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As mentioned in a previous question, I am looking at integrating aquaponics-type food growth into my multi-thousand gallon carp tank (two turtles live there too). I recognize that aquatic plants may be food for more than just us but figure we should start somewhere.

I had two ideas as to where to start. The first was in integrating aquatic vegetables like lotus into the existing fish tank. This would provide a more natural environment for the fish and turtles, as well as more food all around for us. The first candidate there to my mind is lotus (the tuber is widely eaten around Asia).

The other option is to get some heavy styrofoam and make floats and grow some light vegetables (maybe bok choi or the like). Which would be a better way to start?

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I love lotus root and am a bit prejudiced against styrofoam, so I would probably try to grow lotus plants. They supposedly clean the water as well, so I am sure they'd be a good addition to your system.

I don't much about it, but in Japan the lotus is harvested in winter (December–January), when the fields look like all harvest has long rotted away:

lotus fields
(source: ocn.ne.jp)

In Japan, the Ibaraki prefecture seems to be the best climate for growing lotus. Since I guess you won't be able to reproduce the climate of Ibaraki, I wonder how good the lotus grows and if it tastes any good.

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