Floating plants are a great addition to the home aquarium. The first few times we tried to keep floating plants, it all failed. Water lettuce, frogbit, and red root floater all melted away and died within days.
After multiple tries, we think that we have figured out the tricks to keep floating plants in the aquarium! The YouTube video below summarizes 8 essential tips for keeping floating plants alive and thriving in the home aquarium.
For beginners we recommend Salvinia, or water spangles, as the first starting floating plant. It is also easy to remove, as a great contrast to duckweed.
Some photos of spherical water droplets on Salvinia floating plant.
I think Salvinia is one of the easiest floating plant to keep in an aquarium. It has 3 forms Primary form, Secondary form, and Tertiary form and will adopt the most suitable form for whatever conditions is in your aquarium. (The photos shown below are Primary form. Initially, when I bought it, it was in Tertiary form.)
Quite interesting to see what vegetables are included in the seed pack. Hopefully it is a small plant that can be grown in a small pot.
Seed Pack Registration (Source from NParks)
You can sign up to receive 2 species of vegetables and begin your gardening journey with us. We hope that the seeds will spark your interest in gardening.
As the seeds grow and you see the fruits of your labour, we also hope that you will share the harvest and your interest in gardening with neighbours and friends. Do share your stories with us on social media with the hashtag #GrowingwithEdiblesSG!
This plant Salvinia (to be precise Salvinia Molesta or Giant Salvinia) is a super easy floating plant. It has 3 forms: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary Forms. I started with Tertiary Form Salvinia, and now have a lot of Primary Form Salvinia, as well as a few Secondary Form Salvinia.
I find that Salvinia is an easy floating plant because:
1) It only requires medium light
2) It has 3 forms and will evolve to the form that is most suited for your tank. The Tertiary Form is usually for outdoor ponds.
3) It is ok with getting a bit wet. Many other floating plants must be completely dry or else they may rot.
4) It has short roots. Hence, there is no need to trim its roots.
5) Easy to remove if you don’t want it. Most of its leaves are linked together. Hence you can remove all the leaves in a few grabs. This is in contrast to duckweed, which is notorious for being hard to remove.
I find that the Primary Form of Giant Salvinia is quite similar to Salvinia Minima, and the Secondary Form of Giant Salvinia is quite similar to Salvinia Natans! Could they be the same species?
Ludwigia Super Red, also known as Ludwigia Palustris or Ludwigia sp. red (mini) is one of the easiest low tech (No CO2) red plants. Due to its small size, it is suitable for nano tanks (with trimming).
It is rated “easy” by Tropica. In comparison, most other red plants are rated “Medium” or “Advanced”.
I am trying out this low tech easy red plant without CO2. Future updates will be posted on this page as well.
Day 1 (May 22, 2020):
This is the second day of growing Ludwigia Palustris, also known as Ludwigia Super Red (sp. red mini). I think new growth has already appeared at the top of the stems! The new growth seems not so red though, maybe my light is not strong enough.
Currently, it is day 4 of growing it. I dose basic fertilizers like Tropica Premium, Seachem Potassium (weekly) and also Seachem Root Tabs (once every few months). I think the plant is adapting to the new environment, I did notice a bit of melting going on.
Still surviving on Day 8! The new leaves are quite cool, they are mixed red and green in coloration, with red mostly at the tips. I wonder if they will turn red completely eventually.
We continue with Day 13 of growing Ludwigia Palustris (aka Ludwigia Super Red) in low tech without CO2. Seems to be surviving! There is a bit of “fungus” problem after feeding Hikari frozen brine shrimp, hopefully it clears after the water change.
Stay tuned for future updates. If you have any experience on growing Ludwigia in low tech tanks, please comment below!
Xiaozhuang Wong, also known as Dennis Wong (an expert aquascaper), has demonstrated that Ludwigia sp. red is actually the same plant as Ludwigia mini super red. It is the same plant, except that it grows smaller adult forms under lean fertilization regimes. This is similar for many plants. The below image shows Ludwigia plant taken from same cutting, grown under 2 different tank nutrient regimes. (Source: Xiaozhuang Wong Facebook)
Just added 1 Seachem Flourish Tab next to my Alternanthera Reineckii Mini (AR Mini). Some “fizzing” or bubbling is observed. Not sure if that is due to the root tab, or maybe I disturbed some gas pockets in the substrate.
The below review video is rather convincing proof that Seachem Flourish tabs are one of the best root tabs in the market, despite having low macro nutrients (nitrogen and phosphate). The purpose of having low macro nutrients is for preventing algae.
Traditionally, Alternanthera reineckii ‘Mini’ (AR Mini) is grown in high tech, high light tanks where it will grow into a deep red purplish color. In low tech, lower light tanks, I am trying to see if it can still grow, albeit less red. Maybe a lighter red or olive / bronze color like its cousin Alternanthera Roseafolia (below), would be a good enough result.
Lighting schedule: I am using an electronic timer with 12 hour photoperiod: 10am-4pm, 5pm-11pm. In between 4-5pm is a siesta (rest/blackout) period (to build up some CO2 if possible).
Day 1 (23 Jan 2020): This is the first day of planting. Still quite purplish undertones. To plant the Tropica tissue culture, I plucked off some of the leaves on the lower stem, and then inserted it into the substrate. No trimming of roots were done (the roots were not long anyway).
Day 3: The next video below is the 3rd day. The pinkish red colors on the underside are mostly gone (quite worrying), but the plants is clearly alive and it has oriented its leaves to face upwards! It is now a olive color with hints of red/pink.
Day 4: Video below. Not much different from Day 3. I realized that there is a Dwarf Sag small plantlet with runner amongst the AR Mini. The Dwarf Sag is one plant that is thriving in the tank. It started with 2 mother plants and now there are at least 8 plants propagated naturally via runners. If necessary, I may remove the dwarf sag (just the one amongst the AR Mini).
Day 5: Melting and shedding of leaves. This is day 5 of planting the AR Mini in the low tech tank. A total of 3 leaves were shed today. I think it is either (a) transitioning from emersed to submersed growth or (b) dying. Hopefully it is the former!
Day 6: Just one leaf melt today. One entire stem got uprooted, maybe it was the snail or the shrimp that disturbed it. There is a little frenzy among the neon tetras and Amano shrimp trying to grab the shrimp pellet. I removed a dwarf sag plantlet among the AR Mini, and replanted the uprooted stem there.
Day 7: No shedding of leaves today, which is good news. I spotted something that looks like hair algae, it could well be a disintegrated Marimo moss ball from “Secret Shrimp Society”. Water change was done, as well as dosing of Tropica Premium Nutrition liquid fertilizer. I ended up trimming the Cryptocoryne Wendtii as its leaves were almost reaching the water surface. I also removed the disintegrated Marimo moss balls from “Secret Shrimp Society” as it was starting to look like hair algae.
Day 10: This is day 10 of growing Alternanthera Reineckii Mini in a low tech tank. The leaves seem to have “perked up” and are slightly pinkish. Overall it looks better than on day 7, I think. The contrast between day 3 is also quite clear. No CO2 in this tank.
Day 13: The AR Mini has changed to a nice orangey-red. There has been shedding of around one leaf per day. The plant still looks alive overall, and in fact has grown taller than the Dwarf Sag beside it. There has been some trimming of the taller plants in the tank (crypts and Anubias).
Day 16: It has passed the 2 week mark. The AR Mini is still alive in the low tech tank. I do observe some new leaves growing.
Day 20: The AR Mini plants are getting more bronze color and less red. The undersides are still a little pinkish red though. Overall quite surprised at the result in my low tech tank. (I was half expecting the plants to die.)
Day 50 (12 March 2020): The aquarium light was upgraded around 10 days ago on 2 March 2020. It has helped the AR Mini in my opinion, making it slightly redder. The AR Mini is very much alive in the low tech tank! I think this dispels the myth that Alternanthera Reineckii Mini requires CO2 to live.
Just bought this red plant at a local fish store at just $2. I am thinking it is Ludwigia repens (or possibly other type of Ludwigia).
Red plant (Ludwigia repens?) in low tech 5 gallon tank. No CO2. I bought this red stem plant for my fish to celebrate Chinese New Year. Hope it can survive in my tank!
Update: Unfortunately, upon further research, the above red plant may actually be Alternanthera sessilis which is not aquatic! The stems and leaves of the above said plant are quite hard and stiff, which is characteristic of a terrestrial plant.
I have tried to ask experts on the Planted Tank Forum, they have confirmed that it is not Ludwigia arcuata (which I originally thought it was).
This “Malayan Aqua Fern” is a very mysterious plant, there is very little information on Google about it.
There are two views on it, based on online writings.
First viewpoint on Malayan Aqua Fern:
The “Malayan Aqua Fern” is none other than Peacock Fern, or Selaginella willdenowii. It is NOT an aquatic plant, and will die if fully submerged under water. This is quite reasonable, based on the pictures of Peacock Fern online, it does look like the pictures of the “Malayan Aqua Fern”. Nonetheless, it can be planted in a crab/terrapin tank where it is not fully submerged under water.
The “Malayan Aqua Fern” may give the illusion of surviving under water when it may be slowly dying (takes around a month to die).
The “Malayan Aqua Fern” is an amphibious plant, able to live both submerged or in moist conditions. If this is true, then “Malayan Aqua Fern” would be an incredible aquarium plant as it looks very good in a fish tank.