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Wolffia Arrhiza Watermeal Duckweed Starter Culture
~15ml plastic tube containing a small amount of live aquatic plants.
Easy plant to grow once established, but can be really frustrating in the beginning and you may have no success. This is not quite as easy to get started as other plant cultures and I have really struggled in the past myself.
My only advice is preserver, keeping in mind when stressed it will drop to the bottom of the tank and go dormant.
This is sleep or hibernation, NOT death.
It does this as a survival response and once that happens nothing much will happen until water conditions change, either by naturally stabilizing as beneficial bacteria clean up any death and rot.
When the water chemistry is physically changed by you or rain.
Or when temperatures cause it to come out of dormancy and resurface to begin reproduction again.
With me here it is normally the temperature and water condition changes associated with seasonal rains that kicks it into gear and once that rapid growth stage happens it is pretty much unstoppable.
In my experience the Wolffia Arrhiza does much better when grown together with other water plants, but it is eaten by everything with a mouth, so plant life ONLY to begin with.
Due to my own recent struggles I am adding this disclaimer.
Wolffia is very hard to grow at times, and sometimes it doesn’t work.
There is no guarantee, and there will be NO refunds or replacements on this item.
It will smell bad when opened on arrival, this is unavoidable and normal.
It will stink like a rotten lettuce you just found at the back of the fridge, because that is pretty much what happens to a % of the cells in the tube. Not all, or even most, but it only takes a little bit of death for a lot of smell. Dead mouse smells a lot worse than a live elephant after all, that sort of a theory.
Rinse it really well in a very fine strainer, or through fine cloth being careful not to lose any live cells, then place into clean water.
In a day or two the smell will be gone.
It will look like the second picture not the first and please note it is a gamble, understand that before purchasing.
Sending to friends in Australia I have had about 8 out of 10 say it should live, 2 folks said it got cooked on the journey and looks dead.
Sending overseas so far it looks like about 50% survival rate. Early days so both figures may change, but yeah, like I say, it is a gamble.
*Edit* After a couple years of sales I would say those initial figures are still pretty spot on.
Normally it does work, and it is most often a critical mass issue. The more Wolffia in the ecosystem you start with, the greater the chances of success. Once one lot starts to replicate it is easy to use it to seed additional cultures. Just sometimes getting a start is difficult.
Warm water of a stable temperature(deep water is more stable than shallow), high levels of sunlight(full sun is definitely best), no living organisms including frogs, fish, crustaceans, flukes, dragonfly larvae etc, and you are heading in the right direction.
I use 240lt plastic drums and 1000lt IBC tanks with air stones to culture my water plants now. I use fly screen mesh to keep all other life out of the tanks. When I originally got my starter cultures I used plastic roller boxes, tubs, buckets, whatever was on hand and had no aeration yet still had great success.
When starting with a small amount of floating plants it is important to make sure that you rinse the plants from the sides of the tanks every now and then, so they don’t get stuck and dry out as the water level drops with evaporation.
If you only have a teaspoon in each tub to start with, then you don’t want to lose even a couple!
I have tried a few different PH, and it seems my standard rain water does best for me.
I have tried many different fertilizers to increase growth and replication rates, and for me they were all a failure creating algae issues or death, or at best no noticeable difference vs tub of water in full sun.
Some labs use fancy nutrient mixes sterile conditions, artificial light and have great results, but when I tried to copy them I just made tubs of green goop that melt funny…
An airstone seems to help with circulation and although not at all necessary, I do use one now. I also use larger tanks and they sit in full sun. They have mesh to stop mozzies and frogs, and that is pretty much it.
That’s all I can tell you really, apart from it being a tasty vegetarian alternative to caviar. I use it in vegetable patties or handfuls in salads, and it makes a great fish or poultry food.
My Fish food recipe.
I make pellets or crumble by mixing sun dried powdered Azolla, Lemna and Wolffia with black soldier fly, Daphnia, Ostracods, Blow fly larvae, worms, meal worms, and/or whatever I can scrape up, and I use and egg or two as a binder.
Wack it through a hand crank meat mincer and lay the extrusion on a tray in the sun to dry and you get instant “worms”. Fish love this shape better than pellets in my experience, especially larger or wild caught stock.
Cut the “worms” up before you sun dry them and you get “pellets”.
I can do 2mm, 4mm, 6mm etc with my mincer just by changing the screens.
Rub the fully sun dried pellets through a strainer and you get “crumble”.
My spangled perch seem to do great off it, and as it is much fresher than the commercial stuff.
I personally believe the nutritional benefits are higher, and ecologically it is so much better than using “trash fish” and anchovies like the commercial feed companies do.
Fish farming has a great meat conversion rate compared to cattle or sheep etc, but it is still 100% reliant on the wild harvest and netting of huge numbers of fish.
Something many folks don’t understand.
Data I found online>>
“Wolffia arrhiza is a species of flowering plant known by the common names watermeal and rootless duckweed.
It is the smallest vascular plant on Earth and is a native to large parts of Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia, and it is present in other parts of the world as a naturalized species. It is an aquatic plant which grows in quiet water bodies such as ponds.
The green part of the plant, the frond, is a sphere measuring approximately one millimeter wide but with a flat top that floats at the water’s surface. It has a few parallel rows of stomata. There is no root. The plant produces a minute flower fully equipped with one stamen and one pistil. It often multiplies by vegetative reproduction, however, with the rounded part budding off into a new individual.
In cooler conditions or times of stress the plant becomes dormant and sinks to the bed of the water body to overwinter as a turion. The plant is a mixotroph which can produce its own energy via photosynthesis or absorb it from the environment in the form of dissolved carbon.
This tiny plant is a very nutritious food.
It’s green part is about 40% protein by dry weight and its turion is about 40% starch.
It contains many amino acids important to the human diet, relatively large amounts of dietary minerals and trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc, and vitamin B12.
It has long been used as a cheap food source in Burma, Laos, and Thailand, where it is known as khai-nam (“eggs of the water”).
The plant is prolific in its reproduction, growing in floating mats that can be harvested every 3 to 4 days; it has been shown to double its population in less than four days in vitro.
It is also useful as a form of agricultural and municipal water treatment. The plants grow quickly and take up large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus from the water.
The plants that are grow on a large scale in the wastewater treatment facilities can be used as feed for animals, such as carp, tilapia, pigs, ducks and chickens.”
Want to have a gamble? Then understanding it is a gamble, and you may fail, add to cart folks..
Grown by us organically, no nasties, no chems, no problems!!!