Low tech 90 with planted HOB filters
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:30 AM   #1
AUAV8R
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Low tech 90 with planted HOB filters


This is my first attempt with mineralized top soil. I used a cheep bag of top soil from lowes and mixed it with MGOPM and mineralized it.
I found the Dolomite at The Vitamin Shop, the clay at Michaels Arts and crafts store, and muriate of potash from a local nursery. The cap is Safe T Sorb that I picked up from Tractor Supply. I was worried that the cap wouldn't be heavy enough but it seems to be working fine. The lighting is a single (sunblaze) T5HO with good reflector. The plants in the HOB's are dwarf bamboo, umbrella, and some flowering plant I picked up from lowes. The bamboo is already showing signs of failure and the umbrella has some yellowing as well. I'm only using some foam filter material to hold the plants in place, I'm not sure that is the best way but I'm in the trial and error stage.

Any suggestions as to types of plants to use in the filters, and methods of planting them?
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:08 PM   #2
nonfucious
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I had a planted HOB nano-filter and I did it the same way, plant in foam. The plant (creeping Jenny) did fine but what I found was that the root mass obstructed the filter flow pretty quickly so I ditched the idea. Are all of those plants true marginals? Maybe some of them just can't adapt to the conditions. Houseplants in my riparium that are doing well are Dieffenbachia, prayer plant, and a phaelenopsis orchid. No idea whther I spelled those names correctly either I like your start!
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:56 PM   #3
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I started into ripariums from planting my HOBs with house plants too! Started with these house plants:
maidenhair fern -ultimately did not like being transplanted
Fittonia albivenis - green with white veins -awesome compact low growth good for hiding media plants are stuffed in
Tradescantia zebrine -aka 'wandering jew' -purple/greenish growth with thick band/strikes- grows faster than the pothos! nice splash of color
Pothos (variegated) -green to yellowish green- common fast growing vine plant, gets monster roots (not a good idea for inside hob, will clog it, best to strap it to the side of the tank/in planter/shower basket and let roots grow right down into substrate)
I now have a planted HOB (foam) with all the started except the fern, 5 riparium planters (using expanded clay media) and 2 trellis rafts stuffed full of plants, mostly the ones I started with (and their clippings) but also got:
Cyperus Umbrella Sedge
Aluminum plant
Spathiphyllum(? was thrown in for free unsure of ID)
Ruellia brittoniana 'Katie.
Also have Lizad Tail and Dwarf Taro growing out in a vase since they did not come in good shape.
AND have riccia and creeping jenny I'm transitioning from submerged to emersed growth in the riparium system. (jenny added after this photo)



(pothos in the HOB gets roots trimmed once in a while to keep managable)
Btw, this gets addictive, I went to Homedepot today to grab a light timer and some spare cfl bubls.. spent a good 10-15 minutes having to talk myself ut of grabbing some more plants to experiment with in the riparium (really want to throw a "grass" in there or some low ground cover stuff..) but I don't have enough room in the planters I have for more, and no more wall room on the tank to stuff more in... I need a longer tank >.>

You can try just about any plant that the label says to "keep soil moist" or at least does not say "don't keep in standing water/prefer dry environment". Once i find a way to stuff more plants in.. I'm going to try a few more things.. oh the possibilities ^^
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:02 PM   #4
jmf3460
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awesome. does your HOB still have good flow being planted?? do you have to take out the plant every so often and clean/change the filter foam?? can you take pictures down inside the HOB??
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmf3460 View Post
awesome. does your HOB still have good flow being planted?? do you have to take out the plant every so often and clean/change the filter foam?? can you take pictures down inside the HOB??
I use to have a betta in the tank and actually had foam on the outflow planted with riccia to reduce it more. I've since removed it and it has strong flow until it hits the part of tank where the driftwood branch is at the surface, it blocks flow past that branch since its the whole width of the tank. But I should mention this is an Aquaclear70 on a 20g long, so its a bit overkill to begin with. Aside from very infrequent root trim (have had plants since April, only done it one) of pothos in HOB I haven't had to really clean out the media/roots. I should add that the tank use to only house the 1 mentioned betta and 3 otos... the otos are in another tank now and the betta passed away several weeks ago.. So aside from snail poo and plant decomposition under water, not much making a mess in the tank right now. If you have a high bioload (lot of fish) might need to clean foam out once in a while as it gets full of mulm.
I just sat down to eat lunch so give me about a half hour and I'll take apart the HOB and take some progress shots to show how it looks/is planted, then slap it back together.

Btw nonfucious, I like the plants you have for your set up, how big is your tank/system? The Dieffenbachia and prayer plant can get pretty big/bushy.
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:55 PM   #6
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good because I want to do something like you have on my 30gallon that sits near a big window
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:59 PM   #7
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ok so sorry for delay, had a call.. lets start the photo spam:

tank front view (side view of HOB by intake)


top view of HOB


Close up to see some roots



And here we go! disasembling:
Removing pothos stems + some wandering jew from intake side of HOB (mmm I think I might need to trim these roots again)




A look at the outflow/front of hob (while unpluged) with creeping jenny removed


And out comes the media basket!(sorry photos start getting a little blurry.. need an extra pair of hands to do this smoothly)



Close up half way down media, shows roots don't really go past the large foam.. yet


Some close ups of the foam and roots. Have larger pored (less dense) foam on top (forget filter brand its from), and a more dense foam (aquaclear brand) below that roots are in.



Veeery carefully peeling the foam apart to show root system


Ok they're in there pretty good.. not going to completely separate foam (sorry). Lets have a look in the Empty HOB... eh just a little dead plant matter at the bottom (removed after photo)


Ok putting back together, basket-o-plants, check! Time to carefully put pothos back in.. carefully... tuck roots in and push in stem..



And some final shots




With filter turned back on


[added]
As you can see I keep foam on top and bio-media/ceramic media/whatever the cores stuff for BB to grow in on bottom, no activated carbon/charcoal in my system. I'd recommend laying with most dense foam at bottom of stack (is using multiples), more open/airy/holey on top to make plant root systems easier to manage (typically you'd want dense foam at top just before it leaves filter in non planted HOB). You might also notice I have my hob set at the lowest flow setting (from internal empty filter photo). I don't want to cranked to max yet since I am trying to get creeping jenny to root into the foam.
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Last edited by AquaAurora; 06-25-2014 at 07:16 PM.. Reason: added some info at the end
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:02 PM   #8
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so to begin with, you just stuck plants down in the sponge?? just rested them in there and the roots started taking over the sponge??
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:05 PM   #9
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thank you so much for all those pics btw. that seems to be a regular fluval HOB right.....that's what I have
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
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so to begin with, you just stuck plants down in the sponge?? just rested them in there and the roots started taking over the sponge??
Yep i stuffed plant stem base or roots (some were clippings.. or broke when originally washed soil off) around the edges of the foam or cut slits in the foam with a razor or scissors and jammed them in the slits. No issues with them falling out when started, and not now with the tangles root system in there. They just grow on their own and really seem to like the foam (probably get extra nutrient from the mulm that gets trapped in there?).

Quote:
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thank you so much for all those pics btw. that seems to be a regular fluval HOB right.....that's what I have
That's actually an Aquaclear70, but I think several brands use the same product from the factor that makes them and just slap a different label/price tag on.
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:59 PM   #11
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and you can probably squeeze that sponge to clean it occasionally without damaging the roots at all right??
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
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and you can probably squeeze that sponge to clean it occasionally without damaging the roots at all right??
I would think so, or dunk it in a siphoned out bucket of tank water and massage it a bit to get loose stuff out.
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:43 PM   #13
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thanks for the help aquaaurora, im going to try it
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:10 PM   #14
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I didn't clean my planted hob at all in the first year(+) I had it planted. When I finally took it apart to move recently, it wasn't too bad off. I don't plan on cleaning it anytime soon. It seems like disturbing the root growth is more detrimental to the system than the small amount of plant matter in the bottom of the hob. Also, the growth doesn't seem to slow the flow down much.

I try not to let the pothos root on the intake side of the hob, the other side is fine with me. Although if you can get it to root in the tank and make it's way into the substrate the plant will explode! Getting them to root is super easy, just let part of the vine hang into the water. The downside is that the roots will go crazy, you won't want to pull them out of your substrate while running a capped mts. I had roots under about 75% of the substrate of my 20L & a ton in the water column. So if you let the plant root into the tank make sure the roots go down in an area where you can hide them.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:29 PM   #15
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Awesome tank Aqua, thanks for posting pics of your setup. I've been trying to find the best way to plant the hob. Right now I've got lava rock in the bottom with layered foam and the roots just shoved between the layers. I was thinking of getting some of those plastic sponge holders from Walmart and fill it with some florite or safe t sorb. My HOB's are large and double sided. I also picked up a glass display case from a department store off of craigslist for $60. Not sure what I'm going to do with it yet but I was leaning towards some sort of reptile or dart frog display.
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