Duckweed, Native Plants
Re Duckweed, Eric -
I recommend Rainbowfishes, especially the various colour morphs of
Melanotaenia trifasciata. Not only do they control the problem bit they
reward you for their trouble with better health and brighter ( if that is
possible) colours. In fact a planted tank is the " only" way to really
appreciate these gems.
Re Native Plants -
For years I have spent my vacations here in Australia wandering around the
various swamps and waterways collecting native fishes and surveying aquatic
habitats. In the past my attempts at bringing back native plants and
keeping them at home produced very ordinary results. More recently I have
tried a native low budget, modified hi-tech aquarium with better results.
The addition of some substrate heating, yeast CO2 and timed stronger lights
etc has made a major difference and it has added a whole new dimension to
my enjoyment and satisfaction.
I have been amazed at the variety and beauty available but overlooked. I
strongly recommend listmembers consider local plants as well and post us
with their results.
Just a few practical hints from my own experience. Please don't collect in
legally protected places, try to minimise the size of your collection and
leave the donor site in good condition. Take notes on the local conditions
such as temperature, soil type/substrate, water parameters, lighting, time
of the year, other plants nearby, state of maturity of the plant ( e.g.
whether flowering, producing runners, size etc) and any other factor that
may be helpful later on and away from the collection site. I find it best
to take small to moderate sized specimens as intact as possible and wash
off all soil and place in a labelled clear plastic take-away food container
( those ones with the clip-on lids) which is then stacked in a styrofoam
fish box in the shade as I have lost many a plant from overheating and
dessication. Putting each plant type in it's own container prevents damage
to others from allelopathy or rot and makes later handling minimal before
An alternative is to wrap each in slightly damp newspaper and then place in
a plastic bag of air ( for cushioning) and rubber-banding. IMO crushing and
consequent injury is another major cause of failure.
I have, on occasion even taken home buckets of substrate with good results
as the microbial flora that has evolved in parallel is still available to
"cushion" the translocation stresses.