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Thread: How I grow Aldrovanda in my aquariums

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    StifflerMichael's Avatar
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    How I grow Aldrovanda in my aquariums

    For the past two years, I've been growing Aldrovanda in my planted aquariums; I started with 5 strands, now I have more than 100 (and I've traded or given away about that much also). The Aldrovanda I grow is from Darwin, Australia, it is tropical and does not require dormancy. I received it as a gift from a plant biologist at the 2005 New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) show.

    I have two aquariums that I grow Aldrovanda in, a heavily-planted 'high-tech' 55-gallon tank, and a 'low-tech' 29 gallon tank. I'll go over the 55-gallon tank first, here's a picture:



    I use a 4 x 55-watt compact fluorescent light fixture, with parabolic polished aluminum reflectors, to light the tank. Lights run 10 hours/day.



    I use an Eheim canister filter, with a spray bar outlet. It's located underneath the aquarium in the stand. This filter creates gentle water movement and the outlet is directed not to send the Aldrovanda to the bottom.



    I inject pressurized CO2. The water I add to the tank has a pH of about 7.5, I lower the pH with CO2 (which makes carbonic acid when dissolved) to 6.5. Here's how the setup works: water is sucked into the canister filter, and directed to a CO2 reactor behind the tank:



    The water comes from the filter into the top of the reactor. The CO2 line comes in to the reactor also, and bubbles are generated at the bottom of the reactor. The water flows down, the bubbles go up, so you get complete mixing of the CO2. The water then flows out the bottom of the reactor and into the aquarium.

    The CO2 is from a pressurized tank:



    The regulator for this unit has a solenoid, and is controlled by a pH meter:



    This is the pH probe for the unit, which is in the aquarium:



    The pH is constantly monitored. When it rises above 6.5, the pH meter turns on the CO2 until the pH drops to 6.5 again. This whole unit allows me to get very a high CO2 concentration (but not too high to harm the fish).

    I use Eco-complete topped with pool sand as a substrate. I have several types of aquatic plants growing in the tank (swords, ludwigia, rotala, moss, stargrass, mayaca). The fish here are columbian tetras, cardinal tetras, corydoras and hatchetfish. To control algae, I have several fish: a siamese algae eater, otocinclus, as well as cherry shrimp and ramshorn snails.

    I change half the water weekly (20 gallons!). I also add fertilizers: potassium nitrate, potassium phosphate, and plantex (a micronutrient mix). I also add additional sodium bicabonate to increase the carbonate hardness; and magnesium sulfate and calcium chloride to increase the general hardness.

    This whole setup cost me about $1000, probably more I set it up initially only as planted aquarium, I threw in the Aldrovanda on a whim. The Aldrovanda grow like crazy in this tank, they are constantly producing flowers and cover most of the top of the tank. Here's some pics:




  2. #2
    StifflerMichael's Avatar
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    The 29 gallon tank is a 'low-tech' planted aquarium:



    It has only a single 55-watt bulb, with the parabolic reflector, etc. as with the 55-gallon tank. It also has an Eheim canister filter, though smaller. I have some bog wood here too as decoration. I use 'low-light' plants here: hornwort, anubius, cryptocoryne, swords, and others. Fish residents are tetras, zebrafish, a killifish, and a siamese algae eater...snails abound also.

    I use a DIY CO2 system here. I mix together 1.5 liters fresh aquarium water, 1.5 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon active dry yeast, and one teaspoon baking soda. This goes into a 2 liter soda bottle.



    This is vented into the bottom of a bubble ladder. The bubble ladder acts to keep the CO2 bubbles in contact with the water for a longer time to increase the amount of CO2 that dissolves.



    I don't add fertilizers to this tank, though I treat the water the same as with the 55-gallon tank (adding sodium bicarbonate, etc.). The substrate I use here is Fluorite mixed with some other clay pebbles.

    The Aldrovanda don't do so well in this tank. They simply don't propagate as quickly, and don't look very compact. It's probably due to insufficient lighting; I keep them pressed up against the lights (using the other plants), but I don't think it's enough. These lights, by the way, are tons more poweful than the standard fixture you get at the pet store (20 watt fluorescent).

    Hope you like my setups! Please ask me if you have any questions!

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    Doing it wrong until I do it right. xvart's Avatar
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    Incredible. I would follow your instructions to the "T" if I had $1000 dollars. Do the fish eat the Aldrovanda or is there so much growing that you would never notice?

    xvart.
    "The tragedy of life is not that every man loses; but that he almost wins."

    "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

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    StifflerMichael's Avatar
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    I've caught the siamese algae eater munching on the Aldrovanda a few times. I just keep him well fed, and he doesn't eat it (algae eater my butt!...he was when he was younger).

    The snails and the shrimp love to hang out in the Aldrovanda, especially the shrimp. They don't munch on it, thankfully.

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    NECPS President Dave S.'s Avatar
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    So cool! The pressurized CO2 tank is awesome.

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    I've got a magic window! elgecko's Avatar
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    Very nice.

    I have had several planted tanks in the past. Every few years I switch back and forth to what I'm keeping; between lizards and fish. Currently I'm into breeding Leopard Geckos again so no fish tanks.

    Here is some pics of my years gone by tanks.

    40 gallon tank set up for a few years.


    I then decided to redo the tank and this pic is after making some changes. I did not take a picture of the tank after it filled back in.


    My 29 gallon tank.



    My Grow List Updated 8/24/17

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