Many people use Utricularia Graminifolia for aquascapes. It should be noted right away that these plants are pretty sensitive and probably won’t do well if you have fish with tendencies to burrow down into substrate or plants. However it does fine with most other fish so there shouldn’t be much of a problem there.
About The Utricularia Graminifolia Plant
The Utricularia Graminifolia is native to tropical Asian countries such as Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, China, Burma, and Laos. An interesting thing about this plant is that it likes to grow partially submerged under water with the tops sticking out of the water. You can buy this plant at Amazon here.
The reason that the tops of these plants stick out of the water is even more interesting. The reason for that is because this plant is part of a rare group of plants that are carnivorous. It eats small flies and other insects that fly into the trapping devices that snap shut and are equipped with teeth.
This plant and all carnivorous plants are known as bladderwarts, which is because of the bladder they produce. The bladder is the technical term for the pod or trapping device.
This plant is also ideal for underwater environments and can survive perfectly fine completely submerged in water, thus making them ideal for aquariums. If they are prompted to do so, or in other words if there is food under the water, they will also grow trapping devices when submerged.
The pods or trapping devices are quite small, but when submerged they can trap small crustaceans, ciliates, some forms of plankton and phytoplankton, and other small water borne creatures too. The Graminifolia uses special enzymes that it secrets to digest the animals and turn them into nitrogen and phosphorous in order to grow and reproduce.
We have covered 10 of the most popular freshwater aquarium plants here.
Another interesting thing about this plant is that it doesn’t actually need to eat food in order to survive. They will however need some kind of nutrient solution or certain water conditions to survive. For starters the plant needs both manganese and iron to survive. They need a good amount of CO2 and other nutrients to stay healthy without food.
Moreover the water in the aquarium needs to be between 6.8 and 7 in terms of its pH. (more on pH levels here). This makes it somewhat difficult because some fish or other plants require different pH levels which differ from the requirements of this plant.
Also the water hardness level needs to be between 7 and 10 dKh. This particular plant also needs fairly high amounts of light to stay healthy. This plant doesn’t do too well with variation and the specific conditions discussed above need to be met pretty closely.
These things are pretty easy to plant. They come from the store attached to coir disks or stone wool. In order to plant the Graminifolia just cut the wool into smaller pieces and plant them about 5 cm from each other, this way they will grow together to form a solid carpet in a few months (more on good carpet plants here).
Be sure to keep some of the coir or stone wool on the bottom of the Utricularia Graminifolia when planting, this will weight them down and make it easier for them to get a hold on the aquarium bed. In the beginning they should not have much light because it may damage them, but once they have had about 2 months to grow, they will need increased amounts of light to survive.