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FAQs on Bladderworts, genus Utricularia

Related Articles: Bladderworts in Planted Aquariums,

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What is this plant or algae thing?       11/21/13
Hi Neale,
One more....
What is this?!  It grew all over the top of the cherry shrimp tank above the java moss.  It actually gives them easier access to the food before it drops.  It doesn't look ugly, and the java is nice and green under it so it seems to be coexisting harmoniously.
<It's Bladderwort, Utricularia sp. Amazing stuff. It's a carnivorous plant that feeds on teeny-tiny animals up to the size of the Daphnia. Read up! It's extremely cool and a great addition to an aquarium, though probably not a breeding tank. Cheers, Neale.>

re: What is this plant or algae thing? Another over-sized file plt. ID       11/22/13
So it will probably eat my cherry shrimp fry?!
<Possibly...not sure. Depends on the species and size of the bladders. They can only consume prey that can be sucked in.>
I wonder how it got in there?
<Likely with some aquarium plant.>
I guess I need to find a better home for it.
<Indeed. Some folks keep it on windowsills. It's kept by some of the "CP" (carnivorous plant) community as an interesting novelty.>
Thank you!
<Welcome, Neale.>

re: What is this plant or algae thing?    11/22/13
A man at the society said it "Looks like U. gibba."  Based on your knowledge of cherry shrimp fry size, and the pod size in this picture, do you think they're small enough to be eaten?
<Possibly. Just don't know. Would I keep my only breeding population of Neocaridina spp. in this tank? No. But if I had other populations, then I probably won't mind the risk.>
The picture is pretty close to life size, at least on this cell phone
I have never seen a cherry shrimp that was newly hatched, the java is so thick and they hide in it.
The tiniest I have seen were too big to be eaten, but i suspect the newly hatched are pin prick small... I just couldn't find any pictures anywhere when i searched online!
<They are small, Daphnia-sized even.>
The little tiny crustacean specs are still thriving in that tank, and little snails are breeding too!  The shrimp bred a lot and i think there are at least 40 now....  but this plant has slowly grown over the last month so i guess my concern would be if it started consuming all of the fry and the shrimp eventually died out from not reproducing and old age overtaking the current lot of them.
The plant seems to be very happy in this tank too...it's a concern if i move it to a smaller tank, which is all i have available right now, it could start failing.
<Quite so. It's a fascinating plant.>
I could start a new tank and once it's well cycled and established move the cherries to that and throw some other fish in this one...though do you think Cory fry are tiny enough to be vulnerable?
<Unlikely. The Cory fry stay at the bottom of the tank for a start, and the Bladderwort floats nearer the top.>
Or Galaxy Rasbora fry?
<More of a risk.>
Mollie fry probably aren't, but the tank's too small for the mollies.
Maybe if I put a bumblebee or two and some daphnia, everyone both plant and fish would thrive?
Though...i don't have a source for live daphnia.  And the man said the brine shrimp are too large for it to ingest. Are cherries fry larger than brine fry?
<Ah, yes, bigger than brine shrimp nauplii.>
It's a cool looking plant.
<And then some. Do hunt down "The Savage Garden" by Peter D'Amato; you can often get it discounted at Half Price Books and the like. Trust me when I say that once you start keeping carnivorous plants, they become a whole new (and very engrossing) hobby that thankfully is very inexpensive if you merely dabble.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>
re: What is this plant or algae thing?    11/22/13

Thank you.
<Welcome. Neale.>
re: What is this plant or algae thing?    11/22/13

Most people wouldn't have known what that plant was as it's apparently not widely available, and i couldn't come up with anything similar looking in my internet descriptive searches.  It's kind of you to share your knowledge with us all.
<Thanks for these kind words. Carnivorous plants happen to be another hobby of mine, so in this instance, I was able to help.>
Have a nice weekend.
<You too. Cheers, Neale.>

 Actual picture of new fry on carnivorous plant for size    11/22/13
>Jill, please re-size and only send files to us of Kbyte size... yours here are being deleted. B<
P.S. I found photos! Re: carnivorous plant    11/22/13

Wow Neale, I found some photos.  I don't think the cherry babies are at risk, they are quite a bit larger than the pods.  Unless several pods could attach and slowly suck the life out of them like in a bad sci-fi movie?!
<No. They need to suck them in completely, into the traps, for the plant to eat them.>
From the pictures....this is the smallest size I've observed....it looks like they stretch out longer once they're out of the egg (last picture at this link).  When I saw the shrimp at that size...i thought he'd had some time to grow.  It's amazing as the eggs are so tiny and there are so many of them.  I guess they have soft structures, flexible, and grow a little harder probably with age.  Super cool.  Thanks to the photographer.
<Good stuff. Cheers, Neale.>

Actual picture of new fry on carnivorous plant for size
Neale, here is a picture of a new fry.  He didn't fall off when I put my finger in there underneath him and wiggled the plant.  I hope he's not caught to the plant and being slowly eaten up.
<Not how these plants work; they must inhale the food item.>
I hope he's just gripping it tightly.  I had to leave for work so I didn't have time to investigate it further, but here is a clear picture showing the size are a young fry in comparison to the plant. I really don't know....  maybe I should get the plant into another tank just in case.
<Would not seem much of a threat to these shrimps. But your mileage may vary, as they say. Cheers, Neale.>

Utricularia from Iran   2/9/06 I am a researcher of aquatic plants of Iran, University of Tehran. I recently collected a very nice Utricularia that I couldn't determine with our local key. Would you please introduce me a person who would be expert on this genus for a clear determination? >> You can send me some photos to Oliver@belowwater.com and I can give it a try, or I will find you someone that may help. Thanks, Oliver

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