Growing out those roots

seangee

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For the avoidance of doubt I am talking about floating plants ;)

Last night I was idly wandering around on t'internet and the topic de jour was duckweed, which soon got sidetracked into floating plants in general. I came across an interesting comment about using the roots of your floating plants to gauge water quality. It was tongue in cheek and warned that it was not a reliable method. Can't remember where (may have been PFK) and no citations but it did actually make sense. The theory is:

Floating plants are renowned as ammonia (and to a lesser extent nitrate) sinks. This means that they feed a lot, and need a lot of nitrogen. The easiest way for them to acquire this food is through their leaves. However if food is scarce, meaning not enough ammonia or nitrate, they send out lots of long, bushy roots in a desperate attempt to find more food. This of course means your water is in good condition if the plants are unable to find enough food.

So if you want a good healthy root system in the surface of your tanks keep up with the large weekly water changes.
P.S. Nitrate reduction isn't the only reason we change water - so you should do water changes anyway - even if there is no nitrate in the tank :fish:
 

Meg0000

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Really interesting, the frogbits roots in my 55 gallon grow really long and amazingly well but not in my 10 gallon so that might be the cause.
 
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