Water lettuce is frost sensitive and is frequently seen as an aquarium plant.
Water lettuce is frost sensitive and is frequently seen as an aquarium plant.

Be wary of weeds for fish tank

NOXIOUS weeds are a problem across the whole North Coast region and aquarium or property owners may be unwittingly using such plants to provide a tank habitat for their fish or to improve the appearance of a pond.

However, many of these plants are actually noxious weeds, meaning it is illegal to have them on your property.

These weeds include salvinia, water hyacinth and water lettuce. These plants have all been introduced into Australia principally from South and Central America – and, like all noxious weeds, it is illegal to have them on your property.

When released into the North Coast environment they soon become very invasive and do a great deal of harm. By covering the water surface they prevent light reaching submerged plants, reducing their ability to produce oxygen and affecting the ability of fish, turtles and other aquatic animals to live under such conditions. Ducks and other water birds are also prevented from entering the water by the dense mat of vegetation.

Salvinia is the most common floating aquatic weed. Under ideal conditions it can double in size every 72 hours. This weed is also frequently found on farm dams and creeks.

Water hyacinth, with its long root system and purple flowers, although not often found in Coffs Harbour, is a serious weed on the far north coast of NSW and southern Queensland.

Water lettuce, the leaves of which resemble a small lettuce, is frost sensitive and not found in natural environments around Coffs Harbour, but is frequently seen as an aquarium plant.

If you have any of these plants in your aquarium they need to be carefully managed to avoid them getting into local waterways.

All of these weeds should be removed and placed in the green waste bin. Do not give any away. Buy replacement plants from a pet shop or registered nursery. If unsure about what you are buying get it identified first.

Should you want identification or further information on any aquatic weeds, please call Coffs Harbour City Council’s weeds officer, Barry Powells, on 6648 4889, weekdays between 8am and 4.30pm.



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