Riccia fluitans (common name: floating crystalwort)
Overview: Riccia fluitans, also popularly known as floating crystalwort or bladderwort, is a popular floating aquatic plant used by aquarists worldwide especially in livebearer tanks. This plant serves as an ideal refuge for the young fry. Since it’s discovery in 1753, Riccia fluitans was not used as an aquarium plant initially, until the eminent Japanese aquarist, Takashi Amano who experimented using it as an epiphyte by tying it to driftwoods and rocks in submerged condition, popularized it. This rapidly growing aquatic plant has different species but only the one native to Japan is best suited in submerged state inside aquariums.
Appearance: Riccia flutians grows rapidly and forms a dense mat below as well as on the surface of the water. Under optimum conditions, the antler bud or even a single branch can propagate to create a massive colony of this plant. Riccia fluticans usually floats on water but can be submerged when tied to driftwoods and rocks. In fact, it’s ability to attach itself to wood or rocks makes it possible to use as a foreground carpet plant in aquariums. Under sufficient lighting, it looks bright green in color. Riccia fluticans is a fairly undemanding plant and can withstand a wide range of environmental conditions. Thrives best with added carbon dioxide in water and forms small oxygen bubbles on the tip of leaves under optimum conditions.
Hard/Soft plant: Soft plant
Ideal water temperature conditions: Riccia flutians thrives between 15 and 30 degree Celsius.
Water pH conditions: Riccia flutians prefers water with pH ranging between 6.0 and 8.0.
Ideal lighting conditions: Riccia flutians thrives in medium to high lighting levels. Any basic fluorescent bulb or sunlight works best for rapid growth.
Advantages and uses:
1) Thick dense mat of Riccia flutians provides excellent hideout to fry.
2) The thick foliage of Riccia flutians serves as nesting space for spawning fishes like Gourami species.
3) Used as a foreground carpet in aqua scaping.
4) Used in livebearer tanks.
5) Riccia flutians works as an oxygenator for fishes inside the aquarium it is planted in.
Did you know?
Since Riccia flutians is a rapidly growing aquatic plant and hence needs frequent pruning otherwise, the parts that do not receive adequate sunlight might wither off. These dead parts might interfere with the continuous growth of the new plants and result in detachment from the parent plant and float away, thus losing the aesthetic beauty of this carpet plant.