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[APD] Re: Bladderwort and Ich/Disease Organisms

Joshua L Wiegert asked about the possibility of Bladderwort consuming Ich.

I doubt it. The bladders or traps of Utricularia range in size between the
various species (there are over 200), but are usually from 0.3 - 5.0 mm in
diameter. They have an inward opening valve-like  door at one end, which has
4 stiff bristles on the outer surface. These bristles act as triggers,
causing the door to open inward when prey swims past.

The free-swimming stage of Ich varies in size between 30 microns - 1 mm.
While there is some overlap in the size of an Ich parasite and the traps on
some Bladderworts, I doubt that the Bladderwort could catch all of the Ich
in an aquarium. Each Ich trophozoite (the white visible bump on the fish)
will ultimately release hundreds of ciliated tomates (the free-swimming
stage of the parasite), each one capable of continuing the infestation.

Even if the Bladderworts decided to have a banquet, just one missed tomate
can mean that the Ich infestation will continue.

Most tanks probably contain _some_ Ich spores in the gravel. Healthy fish
with good immune systems can usually fight off a light infestation and there
are safe medications available for heavy infestations. Ich usually isn't
really that much of a problem in a well maintained aquarium.

But the Bladderwort can easily become the aquarist's version of a noxious
weed - it grows quickly and intertwines itself everywhere, if given half a
chance. I think that they are neat plants, but definitely just as
curiosities in a planted aquarium.

You, of course, are free to come to your own conclusion.

James Purchase

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