Life in the Bowl: Salvinia

Salvinia minima, Another one of my favorite plants. Small, oval, 3/8" joined leaves covered with tiny hairs that absorb nutrients from the water. Prefers a lot of light and will help control algae. These plants are essentially floating ferns. Since they naturally occur in still waters having high organic content they are perfect for the bowl or tank. Their root-like structures which are actually modified fronds that act like nutrient sponges helping to clean the water like their floating counter part duckweed.

I have found this plant to be very easy to grow under florescent lighting with just a touch of water movement, like that provided by swimming fish or a very small water pump. In some of my tanks where I have neglected to provide enough circulation some of the salvinia turns white and eventually dies. Whether this is some form of parasite or fungus I am not sure.

I will rarely have just one type of plant with a betta. Here we see my sons betta building it's bubble nest among three types of plants, salvinia, duckweed and below anacharis. There is actually a forth plant type called riccia in amongst the salvinia which I will be writing more about in the future.

Reminiscent of frogbit but much smaller. These small pads send feathery brownish red root like structures into the water to gather nutrients. Almost inseparable to it's cousin duct weed the two are rarely seen apart.

A close up of the pads. We can just make out the hair like structures on the top of the pads.



A single pad and it's ethereal hairs that are actually capable of deriving nutrients out of the environment like it's fellow roots below


Here my camera skills have failed to catch the complete beauty of the root like feathery fronds of the salvinia water fern. This simple, inexpensive plant is interesting from any angle and one I hope to have around for a very long time.



Possible sources of salvinia minima: