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Old 03-16-2011, 12:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Live in a northern climate? Aquatic plants abound!

Gets me interested in looking here in central West Virginia.

Are there any good sites for native plant identification?
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Live in a northern climate? Aquatic plants abound!

http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/node/34 is a good start.

There are a number of aquatic plant manuals that you might be able to find at your library or possibly on Google Books. Fassett's A Manual of Aquatic Plants and Meunscher's Aquatic Plants of the United States are old but still good- you just have to be wary of taxonomy and nomenclature changes.

If you feel comfortable with more technical stuff, try some of the online keys like Weakley's flora and FNA.

The families are pretty easy to learn, and the genera for the most part are not too bad, though identifying to species can be very challenging in some of the bigger genera.
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Live in a northern climate? Aquatic plants abound!

Also, don't forget this site, here. We have some experts in plant identification who will usually get it right. Just send in a good picture.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:23 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Live in a northern climate? Aquatic plants abound!

I use Crow & Hellquist's (Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America) and Gleason & Cronquist's Manual of Vascular Plants. Many people don't like using botanical keys and would prefer to see photographs, so that is where I stepped in.

I also reference Flora of North America online and the Freckmann Herbarium from UW-Stevens Point. The herbarium website offers a bunch of photographs for most of the Wisconsin flora, which are variable in quality.
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:14 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Live in a northern climate? Aquatic plants abound!

Have you ever encountered Ludwigia polycarpa? I'm eager to find that one.

It seems that many of these plants that do well in low nutrient conditions don't fare so well in many aquariums, which is a real shame. Gratiola aurea is a fascinating plant (supposedly grows in water up to 14ft deep!) but only seems to really thrive in mineralized soil tanks. Juncus pelocarpus will grow, but at an absolutely glacial pace. M. tenellum is fairly similar, though I'd like to try it from a different location that where we found it last. Elatine minima seems to always eventually rot from the bottom up, though I think that if you could keep it going long enough, you might be able to get some of it 'over the hump'.

Eriocaulon aquaticum differs drastically in terms of suitability from one location to the next; some stay pale and small while others are robust. That gives me hope for some of the others.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:27 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Live in a northern climate? Aquatic plants abound!

I've only seen Ludwigia polycarpa once. It was growing on a very wet shoreline. It is apparently fairly common throughout the southern half of Wisconsin. I think I just haven't paid as much attention to the shoreline species as I have to the true aquatics. I intend to change that tendency this year though.

Eriocaulon aquaticum ranges from the size of a nickel to 4-5" in diameter around here. I've even seen it raise flowers above the surface in as much as 4ft of water. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw such a miniscule plant in such nutrient-poor conditions producing a flower stalk that long.

I tried growing Elatine minima in a small pot on my windowsill, and it hung on for a few weeks but gave up. The Drosera rotundifolia and Drosera intermedia also didn't fare too well.
To my surprise, a couple of volunteers popped out of the same pot - Utricularia cornuta and Xyris torta - and flowered for me. Those species were a real treat to have sitting in my office.
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:25 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Question Re: Live in a northern climate? Aquatic plants abound!

Are there any laws against taking plants out of rivers and putting them in tanks?
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:35 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Live in a northern climate? Aquatic plants abound!

Wisconsin law prohibits removal of native aquatic vegetation unless it is by a shoreline property owner clearing/thinning their allowed 30ft "access corridor" in front of their property. It is also illegal to transport aquatic vegetation on a public roadway. Read over Wisconsin NR40 if you'd like to read about the specific statutes.

The exception to this is if you are collecting/transporting aquatic plants for identification purposes, or for disposal (in the case of unwanted exotic species).
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:02 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Live in a northern climate? Aquatic plants abound!

My only question is how do you make native plants safe to introduce into your tank without all kinds of organisms and possible pathogens etc.? Like in my Tanganyikan Rift Lake Tank, how can I just throw native plants in and not have the fish suffer because of it?
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:44 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Live in a northern climate? Aquatic plants abound!

There are rinsing products available that serve to remove or kill organisms that might be living on the plants. I haven't used them myself though, so I can't attest to their performance.

In my tanks, I try to replicate the native systems, so I just rinse them with water and whatever remains on the plants just lives in the tank. I only have a few native fish in my tanks, so I'm not too worried about pathogens and such.
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