Salvinia minima (common name: common salvinia, water spangles)
Overview: Native to the South America and West Indies, Salvinia minima, commonly called as water spangles or common salvinia is a small free floating fern that grows in clusters and slowly develops into dense colonies of floating mats in still water. It inhabits brackish water including marshes, swamps and wetlands. This aquatic plant’s use in aquarium is debatable among aquarists due to it’s invasive nature. Salvinia minima can be easily grown in aquariums with minimal water surface disturbance. Tanks with downward water current via filters should steer clear of growing Salvinia minima as tiny plants can get sucked up the water column, get trapped, and eventually get rotten when fully submerged.
Appearance: The floating leaves of Salvinia minima are small and oval to round in shape and measuring 0.4 to 2 cm in length and with a defined midrib that causes the leaves to form a cup like shape when folded. Stiff leaf hairs are present on the upper surface of the leaves. Salvinia minima is a fern and hence bears no flowers. Although this plant does not have roots, the dissected leaves that are longer than floating ones hang down and act as root. The leaves are bright green or brown in coloration depending upon the intensity of light.
Hard/Soft plant: Hard plant.
Ideal water temperature: Salvinia minima prefers warm tropical climate for ideal growth and therefore temperatures between 18 and 32 degree Celsius is considered ideal.
Lighting conditions: Salvinia minima is highly dependent on lighting for quick growth and prefers low to high levels of lighting. In natural habitat and when exposed to direct sunlight, the growth is dense and invasive, but with no lighting, the leaves develop a dull brown color and loses it’s vibrant bright green coloration.
Ideal pH conditions: Salvinia minima can tolerate pH levels between 6 and 8.
Advantages and functions:
- Helps in removing nitrogenous wastes and other harmful wastes from the aquarium and oxygenating the water tank that is beneficial to the aquatic life.
- Research and studies are conducted on the use of Salvinia minima as a supplement in livestock feeds.
Did you know?
Salvinia minima reproduce asexually via spores present in sporocarps. As fragmentation is an ongoing process, Salvinia minima proliferates exponentially.