By Clint Norwood
Duckweed - life size © Clint Norwood
Scientific Name: Lemna minor
Homeland: Almost everywhere
Ease Of Keeping: Very easy
Lighting: The more the better, but will survive in almost any light
Aquarium Requirements: Duckweed, a terror to some and a useful aquarium plant for others. This is a tiny little floating fern that grows so fast it's almost impossible to keep up with it. Once a tank is infected it's hard to completely wipe out the ever clinging Duckweed.
The benefits of Duckweed are the same as most plants in the aquarium, they help keep the water pure, add some oxygen, provide food and cover for fry and improve the appearence of a tank. Duckweed is known to be a home for tiny organisms that small fish and/or fry can eat, and it is often kept in tanks that have fish that are light shy. It is said to be a very good water purifyer, and a lot of experienced aquarist love this stuff, me included.
The drawbacks are that the Duckweed is so fast growing that it will completely cover the surface in a very short time, thus blocking out all the light for plants in the lower regions of the tank, and it's very hard to get rid of this stuff once you have it in a tank, it hides under the lip of the aquarium, it hides under the cover, seemingly dried up and dead, only to fall back into the aquarium to start a new generation. I have to admire any living thing with this tenacity for life, it should be the poster child for "Never Give Up".
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