Plant selections for floating planters


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Is there a garden shop (online) or a catalog where I can browse the aquatic plants available?

I am looking for a short stature plant that will grow well in a floating planter. These plants are going to be for my bait tank (just shy of 6' x 10' x 32" deep). The tank has a cover (wire and PVC tubing frame) so I don't want the plants to grow tall and grow up through the wire mesh. I will only have about 6" of headspace above the water. I would like the plant to spread out from the planter and shade the water to some extent, i.e. big, broad leaves or lots of ferny frons that lay low.

Since I am in Zone 5, the plants won't make it through our winters, unless there is something special. I am going to keep the tank (pond) in operation all year long, using aeration and a little bit of heat and much insulation. It will be open air so the temperature will still be too cold for almost any plants, but the water will remain free flowing and open and hopefully the fish can make it through til spring.

Any suggestions or links to specialty garden shops?

Thanks, Gordy
 
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taherrmann4

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You could use water lettuce but it won't survive the winter, it floats on the water and spreads quite rapidly in the right conditions. It stays very short.
 
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You could use water lettuce but it won't survive the winter, it floats on the water and spreads quite rapidly in the right conditions. It stays very short.

Tmann,

Thank you. I did some searching on that. found some good information here: http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/node/328

I don't figure that any plant will survive the winter here, irregardless of how much winterizing I do, unless I make an indoor pond/tank. But, I can take just the plants indoors and bring them back out in spring. That's just fine with me. I mainly want them to shade the water in the hot summer months.

Is there a place where I can go to purchase all sorts of aquatic plants? Someplace with a wide selection?

Gordy
 
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From that source, I read this:
  • water lettuce mats degrade water quality by blocking the air-water interface and greatly reducing oxygen levels in the water, eliminating underwater animals such as fish
  • water lettuce mats greatly reduce biological diversity: mats eliminate native submersed plants by blocking sunlight, alter emersed plant communities by pushing away and crushing them, and also alter animal communities by blocking access to the water and/or eliminating plants the animals depend on for shelter and nesting"
  • But, I don't think that this will be a problem in a small, controlled environment. Do you? I'll just have to maintain them and keep them from becoming too prolific. I don't want them to shade the entire surface, just specific areas for the fish to hide out for a time.
  • Sound right?
 

taherrmann4

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This past year is the first year I used water lettuce and did not have any problems, but I only have 3 large koi and about 40-60 goldfish. This fall I took one mother plant of water lettuce and put it in my planted aquarium and it has done so well that I had to throw away some pieces b/c it was covering the entire top of the 75 g tank. Some people on the forum have to pull a lot of it out during the summer when it is really growing. It is easy to control though IMO. Here is a link with some plants, I have never ordered from them but some folks on another forum I am on for aquariums have purchased from them.

http://www.aquariumplants.com/Surface_Varieties_s/120.htm
 

sissy

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You can google aquatic plants for ponds there are several good sights for them
 
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This past year is the first year I used water lettuce and did not have any problems, but I only have 3 large koi and about 40-60 goldfish. This fall I took one mother plant of water lettuce and put it in my planted aquarium and it has done so well that I had to throw away some pieces b/c it was covering the entire top of the 75 g tank. Some people on the forum have to pull a lot of it out during the summer when it is really growing. It is easy to control though IMO. Here is a link with some plants, I have never ordered from them but some folks on another forum I am on for aquariums have purchased from them.

http://www.aquariump...eties_s/120.htm

T'mann

Thanks, that link will do nicely to get me started, lots of plants to select from! Yeah, that's a great start for me.

I appreciate it

Gordy
 
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Yup,
In a well defined easy to reach position like a pond or container, the more robust growing varieties are very easy to control.

The robust growing habit is useful where seasons change quick from Winter to Summer and shade for fish becomes vital.

I nickname the aquatic plants in that category 'fast foliage' to differentiate them from the more sedate perrenial aquatic plants which are well suited for slow growing, ornamental positions

Water hyacinth, Water lettuce, parrots feather, pennywort, four leaf clover produce excellent cover early in the season for spawning fish, fish fry to colonise, fairly easy to extract and dry, chop up and use for mulch when they mass up

Regards, andy
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I should think duckweed would fit the bill nicely. Dense shade, short roots, not tall. High protein food to boot. Much easier to over winter than the topical plants. Super cheap, cheap shipping, reproduces fast. Might even be able to find some locally for free. You'd probably have to protect it from the fish, like putting in a floating wire basket type deal.

Although I'm sure it's possible I've never heard of anyone successfully over wintering Water hyacinth or Water lettuce. I never could, not even close. I'd guess you'd need heated water.

Hyacinth and lettuce can produce a very dense and long root mass. As in filling the tank with roots. Goldfish and Koi will often eat the roots to some degree, sometimes killing it. I don't know about your target fish.
 
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Reading the wikipedia article on duckweed, this sounds like a VERY good selection for my bait pond/tank. I think I will try it out the first season and see how it grows. I think that I would probably be able to move some of it indoors in winter to keep in a large aquarium or a tank of some sort for the next spring, probably much easier than most other plants, and I can always leave some in the tank over winter and see if it survives our winter with my setup. I might just get lucky.

Thanks for everyone's input here, I have a lot of resources to go on now.

Gordy
 

j.w

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I did an experiment recently w/ duckweed and put some in a tub w/ nothing but water and some other plants and added some clean well water daily to top it off and then I also put some in a tub w/ lots of compost gunk on the bottom and of course water and that's it. Topped it off w/ well water also when level dropped. The stuff did not grow well in the tub w/ just water and plants. The stuff in the compost and water grows like mad and forms a thick matt over the surface. So the stuff loves rich composted soil and I'm now able to keep it handy that way for my goldies.
 
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That's good info.

I did a similar experiment with Water Hyacinth as I couldn't get it to grow in the pond. So I tried a separate tank. Instead of compost I added potash. It was also an experiment to see if too much potash would kill the plant. The Hyacinth did very well.

In my next pond I'm thinking of growing duckweed for fish food so I'll probably need some fertilizer.
 

j.w

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I've heard over the winter here it likes to settle down on the bottom in the rich gunk and then floats back up in the Spring. Going to watch mine this year and see if it sinks or still floats on the surface. Wondering what will happen if it freezes on top also.
 
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taherrmann4

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You could also consider four leaf clover that floats, the roots grow along the bottom and send up a long tiny stem to the surface where the four leaf clover forms. It will spread quite rapidly once established and is easy to pull out or thin, but if you neglect it I could see it getting out of control.
 

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