Haha. Great minds think alike, @ronnie:Bubbles in the soil substrate can be normal. Did the bubbles smell in any way?
My Anubias also has these wild moments of growth. I kinda like it as I wasn’t expecting it.
Also, not entirely the same, but the only lily pad type plant I keep is the banana plant. Mine got bushy before it sent a stem and pad to the surface. I’m not sure if it relates or not.
Food for thought: I wonder if you create a “protection ring” from the floaters directly above the lily, it would allow better light to it and grow differently?
By the ring I mean some airline tube cut to a certain length and connected. Place this above to lily and the floaters won’t be able to cover it.
There's no question that the tubing is more aesthetically pleasing than the rectangular feeding ring (which, btw, did not float - a downside to ordering on Amazon) and I can make it as big or as small as the situation demands.
Yeah, I think there are lots of parallels between lilies and banana plants, at least the domestic so-called, "hardy" lilies that grow from rhizomes. I was in @dwalstad 's neck of the woods for a week of visiting cousins and when I came back I noticed that the lily's newer leaves seemed to be bigger and more spear-shaped than the earlier ones - so, maybe it is entering a new phase. TBH, if this were a glass bowl, I would be over the moon with how it looked; I now have two bushy foreground centerpieces, one of which may send up emergent leaves. As they say in North Carolina, "We'll see."
I'm also rethinking your suggestion about the umbrella palm. It's a good looking plant and would give the eye something else to look at above the water line. I'm hesitant about buying one online, though. Thanks, for sharing your thoughts. Isn't this a wonderful hobby?