August 18, 2014
Got tired of so much H.Japan, tried something new!
Experimenting with Dragon's Tongue (according to the tag from Lowe's it's Hemigraphis repanda - beats me). A terrestrial plant that is supposed to be ok in boggy conditions but not underwater. Going to plant it just on the top sponge, not in the 'spoon'. I wonder if dwarf baby tears would grow in the spoon?
Here we go!
Step one, grab the fist full of H.Japan from the top and rip out (very technical)
After (with black top sponge removed):
Next, make a huge mess in a company bathroom sink rinsing ALL the soil from the roots (yes I cleaned it up before anyone saw and I didn't clog the sink, strained it all out)
"plant" the little plantlets in the sponge, poke a hole with a bamboo skewer and thread through
Back on top! Now I just hope it grows and doesn't melt into mush.
- Disassemble, clean & replace pics on page 3!
(How to at bottom of post)
NEW PICS! The spillway is doing very well, and the part on the sponge in the body of the HOB is taking off now too. Have to watch that it doesn't clog the impeller!
The moss and ricca that started the spillway is swamped by the other plants now - probably acting as a substrate now
Ok, the how-to is still below, but here are some pics at a month out that might explain a little better how it goes together (was swapping out the purigen with a recharged one)
There are 2 pieces, the spillway on the outflow of the filter and the "sponge Wabi-Kusa" that goes on top of the media stack
The spillway removed
The "Sponge Wabi"
It is all on top of or in the sponge piece
How the sponge fits in the filter stack
Here is my take on a planted HOB - this design should work on any Aquaclear and I'm sure can be modified for other makes. This design leaves the interior of the AQ full of media, the plants grow on the screen and into the extra sponge on top. It also works well for calming down the turbulence in my shrimp tank.
This is version 2.0, the first used plastic mesh screen and the plants slid right off!
First you need a chunk of Stainless screen, For my AQ30 it needed to be 4x6. I got mine from H4N here on the board, asked for something stiff enough to hold it's shape and with the holes a bit bigger than a filter guard. Spent some time with my leatherman pliers to turn it into this shape, sort of like a ladle or a high heeled shoe. This is by far the hardest part:
The part that goes in the tank ends up in a spoon shape, the arched part has to be bent over on itself to fit in the mouth of the HOB. I rolled all my edges as I went so nothing sharp sticks up.
You will also need a chunk of coarse foam if you want to do the top of the HOB media stack, I used a chunk of the coarse black foam from a Marineland canister refill. Note that it is so coarse you can see through it. Cut a piece into a rectangle the to cover the top of the media stack.
Now put it together like this. The "handle" of the spoon shape fit into the HOB between the case and the media, the black sponge goes on top of the media stack, you can tuck it under the handles you use to pull the media out. Even if it isn't submerged, that is ok - it will wick water up and stay moist all the time.
Now plant it! I put riccia in the 'spoon', the edges hold it in place - it is actually growing above the water surface, beautiful green. I tied moss (xmas, fissidens) to the 'walls' of the spoon, that is just starting to fill in.
On the arch of the spillway is more moss, Hydro Japan (I think - little vine that looks like clover?).
At the sponge/spillway joint I tucked in some little struggling anubias, red stem clipping, more moss. stems are taking off.
On top is more moss, Purple Waffle (house plant from home depot), a rhizome of rabbits foot fern and an African violet leaf. The last 2 are experiments - don't know how well they will do as hydroponic only plants
Violet will probably grow but not flower, the rabbits foot is a long shot.
What do you think?