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Floating plants

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#1 Guest_pepe_*

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 01:35 PM

I'm still looking for a floating plant I like that makes sense for an aquarium. Three that I like are,Parrot feather ,Water Lettuce and Salvinia. I like the idea of roots coming down into the water column. I have 3 T-5 fixtures over the tank so I think I have some options.I did want to save one fixture for a bulb that simulates moonlight but I'd use it if necessary.Last question would be is it possible to grow water hyacinth in aquariums? Thanks

#2 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 01:49 PM

Water hyacinth has a gigantic above-surface bulk. It'd take 6+ inches of raised space to get water hyacinth in a tank. My lights are closer than that to the surface of the water, so I avoid the plants that get massively above the water. Are you looking specifically for above-surface plants or would below-surface floating plants do?

Let me list the floating plants I know of:
*true floating plants (duckweed, water lettuce, water hyacinth, azolla, riccia fluitans, ricciocarpus natans, etc)
*the mosses (java moss, flame moss, singapore moss, our native fissidens fontinalis, etc)
*weight-able plants who don't like their roots buried or don't have roots (java fern, ceratophyllum, anubias, bolbitis, hydrocotyle leucocephala, etc)
*decorative algae (cladophora/marimo balls, pellia, utricularia gibba (technically a vascular plant)).
Warning: duckweed, cladophora, and utricularia gibba all are difficult to completely remove once established.
*plants that can root but get the majority of their nutrients from the water column (najas guadalupensis grew well for me in sand, for example).

I'm finding more and more that you can grow random plants floating that aren't supposed to. Currently I have echinodorus tenellus, ludwgia repens, and myriophyllum tuberculatum red as floating plants. They don't seem to care. The e. tenellus is definitely less healthy than its rooted counterpart, but the floating ones are increasing in number all the same.
Your parrot feather is an example of that. Myriophyllum spicatum is generally regarded to be a rooted plant.

#3 Guest_gerald_*

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 03:20 PM

Frogbit (Limnobium) is another good floater, lays fairly flat on the surface, and is easy to thin out when you get too much. It doesn't mind the high humidity and water dripping off the glass in a covered tank. Water lettuce, red-root, and certain other floaters tend to rot if the tank is too well covered. With ANY floater, dont let it completely cover the surface or your fish may suffocate during a power failure.

#4 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 03:51 PM

With ANY floater, dont let it completely cover the surface or your fish may suffocate

So very, very true. I have lost several tanks of fish to surface plants. Duckweed took out a 10 gallon tank of elassoma gilberti fry one time. The surface plants blocked out the lower plants, which rotted and caused enough of an ammonia spike to kill the majority of the fry. And when we went on honeymoon, ricciocarpus natans suffocated a 55 gallon tank of guppies and heterandria formosa. I came back to find the plants had overgrown and there were several dead fish. A few weeks later, the final death toll ended up being something like forty adult fish :( And an inch thick of ricciocarpus natans has taken out my bucket tank several times (that's where I dump extra r. natans from the main tank). Yeah. Species like hydrocotyle leucocephala, ceratophyllum, and other plants that don't cling to the surface tension won't do it. But surface-tension-clingers have murdered many a fish.

#5 Guest_pepe_*

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 07:03 PM

Thanks for the information,I'll skip that idea and just use Water Sprite. Maybe down the road I'll try the Parrot Feather somewhere where it can't do any harm

#6 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 07:40 PM

Thanks for the information,I'll skip that idea and just use Water Sprite. Maybe down the road I'll try the Parrot Feather somewhere where it can't do any harm

You don't have to drop all native plants and use tropical water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides). There are tons of native plants that will grow floating.
There's a full list of what plants are near you if you go to http://plants.usda.gov/ and sort by your state. For example, click 'advanced search' and then select your state. It'll bring up a list of all the plants found in your state. Then use 'control f' to find any with 'aqua' in their name. Also, check out some of the aquatic genus, like myriophyllum, ludwigia, najas, potamogeton, echinodorus, eleocharis, lemna, riccia, etc. There's dozens of them.

Less inclusive guides that omit quite a lot of species:
Virginia Native Plants By Harold Wiggins

#7 Guest_Gambusia_*

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 07:53 PM

Never had any success with water lettuce or water hyacinth in the aquarium.


#8 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 07:55 PM

I grew water lettuce. It brought in aphids, which in the captive environment went crazy and ate it all. Grew great before that, though.

#9 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 08:11 PM

I grow water lettuce in side all the time... it occasionally seems to shrink and turn into much smaller plants (mostly I think in the lower light locations that I use it)... but in a couple of other situations, it seems to thrive and grow. I also rotate it between some outside tubs and inside aquariums (particularly in Elassoma tanks... they love hunting whatever bugs come in with the outside water lettuce).
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#10 Isaac Szabo

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 12:01 AM

Water hyacinth grew very well for me in a simple 10g with CFLs. I left an inch or two of airspace at the top of the tank to give it room. It would spread and cover the surface if I didn't prune it regularly. It is an invasive, so check your state laws before using it.

#11 Guest_Irate Mormon_*

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 01:31 AM

I happen to like water sprite. It needs good light but otherwise is easy to keep. Also easy to eliminate, unlike duckweed. Never tried water lettuce. Salvinia is a lot like duckweed but less cold tolerant. Both will grow out of control.

#12 Guest_rickwrench_*

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 04:13 AM

If you have some headroom in your tank, Hydrocotyle ranunculoides (American/floating pennywort) is a beautiful floater. It is a US native and in some places considered (like many floaters) invasive. Below are some shots of past tanks with American/floating pennywort, and a flagfish in a rootwad. If you set your tank up for it, it's worth the trouble and can be spectacular looking. It's pretty much a go and find it plant, not sold. Like other air exposed floaters it really sucks nutrients out of the water column.

If your tank has no headroom, Hydrocotyle leucocephala (Brazillian pennywort) generally floats at the surface, with most of the petioles submersed. It is native to South -and- Central America (so, technically, a continental NA species). It is usually sold at most pet stores in rockwool stuffed minipots, disguised as a rooted plant. But it does much better as a surface floater. Since it is mostly submersed, nutient consumption is lower than American/floating pennywort.


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#13 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 05:53 PM

Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, what a neat plant! I'd never heard of it before that post. I google image searched it and it grows so thick that it almost looks like the ground. I can definitely imagine myself falling into a pond because I tried to walk on it, lol.

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In the UK: http://planttracker....ating-pennywort

This would be perfect for my bucket tank (it's just three inches of water and two dozen fry). Would you be willing to send me some if I paid you and paid for shipping? I'll send you a private message. Right now I've got hydrocotyle leucocephala in there but I'd prefer the native species to the common pet store one. :)

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