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Re: Is this an algae or higher plant?

David Marshburn  wrote:
> Subject: Is this an algae or higher plant?
> I've had the following... thing... growing around in my tank, particularly
> out of the H. difformis.  It looks to have a little more structure than an
> algae, but I'm not sure.  It grows (usually) in a single long strand
> extending out into the open areas of the tank.  When I pull it out, it's
> embedded well into the stand of plants, however.  The strand has sort-of
> nodules maybe every half-inch to inch along its length.  I thought these
> nodules were tiny leaves at first.  I looked at them under a 10x loupe
> tonight, though, and they looked like small bladders or some kind of more 
> generic node.  There's a (rather poor) picture here:
> http://www.cs.unc.edu/~marshbur/aquarium/2002-11-14/aquarium%20006.jpg
> (sorry, the digital camera didn't want to focus that close-in, I think)
> Any ideas what this might be?  I don't know that it looks particularly
> horrible in the tank, rather strange and different.
> thanks!
> - -David
> ------------------------------

Delurking to answer your question.  This is a type of 
aquatic carnivorous plant.  It is definitely genus 
Utricularia probably gibba (common name: small bladderwort). 
  It can't harm your fish or fry.  The things it eats have 
to be small enough to fit the opening in the side of the 
I have been lurking on the list for about a year.  I am 
pleased to actually be able to give out useful info rather 
than just absorbing what everyone else has to say.

A warning about U. gibba it can grow fairly fast.  Because 
it is so fine it will intertwine with the rest of your 
plants and be tough to get it all out.  The method I know to 
get rid of it is to physically remove it.  I don't like it 
with my main plant tanks as it will grow all over the other 
plants it does work well in a separate tank.  I even use it 
in fry tanks as a nice floating plant.