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floating plant ID

Soothing Shrimp

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I have something that looks just like this that is maybe approx 5mm I guess. someone told me its duckweed too. im not removing it atm while I have high nitrate.. once I got nitrate under control i plan to scoop it out and rely on some macropore to absorb excess nitrates. I think small floating stuff is too annoying when netting shrimps!I

love n peace


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This size duckweed is a thorn in my side. I tried keeping it only in one tank's sump for nitrate export but it quickly migrated to the main tank. It grows way to fast and blocks out light from the plants below it. I can never seem to completely remove it either. Always miss one piece that multiplies quickly and I'm back to square one.

And come to find out I never really needed it for a long term nitrate export anyways as the tank is so heavily planted once it grew in. The tank is now nitrate deficient and i have to dose.

If you like it all the more power to you though. Just be careful if you dont want it to spread to other tanks. It will migrate on tools and nets if shared between tanks.

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The 1 mm size/first post is more likely to be Wolffia and the next size/second post Lemna minor (lesser duckweed). I think Wolffia is called water meal.

Greater duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza) is larger still (5 mm and up I think) and has a very shiny upper surface. Its leaves tend to grow in groups of 3 or 4 before budding off, unlike Lemna which seems to max out at 2. The underside develops to a purplish red in good conditions (iron and other trace nutrients). It grows more slowly and gets big enough that it's easier to corral.

I like all duckweeds. They don't get tangled in my rooted plants, they don't flip over and die, they help keep fish from jumping, they are never carbon limited, they are undemanding about light, and they are great at exporting nitrogen. Even people who can't grow regular plants (ME) can grow duckweed (although I have been known to kill it). I know it's basically impossible to get rid of, but I like it.

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