30 April 2016

floaters and plus

I am trying to make my thirty-eight as successful as my tenner. I still think the biggest difference is the light level. While the hornwort is pretty cool to look at, I keep waffling about whether I want to keep it anchored and growing like that in my tank. Recently I lifted all the stems out again, and this time held the driftwood sticks they're on at the water surface with suction cups. Tethered like this they are not loose enough to pile up on each other from the current. I don't think duckweed would work as a floater in here, too much surface disturbance. And I like a tidy look at the water surface, a lot of the other floaters I keep looking at online have long roots that reach down. Not sure if I want that.
So I can't figure out quite what to do for floaters in my big tank, but I swapped out one duckweed for another in the tenner. I made a trade with another planted tank enthusiast. Got some giant duckweed- spirodela polyrhiza.
It is about twice the size of my smaller freebies. I did try to take out all the mini duckweed first, so the new plant sat in open tupperwares in the windowsill for a few days. Day one of removal operation: I scooped out as much duckweed as I could by hand. Waited for what was left in the tank to drift into clusters again, then scooped more of it out with a small cup. Next day lowered the water level a few inches, scooped remaining bits out of corners and wiped off the upper edge of the glass and just under the tank rim- there was quite a lot accumulated there! I repeated that step the next day, and again on a third day. The last time there were only two tiny pairs of leaves found floating, and I scooped out every bit of dead leaf shred and root hair fiber I could see. It looked pretty clean. Waited one more day before putting in the giant duckweed. But it's probable that the mini duckweed will still crop up again...
Already I can tell this greater duckweed will be easier to manage. I took the time to sort through the whole shipment of it- taking little clumps on my finger and picking out the yellowed leaves and a few bits of dead leaf from other plant species that were mixed in. Found one tiny leopard ramshorn snail (Oliver snack!). It was far easier to target individual leaves, and to dip the plant off my finger with water surface tension, than with the mini duckweed. So this bigger one is not as annoyingly clingy, and now I can pluck out individual leaves that are yellow or dying. I always wanted to do that before to tidy up the surface, but couldn't mange it.
I also received an unexpected bonus- this ludwigia atlantis.
It has a pretty, delicate white striping on the leaves.
I am not sure I can keep it in such good condition- ludwigias do not seem to be doing well in either of my tanks. It grows okay in my tenner, although lower leaves die off a lot, but I am started to feel like I don't care for its appearance in there. I'd rather have it growing in my thirty-eight, but in that tank the growth is really poor and some have died off completely. Regardless, I put two stems in each tank, give it a chance.

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