The Lemna minor plant is widespread and plays an important role in all biotopes in which it is found. It is a kind of biological filter, purifying the water from excess mineral substances. It is a food base for fish, amphibians and some birds. Red-eared turtles are very fond of this grass. In most cases, a person considers it as a weed. But the amount of protein in this plant and its ability to clean the environment makes us think about the true role of this plant in biotopes and human life.
Habitat: It is widespread everywhere. It inhabits mainly in standing and low-flowing waters.
Lemna minor description
The marsh cassock includes several species. The best known and most widespread species is Lemna minor. It is the most reduced of the flowering plants. It is represented by a green lamina, which is not a leaf, but a leafless stem. It is more commonly referred to as a leaflet. It has an oval shape up to 5 millimeters long and up to 3 millimeters wide. Vertically downward from it comes a thin stub enclosed in a so-called pouch.
The length of the spine is up to ten millimeters. The role of this spine is not so much for nutrition as for giving stability to the leaflet on the water surface. Flowering is extremely rare. Reproduces mainly by leaflets.
This representative of the flora is rarely used to decorate the aquarium, because most of it is seen from above. While the aquarium is observed mainly from the side. Nevertheless, although it is limited, but finds application in aquaristics. It is mainly used to shade aquariums with shade-loving plants and fish that do not like bright overhead light. In addition, the spines hanging vertically downwards can also create a decorative effect when viewed from the side.
In addition, these spines can be a wonderful shelter for fry of viviparous fish. Shrimp in the tangle of these spines feel great (but you can forget about watching them :-). In these plexuses of spines create ideal conditions for the reproduction of infusoria, which are the starting food for the fry of many spawning fish.
It can be used as an alternative to riccia for nest building by some species of labyrinth fish. After all, it is plant food for many fish species. It can also be dried by spreading it on a baking tray and drying it in the shade, grind it and add it to dry fodder.
Also infusions, decoctions and lotions of cassava are widely used in folk medicine for the treatment of gout, vitiligo, rheumatism and other diseases. On the vastness of the Internet can be found culinary recipes with its use. Here I will only point out that the plant taken from water bodies where geese and ducks swim is not recommended for human consumption.
Lemna minor aquarium maintenance
It is not difficult to breed and maintain the plant. The chemical composition of water is practically irrelevant. Absorbing minerals from the water, can purify it from the excess of many minerals. Does a good job of oxygenating the water. Withstands temperatures from 10 to 30 ° C. The optimal temperature is about 20 ° C. In additional feeding does not need. Reproduces and grows quickly and in a very short period of time is able to cover the entire surface of the reservoir, regardless of its size. Therefore, most aquarists tend to consider cassock as a weed. And really, what kind of cultivated plant over which you do not need to shake and which grows by itself, almost without stress on the part of man? :-).
Lemna minor Growth control
If you decide to buy cassava, you should keep in mind that, most likely, it is collected in one of the country ponds, and let it into the aquarium without quarantine in any case is not allowed. It is necessary to carefully examine it for the presence of mollusks and protozoan parasites. And only after a two-week quarantine can let a certain number of leaflets in the main aquarium or in the spawning ground of labyrinth fish.
More often in the aquarium Lemna gets accidentally with other plants or poorly washed live food. And from this moment the aquarist has the task or to destroy completely not asked guest or at least keep its amount within acceptable limits. For this is suitable for mechanical collection of cassava with a net from the water surface.
Collected cassava should be placed in another vessel with water. This vessel should be shaken, properly that would make sure that you do not scoop up a net together with the cassock hidden in it fry livebearers or shrimp, if you keep them. And only after making sure that in the weave of its roots are no fish or shrimp can continue to process the green mass. The green mass collected in this way can be dried in the shade and used as plant food for fish.
How to get rid of it?
If you have set yourself the goal of completely getting rid of the small cassava, you need to collect all the leaves from the surface and leave the aquarium without overhead lighting for about a week. During this period, you can temporarily establish side lighting. During this time, as a rule, all the smallest leaflets, which could not be collected mechanically – die. Also in the fight against cassava can help fish that consider it a treat. For example, lalius.
As we can see, Lemna has many wonderful properties, which may be used in the future. After all, the yield of green mass from one square meter is truly record-breaking – in the southern regions up to 20 kg per season. And its endurance unpretentiousness and adaptability expands its habitat up to the Arctic Circle. In the aquarium, this plant can also provide good service, if the aquarist knows how to handle it and control its growth.
Nevertheless, although listed a number of positive aspects that can justify the content of cassava in the aquarium, before deciding to deliberately let it on the surface of the water should once again, properly weigh the pros and cons. Lemna is considered a weed precisely because of its rapid growth. Before you let this plant into your aquarium, you need to be sure that you can cope with its unrestrained growth. And you will be able to get rid of it when the need for its “services” is no longer necessary.