Azolla caroliniana (common name: Mosquito fern, water velvet)
Overview: Native to the North America, and few parts of Central and South America, Azolla caroliana is a freshwater aquatic floating fern having bluish green algae on it’s leaves. Although this fern is fast growing in nature, it is still preferred by many aquarists because it has very few demands and makes a great addition to top open aquariums, aquarium bowls and water gardens.
Appearance: Azolla caroliana is a floating aquatic fern with tiny fronds measuring 5-10 mm in length, and varying from green to reddish coloration depending upon the light intensity. The fronds are covered in fine tiny hairs and gives a velvety appearance, hence the name water velvet.
Hard/Soft plant: Soft plant
Ideal water temperature: For optimum luxurious growth, Azolla caroliana prefers temperatures between 20 and 25 degree Celsius. During winters, it can tolerate cold and freezing temperatures as well.
Lighting conditions: Azolla caroliana prefers moderate lighting for optimum growth and ideal coloration. In presence of strong light, the leaves turn reddish.
Ideal pH condition: Azolla caroliana can tolerate a wide pH range between 3 and 10.
Functions and advantages:
- Azolla caroliana is used as a nitrogen fertilizer in rice paddy fields as well as for animal feed cultivation.
- Azolla caroliana has a symbiotic relationship with Anabaena, a bluish-green algae present at the leaf base and helps in absorbing nitrogen from the air and is used up by the host plant.
- Beautiful addition to aquascapes in top open and bowl aquariums.
- The thick carpet of fronds helps in preventing weed growth.
- Harvested fronds are often used as fish and poultry feed.
Did you know?
Azolla caroliana propagates effortlessly on water simply by growing along the water surface.