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Floating Plant Filter and Phyllanthus fluitans

Merrill Cohen was so kind as to send me a batch of Phyllanthus fluitans to
try out in my Floating Plant Filter some months back. There were a good crop
of aphids in there along with my duckweed and Azolla.

I'm sorry to report that my findings are inconclusive. After I added the
Phyllanthus, the aphids *did* leave. However, IMHO, they had already began
an exodus toward the "great lights in the sky" (my two compact fluorescent
bulbs) before the Phyllanthus was added--there was still a steady stream of
the little buggers up to the lights and to a crispy death. So, from this
experiment, the jury may be out forever, and we may only ponder what was
really going on in those tiny little aphid brains!

My experiment with this type of filtration resulted in mixed reviews. It
initially worked quite well, keeping the nitrAtes down to a bear minimum.
*However,* when I began using fertilizer, the growth rate of the floating
plants increased...and so did the die-off. "Expired" duckweed and Azolla
sunk to the bottom of the filter. It was a continual hastle to clean in
order to keep water quality up. So, while it was an interesting experiment,
it was not a very practical filter, IMHO.

Also, to add insult to injury, I *really* messed up. (I fully deserve the
big bone-head of the year award.) I introduced some Cardinal tetras to my
tank without a Q-period in a separate aquarium. They came down with a rapid,
quick-acting, killer bacteria that spread through my tank. Since I was using
plants for a filter, I thought it would be no big deal to use antibiotics in
the tank (not the Mardel line). After I added the antibiotics, the filter
crashed. I didn't give a thought about the symbiotic algae in the roots of
the Azolla. I lost some prized fish because of this blunder, and I felt like
hitting my head against the wall...althought that wouldn't have helped my
thinking one bit.

Oh well. I thought I'd give you folks an update. Why I haven't posted in a
while? Well, I moved from Elma, Washington to Plano, Texas. Took most of my
fish with me too! :-)


Walter B. Klockers
jloach at gte_net
ps--Andrew (from Seattle, who used to work at The Fish Store), could you
give me an e-mail? I'd like to ask you some questions about Botia
sidthimunki. Thanks!