The Benefits of Growing Duckweed

Updated on March 2, 2018
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Mary is a tilapia farmer in Brazil. Through her articles, she shares insights and tips to make your farm more profitable.

Growing Duckweed

Growing Duckweed
Growing Duckweed | Source

Duckweed Growth and Benefits

For some duckweed is a menace, for others it's a Godsend. This plant has the ability to reproduce rapidly, it can double in just 16 hours - 2 days, depending on its growing environment.

This makes it either a formidable enemy or a fantastic ally.

Today I would like to highlight the positive side of duckweed and tell you why we have built specially designed ponds to grow this here on our farm in Brazil.

For those of you who don't know what duckweed is, it is a small floating plant that grows on still ponds. It can cover an area rapidly and because of this can cause problems. Now however, duckweed is being touted as a miracle plant for many reasons including the following:

  • Cost effective renewable energy, biofuel
  • Water filter
  • Mosquito prevention
  • Prevents algae growth
  • Reduces evaporation on bodies of water
  • Virtually free animal feed
  • Food for humans

Duckweed as a Water Filter

Duckweed loves muck. It can clean the water from farms which are rearing cows, hogs, chickens etc. The run-off from these intensive farms can cause an ecological nightmare if left untreated and allowed to leach down into the water table. Duckweed can clean this water by absorbing the resulting chemicals.

In Palestine, they are looking at using duckweed to clean their water systems as they have very limited fresh water available. Using this natural low-cost water treatment is not only good for the country but the environment as well, it's a win-win situation.


There are various types of duckweed. Depending on where you live, you may have more success with one type over the other. When we began we started with two types. The man who sourced them for us said one preferred shade. For us, that was a non-starter as ours was in full sun most of the day. We started with a tablespoon of each type.

If you keep it alive in water, until your ponds are ready, you will be fine.

Our duckweed ponds
Our duckweed ponds | Source

Control of Mosquitoes Using Duckweed

Mosquitoes love shallow still pools of water to lay their eggs in. This is a major problem in many countries, not just third world countries. Duckweed could be the solution.

Because duckweed covers the surface like a thick blanket, it blocks the mosquito from laying eggs. Malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and the Zika virus are four of the diseases spread by mosquitoes here in Brazil and other parts of the world.

Stop mosquitoes breeding and you drastically reduce the number of illnesses and deaths attributed to them. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) mosquitoes are endemic in 91 countries and affect 40% of the world's population. Diseases from mosquitoes are estimated to kill 2.7 million people per year.

Duckweed as a Bio-Fuel

Scientists are working on ways to utilize duckweed as a bio-fuel. With the rapid reproduction of this plant, it has not only the scientists but also the environmentalists taking notice.

Other plants are being grown for bio-fuel but none grow with the rapidity of duckweed. Currently, the main biofuel crops are

  • corn (maize),
  • elephant grass
  • sugar cane

These take up vast swathes of farmland, often in third world countries, which could be used to grow food crops for the local population instead of crops which will be made into bio-fuel and sold to the westernized first world countries.

The advantage of duckweed is not just its speed of growth but because it grows on water, it frees up the land for farming food crops. Plus with its water purifying properties, it leaves clean water behind.

Duckweed as Tilapia Food

The reason we decided to grow duckweed was to feed our tilapia. We have a small farm here in northern Brazil where we raise tilapia for the local market.

We are growing the duckweed to use as a supplemental feed for the fish. The high protein content of it makes this an ideal food for them. Although we feed them this astounding plant, this alone will not sustain the fish. We still feed them a commercially prepared pellet food every other day as this ensures all the nutritional requirements of the fish are met. Feeding the fish duckweed has reduced our feeding bill by half!

That is a massive saving when you are feeding several thousand fish.

It isn't just fish that eat duckweed though. When fed to chickens they produce more white meat. Thus commanding a higher price on the market.

In some parts of the Far East, it is being sold and consumed by humans as well. We are also now farming shrimp and these are fed duckweed which has been dried and frozen.

The ability to use a naturally occurring plant has opened up an opportunity for small farmers to successfully raise their own fish for sale or consumption. Where before, the cost of feeding them to adult size, would have been cost prohibitive.

How to Build Ponds for Duckweed

For our five ponds, we hired a digger and driver. Depending on how many you are wanting to construct, you may be able to do this manually. You will want the water to be no deeper than a foot. We made our ponds 30 m long by 2 m wide (98' x 6.5') and used a plastic liner in them.

Constructing our duckweed ponds
Constructing our duckweed ponds | Source

Choosing a Pond Liner

All pond liners are not created equally. For ours, we needed one which was suitable to be used whilst underwater, in the sun and one which wouldn't leach anything toxic into the water which could damage the plants and subsequently cause problems with the fish.

In our region of Brazil, the UV light from the sun is in the extreme category. This coupled with the salt in the air which destroys fabric, plastics, metals meant we needed a high-quality liner. Environmental elements need to be considered when selecting a liner.

Remember, when you calculate the dimensions, you need to leave enough for the ends and the sides.

Once you have laid this in your shallow pond, secure it whilst you fill it with water. We went low tech and used bricks to hold it down from the constant wind we have here.

Getting Your Duckweed to Grow

Your duckweed pond will require feeding. This is done with manure which has been soaked in water. We use a large 100 liter plastic trash can for this purpose.

My husband puts the manure in, (we use chicken) and then fills the trash can with water to allow it to soften. Then he buckets this mixture into the ponds. Onlookers should stand well back as there will be splashes. You will know in a couple of days if you have the mixture correct because you will have a rapid growth of duckweed.

If the roots are long, more than a couple of inches, you need more manure. The roots are trying to stretch out and find nourishment. This is why the ponds are kept shallow.

Harvesting Duckweed

Harvesting the duckweed is easy. We simply use a swimming pool net on an extendable aluminum pole. This is a quick and efficient way to scoop it out. The weight of the water laden duckweed can be heavy. I found it beneficial to walk to where I want to scoop from, scoop it out and allow the water to drain off back into the pond. The further away you are using your net, the heavier the duckweed will feel. Move closer to where you are working from and save your back.

This is also a good way to remove any leaves which may have blown in. If you live where there are trees, it is a good idea to put up a barrier such as chicken wire or plastic fencing to keep as many leaves out as possible.

Always clean your net after using to prevent any bits of duckweed from dying on the net and causing a blockage.

Inexpensive overflow system
Inexpensive overflow system | Source

Overflow for Ponds

My husband made an overflow system out of plastic pipe and Coke bottles. We can get downpours that last several hours and deposit an enormous amount of water in a short time.

Because duckweed floats, we needed something to allow the water to flow out but not carry the duckweed with it. This is a simple but effect method.

Also be aware, after a heavy rainstorm you may need to add more manure, as the fresh water will have diluted your ponds.

Wildlife in the Ponds

Many a night, during the mating season, we have many frogs in the duckweed ponds. We encourage everything here with the exception of cane toads.

There are beetles and other aquatic life which have made their way into the ponds on the feet of herons. It is always a good idea to inspect the pond for things living in there, quality of the water and the condition of the liner. This can be done as a matter of course when you are harvesting your duckweed.

Cleaning the Pond

If you are using manure from a chicken farm, you may end up with sawdust debris in the bottom of your pond.It is a good idea to drain it occasionally to clean it.

This can either be done through evaporation, by siphoning off through a hose, or by using a bilge pump. If you have never siphoned off anything it is simple. Just get a length of hose, put one end of hose in your pond and place the other end at a lower level in the garden for example. Suck on the opposite end of the hose until water begins to flow.Remember you have added a lot of manure to the water so you don't want to drink this.

**If you only have one pond dedicated to your duckweed, keep some of your plant alive to use as a starter. This can be done in a jar of room temperature water.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Mary Wickison


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      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 6 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Oded,

        Your question has several factors. In our area, people will sell at 450 grams. However, if you are selling to a company who comes in and buys all your fish, you will be paid more per kilo for heavier fish. The reason some places sell early is tilapia will begin breeding and when this happens you have problems. You will end up with too many fish with stunted growth. Locally there is a man who rears his to 2 kilos but he has a very small manageable enclosure about the size of a small swimming pool. When the fish begin to breed, that is all they think about and the weight gain can be slow.

        We started with 30g and 50g tilapia. The reason we decided on those sizes was due to the size of netting on our cages. If we had bought the fish too small, they would have passed through the netting and into the lake.

        Regarding the amount of duckweed. We didn't weigh it. We used a swimming pool net to take it out of our ponds and filled up a large plastic box. We put this onto our kayak and rowed out to the cages. We put in more than we thought they'd eat. Remember, this is free food so you can be generous. If you compare it to the size of a football (soccer) we used two of these for one cage. Our cages were 2m x 2m. Also, we had larger cages 3m x 2m which had more. Although those cages could take 600 and 900 fish respectively, we had about half that amount.

        We judged the duckweed amount by how much was left after they finished eating it. If there was some left, the next time we gave them less.

        Tilapia should gain weight at about 3 grams per day with commercial feed. If using duckweed on alternate days or if you implement delayed feeding, the weight gain will be slightly less. However, by using duckweed or a delayed feeding program, your feed bill will be drastically reduced.

        Thanks for your questions, I hope this helps.

      • profile image

        Oded 6 months ago

        Hi Mary.

        Thank you for the information.

        You said that you feed your fish one day comercial feed and other day on duckweed.

        I would like to know how long it take to raise you fish to comercial wegiht?

        What is your fish comercial wegiht?

        And what is your fish inicial wegiht?

        What is the wegiht of duckweed the you feeding your fishes?

        Thanks you, this info can be very helpful to me

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 6 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Oded,

        I have just had a look at an article about it, and it sounds like a positive way to go. We haven't used that system but I can see the benefit in doing so.

        Using duckweed every other day helps offset some of the problems associated with the ammonium buildup because it is a natural product.

        One tilapia farm in our area harvest their fish at 4 or 5 months, then they drain their shallow ponds and scrape the clay bottom to remove a buildup of excrement. They work with a series of ponds so they can produce a continual supply for the local market.

        Thanks for bringing that method to my attention.

      • profile image

        Oded 6 months ago

        Dear Mary,

        Thanks for your respond.

        I'm searching for information about feeding tilapia with duckweed in Biofloc Technolgy grow up systems.

        Do you experience with that.

        Thanks again


      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 6 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Oded,

        We have raised our tilapia in three ways, all which have their plus sides and negatives. We use free swimming in our lakes, in cages and also in tanks.

        I have written several articles about tilapia farming. If you go to my profile on Hubpages,you will find them. Owlcation is part of the Hubpage network of sites.

        Thanks for your question.

      • profile image

        Oded 6 months ago

        Hello Mary,

        Thank you for sherring the information.

        I would like to know which growin technic you used to grow up your tilapia fishes?

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 6 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Adrian,

        Sometimes the answer has always been there, especially in nature. I'm glad you found the information useful.

      • profile image

        Adrian Boyce 6 months ago

        Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Points me in a whole new direction.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 7 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Johannes,

        We had the Nile tilapia.Here in Brazil, it is the most common for fish farming because it grows so quickly.

        To ensure the fish get enough nutrients, we fed one day duckweed and the next day a commercial pellet fish food.

        Tilapia will grow 3 grams a day with only commercial fish food.

        Using duckweed will reduce this rapid weigh gain by about 10 %. If your growing season allows it, we found using the duckweed to be very beneficial as it reduced our feed bill by half.

        Thanks for reading and your question.

      • profile image

        Johannes 7 months ago

        Hi Mary,

        What type of Tilapia do you have? Do they only eat duckweed?

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 8 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Abel,

        I am glad you liked it. I think that is one of the benefits of the internet, sharing knowledge with each other.

        Although our duckweed ponds were quite large, the idea could be scaled down for a smaller venture.

        However, duckweed is easily spread from one pond to another. As birds fly off it sticks to their feet and they unknowingly carry it to their next destination.

        In some places, it is considered an invasive species and people want to eradicate it.

        However, if you have an entrepreneurial streak in you, you can bag it up and sell it. People sell it on Ebay!

        Thanks for reading and your kind words.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 8 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Taylar,

        I wrote this article to share my experience of using duckweed. At the time I wrote it we were farming tilapia and built our duckweed ponds as a way of saving money on the food.

        We had 10,000 tilapia and they ate a lot. Plus the bigger they got, the more they ate! Growing duckweed allowed us to cut our food bill in half! We would feed our fish commercial pellet food on one day and then the next day we would give them duckweed.

        Not only did we save money by feeding them duckweed every other day, we think the fish would taste better with a diet which is more natural.

        I wanted to show people that it wasn't that complicated to build ponds to grow duckweed in for various uses around a farm.

        Thanks for your question.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 8 months ago from Brazil

        Now Keegan, if I didn't know better I would think you didn't read my article. I'm just joking with you I am sure you did. Right?

        Duckweed is a small floating plant which grows on ponds, and lakes. Many people don't like this plant because it can overtake a body of water. However, like so many things we are just beginning to see the benefit of using this plant. It can double its size in 2 days.

        Where I live, in Brazil, there is a lot of bio-fuel used. So for example when you go to a gas station, there is a pump for normal gas, diesel and also alcohol which is a bio-fuel.

        The problem many people have with bio-fuels is the crops they grow to make them are land based plants. This land could be used to grow food crops instead of those for bio-fuel. That is one reason why duckweed has people taking notice, it is grown on the water and frees up land for other uses.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 8 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Joshua,

        I'm glad you enjoyed it. You're at the age where you can make a positive difference in the health of the planet. I think duckweed and other renewable sources of water based plant material will have a far greater role to play in the future.

        Thanks for your comment, and good luck in your studies.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 8 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Felipe,

        I think it is an excellent topic to cover. I see from your ip address you are in Nebraska, do you see much duckweed up there?

      • Abel Flores profile image

        Abel Flores 8 months ago

        This is probably the best site I can find that talks about Duckweed.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 8 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Campbell,

        Algae can be a problem as we had it in our lakes.

        However, we never had it in our duckweed ponds. If you have shallow ponds where you are growing duckweed, I would suggest allowing the water to evaporate or empty them. Clean the ponds and then start again with the duckweed. Once the duckweed takes over, I would think the algae would die off as duckweed is like a blanket, smothering everything else.

        Both duckweed and algae like a nutrient rich environment and it is really a matter of controlling one and allowing the other to grow.

        For our algae problem in our lake, we decided to fill in two of our lakes after removing as many fish as possible. Another lake we had a mechanical digger scrape the bottom. The nutrient rich sand, which consisted of fish waste and algae, is now fertilizing our coconut trees.

        It was an expensive solution but as we saw it, our only one as we were facing a drought at the time.

        If you drain your duckweed ponds, just remember to keeps some plants back to start again.

        Thanks for your question and good luck.

      • profile image

        Joshua Zeledon 8 months ago

        Hi Mary Wickison, we are studying this at school and i think that this is a great article to learn about Duckweed, Thanks!

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 10 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Trevor,

        I wasn't familiar with the catfish you mentioned so I did a bit of research. According to what I have read, the species can have up to 20% of plant-based food without causing any health issues for the fish.

        I would say duckweed could be an ideal way to help feed your catfish and reduce feeding costs.

        Let me know how you get on.

      • profile image

        Trevor O 10 months ago

        Hello Mary Wickison thanks for this information I just came across ur site and am a farmer from Nigeria. How will be to grow duckweed in my concrete ponds?? And I raise Africa cat fish Clarias gariepinus can I use duckweed for them too?? Waiting for ur reply thanks..

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 12 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Barry,

        More manure should get your duckweed growing again. Where we live in Brazil, our temperature is almost a constant year round so I don't have first-hand knowledge about the effect of temperature on the speed of growth of duckweed.

        Keep me posted as I'm sure other readers would like to know as well.

        Thanks for stopping by.

      • profile image 12 months ago

        Very nice reading and gives me things to try as my duck weed has stopped increasing with this cooler weather (20°C) here in Malawi.

        There was a similar plant moved in but have removed it by hand but still the quick growth has not returned.

        Will replace water and now premix quail manure before adding to the pool.

        Man, I just found these super comments below which is great.

        Stay well, Barry

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 13 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Wimpie,

        Your tilapia set up sounds well thought out. Regarding your duckweed ponds, the amount of duckweed they will produce will be dependent on the amount of fertilizer (or in your case tilapia waste).

        You may find yourself in a situation where you will have to choose ponds for water treatment and others for growing the duckweed for food. For the duckweed to grow well and fast (less than 2 days) the water needs to have a hefty amount of manure. When the level is correct, you'll see a sudden growth spurt and the roots will be short. If you don't see this growth and your duckweed has long roots, more fertilizer is needed.

        Perhaps using your lagoons in stages, half for feeding and half for cleaning the water.

        We were feeding 10,000 tilapia using 5 ponds and that provided more than enough. We weren't recycling our water though.

        For cleaning the water, water hyacinths are an excellent plant and can then be used as green matter in a garden.

        As for the method of feeding, I used a fine mesh net on an aluminum pole. This went into a plastic box and straight into our cages of fish. Because we had our duckweed growing year round, there was never a reason to dry it.

        Good luck

      • profile image

        Wimpie Bouwer 13 months ago

        Hi Mary,

        Thank you so much for sharing all your info.

        I live in a small country called Swaziland in the southern part of Africa.

        I am planing to start a tilapia production project in Swaziland to supply our local market. The main challenge is the cost of commercially produced feed, it is financial impossible to produce tilapia on commercial feed alone and still compete with the price of imported frozen tilapia, hence why i started looking for an alternative feed source and came across your blog.

        Just a bit of background - The system that was designed for us is supposed to produce 4 tonnes of tilapia /month, year round. It consists of 2 x greenhouse tunnels housing different tank sizes with a total volume of 154000 Lt /recirculating system. Each tunnel system has its own bio-filter and solid removal filters. The solid removal filters are meant to be washed on a daily basis and this waste water collects in 11 x (20m x 2.5m x 0.3m) duckweed lagoons for further filtration to be later returned as clean water to the recirculating systems.

        My question is thus, would the 11 duckweed lagoons be sufficient to supply 50% supplementary feed to the total system or would i need to add more lagoons?

        Also do you dry your duckweed first or do you feed it as is to your tilapia?

        Looking forward to your response.

        Kind regards,


      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 16 months ago from Brazil

        Hi Bucky,

        Your project sounds very interesting and creative. What do you plant to do with these creations? I imagine there is a market for this as I have recently read about a company which uses leaves to form disposable eating plates. These can be thrown away without any problem to the environment.

        Regarding the relationship of the plants in the pond, yes, everything in that pond will be interconnected. We may not understand the relationship between the floating plants and those which are rooted but they will all be playing a role in the health of that pond.

        There is a wonderful series of videos on YouTube called the Natural Farmer in which he speaks about the various roles of plants. Although he is referring to land based ones, the same would hold true for those in the water.

        For example, if you took man out of the equation, Mother Nature knows what to do to make the soil (or water) healthy and those plants are the ones which thrive. These will change over time as the needs of the soil (or water) changes .

        I am pleased you enjoyed the article and I thank you for your comment.

      • profile image

        Bucky McMahon 17 months ago

        I enjoyed your article, and congratulate you on your green lifestyle. I live on a suburban pond which can sometimes be overwhelmed by duckweed. I began scooping out some quantities hoping to avoid a monoculture situation. Then I thought I ought to use the scoopings for mulch/fertilizer for the herb garden. Messing around with it, I became fascinated by its texture. Now I dry several pounds at a time on trays and mix it with water soluable glue to make a kind of felt, which I then apply to armatures to make duckweed sculptures. They are very green, as you can imagine, and initially smell rather like a wet dog (but that fades, fortunately). I've branched out lately and began harvesting some of the plants that grow from the bottom up, which are much more fibrous. Is there some symbiosis with the surface and bottom-muck dwelling plants?

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 20 months ago from Brazil


        Pelo que tenho pesquisado, os níveis de proteína são os mesmos. Se usarmos feijão como um exemplo, que retêm os seus níveis de proteína. Eu acredito que isso seja verdade com lentilha de água.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 2 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Lee,

        Thank you for that link it is very interesting and will be beneficial to the readers wanting more information.

        Duckweed has many uses such as bio-fuels, human and animal food and as a water cleaner.

        Now, when all the world is concerned about mosquitoes and the possibility for them to transmit the Zika virus, perhaps the time is right for city councils to take a fresh look at using this natural deterrent in lieu of spraying chemicals. Or at least to use in conjunction with spraying. So often the answers to many problems, are right under our noses.

        Thanks for reading and that link.

      • Lee Sutter profile image

        Lee Sutter 2 years ago

        Thank you. This is the only site I could find that talks about duckweed to control mosquitoes. I've noticed for many years that I never have mosquito larva in the half wine cask containing my small goldfish, where I once added a teaspoon of duckweed from a local waterway near a California coastal estuary. I truly believe this tiny plant can solve many of the major man-made problems on our planet. Here is a very encouraging report from Feb. 2014, the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) of the United States Department of Energy

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 2 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Deb,

        It is an amazing plant. We are now using it as a fertilizer on our 400 young coconut trees.

        My husband is the photographer in the family and loves photographing the birds, and snakes here. Although we have had snakes in our lakes, never a water moccasin (thank goodness).

        Thank you for your visit.

      • aviannovice profile image

        Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

        I'm impressed. I always wanted to know more about duckweed. We get a little on Boomer Lake, but it usually doesn't grow. We had a lot of rain over the spring and last month, so it helped it grow, I am assuming. I have seen other ponds and swamps, in the deeper South, where it grows like wildfire. As a matter of fact, I got a few shots of water moccasins in a swamp in a NWR covered with the stuff. Thanks for the great info.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

        You're very welcome, I am pleased you enjoyed it.

      • profile image

        hi 3 years ago

        thanks this is very cool

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Poetryman,

        Normally when I try to recycle trash, I end up with ...different trash. Duckweed however is different.

        I will be watching the news for when you do find a solution to save the world. I will say, "I knew him before he became famous."

        Thanks for reading and the vote.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Patricia,

        Thank you for your kind words, vote and sharing. I hope you are having a wonderful day up there in Florida.

      • poetryman6969 profile image

        poetryman6969 3 years ago

        I hope that one day soon we will find a use for every seemingly useless thing. Politicians, lawyers, reality television, duckweed, kudzu, acorns, fire ants. One of my secret plans to save the entire world in spite of itself is take ALL of our trash and turn it into treasure. Not some make work, feel, good, paperwork shuffle but a real industry that turns trash into Bill Gates level billions.

        Duckweed fills the bill. Voted up.

        My secondary plan to save the world involves eating zombies. But we would have to find some zombies first.

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

        This is quite helpful information for someone who needs this kind of plant. I am going to be living where I cannot have something like this. Maybe one day when I have a large area I will create a duckweed pond Great instructions.

        Voted up++++ and shared

        Angels are on the way to you this afternoon ps

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 3 years ago from Brazil

        We used it specifically for our fish to eat. However it has so many uses. In areas where mosquitoes are a problem at certain times of the year, it is beneficial to have this.

        Thanks for the votes and sharing.

      • Shyron E Shenko profile image

        Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

        I had not heard of this before, this is fascinating. I like the idea that it can be used as a preventative for mosquitoes, though it would seem it that if it prevents mosquitoes from laying their eggs, it would prevent oxygen from getting into the water.

        Voted up UAI, and sharing

        Blessings to you my friend


      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

        Yes it is simple, remember shallow still water is best. If the roots are long, there isn't enough food for it to grow. They like mucky water with fertilizer in it.

        Good luck with it.

      • LauraVerderber profile image

        Power Ball Pythons 4 years ago from Mobile, AL

        I finally got some duckweed growing regularly in my fish tank! Now to get it growing enough that I can use it to supplement food for my gold fish. It was all a matter of getting enough circulation to keep the tank clean and having the water be still enough that the duckweed would survive. What I did was have hornwort floating on top, and that's what prevented the duckweed from getting sucked in the filter. I want to try growing it outdoors next. I heard it is very simple.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Moonlake,

        I enjoy looking at it also. Thank you for your vote and sharing.

      • moonlake profile image

        moonlake 4 years ago from America

        I love the way duckweed looks on a pond. Goldfish like to eat it. Voted up and shared.

      • DonnaCSmith profile image

        Donna Campbell Smith 4 years ago from Central North Carolina

        Thanks for the info. Glad we don't have those critters here. Got plenty of folks dumb enough to lick them though!

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Donna,

        The cane toad produces venom through its skin. Nothing, that I know of, will eat them if they do they will die from the poison or become very ill. Here they are in plague numbers. Australia too has a horrendous problem with them. That said some people lick them to get high. It produces hallucinations.

      • DonnaCSmith profile image

        Donna Campbell Smith 4 years ago from Central North Carolina

        Very interesting Hub. I have a question - what is a cane toad and why do you not want them in the pond?

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Letitia,

        Glad you found it useful. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Thanks Laura.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Jrueff,

        Yes, it may well be all over the place. If you can't find it, it is cheap to buy off Ebay. There is a link to it in the page.

        Good luck to you and your 'mini homestead'.

      • jrueff profile image

        Joshua Rueff 5 years ago from Kansas City

        Wow, now I'm going to have to introduce duckweed to my mini homestead - this may be a dumb question, but where do I find the duckweed to get started?

        I'm guessing it's probably all over the place and I just haven't seen it around, but I'm not sure.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        I couldn't agree more. If you can't beat them, eat them.

      • LauraVerderber profile image

        Power Ball Pythons 5 years ago from Mobile, AL

        No problem. I really enjoyed your hub. It amazes me that people always complain about prolific plants like duckweed, water hyacinth, dandelions, etc., as enemy weeds when all I see are prolific food producers. It's just a matter of educating yourself and finding a way to use the plant in a productive way.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hello Laura,

        I find it amazing how fast that plant can grow. It makes you realize just how productive Mother Nature can be if we give her the chance. Thanks for stopping by.

      • LauraVerderber profile image

        Power Ball Pythons 5 years ago from Mobile, AL

        I grow duckweed to feed the fish in my pond too! Great article. :)

      • LetitiaFT profile image

        LetitiaFT 5 years ago from Paris via California

        I guess I got the tilapia backward. Thanks for clearing that up (no pun intended). I didn't realize the young fish ate algae. Your explanation helps me to understand why it's considered so important for developping economies. Thanks!

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hello Letitia,

        I am not sure what you mean about the tilapia making the water muddy. They do make depressions in the sand and also they can survive in very low water. Here on our farm we have sand at that base of our lakes. Our lakes are governed by the water table and rise and fall as the rains come and go. Tilapia do clean algae out of the water and in some states in America, municipalities are using them to help clean the water. Young tilapia can survive by eating algae and this is one way tilapia farmers save on the food bill.

        Our duckweed is grown in separate shallow ponds and scooped out to feed the fish. If left to grow uncontrolled, it will quickly spread.

        Thanks for leaving a comment.

      • LetitiaFT profile image

        LetitiaFT 5 years ago from Paris via California

        Oh gawd, those no-see-ums. We had them in French Guiana when I worked there on sea turtles. There they're called nya-nyas, short for rien-rien or nothing-nothings. Nasty little buggers. But here in Paris near the Seine we have mosquitoes, amazingly enough. I wish I could grow duckweed in my potted plants!

        Your article is fascinating. I've always loved duckweed for its aesthetic qualities, but I had no idea of its other uses. I seem to recall that Talapia can muddy clear water (though not as much as carp). Is that so and do you grow duckweed directly on their ponds to help clean them?

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Teaches12345,

        When I was in Florida, it wasn't so much the mosquitoes as those horrible no-see-ums! We have a similar one down here in Brazil.

        Ah tropical life!

        Thanks for the compliment.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

        You did an awesome job on covering this topic and made it so interesting to read. I have learned much. Anything that gets rid of mosquitoes is tops on my list. Too bad I can't grow it in m pool.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        This is an interesting point. One night my husband armed with a flashlight, called me outside. We went to the duckweed ponds and there were frogs, croaking, there necks billowing out with each croak. They were spawning in there and the next morning we had foam. The frogs have come and gone and will return to spawn again.

        The problem we have here are cane toads. (I must write a hub about them). They are a problem here as they are in Australia. They excrete a poison that kills anything that predates them.

        We do everything we can to encourage frogs to stay in our garden. Anything that eats bugs that might bite me, can stay.

        Glad you like the article.

        Thanks for the comment.

      • rbm profile image

        rbm 5 years ago

        Fascinating article! I had no idea duckweed grows so fast. We have a little pond in our garden where we keep tadpoles right now, and unfortunately the mosquito larvae love it too, been scooping them out periodically. I am now thinking that duckweed would work very well here, and the tadpoles would probably be pretty happy with it too, right?

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hello Bright Meadow,

        I am glad you enjoyed it. I plan to write more about various plants here. Sometimes it is hard to decipher what is folklore and what is fact here. My neighbor swears his mother-in-law can cure fever by putting a root under the bed of the feverish person.

        Thanks for the comment.

      • BrightMeadow profile image

        BrightMeadow 5 years ago from a room of one's own

        I heard about this plant on a television program but they did not go in depth. I'm glad you shared this. I would love to hear more about the uses of other plants that you are familiar with as you mentioned in one of the earlier comments. Thanks for sharing this info.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Brenda,

        Thanks, I am glad you enjoyed it.

        It isn't just about tropical plants, I recently read a hub from a new hubber about what plants grow well together. Interesting info.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Angela,

        Thank you. It took me awhile but get around to writing it, but now I am glad I've done it. I am pleased you liked it.

      • Angela Brummer profile image

        Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

        This is an amazing article. New information I have nerver heard of presented beautifuly!

      • joanveronica profile image

        Joan Veronica Robertson 5 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

        Hi, greetings from Concepcion, Chile! This is a great Hub, well in line with some of our school work in the rural areas, the drylands. It reminds me of our efforts with the school project for worms (I wrote a hub about this project, maybe you would like to check it out?) I wish you every luck with your enterprise in Brazil.

      • brenda12lynette profile image

        brenda12lynette 5 years ago from Utah

        Thanks for the great information Blond Logic! I love learning about the different properties of plants. Voted up!

      • kartika damon profile image

        kartika damon 5 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

        Hi Blond Logic - yes the pharma industry is all about making the big money. Nature has a cure for so many (perhaps all) of our ills. Having that knowledge is so valuable - and it's good so many more people are recognizing this. You are so lucky to live where people are close to the land and understand the power of plants and strive to live in harmony with the ecosystem. :)

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        We have a spare bedroom, come visit! There is always work to do on the farm.LOL

        I think that when we stop and look at how small communities deal with problems, we can learn much from them. Sometimes, in our search for bigger, better, faster we lose sight of what is simple and more effective.

        I'm pleased you enjoyed the article. Thanks for the comment.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Kartika,

        Where I live in Brazil, there are many people with local knowledge of plants. One we have in our garden, the locals use it if they have dandruff.

        Once when my husband had an inflammation on his leg, my neighbor brought over a plant, chopped it up, and put this on his leg. By morning the inflammation was gone.

        So often the western world would rather take a pill than use something herbal or natural. Luckily I think this is changing.

        Thank you for your comment.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hi Natashalh,

        There are different varieties of it but you may well have it there. Sometimes things can be right under our noses and we don't appreciate them.

        Thanks for stopping by.

        Have a great day.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hello Wilbart26,

        Thank you. Remember if you plant it, you have to control it. That is why we have ours in separate ponds. Because it can double every 1-2 days, by 60 days it could cover 79 acres!

        Let me know how it goes.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hello phdast7,

        Yes, places in the far east, Latin America, and parts of Africa. I have seen some homes that have the manure running into a large cylinder for bio gas for cooking then into a duckweed pond and then into a pool where fish are. It is an amazing plant. Although some people in countries such as Vietnam eat it, I personally haven't. A morning duckweed smoothie? Watch this space.

        Thanks for stopping by and also sharing it. Much appreciated.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

        Hello RTalloni,

        We first discovered the benefits of duckweed after looking for ways to reduce the cost of raising our tilapia. There is much research going on in the far east and Latin America where they are trying to increase rearing fish for local populations as well as the export market.

        Thanks for your comment.

      • Mr. Happy profile image

        Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

        "The reason we decided to grow duckweed is to feed our tilapia. We have a farm here in Northern Brazil where we raise tilapia for the local market." - I love Tilapia - I might have to visit to have some fresh! : )

        I have heard about the many positive uses of duckweed not long ago. It makes me happy to find that we are re-learning how to use what Mother Earth gives us.

        Great article - thank You for bringing this topic to the general discussion, here on Hubpages. Cheers!

        P.S. Thank You to Mrs. Theresa (Phdast7) once again today for sharing another great article!

      • kartika damon profile image

        kartika damon 5 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

        Thanks - great article. I'm always happy to learn more about the environment and the amazing potential plants have to heal people and the planet.

      • Natashalh profile image

        Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

        So cool! I think we have duckweed growing at work. i always just thought it was some weird plant. I had no idea it was so useful! Thanks for putting this hub together.

      • profile image

        Wilbart26 5 years ago

        This is a very informative hub about duckweed, I never thought, duckweed is this helpful. Thanks for this, I might consider planting duckweed also... Very helpful... Keep it up!

      • phdast7 profile image

        Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

        This is absolutely fascinating. I had no idea. What a marvelous way to do so many things. Do you know if this is being done in many locations, many countries? Terrific article! Sharing.

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

        How interesting! You have done a wonderful job of explaining why as well as the way you are growing duckweed. I'm not surprised that it we would discover that it has many benefits, only that the news is not more well known.


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