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Has anyone used water hyacinth for oxygenation and water cleaning?

I have read the water hyacinth plants (aka Water Lilies) are great for keeping pond waters clear and oxygenated. I also understand that the fish like to eat the roots too.

With this in mind I was wondering if anyone is using this type of aquatic plant in their fish tanks for this purpose? I understand they are an invasive plant and will quickly take over the surface area of an open pond of lake.

However, I feel that with proper diligence one of these plants could be beneficial to my little aquaponic ecosystem world.

What are your thoughts and concerns? 

Regards,
Bob

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I have used them in my indoor and outdoor systems with great success. The tilapia munch them to pieces indoors so I would replace them from the outdoor setup where the sunlight keeps them quite virgorous.

Bob,

    Water Hyacinth are very different from Water Lilies.

Water Hyacinth are also very illegal in Florida

http://www.myfwc.com/media/226468/InvasivePlants_Hyacinth.pdf

Water Hyacinth will use up large amounts of nutrients but I wouldn't depend on them to oxygenate water since the way they float on and cover the surface of the water means they will also block natural surface aeration.

Also, use of plants for oxygenation is only effective while the sun shines.  At night, the plants will use up oxygen and give off carbon dioxide to the water.

TC,

You have always provided awesome advise and guidance to us, so I will certainly take your input under advisement.

Here is some more information ...
I am only using 1 plant, so surface coverage should not be an issue if I maintain a small clump of the water Hyacinth by removing any additional ("daughters") growth. Since there is not a lot of sunlight in my FT the plant may not survive, we'll have to see.

The water flow into my FT, from 2 sources, is loaded with oxygen for the fish so I am not too concerned about that at the moment.

I read the .pdf you included and I am aware of all those issues. I did see where it said that possessing a water Hyacinth was illegal without a special permit on the Florida Department of Environmental Brochure. Where did you read that owning them on private property was illegal? I guess I should look into it more from a legal stand point.

Since my plant is in an enclosed tote and one plant in a bucket of water with no chance of invading a stream or pond, I think Florida is safe, and can sleep at night

Thanks for your input TC. I really appreciate all that you do for us newbies here on the forum.

Regards,
Bob

I take it you are not in Florida Kenneth?

Kenneth J Roche' said:

I have used them in my indoor and outdoor systems with great success. The tilapia munch them to pieces indoors so I would replace them from the outdoor setup where the sunlight keeps them quite virgorous.

Correct I was in Colorado when I was using them as a supplemental food source and to keep the tilapia from jumping out of the tank indoors. They were plentiful and free there. Now I am in Nebraska attending grad school and folks around here want $3-5 per plant. Which I find rediculously overpriced. So for now I have none. Next trip to Denver I'll stock up for when I move my stuff outdoors next spring.
 
Bob Vento said:

I take it you are not in Florida Kenneth?

Kenneth J Roche' said:

I have used them in my indoor and outdoor systems with great success. The tilapia munch them to pieces indoors so I would replace them from the outdoor setup where the sunlight keeps them quite virgorous.

First, here is the Florida Statute about aquatic plants

http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/369.25

To possess it is to possess it though I don't believe they run aerial surveillance looking for it in neighborhoods.

Here is another link

http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/node/633#florida

Prohibited Plant Lists

https://www.flrules.org/gateway/RuleNo.asp?id=5B-64.011

Now we know you may not be likely to release these plants into natural waters and it may be unlikely for a bird to carry seeds to natural waters from your system.  However, larger or more ornamental systems might attract wildlife that could carry plants, plant parts or seeds off to the wild without your knowing or a flood could wash plants out of an in ground ornamental pond and things like that (that is after all how tilapia got naturalized to Florida.)

I would love to grow Hyacinth since my ducks and chickens love to eat it but I will just have to find native choices instead.

Water hyacinth is illegal here in Cali, though quite common and regularly used in ponds anyway. I agree with TC, they will not add oxygenation to water (perhaps a little in the daylight), and do block surface gas exchange, even if only one plant. I did read of a study where it was used as the primary food source for tilapia. Although they do nibble, the study I read required the plants to be dried and powdered in order to be eaten for any substantial percentage of diet. They would make great habitat for fry, though.

Don't get me wrong, I like Hyacinth and in ornamental ponds in places where the plant can't survive in the wild, I like to use them in the waterfall filters to help use up excess nutrients.

Of course in aquaponics, you may not want pond plants using up your nutrients since you want them for your veggies.

Guess the answer I want to know is ...  will clear my FT water?

TCLynx said:

Don't get me wrong, I like Hyacinth and in ornamental ponds in places where the plant can't survive in the wild, I like to use them in the waterfall filters to help use up excess nutrients.

Of course in aquaponics, you may not want pond plants using up your nutrients since you want them for your veggies.

TC,

What I mean is if I use the water Hyacinth temporarily in my fish tank will it help to clear my water as advertised?
Since I have no experience with aquatic plants I am just wondering if it will work. I have seen private ponds that are crystal clear due to the plants.

Also, can you suggest a native non-intrusive plant that I might introduce to my system that would be more beneficial?

Regards,
Bob

The crystal clear ponds may in part be clear because of the plants but they are probably also well designed so that the water gets filtered at a high enough rate to keep up with the bio-load on the pond.  As in the plants are not the ONLY form of filtration going on.

A large enough colony of Hyacinth may be able to use up enough ammonia and/or nitrate and other nutrients to help keep the water clear of algae blooms and their feathery roots might also help mechanically filter the water some but I don't think you can expect that by simply placing a Hyacinth plant in a fish tank for a week that you can expect the water to magically be clear because the plant is there.  You would have to make sure you had enough plant to use up the nutrients and make sure the water flow was such that the particles would stick to the roots but not get dislodged off to re-cloud the water etc.  Probably easier to make sure you have enough grow bed and flow to clear the water by growing the veggies.

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