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Cladophora aegagropila (or lat. Aegagropila linnaei) is neither macrophyte, nor embryophyte, and even not a moss, but is a kind of algae which take shape of a ball under certain circumstances.Cladophora is popular among aquarists due to its interesting shape, undemanding care, ability to live indifferent tanks, at that cleaning water in them. Despite of these advantages there are some rules, which will help to get even more use and beauty from it.
Cladophora in the tank
There exist some simple rules, observing which it feels most comfortably in the tank.
- Inferior plant Cladophora ball occurs in nature on the lakes’ bottoms where it is rather dark, so it does not need much sunlight. It is better to choose the darkest places in the tank for it: in the corners, under snags or spreading bush of algae.
- Some shrimps and catfishes like sitting on Cladophora or hiding behind it. But they are namely those who can annihilate it, for example, plecostomus will do this for sure. Goldfish and big crawfishes can be also referred to those tank’s inhabitants, which are not friendly to it. However big crawfishes are hardly friendly to any plants.
- It is interesting, that in nature it occurs in salty water. In Lake Akan Cladophora grows most densely in those places, where salty water flows from natural sources into the sea. Really, aquarists point, that it lives good in salt water and even advise to put some salt into the water if Cladophora acquires a brownish color shade.
- Water change is of the same importance for it, as for the fish. This contributes to the growth, decreases nitrates quantity in water (which are of extra concentration in the near-bottom water layer) and do not let it become clogged with dirt.
Occurs as colonies in lake Akan, Hokkaido and Myvatn on the North of Iceland, where it has adapted to low lighting, flows, bottom character. It grows slowly, approximately 5 millimeters a year. In Lake Akan this alga reaches extraordinary big sizes, up to 20-30 centimeters in diameter.
In Lake Myvatn it grows by dense colonies at depth of 2-2.5 meters and reaches size of 12 centimeters. Its ball shape enables its moving towards flow and secures photosynthesis process continuity independent of the lighted side.
And in some places these balls lie in two or three layers! And each of them needs light. Inside this ball is also green and covered with the layer of dormant chloroplasts, which become active if alga splits up.