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Wolffia - worse than duckweed!

14693 Views 33 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Gor22don33
K, i've taken care of duckweed successfully in the past: patience and tweezers! But somehow, for the first time ever, I got wolffia! I dont' even know where it came from. I only picked up 3 otos from a LFS but they have no floating plants in any tanks that I saw (and I have purchased stuff there often over the last 2 years). Anyway...

suggestions for getting rid of this stuff? I have a heavily planted 65 gallon and vals are covering about 1/3 of the surface, so netting it out with a brine net doesn't look like a fantastic solution.

as for my fish load... I only have 5 SAEs and a handful of otos. a few random snails that hitched rides on plants, nothing special. I wouldn't mind adding a "utility" fish to go to town on this stuff, but i'm having trouble finding good info. a temporary feeder goldfish maybe? american flagfish?

obviously, if i have to resort to tiny tweezers and a tiny net, i will do so... but this stuff is growing quickly and i think i need a little help from mother nature! suggestions?
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I have always, happily, kept Duckweed as a treat for Goldfish but I have, either been fortunate or never noticed the various Wollfias. Once we (myself and friends) did not appreciate Hornwort but I have since been told that UV gets rid of it. The plant was great in a tank but any small piece regrew very fast and became a pain.

I do not have any sure methods of getting rid of Wollfia (try the UV, if you can) but it's green and growing so just net it out and throw it on the Lawn or flower beds while you count your blessings for the growth and the fact that it's not Algae. Otherwise get a few Goldfish and keep feeding them the unwanted green stuff. Also do lots of water changes. Any natural treatment such as the net is superior to any chemical even though it may seem as if the chemical is easier.
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It seems to me that just about any fish eats the stuff. I had a 55 planted that got it and I had tons of it. I used to scoop it out and feed it to my fish, severums really liked it. I added some tiger endlers to the tank, and the Wolffia was gone in a few weeks. I'd say that just about anything you add to your tank will probably eat it.
nooo no no no chemical solutions :)

I have a UV sterilizer already (runs nightly). doesn't seem to affect it.

lawn? LAWN? I'm from Michigan! It's 8 degrees outside today! hee hee. I won't see "Lawn" until May!

i don't have spare tanks (nor will I set them up just to house goldfish). I'm wondering if a fish like a platty or a flagfish or a rainbow will eat this junk and I can keep 'em in my tank anyway as part of the clean-up crew (as you can see, the clean-up crew is all i have and all i actually want!).
CaptNemo sez just about anything eats it. So...

We have lots of snow on the ground here too and single digit temps but Spring is coming, count on it. Anything can be dumped in at least one spot until the snow melts and recovers the green stuff and as soon as the temp increases a bit the natural bugs wiil break the stuff down.
I think it is quite rare to see wolffia in the aquarium, so you might count yourself lucky.

To get rid of it, simply keep netting it out. It will take a while, maybe a few weeks, but it will eventually be removed. This is the only surefire way to get rid of it that won't harm the rest of your plants.
ha ha yeah, real "lucky".......

now i need to go buy a small net! my normal fish nets have holes which are too large. blah... with the vals forming a huge mess of leaves on the surface, i'll never get this stuff all out :(
I know a shop vac worked great for me. I would just suck some of it up everyday untill it was gone. But I think it took close to a month to make sure that I got it all. Just hold it right above the water and watch it get sucked right up with some of the water. But best of luck on it.
Throw a couple gallons of bleach in it. that should take care of anything you don't want. you may have to start again...:D
rosy barbs eat duckweed... they would probably eat it.
rosy barbs... wet vac... or bleach. those are my options... hmm... let's ponder that...

bleach... i already have some, but i'd need to replace quite a lot of living stuff (like, ALL of it). cost - few hundred dollars

wet vac... i don't own one, but could buy one. cost... hundred bucks for a cheapo?

rosy barbs... don't own one... can buy for 3 bucks at most LFS? then i can take 'em back and get a buck in store credit. i didn't want to buy a feeder goldfish (tank is maybe too warm for him?). i imagine they'll leave the SAEs and otos alone (actually, i don't think anything can go near the SAE's; they are way too fast).

man, i really thought duckweed was bad. at least i could net that stuff!
I am partial to Goldfish but feeders are lousy with bad stuff and get very large very fast and live a long time and you said you did not want to go that route. The temp shouldn't be a problem though.

A few small, inexpensive, fish and a net seem to be the answer.
yeah... one nice thing about a feeder goldfish is that it would be very easy to catch (goldfish are stupid!). but i'd still be worried of the diseases it might be carrying, plus the fact that goldies prefer cooler water. So maybe two rosy barbs will do the trick. i'll see if I can get them at the LFS. hopefully they'll go after the wolffia before the plants. then again, even if they nip at a few plants, i doubt they could really stunt the growth of anything in there :)
In case anyone is interested, wolffia is 40% protein and has no fat, about the same as soybeans. It might make a good food for people, and all it needs is sunlight and water.

It's green, too. :)

yeah, i saw that it is eaten by people and was rich in plant protein! kind of cool. too bad i'm still not gonna eat anything that comes out of my aquarium :)

speaking of things that aren't eating it... neither are the stupid goldfish i picked up (the LFS didn't have any rosy barbs in... or anything else i felt like trying, so i went with goldies because they are dumber than heck and easy to catch later). the only thing i'm worried about is all the diseases that can come with them. hopefully i'll be alright. they seem to be ok... but MAN are they dumb. and they haven't really been eating the wolffia. they take bites occasionally, but then spit it out half of the time. i thought these guys were gonna tear into this stuff like candy! i might have to help them out by scooping most of it out... maybe they'll finish off the rest? i dunno... but having these big GOLD things in the tank are a bit of an eye sore! *sigh* i should have just used the hand grenade suggestion...
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Why not tie down the other plants, so they aren't near the surface for a few days. Then just scoop out the wolffia?

Also, try not feeding the goldfish for a few days, they should get hungry and eat the plants.
actually, I have a proposal.
Use UV quartz lamps over the tank.
The UV won't penetrate very far into the water (tap water has say, 10% attenuation of UV/cm, so 10 cm below the water you have 35% remaining UV. If you add some blackwater extract or have yellowing water then the attenuation is much higher.
The UV will however fry any plants floating on the surface. Obviously do not stay in the room while you fry them, or cover the top of the tank with a blanket or other shield.
actually, both are pretty good suggestions. i'm already not feeding the goldies. (i don't feed any animals in the tank, actually).

frying them with UV lights is kind of a neat idea. i might have to consider it.

the vals i could weigh down i think... but i have some other stuff that sticks out that i can't quite deal with. regardless, i think i'll have to start scooping some stuff out... the wolffia i think will multiply faster than the goldies can eat it (if they ever get around to it).

i'll keep the UV grenade in my back pocket as a last resort. it would certainly be a fun experiment, though! i like stuff like that!
The UV bomb sounds fun ^^ like something out of the movie Blade.

Why not try sell some of it on the for sale section of the site? I'm sure someone would like some. A lot of people breed fish and Wollfia would be a great cover, or food for certain fish. Since it isn't too common I think people would probably buy it.
that's not a bad idea. maybe i'll fish out a couple of small bags of this stuff and offer it up for the S&H costs or something. i wouldn't keep and grow it... but maybe other people would. i just thought of this only as a pest species.

one man's pest is another man's prize!
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