High light floaters

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High light floaters

Post  LuminousAphid on 2014-07-14, 02:00

Dear Fishbox,

I need floating plants back in my 20 tall tank, because I believe the problems I have been having with plant growth are due to too much light. I used to have lots of floating plants, which I tried to get away from because I thought they were stealing light from my other plants. I was always worried that I  was wasting nutrients and light on these floating plants which I usually ended up throwing out when they overtook the surface.

Now I am starting to realize that they actually helped regulate the light and nutrients, and I believe they actually helped my other plants grow. I don't run any CO2, and have fairly high light on the tank, so I think having floating plants actually helped balance the light vs nutrients in the tank. Before the plants were growing nice and steadily, whereas now the older leaves seem to get holes in them and eventually are re-absorbed or fall off.

Does anyone have suggestions for floaters that will help block some light but won't absorb nutrients as quickly as duckweed or water lettuce? I am temped to try amazon frogbit again, but I think there may have been too much light for that even. I have tried cupped salvinia, and that doesn't seem to do well because my cheap HOB filter makes so much surface movement that the leaves get wet and start to die

By the way, I am running a Finnex Ray 2 24" over a 20 tall
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LuminousAphid
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Re: High light floaters

Post  hobbyorobsession on 2014-07-14, 17:13

Azolla, or Phyllanthus Fluitans would be some other options, I can't say how they use nutrients compared to the others you listed, but co2 would be appreciated by both plants.

Small holes in your plant leaves could be an indicator for a nutrient deficiency, here is a quick visual reference [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Re: High light floaters

Post  pbmax on 2014-07-14, 18:03

 I agree 

Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus Fluitans) is definitely lower impact than water lettuce or frogbit. It doesn't like a lot of agitation though and won't grow in the tanks where I have canisters (all other tanks are air-driven).

Holes are generally an indication of a potassium deficiency, if memory serves.
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Re: High light floaters

Post  fishNAbowl on 2014-07-14, 23:00

I throw away a hand full of Phyllanthus Fluitans out every week. Like stated above, if you don't have much surface current and you don't want long roots drifting in your tank these might be what your looking for as a floating plant.
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Re: High light floaters

Post  LuminousAphid on 2014-07-15, 00:56

fishNAbowl wrote:I throw away a hand full of Phyllanthus Fluitans out every week. Like stated above, if you don't have much surface current and you don't want long roots drifting in your tank these might be what your looking for as a floating plant.

The main thing I have that seems to hurt floating plants is not really surface current, but surface agitation... I currently have some cupped salvinia in there and it struggles to survive because the both the bubbles from my sponge filter and the output from my HOB seem to disturb it and get the leaves wet, and then it just starts to rot. I was thinking about putting some sort of floating 'surface disturbance block' around both of those--maybe something like miniature lane dividers in a pool--to help keep the plants from floating into those areas and keep bubbles/waves away from the plants, but this might be ugly. I don't use supplemental CO2 at all, I don't really want to start messing with that kind of advanced stuff because I just don't have the budget for it.

Thanks for the suggestion, I haven't tried red root floaters except when I also had cupped salvinia well-established, and I think they got out-competed, so I might give that a try again. I would think they also have a lighter nutrient uptake, like people above said

Another thing I am realizing, looking back on it, is that I have also significantly changed the temperature in the tank. I didn't think about it much, but this would affect oxygen and CO2 levels in the water and might also be one reason why things are not growing as well as they were. It's been at about 80-82 for angels, but I unplugged the heater the other day since it has been so warm... I don't know if this will help at all this time of year, but maybe I should turn the temp down when it cools off a bit in the fall.

I have been trying to figure out the nutrient deficiency thing as well, and have come down to potassium as well. I think it may have been because I was not dosing flourish for a couple of months, and everything took a nosedive. Now that I have started to put some ferts back in there for a while, I see better new growth, but not sure if I still have a deficiency or maybe a little too much light for the amount of CO2 and ferts, which is what i am thinking
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Re: High light floaters

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