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riccia fluitans

>From: "Joe Anderson" <wja70 at hotmail_com>
>Subject: >
>This is directed to the gentleman who was seeking information on the 
>riccia sp. but did not get any responses.  
>I don't know anything about the riccia sp. that you mentioned at first.  

Riccia rhenana is mentioned in Baensch.  I've never seen it mentioned
anywhere else.  There is a Riccia natans, but it looks more like duckweed
than the "usual" Riccia.  There is a form of Riccia that sinks on its own,
but it's unclear to me whether it is a different species or not.  Neil
Frank brought some of this type home from Japan with him, but I've also
found local non-floating populations in ponds in New England.  In fact, I
believe Innes mentioned the same.

>There is also a source of information on how to tie it down.  I don't 
>have the exact address, but maybe someone else can help.  

It's easy to tie down.  Just let a thick mat grow on the surface, then tie
it to a rock, either with fishing line, or by placing a fine mesh hair net
over it. (Tropica's trick)  The problem is that it must be trimmed
religiously, or the inner area, which is deprived of light, dies away, and
the mat floats free.  People use a number of other plants in efforts to
"stabilize" the plant.  You can clearly see in places that Amano has mixed
either hair grass (Eleocharis sp.) or Utricularia sp. in with the Riccia.
Other people use Java moss mixed in.

Riccia on a rock has become almost as much of a "Holy Grail" as
Glossostigma has.  Glossostigma can be difficult to grow, but doesn't seem
to have bad manners, either.  Riccia _not_ on a rock is almos as annoying
as algae in a tank... certainly as bad as duck weed.  Once you've got it,
you'll never be free of it.  It clogs filters, gets ensnared in fine leafed
plants, and QUICKLY covers the water surface blocking light.  

If you've got the patience and time to maintain tanks Amano style, it can
be beautiful.  For the rest of us who fit in aquarium maintenance into
their "free" 25th hour of the day, it can be more trouble than it's worth.
OTOH, it makes an excellent low maintenance ground cover in a high humidity
terrarium.  I use it around the bases of my carnivorous plants.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association