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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am wondering if anyone has tips on how to get red root floaters to turn red.

I have had them for about a year in my Spec V with a stock light mixed with some frogbit. Their growth is great and I end up throwing out/donating to my LFS about 2 handfuls a week. I dose Nilocg Thrive+. I have gradually ramped up the light from 6 hrs to 8 hrs and can only get their roots to be a light pink, but their leaves remain green. They easily out compete and grow over the frogbit. My frogbit looks pretty trashed when mixed with the red root floaters. The frogbit has only recovered when I isolated it away with airline tubing.

In my quest to figure this out, I tried a few experiments

  • I left them outside in the sun in some cups and they turn bright red within 1 week. (picture of side by side aquarium rrf vs outside in a bucket rrf)
  • I bought a Fluval Plant 3.0 light and while I was planning my tank transfer, I left some red root floaters inside some cups about 10” beneath the Fluval 3.0 light on the auto setting and they started getting redder in about a week with bright red roots peeking out. I had to abort that experiment early since I needed the light for my tank
  • I then put them in the filled tank about 6” under the Fluval Plant 3.0. I didn’t put it on auto setting since I didn’t want an algae outbreak. I thought 100% may be too strong for a 5.5 gallon tank. I initially did a double siesta type of light period in pro mode with a max to 35% and they stayed green. I have been playing around with the settings and am now trying a 12 hr photo period (no siesta) up to 75%. They are starting to pink up in the roots but are not that deep red I saw in the store when I bought them. I don’t have any other livestock or plants in the tank except for a single java fern and some frogbit (isolated away). (pictured included)

Basically, I am hoping someone can help me with the recipe. I have been comparing the environments between the outside cups and my aquariums.

  • Light: is it the intensity of light or length of the light period that is most important? I increased my photo period to match the day here and will wait to see if this helps. Otherwise, I will need to play with the intensity/spectrum settings to try to mimic sunlight as much as possible. If anyone has settings that have worked for them, I would appreciate it
  • Flow – I my return pointed downward so there is no surface agitation at all, but there is obviously a current under them. In the cups, there is no water movement at all. Could this be affecting their coloration? I suspect not, but I am entertaining all possibilities
  • Presence of other floating plants. The outside cups don’t have frogbit and the aquariums do. Would this affect them at all? Again I don’t’ know why it would especially when the RRF do really well compared to the frogbit.
Sorry for the long post but any help would be appreciated.

comparison of aquarium (top) vs outside sunlight (bottom)


Frogbit on the left, RRF on the right. sorry for the reflection of my hands/phone
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