Utricularia aquariums


Hey everyone, I was wondering if anyone keeps an aquarium of the aquatic boys?

If so, I would absolutely love to see it!

I'm toying with the idea of using my unused 1.5g aquarium just for this exact purpose. I'm just not totally sure on what the requirements need to be. I'd like to make it into a shrimp tank, I'm fully aware that some bladderworts might be big enough to eat baby shrimp but I'm not super concerned about that detail. Everyone has to eat, right? I'm thinking cherry shrimp, they stay small and love to eat algae plut I think the bright red would be a lovely contrast to the green plants.

Alright, tell me the flaws in my idea so that I can go about this the right way!

If you have an aquarium setup, please post pics and tell me which bladdies you have and your tank occupants!


Carnivorous Plant Addict
My pond aquarium
Aldrovanda vesiculosa (Seeds)
Utricularia graminifolia
Utricularia minor
Utricularia gibba
Utricularia macrorhiza

Fish and snails
Bristlenose plecos (Great for algae control)
Malaysian trumpet snails (Don’t eat live plants)

I don’t use any filtration or aeration just once a week I do a 1/4 tank water change. Utricularia don’t like water with lots of fertilizers in it like most other carnivourous plants. With low minerals I don’t think shrimp would fare well. In fact my hundreds of trumpet snails dont live a full life I believe their shells erode early because of low minerals but they do fine.

Utricularia also I believe dont photosynthesis like other plants they rely on others to keep the Carbon dioxide and oxygen balanced in the system. So to keep Utricularia you need a planted tank or they fade away.



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Search the web for Utricularia graminifolia and you'll find amazing examples for planted aquariums. This species has become really popular for aquascaping during the last years because you can create nice green lawns underwater. The traps are very small so no danger. U.reflexa would be an aquatic, free floating species with big traps. There is one form from Zambia in cultivation that has some really giant traps. Generally I would use tropical ever growing species for an (indoor) aquarium. Keep in mind that if the conditions are right Utricularia will grow really fast and fill the tank quickly. So rather go with smaller species. Many aquatic CPs will die from the terminal end and it can become some work to remove their dead leaves. A bigger tank is often easier to keep stable than smaller ones especially if you also want fish in there.
Certain shrimp and snails help a lot to reduce algae. Don't get snails or fish that eat your plants or that get too big. Any animals especially those that need extra food will fertilise the water (N, P). So other well growing plants can help especially at the beginning to keep the water chemistry within limits. Some CPs like Aldrovanda do better if you use some kind of CO2-System. Most CP's like soft "black water", but slightly yellow will do. You can add some dead Carex leaves as source for humic acids. Make sure the animals inside the tank can cope with the water chemistry. Extremely soft water (rain water or demin. water) especially in combination with extra CO2 is a problem for the shells of snails and shrimp won't be happy either. So you need to check their requirements and make some compromises.


Thanks Eric! I have seen u. graminifolia used as a carpeting plant before, and I do have experience stabilizing the tank previously for cherry shrimp in the past (I gave them away when I moved) but I certainly have no idea how to treat a carnivorous plant tank!

Your post is incredibly helpful, I think I may stick to just plants for now to make sure water parameters are stable and correct.

I have been doing some reading, peat moss in a bio bag can help with water pH. Thoughts on this?

Thanks again Eric, you're super knowledgeable about this stuff!

And Lloyd, that looks amazing! Thanks for posting a photo!