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How do you grow duckweed?

 
gardener
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I converted a truck bed liner into my lotus growing tub and put some duckweed in it too. Somehow there was a brown algae boom weeks ago and now the duckweed roots are embedded into the dead algae mass. I scooped some out for the chickens but they wouldn't eat it.

How do you grow your duckweed and manage algae? Does the dead algae produce toxin harmful to the chicken?
IMG_20240526_152513.jpg
Duckweed in lotus tub
Duckweed in lotus tub
 
pollinator
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Did the chickens used to eat duckweed before this?

Where they eating the duckweed in the dreath of winter or the fullness of summer last year?

I have found that if the duckweed doesn't cover the majority/all of the surface of the water then algea will start growing, esp if there is an abundance of nitrogen in the water. I like to add endlers/guppies to the system too. I usually don't have to add any fish food to the system either.

You can try aerating the water for a while and see if it help with the algea decomposition, growth and help off-gas any potential "toxins"
 
May Lotito
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This is the first time I grow duckweed and offer them to the chickens, so I actually don't know what to expect. Maybe they have lots of greens to choose from and are not interested in duckweed.

My "mud" for growing lotus is just subsoil dug up in a corner of the yard, mixed up with some half finished compost. In the first two months the system wasn't stable. Water was clear one day and turned murky suddenly, with lots of foamy stuffs floating around.  Introduced duckweed looked yellowish and stunted weeks ago. Everything looks fine now so maybe the algae problem is just temporary before the system is established.
 
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Curious! The usual question is "How do I control this [bleeping] duckweed? It's taking over!"

I buy nice colourful feeder goldfish and put them in my small pond. They chew on basically everything including algaie, and the unlimited supply means they grow a lot during the summer. They also chew up mosquito larvae and entertain visting kids.

Unfortunately they think duckweed is candy. I've tried to introduce it and it's completely gone in a couple of days.

I guess I would keep raking out the algae rafts and put them in my compost as a nitrogen bomb. And maybe introduce goldfish with stern instructions about what they are allowed to eat.
 
pollinator
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In a away, May, you already have your answer: your chickens won't eat it. Any question about their toxicity is moot. If you have ducks or know of someone who has ducks, I would suggest you approach them and ask if you could use one or two of their for a couple of days.
The algae is a different problem and since your pond is small enough, you should be able to scoop it clean of algae.
This is what an expert says about algae growth in a pond. See what you can do to modify any of these parameters. Good luck to you. [I am not affiliated to the Pond guy, BTW}
https://www.thepondguy.com/learning-center/what-is-algae/?p=PPCGOOGA&gad_source=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw6uWyBhD1ARIsAIMcADpiGZTeTQTuky8BZI6yXmHinI_eh89RHBXlEVBEBY3-VCyDNCdArY8aAow4EALw_wcB
 
pollinator
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My chickens don't like to eat the duckweed, but the duck does.  And I've not had an issue with algae.  I'm having a lack of duckweed as a problem now, probably because the trees nearby shade out too much sun, so growth is slower than consumption at this point.  I also feed the duckweed to tilapia, since commercial food is full of hydrogenated oils.
 
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OK, I have failed so many time to grow duckweed at all, and I am not hearing anything here about how you're all having so much success at it.  I have full sun, I had an aerator but the dog ate it so that's my excuse (like when the dog ate my homework), why won't my duckweed grow?  I also found some in a hollow rock pond-let (duckweed or the tinier stuff that's about as good).  I have ducks and a lack of duckweed problem.  It doens't seem to grow anywhere around here either, just the town a few miles south where that hollow rock is.
 
May Lotito
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I am scooping out the majority of duckweed to mulch around my plants.  Now the surface is largely clear. Before the algae came along, I put three goldfish in there to control mosquito larvae. I don't even know if they are still alive. Maybe the whole system will work better now with the lotus growing and other little aquatic creatures coming in spontaneously.
 
gardener
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I'm beginning to have some success, though I'm no expert. I've had more failures than successes. Basically, other plants seem to have been choking it out. Jury's still out, but it looks like purifying it the best I could was the right move. I wrote a more detailed explanation of what I tried here.

 
May Lotito
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Do you fertilize the aquatic system? My lotus leaves are in light green color. I am wondering if the fast growing duckweeds take up too much nitrogen and harvesting them make it worse. I add a bit of fresh chicken poop to the water. Since the duckweeds and flat lotus leaves take up the entire surface to block out sunlight, fertilizing shouldn't promote algae now.
 
T Melville
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May Lotito wrote:Do you fertilize the aquatic system? My lotus leaves are in light green color. I am wondering if the fast growing duckweeds take up too much nitrogen and harvesting them make it worse. I add a bit of fresh chicken poop to the water. Since the duckweeds and flat lotus leaves take up the entire surface to block out sunlight, fertilizing shouldn't promote algae now.



I haven't deliberately fertilized. Nothing chemical. (I did use something years ago in the same sand as part of my old setup, but it was designed to be depleted the same season, I suspect it's long gone.) I do have years worth of crud in the bottom of the water and in my sand bed made of all the things that have died in the system. I also am recently experimenting with a cattail transplanted from my pond into the system. I took it from the pond bare-root and put it in a pot with a scoop of soil. That soil and the grass and stuff that died in it are probably adding some nutrients to the system.

I wonder how much this is affected by the same water chemistry and nitrogen cycle as the fish live by? I never can balance that by chasing the values I want. Slow changes and letting things stabilize is all that ever works for me. Joey Mullen, the King of DIY on youtube, says fish do better with good water quality and stable parameters than perfect water quality and parameters always changing in pursuit of perfection. (It's one guy's opinion, but he's one guy with a lot of success in keeping fish healthy over time.) I suspect the same may be true of the plants, or at least the duckweed. Again, one guy's opinion, but in this case backed by about two weeks of moderate success. Take any advice from me with a big ol' grain of salt.
 
May Lotito
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I have another small 19 gallon tote for growing a different variety of lotus. Plants are healthy looking with dark green leaves. The duckweeds are greener too as I scoop some out to compare side by side.
I will add more fish to keep the nutrients recycling better.
IMG_20240608_072336.jpg
Small tote greener leaves
Small tote greener leaves
IMG_20240608_072339.jpg
Lighter color in the big one
Lighter color in the big one
20240608_071853.jpg
Duckweed comparison
Duckweed comparison
 
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