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Aldrovanda Care Thread

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I believe that Aldrovanda has a (mostly) undeserved reputation for being hard to grow, and I think that is one of the reasons why it isn't as popular as it should be. If the secrets and key components of it's cultivation are shared, in detail and from the experience of successful growers, then Aldrovanda might become more popular. Advice from successful growers should be shared and questions should be asked. Photos are wanted! :lol: Questions are about aquatic utrics are also encouraged.

I'll go first:
How long does it take Aldrovanda to start to settle in and start growing after you receive them? It's been less than a week, and mine are already starting to multiply. Does that sound right for Aldrovanda?
 
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If the conditions are right, it should start growing right away. One person told me that he figured two scenarios, either full blown growing like crazy, or stagnated. I have it growing in several water features, from under a pint to ten gallons to maybe 15 or more. People with more experience than I have said it is all about water ecology much more than water chemistry. I agree. You could technically, grow prey in one area/vessel (wessel if you are Mr. Scott) and have your Aldrovanda in a container with water and no substrate, and just net out some prey from time to time and feed it that way, and probably do ok. Over time, who knows? I usually keep a bucket or three with old pitchers and reedy plant residue soaking in soft water, and net out prey and/or pour water into the features. Either way, they get an influx of prey from that, though if you set up your features right, they can be pretty much self sustaining. At least in the warmer times. In winter they go dormant, so prey is not an issue. So long as the hibernating bodies (turions) do not freeze, you will probably get new plants next year. I figure ideally, start out with something ten gallons or better, add a couple of inches of lfs and maybe peat moss, maybe some reedy plant leaves chopped up, ideally dry. Cover that with aquatic plant soil or kitty litter, not scented or clumping...then if you wish cover that with gravel and or pebbles. You want to have a substrate from 1/3 to 2/3 of the depth of your tank or planter. Add in aged water or rainwater, and let it sit for days, weeks, or up to a couple of months. Everything will settle out, add your plant or plants, then add some monocots, cyperus, pickerelweed, and other aquatics, maybe some duckweed or floating utrics. Keep the top open from 30% to 70%. If the mosquito larvae become a problem you can add a few mosquito fish, Gambusia. I like to do that just for the variety. Watch for algae and so that your other plants do not overgrow the area. Of course, if you had a large, shallow pond that would be much better. Most of us won't have access to that.
 

jimscott

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I had one, recently, that went from this:



to this:



in a couple of weeks.

I have been using a 10 gallon fish tank and managed to get through a 4 seasons.... and then I killed them with creek water. The bog water was conducive to growth, but the creek water slowly killed them. Here's some picture from a few years ago:





You can see companion plants, including U. gibba. A 10 gallon tank really isn't enough, though. A kiddie pool that allows for greater surface area and ~4" of water is more ideal.
 
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From my experience growing Aldrovanda, two factors are important to growth: a lack of algae and either regular feeding or CO2 injection. Algae loves to grow on Aldrovanda and will smother it quickly if given the chance. Using CO2 injection can somewhat help, but if there already is algae then you will probably still lose the Aldrovanda. CO2 injection can also substitute for feeding; my Aldrovanda grew quickly in a fish tank where there was little to eat, although I would feed it Daphnia for fun from time to time. Algae started growing after my CO2 setup broke and I lost all my Aldrovanda. Even without algae, if there is not enough food or CO2, the plant will grow smaller and smaller and eventually die off. While it is growing, though, it splits a lot and the population can easily double in a few weeks.
 

Bio

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@pearldiver: I agree that ecology is more important. I am growing Aldrovanda in an aquatic plant garden that I set up for them years ago, but only recently got Aldrovanda and U. gibba, so during that time the regular plants grew and mosquito larvae and microbes became established, and as a result, algae has never been a problem.

@jimscott: That's what the water garden looks like, only with much less U. gibba, and more of the water plants. I'm sorry to hear that you lost your Aldrovanda. It was a nice setup. Did you lose the gibba too?

@Tanukimo: CO2 injection sounds complicated and unnecessary for outdoor setups from what I've read. If the plants get enough food then they should be fine, right?
 
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Sure, if you have Daphnia and mosquito larvae on hand you don't need CO2. But if you have an aquarium with CO2 injection already, it makes growing Aldrovanda much easier.
 
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My issue with C02 injection is what if it fails, and populations/growth rates are artificially or whatever high, would you then have a crash? Also, you can kill your fish (assuming you have any) if the levels get too high. In some systems it makes great sense, not so much so for me and mine that are outdoors. Each to his or her own, just not for me.
 
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Forgot to add, you have to buy it, maintain it or jerryrig something, and maintain that. Again, not for me. Some of the more attractive aquatic aquarium plants I hear almost require it. Indoors tropical setups with the more Euro-style "agriculture."
 

jimscott

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I did lose the U. gibba as well. A friend recently re-supplied me with both. I just replenish the evaporated water with water from the bog. I guess there's enough critters in there to keep them going. The U. gibba and the snails that I don't remove keep the algae down.
 

Bio

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I have another question, the growth point on this plant appears to be dying. I attributed it to the siphoning of energy by the side shoots it put out. My questions are: Has anyone experienced the plant dying from making too many side shoots? & Is my diagnosis correct?

attachment.php


I have separated the side shoots. I am in the process of constructing a new setup, but I still need to wait for it to cycle properly.
 
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I think the decline is more that the plant isn't getting the nutrients it needs rather than making too many sideshoots. If your growing conditions are ideal the plant shouldn't decline even after making sideshoots. Is there enough food for the plant in your setup?
 

Bio

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Oh yes, almost every trap has a mosquito larva in it. Also, the other Aldro is perfectly fine and happy, which leads me to believe that this isn't an external issue. This particular plant made two offshoots while the other only has one, and once I separated the offshoots, what is left of the growth point on this plant seems to be recovering.

The only issue involving conditions that I can think of involve water temperature. The water temperature can rise during the day here (it's been in the upper 90s here recently) and the water can get quite warm.
 
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I'm not sure what the problem is, but I'm pretty sure it is not the water temperature, because supposedly higher water temperatures induce flowering, so it doesn't seem like Aldrovanda would have problems with it.Cold water on the other hand would be a problem.
 

jimscott

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My replacement plant isn't doing much at the 'business end', but is also sending out a new shoot from the side:

side shoot

business end



 

Clue

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I have another question, the growth point on this plant appears to be dying. I attributed it to the siphoning of energy by the side shoots it put out. My questions are: Has anyone experienced the plant dying from making too many side shoots? & Is my diagnosis correct?

attachment.php


I have separated the side shoots. I am in the process of constructing a new setup, but I still need to wait for it to cycle properly.

I have found that some of the best growing advice for Aldrovanda is found on a Czech website (Adamec & Pásek); very worthy of a good read for introductory purposes if you're not familiar with the website. On their photo gallery, at the very bottom of the page under the heading "Various" are some shots of diseased Aldrovanda that look much like yours.

"Disease.jpg: Typical symptoms of „Aldrovanda disease“ in Australian plants from outdoor cultivation in aquaria (4 plants from the top) and in Japanese plants (2 plants from the bottom). The reasons for this disease are still unclear but probably it is boron deficiency, Aug 2000; LA."

I have never seen my Aldrovanda do this. I grow mine in a small outdoor tub with local soil (adobe) with lots of companion plants (Machaerina rubiginosa, Sagittaria sagittifolia, and Eleocharis dulcis) along with a healthy population of Ostracods and Physa snails. I've never seen side shoots leading to the death of the main growing point, but they can arise if the growing tip is mechanically damaged.
 
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Bio

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The plant did recover after I removed the side shoots. I've seen that picture, and it seems similar, but mine seemed like it had all the energy sucked out of it. There was also an amount of algae in the tank, and I moved the plants to a better setup.
 
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There was also an amount of algae in the tank, and I moved the plants to a better setup.

That would explain a decline. Algae will suck the life out of Aldrovanda very quickly. I would check to make sure that it is all gone from your plants. Great to hear that your plant recovered.
 

jimscott

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Having U. gibba, as well as other companion plants, and the inevitable snails, effectively keeps algae in control.
 
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A large amount of my plants in a relatively new set up (less than a year) have very quickly turned bluegreen save for the tips. 80% or more of the biomass is dead or decaying. A query to one of the experts with this plant got this reply. This happened quite quickly.

Hi Paul,

Sadly, welcome to the soul-crippling world of Aldrovanda cultivation! I have come across this problem before, however I'm still at a loss as to a potential cause. My suspicion is that it is bacteriological in origin, given that it affects predominantly old growth. My suggestion- set up a brand new tank with new water and new substrate, and transfer a number of plants (say 50%) into it after washing them vigorously in fresh water. Try to remove all of the decomposing material so as not to pollute the new tank- you're still in the summer growth phase, so they can probably handle being cut back very severely (though are likely to be stressed from this condition as it is).

My best wishes that you can salvage some plants, and that they pick up in your original cultivation tank!

This stinks, and I have not yet formulated a greater plan. For now, I have removed most of the problem material...pulled the tips removed the decayed/decaying material and put the green tips back and have changed about a tenth of the water. Will monitor and see if it stops or goes on. Other Aldrovanda in other nearby areas seems ok. Could be a crash for other reasons...could not say. Anyone have the ability to culture this stuff and see what it might be? Don't know who well that would go as there is duckweed and all manner of other stuff together. But I guess one could seperate it out in some way...
 
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That sucks. I've heard that it is difficult to keep the plant alive long-term even though in the short term it spreads rapidly. I have found that algae likes to stay on old growth as well, making it difficult to remove it completely, but that probably isn't your problem.
 
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