Amazon frogbit plants, or the Limnobium Laevigatum, are growing wildly popular among aquarium enthusiasts because they are easy to care for. Although it is believed to be an invasive species in North America, the hobbyist community continues to look after the plants. What makes this plant unique is the ability to float on water bodies.
The frogbit plant also displays small white flowers for certain months of the year – but that’s rare in most home aquariums. These plants are highly adaptive and can be grown in aquariums, ponds, and other surfaces. This guide takes an in-depth look at how you can look after the floating aquarium plant.
The Origins of the Frogbit Plant
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Experts believe that the Frogbit plant originally came from the freshwater bodies of South America and parts of Central America. It thrives on the edges of various water bodies, including lakes, ponds, canals, and rivers.
The scientific community often describes the plant as a lake dweller, given its striking familiarity with another freshwater plant known as the water hyacinth. Over the years, the worldwide community of houseplant lovers and aquarium enthusiasts began to adopt the frogbit plant.
Today, the frogbit plant can be found in numerous fish stores and aquariums. It is worth noting that Amazon frogbit plants are considered to be an invasive species in some parts of Europe and Africa. This is why it is of utmost importance to practice responsible plant propagation of the Amazon frogbit plants.
Part of the reason why it is so popular is that it is a fast spreader. It can grow in a budget-friendly aquarium setup with just a few fish and even large community tanks with all kinds of flora and fauna.
The Appearance of Frogbit Plants
The Amazon frogbit plant is a stunning aquatic species that is known for its gorgeous bright green leaves and tall, fuzzy roots. It can grow up to 20 inches of circular-shaped leaves that have spongy tissue underneath to help them stay afloat. The floating plants also have tiny hairs on their surface for collecting dissolved nutrients
The aquarium plants are unisexual in nature, although they do have tiny seeds that are 1mm long and hairy.
During certain parts of the year, the frogbit plant will bloom. It has rosettes of tiny kidney-shaped leaves surrounding a white flower with a yellowish center. The flower has thin and crumpled petals.
An entire mat of Frogbits can create a breathtaking appearance that will beautify your aquarium.
Aquarium Setup for Frogbit Plants
The Amazon frogbit is surprisingly easy to look after. One of the best ways to determine the health of the floating plant is the length of its roots. There are several factors that affect the length of the plant’s roots. Let’s take a look at them below.
Tank Measurements and Dimensions
Frogbit plants are known for reaching a size of about 20 inches in length. This means you will need a large enough tank to accommodate them. As a rule, it is recommended to have a tank with a capacity of 40 liters of water. At this size, the tank won’t be easily overtaken by the fast-growing floating plant.
The aquarium’s height also determines how long the roots of the frogbit plant will grow. For longer roots, you should get a high tank and, if possible, invest in a pond. A pond will mimic the natural habitats of the frogbit plants.
Amazon Frogbit plants do not need filters in the water tank. However, they do prefer circulation created by filters. Just make sure to place the plants away from your filter to prevent the roots from getting sucked in.
If you have a smaller tank, you should enclose your Amazon frogbit plants using a wire. This may not be ideal from a growth perspective, but it will prevent the roots from going to dangerous parts of the tank.
The Amazon frogbit can thrive over a wide range of temperatures. It can be kept in a moderately warm tank at a water temperature range of about 65 to 85 Fahrenheit. Colder temperatures would not kill the frogbit plant by any means, but they will certainly slow it down. The plant will get smaller, and its roots will also shrink
The frogbit plant thrives in soft water but will also grow in moderately hard water. Just make sure that the water conditions are not too hard. Otherwise, this will affect the growth rate of the plant. The water’s hardness should be somewhere in the range of 0 to 12 dGH.
The recommended pH value of the water for the floating plant is in the range of 6 to 7.5. However, the Amazon frogbit may tolerate excessively acidic or alkaline conditions – but not for long.
Lighting for Amazon Frogbit Plants
You will also have to provide lots of light, which makes sense given that these are floating plants. The floating plants will tolerate low light conditions, but not for long. The growth rate of the plant is at its peak under natural sunlight. This will also allow the plant to reach its maximum size.
If sunlight is not possible, you can provide the plant with artificial light as well. You may use luminescent lamps or LEDs for this purpose. For LED lights, use full-spectrum T5 orT8 bulbs.
Caution: Do not use incandescent lamps for illuminating frogbit plants because they may cause heat damage and burn the plant. Light sources with high intensity will burn the plant
Provide around 10 to 12 hours of light to the frogbit plant to see amazing results. Low light conditions are not ideal for the plant; it will stop growing and may even get sick.
A major advantage of looking after frogbit plants is that they don’t require any substrate. Their trailing roots seek nutrients from the water instead of using the substrate. This means if your aquarium doesn’t have a gravel or marble substrate, your Amazon frogbit plant will continue to grow.
Amazon frogbit grows at a fast pace. This also means they require a lot of nutrients to reach a healthy size. You will have to supplement the water with liquid fertilizer to give the plant essential nutrients.
Note that liquid fertilizers may not be necessary if your tank has a high bioload from fish and snails. Don’t supplement your tank if your Amazon frogbit plant shows no nutritional deficiency.
Tank Mates (plants and fish)
Try to provide your Amazon frogbit plants with compatible tank inhabitants, including fish and plant species. This section will discuss compatible plants and fish that you can bring into your tank.
You don’t want a plant that prefers direct sunlight because it will compete with the Amazon frogbit for illumination. Instead, look for plants that grow in low-light conditions. American waterweed is a good choice. Mosses are also ideal plants because they can grow in dimly lit conditions.
Plants like the Anubias, Sagittaria, Vallisneria, and Java moss are also compatible with the Frogbit.
In general, plants that require a lot of light are not good tank mates for your Amazon frogbit. This means you should avoid using plants like the Amazon sword or duckweed because they will be competing for the same resources as Amazon frogbits.
Amazon frogbit plants are compatible with nearly every freshwater fish species. As long as the fish and plants (including their roots) stay in their designated area within the tank, all species will thrive.
As such, the floating plant will coexist with bettas, gouramis, clownfish, and Tetras. Floating plants provide shelter from direct sunlight. Most of these freshwater fish will be stressed if they are exposed to too much light.
Besides shelter, the Amazon frogbit plant can also provide fish species with a place for hiding, recreation, and even breeding. You may also populate your aquarium with ramshorn snails, Japanese trapdoor snails, Mystery snails, and Nerite snails, among others.
You should be cautious about bringing in aggressive fish species. This is because the fish may eat through the plant’s roots and try to harm it
Pro tip: You can keep crabs, crayfish, and similar critters in the same tank as a frogbit because it floats over the surface instead of staying underwater, like most aquatic plants.
A Quick Overview of Propagation Amazon Frogbit
The Amazon frogbit is a flowering plant. It reproduces sexually through flower pollination and seed production; however, this is incredibly rare in most home aquariums.
Propagation of Amazon Frogbit in most aquariums will take place by way of plant stem fragmentation. The seeds and stem fragments break off and become new plants. Propagation also occurs by rhizomes, which are horizontal stems growing under the water. The rhizomes send out shoots that become new plants upon reaching the surface.
It comes as no surprise that the Amazon Frogbit is an invasive species because of so many growth mechanisms. If one method of propagation fails, the plant always has another way of spreading.
Where Can I Grow Amazon Frogbit Plants?
Amazon frogbit plants are fast-spreaders and reach lengths of up to 20 inches in most home aquariums. Because they grow so quickly, they often have to be pruned and thinned. If left unchecked, the frogbit plant will completely cover the aquarium’s surface and lead to oxygen starvation. Overgrown frogbit plants can also prevent other plants in the aquarium from receiving light.
Why Should You Use Amazon Frogbits for Your Home Aquarium?
The Amazon Frogbit may be an invasive species, but it is incredibly efficient at cleaning up your tank. For example, floating plants absorb waste nutrients in the tank. These waste nutrients include nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and phosphate.
All these nutrients are incredibly toxic and poisonous to your fish unless you have a dedicated filter. This is why adding Amazon Frogbit plants can improve the quality of life for your fish species.
Perhaps more importantly, the Amazon Frogbit prevents the growth of algae by absorbing all the waste nutrients. This effectively starves off algae and prevents it from growing.
Finally, frogbit plants create a natural barrier that provides a natural green canopy to freshwater fish. This floating may, besides looking gorgeous, makes the fish feel safe from predators and goes a long way in reducing their stress levels.
A Few Disadvantages of Keeping Floating Plants
If you are also looking after other fish species and plants, then you should carefully manage your aquarium. Failing to properly maintain these plants can be a disaster for your aquarium. If given a chance, these plants will completely take over the surface and block out all light from reaching the bottom. Here are a few disadvantages of frogbits.
Compete for Nutrients
While it’s good that they absorb waste nutrients, thereby keeping the tank cleaner, Frogbit will also absorb nutrients that are beneficial to your fish species.
This is often the case when their population grows too much. When this happens, plant types like ferns and aquatic moss are at a higher risk because they rely on water for nutrient intake.
Block Light from Reaching the Bottom
Frogbit plants can completely block the entire surface and prevent light from reaching the surface of the aquarium. This is not ideal for aquatic plants since they will no longer receive any light for photosynthesis. As a result, your aquatic plants may die.
More Decaying organic Material
When you have too many frogbit plants in your tank, it increases the amount of decaying organic material in the tank. Although frogbit plants may be thriving, a small portion of the leaves may also be dying. This will increase the bioload of the tank and lead to several problems, such as oxygen depletion and the increased presence of ammonia.
Root rot is a major problem with the Amazon frogbit plant. It usually occurs when the leaves on the surface come in contact with water. You can prevent this by ensuring the leaves are dry and free of water.
How to Dispose of Amazon Frogbit Plants?
Careful and responsible disposal of the Amazon Frogbit plant is extremely important. The plant can easily spread by careless dumping into urban drains and waterways. Young plants will quickly spread and be carried along by the water currents.
To dispose of the Amazon Frogbit Plants, you should drain the water and bag the plant material. You can also use the plant’s remains as compost material.
If not, then tie the bag with a tight-knit one and discard it. If the plant makes its way to waterways, it will end up growing, and you could create a major water weed problem.
Remember, these floating plants are known as an invasive species, and many states spend millions on curbing their population. It is considered to be a dangerous weed in Australia and is often reported to local weed management agencies so that it may be destroyed.
So be very careful when disposing of this floating aquatic plant unless you want the government to ban these awesome aquatic plants.
So there you have it, an in-depth guide to the Amazon Frogbit, a highly popular aquarium plant. It is a beautiful addition to nearly every aquarium setup and extremely easy to grow. Whether you’re new to the hobby or know a few things about freshwater aquarium plants, you should have no difficulty growing this plant.
The Amazon frogbit plant is relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain, and makes your aquarium look stunning. Just make sure to remove excess growth of frogbits from the aquarium or pond to prevent it from becoming invasive and growing out of control.