Life in the Bowl: frogbit

Frogbit, Free floating small plant (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) resembling a miniature lily pad. It has nickel sized, kidney shaped, green leaves about 1 inch or less across that grow in circular clusters. New pads rise from the cluster center to produce new growth. A white flower with a yellow center may be tucked among the leaves. The undersides of the leaves are puffed with spongy, air-holding tissue. The roots are beautiful fan like extensions that can grow two inches or more and absorb nutrients directly from the water without having to anchor or even touch the bottom.

I've notice my betta's tend to spend a lot of time swimming around the plants I add in their home. They also tend to become the center pieces for the bubble nests.

Top view of the dime sized leaflets of frogbit. These keep the plant afloat and absorb needed light. On the underside we see sponge like cells which enable this buoyancy and add thickness to the leaf.

Here we see the delicate feathery roots that absorb nutrients form the water and provide limited coverage for fish to swim around and shrimp to cling to.


a stem like root that branches out from it's feathery neighbor roots. It's main function seems to be try and anchor the plant for permanently into the ground where I assume it will take on additional nutrients and growth.



One becomes Two and Two become a cluster of Four. By sending small off shoots out onto the surface and then growing into new plants which will eventually separate completely.


Possible sources of Frogbit