Proportion of surface covered by floating plants - El Natural - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 06-19-2020, 12:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Proportion of surface covered by floating plants

I've been wondering if anyone had any information regarding the appropriate level of covering by floating plants in a filterless set up. For example, I currently have two 10G whose entire surface is completely covered by frogbit, aside from some small "windows" I made with airline tubing. I've considered removing some of it and enlarging the "windows" to create bigger areas which are cordoned off. My desire to do this comes from the frogbit blocking quite a bit of light, plus they grow very large roots very quickly (which looks rather ugly), so that makes maintenance a bit more painful. Not trimming the roots isn't really an option, because they'll get to the subtrate and eventually make a mess.

That being said, I'm worried about not having enough plants to keep up with the waste of the tank inhabitants (although both tanks are lightly stocked). Moreover, algae outcompeting my submersed plants is also a concern.
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Old 06-19-2020, 02:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Proportion of surface covered by floating plants

I routinely remove floating plants so that submerged plants can get the light that they need. Plant pruning is essential for nutrient removal in an NPT. Otherwise, nutrients just build up.

A tank picture would help to show us what is going on. Every tank is different!
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Old 06-20-2020, 12:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Proportion of surface covered by floating plants

Of course, here are some front and top pictures of both tanks




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Old 06-20-2020, 03:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Proportion of surface covered by floating plants

You are using floating rings to keep the floating plants out of some areas. I find it works better for me to use floating rings to keep the floating plants inside, and keep the rest of the water surface clear of floaters. I'm using Salvinia for my foaters. They don't grow the really long roots, and seem easier to control than frogbit. There are other choices in floaters too.
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Old 06-21-2020, 07:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Proportion of surface covered by floating plants

Just a note, in some states all species of Salvinia are prohibited as invasive aquatic plants.
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Old 06-21-2020, 01:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Proportion of surface covered by floating plants

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You are using floating rings to keep the floating plants out of some areas. I find it works better for me to use floating rings to keep the floating plants inside, and keep the rest of the water surface clear of floaters. I'm using Salvinia for my foaters. They don't grow the really long roots, and seem easier to control than frogbit. There are other choices in floaters too.
Thanks for your help.

I assume you find them to be able to keep up with the nitrates? How large are the rings, approximately?

I've never given Salvinia a try, I guess I could. I have some (very few) red root floaters that I'm trying to propagate (they're currently in a smaller jar), but my understanding is that they can be a bit more finicky.

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Just a note, in some states all species of Salvinia are prohibited as invasive aquatic plants.
Thanks for the tip. They seem to be legal in Pennsylvania, unless I'm looking in the wrong place.
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Old 06-21-2020, 03:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Proportion of surface covered by floating plants

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Originally Posted by HomeroThompson View Post
Thanks for your help.

I assume you find them to be able to keep up with the nitrates? How large are the rings, approximately?

I've never given Salvinia a try, I guess I could. I have some (very few) red root floaters that I'm trying to propagate (they're currently in a smaller jar), but my understanding is that they can be a bit more finicky.



Thanks for the tip. They seem to be legal in Pennsylvania, unless I'm looking in the wrong place.
I found that they can reproduce very, very fast. A hand full would cover the whole water surface in less than a week, so they obviously are using a lot of the nitrates, etc. Now that my rooted plants are growing better they don't reproduce as fast. I now have about 20% of the surface area inside the ring, and they keep it filled so I remove about a third of them every week. I haven't tried to find the optimum area.
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Old 06-21-2020, 03:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Proportion of surface covered by floating plants

Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeroThompson View Post
I've been wondering if anyone had any information regarding the appropriate level of covering by floating plants in a filterless set up.

That being said, I'm worried about not having enough plants to keep up with the waste of the tank inhabitants (although both tanks are lightly stocked). Moreover, algae outcompeting my submersed plants is also a concern.
Nice tank! And good pictures. I would remove half of the Frogbit once it covers the surface. That way, your submerged plants can get some light, but the Frogbit colony is still there to do its job of removing nutrients efficiently.

Every day, I wrestle with how many floating plants I should remove from my 8 tanks.
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Old 06-21-2020, 05:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Proportion of surface covered by floating plants

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Every day, I wrestle with how many floating plants I should remove from my 8 tanks.
If it will help, I think I can find my old slide rule and loan it to you.
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Old 06-22-2020, 10:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Proportion of surface covered by floating plants

I love the look of the long roots of frogsbit. I don't think it's legal in CA, though. I am a complete newbie and I put red root floaters into my tank right off the bat and they are happily growing as the tank cycles. I don't find them to be finicky at all. The snails love them and so does my shrimp. I even found blackworms in them this morning. Nobody is eating them, just cleaning them and enjoying all the bacteria in them. The snails will wrestle one down to the substrate once in a while. If you find them on the substrate randomly, blame your snails.
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