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Can floating plants cause light issues?

EA James

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22 Jul 2019
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Hi all, I’ve recently added some Phyllanthus Fluitans that was very kindly donated by @Siege, it’s been in the tank about 2 weeks now and they seem to be multiplying at quite a rapid rate!
Am I right in thinking a healthy floater is a good indication of a happy tank nutrients wise?
What I’d also like to know is will these cause issues for the plants below from blocking the light? My EA freshwater is 70cm deep and the lighting isn’t that strong as it is (2 stock EA tubes and an Aquasky) so I’m a bit concerned these might be trouble makers?!!
I’ve not had floating plants before and I love these but the plants below are more important
Cheers, James
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Nick potts

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Floating plants are great for nutrient uptake and can be a good indicator of nutrient and water issues, but yes as they grow/spread they will block out light to anything under them. I use floaters and just thin them right up when they start causing issues, but that can get boring as in a high light and fert dosed tank they can spread rapidly
 
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What I’d also like to know is will these cause issues for the plants below from blocking the light?
In my eyes they're the gift that keeps on giving...
You've probably highlighted one downside to all the other pros mate but that's not necessarily a downside.
In my tank it negates the need for a dimmer switch, if I think they're blocking too much light I can remove some so effectively they are a dimmer switch.
On the positive side, the roots provide oxygen into the column without stealing any co2 (essential when it comes to low tech tanks where co2 is in short supply)
They provide comfort to fish which fear predation from above which makes the fish act more confident.
They quickly soak up excess nutrients.
They provide hiding places for fry as well as a source of food.
The provide a beneficial area for bacteria to live.
They give a good indication of whether the issues with your plants are nutrient or co2 related.
Some loss of light is a small price to pay and can be easily adjusted by giving some away so other users can benefit from all of the above imo.
 

EA James

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@AverageWhiteBloke nice reply, cheers. Glad i asked now!
Should there be anything in particular i should be looking out for in them? Say for example if they start going a dark colour the water is lacking in something, do you know what i mean?!
I was thinking about giving some away so I'll put a post up

Cheers :)
 

mort

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Great advice above so I'll only add that red root floaters seem to let more light through than other floaters as they don't have such dense/thick leaves as something like a chunky amazon frogbit or salvinia. The one downside I have with them is that they can grow very densely and climb over one another with growth. This might be because of the way my flow is setup, directing them to the same corner, but when I neglected maintanence for a while they formed a mass a couple of inches thick (loosely so the bottom leaves were unhappy but not completely rotting, this is a tank lit by direct south facing sun so they go mad in the summer but are a lovely red). If you keep them under control they are a great addition.
 

Wolf6

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Netherlands
I made myself a floater-container inside the tank from a plastic lid, just kept the edge of the lid. The floaters can grow inside and once they get too plentyful I remove some. I use a suction cup to keep the plastic holder in place on one side of the tank. Perhaps not the prettiest, but it works well enough for me and cost me nothing :)
 

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dw1305

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Hi all,
I use floaters and just thin them right up when they start causing issues
I was thinking about giving some away so I'll put a post up
Yes, thin them out as you wish. They are quite a sort after plant, so you can probably find people who will want them.
Say for example if they start going a dark colour the water is lacking in something, do you know what i mean?
It is slightly more tricky with Phyllanthus fluitans, when compared to Limnobium laevigatum, because you have leaves that aren't a standard green, but yes all you need to do is look at the leaf growth and colour when the plants are doing well (so at the moment) and <"then watch for changes"> (in leaf colour and growth rate).

cheers Darrel
 

EA James

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red root floaters seem to let more light through than other floaters
That's good to know, Thanks for the rest of the advice too

@Wolf6 initially i done something similar, i made up a ring from some old air line and had them in that but i didn't like the look of it as it was free floating. I might give your idea a try though, cheers

@dw1305 that's what i wanted to hear! Thanks once again
 

noobscaper

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Do floaters steal nutrients from the other plants? I've been considering getting them again after mine died off because of low light.
 

mort

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Do floaters steal nutrients from the other plants? I've been considering getting them again after mine died off because of low light.

They do but give you a great indication of the health of your plants, simply because they show if your fertilisation is lacking by their new growth. Check out the duckweed index on here and it will explain how useful they can be.
 

castle

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norfolk
Turning up lights for me when the surface was covered in Limnobium caused a painful algae spike, not saying the light was the cause but it didn't help ha!
 

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