant has new shoots, new leaves, the roots has grown longer and it has become green again in stead on a of yellow green color, the plant does not seem to want my attention and than it behaves well, but giving it attention and i do not get a good response, the water color has not changes much it is pretty clean still and in amazed by the results i have been seeing.

As for my groups fish experiment things are looking good, our fish is calm it has a made a bubble  nest and when i am visiting her she has been floating either just between the roots or at the top, really happy and impressed with the nitrates, and nitrate levels as well as the ammonia levels  (RPI2) watch this space, futher in the week more detailed information on out plant
My plant is still alive, it grew a few more cm. I have noticed several new shoots and leaves, few leaves has also fallen off. Another thing I noticed was signs of algae in the water and the roots of the plants has also gone very green, I don't change the water of the plant very often, about once a week. My plant is placed on my desk which is next to my window, and the new shoots and leaves are all tilted towards the light. Its very interesting to see nature take its course.   
I discovered that my plant is decreasing in its size.After the past week , there has been a regular loss of leaves.I also discovered that the water in which the plant is in changes colour much more rapidly (2days) than before (7 days).With no new shot and a continues loss of  leaves , i am certain to say my plant is coming to its end.

But what is the reasons for this?, My plant is situated in area with excessive sunlight.Initially the sunlight help the plant to grow .But I think it is causing more harmful now, due to leaves that burn.The temperature of the weather outside also plays a significant role in my plant losing it life.The cold and cloudy air cause the plant to restricted sunlight . With this no photosynthesis can take place and thus no production can happen . So the plant can not grow.
This has been my findings so far

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Dying leaves

This is what my plant currently looks like. The bottom leaves seem to be deteriorating faster than normal as can be seen from the picture (the brown leaves at the bottom). Also the top leaves are almost completely green with very few pink spots and almost none of the original colour remains. I still do my weekly water change, and just top up when necessary during the week. The powdery substance that was on the roots and stem have gone and have not reappeared yet. It does, however, seem that the plant is still growing. This is because there are so many new roots forming in the vase and it has become more bushy. Maybe the plant is just having an off few days and therefore its sheddng its leaves. I will monitor it closely and update if there are any changes.

ruby my love

I'm afraid that I've given Ruby her last water change and that Ruby will be dead by next week if a miracle doesn't happen. The only thing that I can think of that I did that could have caused my plant to deteriorate so rapidly is that  I moved it quite often and during the week 1-3 I didn't do any water changes. All Ruby's leaves is dying and the stem is actually bent and there are no new shoots.

However, the plant roots have gotten dense during the last few weeks meaning that its looking for nutrients to take up and since there is only water and no substrate like the Betta plant has therefore the plant is dying.  I think that all the plants in the water will die when it realizes that there is no nutrients. All the components of an ecosystem is important and plays a vital role and once one is removed the effects is as sad as my Ruby is in her current state.

I will keep on changing my plants water in false hope until her dying day.

progress about the destroyer

It has been an amazing experience since i got this plant. it takes me a lot of time to observe any change occurring to it. This has really influenced my perseverance and focus. If these two values were not applied, then i would have given up long time ago, because initially i thought the destroyer was gonna be a rapid grower and be like other plants in the soil. Nonetheless I have found out that its not like i thought. Lost of leaves has been the main concern ever since i started. once the leaf turns yellow with white lines along, then you know that it wont last on the plant, next 3 to 4 days its on the floor.  I love my destroyer because he makes me want to give up on him with his suprises all the time but never do. i have gain a lot from him.


The university's CAPE FLATS NATURE RESERVE has to biomes the Sandveld or lowland Fynbos and the Cape thicket

Sandveld :
  • location in the slacks
  • is acidic
  • low in nutrients
  • is the older region of the reserve
Cape thicket:
  • location on the dunes
  • is alkaline
  • high in nutrients
  • is the younger region of the reserve
My trip to through the nature reserve was fun even though I felt like I was dying half the time because of the heat. Which made me realize that fynbos doesn't cool you down it provides no-little shade that is why walikg through its bush was such a mission. 

I learn't that the park has snakes, antelope, frogs, birds, mongeese etc as wildlife. The reserve also experienced a human disturbance which was an unplanned fire, the source unknown. I first saw the effects of this fire while driving past in Robert Sobukwe road when it was still called Modderdam road. It caught my eye and I liked the contrast of the burn't bare black trees against the fresh green grasses rising from the earth ignorant at the time of how that picture perfect environment had occurred. 
I saw the  fire break areas where planned fires had occurred this takes place during the summer-autumn seasons. The reserve also has an artificial wetlands which was dry unfortunately.

Flower growth

Three weeks having my plant and and it is growing purple flowers. These flowers seem to be dying every three days and at first I was worried that I am not treating my plant well but then again I researched and found out that the flowers that grow in the plant have a short life span of not more than  three days if they are not kept outside since this is an outdoor plant and I am treating it as in indoor one. The new leaves are still becoming green and the plant seems to be taking up too much water I have to change the water three times a week. Although it helps the plant it is time consuming for me because the roots are tangled up so it is a very time consuming task
You can see the the purple flowers in the plant, they grow on average three at a time and die right after the other.

Progress of my plant

This is my second blog on my plant. The leave are dying and the new leaves are no longer red but green in color. The new shoots are green too. The new roots are a bit thinner than the old ones and the old ones are growing enormously. I went to the plants where they had the fish in it and I realized it only had thin roots and the color of the water was green whereas mine was crystal clear. This maybe because the fish gives nutrients to the plant and mine doesn't, it only depends on water and sunlight for growth.
This are the roots of my plant at home.
These are the roots which have the fish in in... you can see that they are longer and they are green in color

Friday, 26 April 2013

Week 3 Results Vs Week 4 Results

Week 3
No3 (mg/l)
No2 (mg/l)
KH 3-6
Plant height in (mm) 67

As you can see the nitrites and nitrates are still within the scale in which it should be, this is because of the 2 water changes per week. The plant has shrunk in height. It went from 92mm to 67mm. This is a drastic difference. The water is very murky and green, showing large amounts of algae. I could barely see the fish.  The reason for this is because my plant is in direct sunlight.

Week 3

Week 4
No3 (mg/l)
Ph 6.4-6.8

From week 4 we have changed the strips that measures the water chemistry, from Sera to Tetra. The new strips represents the Ph in an interval, which gives us a better assessment of this category. The new strips are showing nitrates in the water but it is still in the safe area. The water is still very murky even with the two water changes per week. The Plant is very small and doesn't seem like it it growing. It was difficult to see the fish but when I saw him he was gliding, which means he is happy and healthy.

Pink leaved plant
Week 4

My Plant is saved:)

After informing you all about the Mealy bugs I noticed on my plants, I had done some research on them. I found out that they are really terrible little bugs and should be taken off the infected plant immediately. Their main function is to suck the water from your plant and there were many of them on my plant and them sucking the water from my plant, impacted the water loss in my jar. There were many methods to get rid of these pests. If you are experiencing some Mealy bugs on your plants, here are some ways to do away with them. You can move your plant into a cooler area, Mealy bugs do not like cold climates this environmental change will kill them. You can also mix sunlight liquid and some water in a spray bottle and spray them gentle on the plant. You can also buy a pesticide but that costs money and I don't think the cost of pesticides fit into our student budget :) There was one more method that I thought I'd try. I mixed bleach and water together and used a ear-bud to gentle wiped the mealy bugs away. Its been a week since I have removed the Mealy bugs and my plant looks better than before. Not one Mealy bug has appeared since. Its a Miracle!! There have been more new leaves and one or two flowers. The water in my jar has not decreased which is proof that the Mealy bugs was the cause of the water loss. There is a major discolouring of the leaves,  but I think this gives my plant an unique appearance. I have attached some pictures of my plant and the method I used to clear the Mealy bugs. Until next time!    

The discoloured Leaves 
Removing the mealy bugs 





Hi you all, this is me UNombuyiselo. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you flowerily the meaning behind my name, because a lot of you probably had sleepless nights. UNombuyiselo means the one who gave back. I and my friend (that’s what I call Andrin) decided on this name because we have a lifelong connection; he provides me with water, accommodation, sunlight, etc. and I give/provide him with oxygen. He knows I am very important to him and therefor he treats me like a princes. After all a man who treats his lady with passion and love is prove that he has been raised by a queen. Sunlight is not my favorite friend but you know what they say you got to take the good with the bad. Luckily for me I have other friends as well, the two on my left leave side are Tom and Ato . Ato is not his real name but I like to call him that because Atonion is much too long. So as you can see while Andrin is away these two boys keep me company. When I was a kid I always wanted to be a pot plant but now as I stare through the window of life all I really want to become one day is a garden plant. I just want to explore the nature.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Plant update

Seems as though my little red plant has had minimal growth these past few weeks. Compared to the others at least. He hasn't gotten any taller, but has grown slightly wider.
I noticed something interesting today, the top leaves were almost completely green, whereas the lower ones were still predominantly red. Perhaps has something to do with how much nutrients is absorbed from different places on the plant? Or maybe direct exposure to sunlight plays a part?

My roots are growing rapidly in comparison to the rest of the plant. They're so long that they are tangling because of the confined space.

Fifth week of my Hypoestes plant observation

Week 5:

Last week that plant absorb all the nutrients in the water and because it was such dirty and somewhat decayed water, I thought it was going to deteriorate my plant’s condition and it resulted in the exact opposite. My plant’s shoots at the bottom of the plant has grown extremely thick and bushy.

 The roots have wrapped around the stones (medium), which are currently look awfully plagued, by my attempt to see the length of my entire plant I noticed that as I was tugging on the plant the stones were lifting. I realised that my roots were too long and started invading the stones space and attached to them.

My plant grew taller and hit a personal record of growing a ‘whopping’ five flowers in one week that is like growing one flower per day.
Pictures of my plant in this week:
The change in the colour of the water and my roots:

Length of my plant:

My entire plant:


Fourth week of my Hypoestes plant observation

Week 4:

My plant has grown an amazing 14cms since the first time I received it. This week my plant looks even better the green colour is exhilarating and it is growing rapidly. My plant grew three flowers in this week and had only three dying leaves; it also grew a few new shoots.

A few days later I measured it again and it grew 2cms taller which is excellent because evidently it only took my plant two days to grow so fast. After all it is a small plant.
The water surprisingly became almost clear; I have no subsequent reason as to why this had happened. My plant has seemed to have absorbed all the nutrients and as well as the ‘colour’ of the water. The roots are now bright green, as opposed to last week when it was dark green in colour.

Pictures of my plant in this week:


Third week of my Hypoestes plant observation

Week 3:

My record of my plant is showing a stable and very healthy state. This week so far show very good results my plant is filled with pretty flowers and of course those that died are still hanging on a string on the branches. It is tall and stable although it is tilting, it is still upright.

The water is getting darker, but at this stage it looks as if the water’s colour and the nutrients in it pose a positive input to the growth of my plant.
Picture of my plant this week:
In my previous discussion I told you how you can monitor your plant. In this one I’m going to share with you how I go about it. Life is a form of growing. For us as humans it is not just physically but spiritually and mentally as well. Little UNombuyiselo is growing rapidly when we first met her roots were only 10cm long, now it is much longer than your average 500ml bottle of coke. I monitored her growth and noticed that the bigger she gets (meaning the roots get longer) the lesser/fewer her leaves gets. Making use of a ruler and measuring tape helped me to measure the exact length of little UNombuyiselo.




Monday, 22 April 2013

So I looked up abit on the Environmental and economic impact of invasive tree species heres what I found:
-reduction in stream flow and available water;
-loss of potentially productive land;
-loss of grazing potential;
-poisoning of humans and livestock
-increasing costs of fire protection and increasing damage in wildfires;
-increasing soil erosion following fires in heavily invaded areas;
-siltation of dams;
-changing soil nutrient status;
-loss of biological diversity and threat to native plant species;
-changing biomass of ecosystems;
-changing habitat suitability for native animal species; and
-hybridization with local related genera ,thus exchanging genes.


This is a photo of the Hypoestes plant, each student received a plant that they  should look after and should make notes on how the plant grows. The instructions was to put the plant in tap water and to observe the changes that take place in the plant. Each student had a choice to chose which color plant they wanted and I chose the white one. The Hypoestes plant has many different species. They are found throughout the tropical lands around the Indian ocean. The plant belongs to the Acanthoideae family. A name most commonly used for the plant is the Polka Dot Plant. Hypoestes have a short lifespan. The plant originated from Madagascar. The plant is very tough and can live under extreme conditions. The plants are mostly used as houseplants.I  observed that the plant has lost leafs and the new leafs that grow are different in color than the older leafs.
So I took home a green flower and for interest sake took a picture of it on the first day just after placing it into water. This is how it looked.Now I must admit it took me forever to clean the roots completely from a tangled ball of sand to what they look like on the picture. The roots are short and still tangled, the water is clean for obvious reasons and the leaves are quite green.
Now a few weeks have passed till this very day and alot of changes have taken place that set the orginal state of the plant apart from what it is now. Take a look at how it looks now.

The roots have grown so much.I refrained from adding or changing water until I woke up one day and someone had filled the jar to the top with water.I suppose my mother did so. At first I was really frustrated as I thought this would interfere with my control as it would'nt demonstrae the true quantity of water used up by my plant, which is true but I reasoned that eventually I'd need to add more water as the plant uses it up. The new shoots grow to be more pale compared to the original leaf colour and that was the first thing I noticed. As for the behaviour of the plant, if there is such a phenomenon, when the sun is basking through the window onto the jar the roots appear to be much straighter and then they'll losen up during the night.Strange.The leaves die really quickley and just fall away. There are flowers now, but they are'nt all that appealing but how else would they reach they full potential when they are not getting the required nutrients.

Water change intervention

The following are pictures I took at the lab of my RPI1 fish:

The table below indicate the water quality levels of my fish experiment over the past 3 weeks.During the first week, when it was only one water change per week, my NO3 levels were so high that it was worrying. When the water changes were increased to two per week, it decreased to such a level that my water quality is almost perfect. This can be observed in the three photographs I took in the lab as my water seems clear.

This change can be observed in all the experimental set-ups. The water-change intervention decreased the amount of NO3 and NO2 in all of these. This means an increase in water quality for all the set-ups.

The decision to increase the water quality from one to two per week was purely adaptive management based. The 6-step process cycle of applying adaptive management starts with assessing the problem and then designing an explicit model of the system, It should be implemented by developing a management plan that maximizes results and learning. This should be monitored by developing a monitoring plan to test the assumptions, and these should be implemented. Evaluations should be done by analyzing data and communicating results. The system should be adjusted by iterating, which is using the results to adapt and learn. This 6-step process cycle was initially used and the data from the management and monitoring plans analyzed and communicated. From these results it was concluded that a once per week water change is not effective. This was adapted to and an increase to twice per week water changes was made. The data from the management and monitoring plans were once again analyzed and communicated, and these results showed that a twice per week water change is effective as it keeps the water quality levels high. By thus applying adaptive management we could learn that it is far better to change the water twice a week instead of once. We also learn that it is often only necessary to make small adjustments to the system to get the best results.

NO3 [mg/l]
NO2 [mg/l]
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3