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[APD] Duckweed eradication and request
Every now and then, someone posts the question "How do I get rid of duckweed?" I seem to have found an answer without meaning to, and thought I'd pass it on to the archives, along with a request for more duckweed :-)
A long time ago I accidentally introduced a few duckweed leaves on another plant. Since then, I got used to a weekly ritual of scooping out netfuls of the stuff and having it grow back each week. Not a problem - I kind of liked having it as 'backup filtration' as I like to think it would suck up ammonia if any was present. A month ago I introduced 5 juvenile Moonlight Gouramis to my tank. After the first week, I thought "that's odd - the duckweed isn't growing much. I wonder if something is wrong with the tank?" After the second week, there was only a little bit of duckweed in the corners and around the equipment, and some leaves attached to driftwood where the water level had been low. All the other plants were fine. That week I watched the tank closely, and I finally saw one of the gouramis picking at the duckweed stuck to the driftwood. He managed to pull it free, then spent a couple minutes trying to swallow it, and finally succeeded. After the 3rd week, there !
was not a speck of duckweed to be found anywhere in the tank. I have kept many different species of gouramies (Trichogaster trichopterus, Colisa fasciata, Colisa lalia, Colisa chuna, Trichogaster leeri, Trichogaster pectoralis, and Colisa labiosa), but the Moonlights (Trichogaster microlepis) are the only ones I've found to eat duckweed like this. The fish are well fed with other food (veggie-flakes, bloodworms, brine shrimp, etc) so it must be a delicacy for them. Hopefully this might be useful information for someone. I can't guarantee they won't eat other plants, but even now when they are out of duckweed they haven't disturbed any of the other plants in the tank.
Which brings me to my request - if you are willing to send me some duckweed via US mail, please email me off-list. I want to set up a little duckweed tank so I can maintain a fresh supply for the gouramis. I'll be happy to pay for postage and your time. When I asked for it at all the LFS's today, I got very strange looks from those who knew the plant ("Why would you want that stuff?"), but no one had any.
Terry S. in AZ
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