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So...I was moving one of my larger "pots" around for a root tab refresher when I discovered this underneath it:
Amber Yellow Gold Art Artifact


Believe it or not, that is all coming from the little k-cup that until a couple days ago contained the bulb from which my dwarf red tiger lotus grew. It's literally as big as the plant itself.

I didn't know what to do with it. Sitting a potted plant directly on top of it didn't seem like a good idea. So, I aquascaped some gravel over it:
Botany Light Leaf Nature Plant


I probably buried some bladder snails in the process (Sorry fellas.) But, I'm thinking that root system is strong enough to keep things pretty aerated down there. Don't you think?
 

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Another birth in progress! Your porcelain bowl will soon be filled with these lilies.
I've thought about this and a number of things make lilies very appealing. First and foremost is the Aerial Advantage they have over ordinary submerged plants. It takes the whole problem of whether and how to supply CO2 to one's plants off the table. They get it directly from the air.

Secondly, their metamorphosis is fascinating. In my case, if I throw a lotus or lily bulb into the bottom of my bowl, they will spend months in a kind of protracted "juvenile" stage during which their submerged leaves will grow in circumference and length, making them very attractive centerpiece plants.

Then all of a sudden, there is the appearance of these alien-like shoots that slowly find their way to the surface and turn into entirely different leaves. Pretty soon it's a different plant.

Ironically (and I'd love your opinion on this), they wouldn't be my first choice for getting a Walstad tank off the ground. It takes time for them to develop extensive root systems, so I wouldn't categorize them as "fast growers" in the conventional sense. But, boy! Once they do, there's no stopping them. I have only the thinnest imaginable substrate of mulm and gravel and they seem to love it.

I've noticed a lot of pin-holes in their leaves, especially in the lotuses. But, a recent discussion of the problem on this forum led me to my local health food store for the solution: one crushed potassium pill seems to have done the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
I've thought about this and a number of things make lilies very appealing. First and foremost is the Aerial Advantage they have over ordinary submerged plants. It takes the whole problem of whether and how to supply CO2 to one's plants off the table. They get it directly from the air.

Ironically (and I'd love your opinion on this), they wouldn't be my first choice for getting a Walstad tank off the ground. It takes time for them to develop extensive root systems, so I wouldn't categorize them as "fast growers" in the conventional sense.
Excellent idea that I have been thinking about... :)

I would hesitate to recommend Red Tiger Lotus for NPT beginners. For you with a porcelain bowl with its top view, they have an attraction. But in my shallow tanks, I have found them a mixed blessing.

The lily pads block light for other plants but really don't contribute much to water purification. In contrast, Frogbit and Water Lettuce decrease light and oxygen exchange at water surface, but they are also efficient water purifiers. Their extensive root systems in the water take up ammonia and produce oxygen efficiently.

Today, I found old 2017 pictures of Frogbit taken in morning (8:00 AM) with no gas bubbles and again at 5:00 PM. Those gas bubbles attached to roots are almost surely the waste product of photosynthesis--oxygen.

Robust floating plants like Frogbit and Water Lettuce give you a lot of "bang for your buck." This may explain why my 9 tanks currently have almost no algae, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrite despite heavy fish feeding, no filters, infrequent water changes, and good lighting on 13 hours per day. I have to prune and thin out these floaters once every week or so.

Last picture shows Water Lettuce with an extensive root system in a current tank.
 

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Robust floating plants like Frogbit and Water Lettuce give you a lot of "bang for your buck." This may explain why my 9 tanks currently have almost no algae, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrite despite heavy fish feeding, no filters, infrequent water changes, and good lighting on 13 hours per day. I have to prune and thin out these floaters once every week or so.
I've had the same experience with my floaters and it begs the (slightly off-topic) question: could you successfully run a NPT with only floating plants, and no dirt substrate/rooted plants? Or maybe another way of putting it - for someone who has a "traditional" tank with gravel and limited or no live plants, could they achieve some sort of NPT progress w/o redoing their substrate, just by adding floating plants? Or do the floaters not do enough on their own?
 

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I've had the same experience with my floaters and it begs the (slightly off-topic) question: could you successfully run a NPT with only floating plants, and no dirt substrate/rooted plants? Or maybe another way of putting it - for someone who has a "traditional" tank with gravel and limited or no live plants, could they achieve some sort of NPT progress w/o redoing their substrate, just by adding floating plants? Or do the floaters not do enough on their own?
My floaters have been a great educational experience. It's amazing how they seem to adjust size, shape and fertility according to their population. Ever since I scooped most of the salvinia out of my tank the ones that remain have simply stopped multiplying, or perhaps have slowed down considerably, to the point where each plant is simply twice the size of the ones I scooped out. And, now they have these long feathery roots which they never had before. My theory is they are consuming just as much nutrient now as when they formed a virtual carpet of half-inch plants across the top of my porcelain bowl.
 

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Discussion Starter · #67 ·
I've had the same experience with my floaters and it begs the (slightly off-topic) question: could you successfully run a NPT with only floating plants, and no dirt substrate/rooted plants? Or maybe another way of putting it - for someone who has a "traditional" tank with gravel and limited or no live plants, could they achieve some sort of NPT progress w/o redoing their substrate, just by adding floating plants? Or do the floaters not do enough on their own?
Healthy floating plants will always help control ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Getting them to grow is the challenge. Need good lighting, a calm water surface, and in some situations, iron fertilization (addition of chelated iron to water).

I think you just have to try it out to see if it works in your setup.
 

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The lily pads block light for other plants but really don't contribute much to water purification. In contrast, Frogbit and Water Lettuce decrease light and oxygen exchange at water surface, but they are also efficient water purifiers. Their extensive root systems in the water take up ammonia and produce oxygen efficiently.
I'm guessing that neither floaters (Frogbit, water lettuce, etc.) nor lilies contribute much CO2 to the water column during respiration periods, i.e., when the lights are off. Is that correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
I'm guessing that neither floaters (Frogbit, water lettuce, etc.) nor lilies contribute much CO2 to the water column during respiration periods, i.e., when the lights are off. Is that correct?
I believe you are correct. I sincerely doubt that plant respiration contributes much CO2 to the water column. Decomposition is the primary CO2 source.
 

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Here's a question I never thought I'd have to ask: My youngest lotus has sent out its first pads and is now firmly anchored to the bottom of the aquarium by a massive root system. What to do now with its bulb? This is the second plant (that I know of) germinated by this bulb. Worth keeping for a possible third try, or is there a limit to how often they can be recycled?
Brown Insect Pest Arthropod Terrestrial animal
 
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