This genus is represented by a single species, Ricciocarpus natans (L.) Corda, which is distributed almost throughout the globe. The cordate thallus is an ashy gray-green, 5 to 15 cm long, and 5 to 10 mm wide. On the lower surface of the thallus purple ribbon-like scales can be seen against the brownish purple background.

Ricciocarpus natans is a very decorative species which grows on the surface of peaty pools, ponds, and still backwaters. It is found as both a fully-floating form or as a land form. A winter resting stage is less common in this species than in R. fluitans.

MUSCI (Mosses)

Mosses are minute plants living in the most varied places, from dry rock to water. These plants propagate by spores. Very little attention has been paid to mosses in aquariums and terrariums. In spite of importation difficulties, a great number of amphibious

* In order to facilitate the location of illustrations, each apropos reference has been noted alongside the homologous description, in small type. Thus, for example, "111. 75" means "See page 75 for an illustration of this plant."

Riccia fluitans. Vesicularia dubyana

Salvinia minima, isoetes malinverniana

and aquatic species do quite well as very decorative additions to the list of aquarium plants. There are many beautiful forms for both terrariums and aquariums. They grow like curtains of fine leafy lace which, combined with carpets of other plants, can add a strange charm to the tanks. Only those examples that are known to do well in aquariums are treated here.

VESICULARIA DUBYANA (C. Mull.) Broth (in. im)

This plant belongs to the family Hypnaceae (of the 30 genera only the genus Vesicularia contains aquatic representatives). There are about 135 Vesicularia species coming from the warmer regions of the world, with a few species from Southeast Asia and Africa submersed plants. Only V. dubyana is frequently cultivated as a decorative aquarium plant.

In its original home, tropical Southeast Asia, it grows amphibiously in moist jungles, covering fallen trees, stones, or the soil. The small stems are irregularly branched, with the leaves arranged in two rows. The lanceolate emerald green leaves are 10 to 15 mm long and 5 to 7 mm wide. In land forms they are wider and a glossy dark green or sometimes olive yellow-green.

In the aquarium V. dubyana is cultivated in rather shady conditions attached to stones and other objects. It requires soft, clear water and temperatures about 68° to 77° F {20° to 25° C). Initially it grows very slowly, but once attached it grows faster and spreads over rocks or other decorations, increasing the natural look of the aquarium. It blooms even under water. In paludariums V. dubyana gro,ws more rapidly than when fully submersed, covering the surface of stumps, branches, and stones with a beautiful green carpet.


D. aduncus belongs to the family Amblystegiaceae, which contains about 16 genera with aquatic members. This plant occurs in temperate to cold climates, but it is exceptionally adaptable and able to withstand temperatures from 10° to 28° C. In nature it often appears in masses in moist places and in water. Typically amphibious, it occurs in rivers and peat bogs from the lowlands up to the mountains in Europe, Asia, North America, and New Zealand. Like V. dubyana it extends over stones and submersed wood, forming a green or yellow-green to brownish cover of plants. D. aduncus can be used successfully even as a spawning plant and is able to exist in very hard water, Light conditions are not critical; the plant does not die even during long periods of darkness or in

Fontinalis antipyretics. Photo by Dr. D. Sculthorpe.

high temperatures of spawning tanks and also winters well.

In spite of all these features we prefer V. dubyana for the tropical aquarium. With Drepanocladus it is possible that your success as a grower will depend very much on the geographical origin of the plants.


Fontinalis belongs to the family Fontinalaceae, which comprises water mosses with floating and rooted forms. They grow in running streams as well as in stagnant water of ponds, bafckwaters, and wells. The firm glossy green water mosses with ovate to lanceolate leaves belong to the genus Fontinalis. These plants rarely produce spores but propagate vegetatively. The family has 3 genera: Fontinalis, Brachelyma, and Dichelyma, but only Fontinalis antipyretica is commonly cultivated in aquariums.

This species is distributed throughout Europe, northern Asia, North America, and northern Africa. The leaves on the stem and branches are trihedral ovately lanceolate.

Isoetes species collected in Brazil. In nature the stems of this plant provide food for water birds. Photo by T.J. Horeman.

Close-up view of Salvinia auriculata. Photo by T.J. Horeman.

Regnellidium diphyllum. Photo by T.J. Horeman.

Dense clumps o1 Salvinia auriculata in Brazil growing like a carpet. Photo by T.J. Horeman.

In the running water of clear brooks and small rivers the plant grows attached to stones or develops submersed to amphibious forms; in stagnant waters it becomes attached to the substrate. In lakes the rooted forms may appear at a depth of 2 to 3 meters. As a land form it appears only temporarily, for in the summer it dries out quickly. It has been found that in acid water Fontinalis develops short but densely leaved forms, has normal growth in a neutral medium, and in alkaline water has branches which are elongated but with very minute leaflets.

In the aquarium F. antipyretica requires a rather cool temperature (68° F, 20° C), slightly acid to neutral water, a sand or gravel base, and somewhat shaded tanks. Smaller plants are best placed in tanks together with the stones on which they are growing. Larger examples are found in stagnant waters. As a decorative species it is suitable in either form and can be used for spawning.

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The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The word aquarium originates from the ancient Latin language, aqua meaning water and the suffix rium meaning place or building. Aquariums are beautiful and look good anywhere! Home aquariums are becoming more and more popular, it is a hobby that many people are flocking too and fish shops are on the rise. Fish are generally easy to keep although do they need quite a bit of attention. Puppies and kittens were the typical pet but now fish are becoming more and more frequent in house holds. In recent years fish shops have noticed a great increase in the rise of people wanting to purchase aquariums and fish, the boom has been great for local shops as the fish industry hasnt been such a great industry before now.

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