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LEMNA MINOR

Hardiness: Very Easy
Light Needs: Medium
Plant Structure: Floating
Family: Lemnaceae
Genus: Lemna
Region: Cosmopolitan
Location: Worldwide, except East Asia and Australia
Size: 0.25cm+ (0.1
Growth Rate: Very fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: No

Description:

Lemna minor, better known as duckweed, grows in standing to slow-moving waters around the world. Populations will tolerate pH levels below 4 and temperatures ranging from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter, this diminutive floating plant will form leaves that contain more starch than normal leaves. This response is an adaptation to surviving lengthy periods of cold or unfavorable growing conditions. Although it is not sold or offered by any nursery, L. minor often comes in among other aquatic plants as a contaminant.

L. minor requires little more than adequate lighting to perform well in the aquarium, although little water movement at the water's surface will make it even more difficult to control. This tiny plant is usually thought of as a pest due to its adaptability, rapid growth rate, and small size. In larger aquaria, eradicating this species, usually done by skimming the water's surface with a net, can take weeks since even the smallest plantlet will rapidly produce a vibrant green floating carpet within short order. Certain species of fish will also consume L. minor, such as goldfish and other carp.

This small floating plant requires absolutely no coaxing for propagation. In fact, the hobbyist will soon be scooping it out weekly to prevent it from totally blocking out light to the lower levels of the aquarium.

Due to the difficulty in containing this species, L. minor cannot be recommended for any aquascape save natural biotopes where it provides a sense of security to the fish, lowers nitrate levels, and, with its dangling roots, provides an authentically natural atmosphere.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2004 by Oliver Knott All Rights Reserved.

Photo #2: US and International Copyright 2004 by Oliver Knott All Rights Reserved.