Can't Grow Floating Plants

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
So far I have tried dwarf water lettuce, red root floaters and frogbit. I receive beautiful plants but before long the plant starts losing leaves and before long all I have left are babies. Lots of babies but they never grow into a plant that looks like the original plants.

The only exception is the frogbit. It still looks like the original plant but the roots refuse to get much longer than maybe 1 inch for a while and then it even stops that and the leaves start melting. I have only had the frogbit for a short time. I expect it to stop growing and just give me babies like the other two have done.

I corral the plants so can pretty well keep them contained and out of the flow of water.

I thought maybe it was because my water is soft and very low in minerals. The TDS out of the tap is 21. I now add equilibrium to get them up to 100 in my main tank. I have them up to 125 in both the 10 gallon and 5.5 gallon tank and even higher in the 2.5 gallon bowl. I have been experimenting with different levels hoping for better results.

All but the main tank (55 gallon) are open top. I do leave the lid open on this tank to keep the heat down. The 55 and the 5.5 gallon have led lights. The other two just get natural light through a north facing window.

I use Thrive root tabs for root feeding plants and dose with Thrive liquid ferts for the water feeders. The nitrates in all tanks usually get up to at least 40 between weekly water changes. Part of that is from the Thrive.

I set up a big sterlite storage tote outside on a covered deck to see if more light would help. The DWL and RRF produce tons of new plants but never grow into full size plants and no roots. I actually have to constantly remove handfuls of baby plants.

Does anyone have any idea as to why I can't grow these plants? I hate to just give up but It seems I have tried everything I have read about taking care of them for over a year now. I am finally thinking about just giving up on them but I really want to see those beautiful roots in my tanks.
 

kallililly1973

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
10,422
Reactions
10,381
Location
Rhode Island USA
Experience
3 years
Sorry I don’t have an answer for floaters I happened to get 5-6 pieces of frogbit in a bag when I got shrimp a while back and put it in my 10 but it wasn’t doin much and I was down to about 2-3 pieces so I put it in my outside tank and being in full sunlight it has absolutely exploded so I recently added a couple pinches to all my tanks to see how it’ll do... but from my short time having frogbit now that it’s overwhelming my 29 the roots are still only 1-1.5” long so I don’t think they get extremely long but could be totally wrong.. hope u find the solution... Vishaquatics he could possibly help us out with it under leds or indirect sun ... pics attached are from about 1.5 months ago to now
 

Attachments

  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
I haven't put any of the frogbit outside yet but I will put some of it out there today. I do know both the DWL and RRF do the same out there as they do in my tanks. Tons of babies but no adults.

Fortunately I am having some success with other plants but I am thinking I am never going to have any success with the floating plants.
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,209
Reactions
4,449
Location
Canada QC
Experience
More than 10 years
I think it's pretty normal for plants to adjust to growing in your tank. That might mean they have smaller leaves or don't grow as large. I would keep the babies and let them grow in.

I grow mostly water lettuce as floating plants, but I'll tell you, it grows much larger in my 90g with bright light. It gets a lot of light at the top. It tends to grow smaller with shorter roots in my 33g. But what I do in the 90g (where it grows really really well), is I take as the baby plants away and keep the larger ones. The large plants are then able to grow even larger. I have to cull (add them to other tanks or compost) water lettuce every single week or it blocks out the lighting.

Also do you have any pest snails? I don't think you do because your tap water is so soft like mine, but they do like to eat water lettuce roots or dislodge them at least.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
angelcraze said:
I think it's pretty normal for plants to adjust to growing in your tank. That might mean they have smaller leaves or don't grow as large. I would keep the babies and let them grow in.
I know you are right but I don't think that is the case here. I actually expected a die off when I first got them. Maybe they will never get used to my water. I got my dwarf water lettuce well over a year ago and the red root floaters a short time after that.

I grow mostly water lettuce as floating plants, but I'll tell you, it grows much larger in my 90g with bright light. It gets a lot of light at the top. It tends to grow smaller with shorter roots in my 33g. But what I do in the 90g (where it grows really really well), is I take as the baby plants away and keep the larger ones. The large plants are then able to grow even larger. I have to cull (add them to other tanks or compost) water lettuce every single week or it blocks out the lighting.
I was blaming it on not enough light. That is one of the reasons I moved some of it to a container outside. It actually gets some morning sun and just normal natural light the rest of the time. I have had it out there for at least 2 months now.

I would love to actually have even one bigger plant but sadly I haven't had any since I originally got them. Each baby plant grows 3 or 4 tiny leaves and that is where it stops. The leaves are less than 1/4 inch across.

I was taking several handfuls of it out every few days. I cleaned out most of the babies just yesterday. I am hoping with just having a small handful of them in the container with lots of room to grow will prompt them to start growing instead of just producing more babies.

Also do you have any pest snails? I don't think you do because your tap water is so soft like mine, but they do like to eat water lettuce roots or dislodge them at least.
I actually do have pest snails in some of my tanks and have seen snails on the plants but don't have them in all of the tanks. There are none in the outside container. I get the same lack of growth in all tanks.

this is what they look like...

IMG_1939.JPG
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,209
Reactions
4,449
Location
Canada QC
Experience
More than 10 years
mattgirl said:
Maybe because that's salvinia ha!


Looks good to me! Good thing you came here to find out. That would have drove you bonkers!
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
angelcraze said:
Maybe because that's salvinia ha!


Looks good to me! Good thing you came here to find out. That would have drove you bonkers!
Thank you. I don't have to be driven. I am already there

I can't imagine how that is possible though. I know the big beautiful plants I got were definitely DWL and RRF. Maybe there was a tiny hitchhiker stuck to one of the original plants and I missed it. Maybe the parents died off and I was left with a hitchhiker? I guess that is possible.

That photo does kinda look like what I have but still not the same. This has really had me scratching my head for a very long time. I have looked at hundreds of photos trying to understand what is going on and finally decided it was time to get y'all to help me.

With these each little plant grows 4 or 5 leaves along a central stem. Some grow up to 6 or 7 leaves but no more and never any bigger. They are very prolific and seem to double in numbers in just a few days.

I do think you may be on to something though. I was looking through some of the other photos on that site and there are some that do very closely resemble what I have. Looks like I do not have what I though I had and had to have had a Salvinia minima hitchhiker.

Mystery solved. Thank you from the bottom of my heart
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,209
Reactions
4,449
Location
Canada QC
Experience
More than 10 years
Well the hitchhiker is thriving. That is def not water lettuce. Frogbit is hairless. Salvinia grows in longer chains like that. Well for what it's worth, I really like salvinia.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
angelcraze said:
Well the hitchhiker is thriving. That is def not water lettuce. Frogbit is hairless. Salvinia grows in longer chains like that. Well for what it's worth, I really like salvinia.
I might like it too if it weren't so prolific or I hadn't been trying to cultivate my dwarf water lettuce

I am hoping I can get my frogbit healthy. At least I am positive that it truly is frogbit

Let me rephrase that. I was told it was frogbit when I bought it hehehehehehe
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,209
Reactions
4,449
Location
Canada QC
Experience
More than 10 years
mattgirl said:
I might like it too if it weren't so prolific or I hadn't been trying to cultivate my dwarf water lettuce

I am hoping I can get my frogbit healthy. At least I am positive that it truly is frogbit

Let me rephrase that. I was told it was frogbit when I bought it hehehehehehe
Pic of the frogbit?
It could be the salvinia out competes the water lettuce. Water lettuce is very prolific, but I've never tried salvinia yet to compare prolific-ness.
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,209
Reactions
4,449
Location
Canada QC
Experience
More than 10 years
mattgirl said:
IMG_1940.JPG


this is the little bit I have in my 10 gallon experimental tank
That is indeed frogbit

Do you have any water lettuce left? I'd try growing it separately from the salvinia. It should do very well outside. They can grow really big in the sun.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
angelcraze said:
That is indeed frogbit

Do you have any water lettuce left? I'd try growing it separately from the salvinia. It should do very well outside. They can grow really big in the sun.
Sadly, no I don't I would love to get more but I am not going to until I am confident I wouldn't just kill it. If I can get the frogbit thriving I should be able to get water lettuce growing for me.

Remembering back I do remember something that looked different from the big water lettuce plants I got but when I questioned it I was assured it was just a baby water lettuce because that was the only plant growing in the tank it came from. Now I know better.
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,209
Reactions
4,449
Location
Canada QC
Experience
More than 10 years
My water lettuce for you to see
20190821_144619.jpg

It grows in a rosette form. Baby plants grow off the mother plant like spider plant babies. If water lettuce is corralled in the light, it should do well. It really shades plants underneath though if you let it go. A great plant to use up nitrates and excess nutrients
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
angelcraze said:
My water lettuce for you to see
20190821_144619.jpg

It grows in a rosette form. Baby plants grow off the mother plant like spider plant babies. If water lettuce is corralled in the light, it should do well. It really shades plants underneath though if you let it go. A great plant to use up nitrates and excess nutrients
that is what mine looked like when I very first got it. Beautiful healthy plants.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
yinoma2001 said:
I have been unsuccessful with floating plants in my betta tank too (20G long with betta and 10 ember tetras). I use sponge filters and the water movement isn't too much. I also does with fertilizer and have lights right over it. Could it be the lights are too bright ?
I suppose that is possible but I don't think that is the case here since mine didn't do well even with nothing but natural daylight.

Right now I have some frogbit in several different tanks. Some close to an artificial light source (LED lights), others with just light through a north facing window and I just put some outside to see how it likes that light. Only time will tell if it is going to do well out there.
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,209
Reactions
4,449
Location
Canada QC
Experience
More than 10 years
mattgirl said:
I suppose that is possible but I don't think that is the case here since mine didn't do well even with nothing but natural daylight.

Right now I have some frogbit in several different tanks. Some close to an artificial light source (LED lights), others with just light through a north facing window and I just put some outside to see how it likes that light. Only time will tell if it is going to do well out there.
I think it's more sensitive to temperature. It doesn't like it if it's too cold, although no one on this side of the world would be having that problem this time of year.

Btw, if you like floating plants but don't like them everywhere, give brazilian pennywort or hydrocotyle vulgaris.

20150829_003607.jpg
Brazillian pennywort up top
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
angelcraze said:
I think it's more sensitive to temperature. It doesn't like it if it's too cold, although no one on this side of the world would be having that problem this time of year.
I agree. Too cold sure isn't happening in my part of the world right now. Weather folks are finally predicting some rain and a tiny bit cooler temps for us this week-end. Poor trees are actually losing leaves from the temps and lack of rain.
 

Vishaquatics

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,333
Reactions
1,428
Location
USA
Experience
More than 10 years
If you're dosing thrive at full amounts, floaters should grow no problem for you. Some floaters like RRFs and DWL like higher light, but they even grow in lower light levels.

Here's another secret to floaters: Stagnant water. Floaters tend to grow best in completely stagnant water. This is especially important for stuff like RRFs which almost need completely still water to grow properly. If you have too much surface agitation (worst comes from sponge filters or airstones), then that may be a reason why they aren't growing properly.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
Vishaquatics said:
If you're dosing thrive at full amounts, floaters should grow no problem for you. Some floaters like RRFs and DWL like higher light, but they even grow in lower light levels.

Here's another secret to floaters: Stagnant water. Floaters tend to grow best in completely stagnant water. This is especially important for stuff like RRFs which almost need completely still water to grow properly. If you have too much surface agitation (worst comes from sponge filters or airstones), then that may be a reason why they aren't growing properly.
Thank you. Sadly it seems I have been trying to get my baby plants to grow into big plants only to find out today that is never going to happen because both the original DWL and the RRF died off and I was left with a plant I had no idea I even had. Seems I must have had a hitchhiking plant sneak in with one of them and it continues to grow by the handfuls. It has been identified as Salvinia minima and is actually growing just as it should

I do try to keep my floating plants corralled to keep it still but there could still be too much water movement. I have moved some of my recently acquired frogbit outside to a big storage tote I have set up on the covered part of my deck. It has no filter so no water movement. Hopefully it will like the conditions out there and will start growing big and healthy.
 

yinoma2001

Well Known
Member
Messages
510
Reactions
222
Experience
1 year
Vishaquatics said:
If you're dosing thrive at full amounts, floaters should grow no problem for you. Some floaters like RRFs and DWL like higher light, but they even grow in lower light levels.

Here's another secret to floaters: Stagnant water. Floaters tend to grow best in completely stagnant water. This is especially important for stuff like RRFs which almost need completely still water to grow properly. If you have too much surface agitation (worst comes from sponge filters or airstones), then that may be a reason why they aren't growing properly.
This makes a lot of sense. Of course when I first tried in my bigger tank which has a tone of surface agitation it was preposterous. Then I put them in my betta tank which has sponge filters thinking it was better. But they've not really flourished. So basically little no water movement is preferred?
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
yinoma2001 said:
This makes a lot of sense. Of course when I first tried in my bigger tank which has a tone of surface agitation it was preposterous. Then I put them in my betta tank which has sponge filters thinking it was better. But they've not really flourished. So basically little no water movement is preferred?
Like you I have a lot of surface movement in my big tank but I thought as long as I kept the plants corralled so the water coming from the filters didn't push them down below the surface it wouldn't affect the plants. Apparently it does.

I have given up on getting them to grow in that tank. Hopefully the ones I put outside with no water movement at all will grow.

That doesn't help with what I am trying to do though. I really want those long roots growing down onto a 2.5 gallon bowl and my 5.5 gallon tank. Both the bowl and tank are planted and the plants are finally taking off. Right now the only living thing in the bowl is a Nerite snail and a tiny super red pleco in the 5.5 gallon.

I have a sponge filter in the tank and just a piece of airline tubing with a knot tied in it for the bowl. The only real water movement in these tanks is the bubbles breaking the surface. If the floaters won't work with that small amount of movement I guess I am going to have to rethink what I want to do. .

But first I guess I am going to have to get some more dwarf water lettuce or red root floaters since I have discovered that I no longer have any. I won't have to if the frogbit will grow long roots though. It isn't the top of the plant I am going for. It is the roots hanging in the water I want to see.
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,209
Reactions
4,449
Location
Canada QC
Experience
More than 10 years
I have DWL in my 120g, sometimes there is quite a bit of water movement at the top and plants are even swirling in the current. The pic I took of the DWL is right in front of the filter output, but anchored in the val leaves, so I think it's okay if the plants stay still enough. I haven't noticed as issue in my tanks unless they get pushed into a shady corner or submerged (any water on top leaves). Maybe I have just been lucky idk.

I have noticed that some floating plants outcompete others though, so I try not to mix floaters.

I believe frogbit can get nice long roots too like DWL. Just to make you feel better, I've never had frogbit. I thought I did though! Turns out my frogbit was giant duckweed! I thought it was frogbit for a couple years until someone corrected me here!
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
angelcraze said:
I have DWL in my 120g, sometimes there is quite a bit of water movement at the top and plants are even swirling in the current. The pic I took of the DWL is right in front of the filter output, but anchored in the val leaves, so I think it's okay if the plants stay still enough. I haven't noticed as issue in my tanks unless they get pushed into a shady corner or submerged (any water on top leaves). Maybe I have just been lucky idk.

I have noticed that some floating plants outcompete others though, so I try not to mix floaters.

I believe frogbit can get nice long roots too like DWL. Just to make you feel better, I've never had frogbit. I thought I did though! Turns out my frogbit was giant duckweed! I thought it was frogbit for a couple years until someone corrected me here!
Thank you. that does make me feel better.

The frogbit I put outside may not fare well. I noticed I have either pond or bladder snails in there. I am not sure how they got there but I picked out a bunch when I discovered them yesterday

Ya gotta love this forum. I would have continued trying to get my DWL to grow big and pretty if not for finally discovering it was NEVER going to happen

The frogbit I have in my big tank is corralled but I see it constantly on the move in the corral. The little bit I showed you in the photo stays pretty stationary so I am hoping it will soon be acclimated to my water and will start growing. I now have it in 5 different tanks, each with different water movement all the way to no water movement at all. Hopefully it will be happy in at least one place.
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,209
Reactions
4,449
Location
Canada QC
Experience
More than 10 years
In my 120g, the DWL moves around sometimes. It depends on the water level, but I guess mostly it stays on the opposite side of the spraybar. As long as it doesn't get pushed underwater. Like maybe if an airstone created bubbles that pop and drip on top of the leaves, that would be bad...
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
I think that may be the problem with trying to grow it in my 55 gallon tank. I keep it filled up to the bottom of the trI'm around the top. There is very little room between the top of the water and the bottom of the lid. It could be it isn't getting enough air and too much moisture up there. It may never grow well in that tank.

I can accept that and will be happy if I can just get it to thrive in the 5.5 and the bowl.

I just removed all of the frogbit from the 55. I wanted to get it out of there before it all died off. It wasn't looking good. Most of it is now in the bowl with the least amount of water movement.

The corys in the 55 weren't helping either. They were flipping the plants over when they shoot up to the top for a breath of air. I was constantly having to flip them back over. I have at least 25 corys in this tank so there was a LOT of flipping going on
 

angelcraze

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
6,209
Reactions
4,449
Location
Canada QC
Experience
More than 10 years
mattgirl said:
I think that may be the problem with trying to grow it in my 55 gallon tank. I keep it filled up to the bottom of the trI'm around the top. There is very little room between the top of the water and the bottom of the lid. It could be it isn't getting enough air and too much moisture up there. It may never grow well in that tank.

I can accept that and will be happy if I can just get it to thrive in the 5.5 and the bowl.

The corys in the 55 weren't helping either. They were flipping the plants over when they shoot up to the top for a breath of air. I was constantly having to flip them back over. I have at least 25 corys in this tank so there was a LOT of flipping going on
Lol at the cories, that's so cute! Wow 25, that must look incredible!

Maybe you could try Brazilian pennywort in the 55g. It also grows nice long roots hanging down if you see my pic above of the two gold marble angelfish. It's ok if the top of the leaves get wet, it is a long vine (ivy), so stays together and more stationary. It does well with a lot of moisture and can grow emersed too! Growing it emersed keeps algae off the leaves.





I couldn't find Brazilian pennywort (hydrocotyle leucocephala) so I used hydrocotyle vulgaris from north Africa and Europe instead and it's doing well now that I'm dosing ferts.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
OP
mattgirl

mattgirl

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
13,607
Reactions
13,483
Location
Closer to Heaven every day but for now-Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
That is a VERY pretty plant. Thanks for the suggestion. I think I saw it offered up on B,S,T,F. I am going to search over there and see if it is still available. If not I could post a want to buy thread for it.
Lol at the cories, that's so cute! Wow 25, that must look incredible!
They are so much fun to watch. Such peaceful little creatures. I call them my little vacuum cleaners. I sure don't have to worry about food sitting around causing problems.
 

New Threads

Similar Threads

Similar Threads

Follow FishLore!

FishLore on Social Media

Online statistics

Members online
250
Guests online
3,285
Total visitors
3,535

Aquarium Photo Contests

Aquarium Calculator

Top Bottom