15-gallon Riparium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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15-gallon Riparium

Pre-journal: Nano/Smallish Riparium, Nature Aquarium Style

I think I have a pretty solid concept for a new display. I don't have the tank in place yet, so I start this pre-journal thread to jot down some ideas and get some feedback. As I get it rolling I might just continue with this thread, or start a new one in the Planted Nano Tanks forum.

I had a lot of fun with the latest layout that I have been working on in a 50-gallon tank. Here's one recent shot of that one.



Here are a few features that characterize this one pretty well:
  • A tank filled with water to about 2/3 of total depth
  • Erect, tidy, "grassy" background plant (Cyperus) that throws relatively little shade
  • Fine-leaved sprawling stem plants (Bacopa, Limnophila, and others) growing on trellis rafts and forming dense floating carpet.
  • Underwater scape lacking plants, but with an artistically-rendered stone layout, and a pleasing, natural gravel
  • Relatively large and showy fish
  • A striking centerpiece plant (Cyrtosperma)

This new project will use some of the same elements, with important variations. I'll start out here by organizing the general plan by sub-heading.




Tank & Other Hardware

I intend for it to also include a mostly-full tank, but I will use a smaller enclosure. My best idea right now is to use a regular Aqueon 15-gallon--I have several of these laying around--with the top rim plastic rim removed. I like the shape of the 15-gallon (24" wide X 12" deep" X 12" tall). This is a smaller tank than any that I have tried for an actual riaprium layout, but I think that it should work well with the right configuration of equipment an plant selection. As for the 50-gallon, I will probably fill this tank with water to only about 2/3 of total depth so that stress on the seems (intended to be supported in part by the plastic aquarium frame) will be lessened. The tank will thus contain only about 10 gallons of water.

I will figure out some kind of canister filter for filtration and circulation.

I want to put this tank on a stand built in the raw industrial style that I have used several times before. This type of stand will look perfect with this light fixture...

Sunleaves Pioneer JR II Grow, 2-2ft





Hardscape

As I mentioned above, I hope to draw on Nature Aquarium design principals for this layout. I intend for the underwater area to lack plants, or include just a few, and feature a well-rendered hardscape with rocks, and possibly also manzanita driftwood. I have enjoyed the effect of the rounded river stones in the 50-gallon setup.



While it is pretty easy to situate these rounded stones in a convincing layout, I think that I will try to use angular pieces for this new layout, which might be more challenging. I need to go back and study some of the general ideas, but I will plan to use the same design principles that inform iwagumi style stone layouts.

I think that I will also encourage the development of an algae crust or patina for these rocks. So long as filaments of hair algae are scraped away from the rocks and the gravel is maintained clean with frequent stirring, a scape with rocks like these maintains a neat, yet natural appearance.

Management of algae would become more difficult in such a system if very many plants were grown in the underwater area, as algae would tend to accumulate on the foliage and would be difficult to remove.





Emersed Plants

This thread has run long. I'll return later on with another post and an explanation of what I have in mind for plants and livestock.




*
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post #2 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 04:10 AM
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Today, while shopping at my local 99 cents store, I noticed they had a big display of 2 inch pots of Hypoestes phyllostachya, in both pink and red colors, and only 99 cents each, of course. So, of course I bought one to replace a now too leggy one in one of my ripariums. If you have a 99 cents store there it is worth looking to see if they also have these. It probably won't fit what you have in mind, but who knows what other plants any local 99 cents store might have?

Hoppy
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post #3 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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That Hypoestes is a handy plant for a small riparium setup, but it doesn't really go with the Nature Aquarium idea, which mainly involves plants with plain green foliage.

I think that I have a few good ones figured out here. The main idea I have in mind is an emphasis onplants with grassy appearances.
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post #4 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Emersed Plants

My general idea is to develop the background with "grassy" foliage. The major constraint for the plant growth habit and shape is that they scale well with this smaller tank. I think I have some pretty good selections for this concept. All of these are well-recognized as growing in wet/marginal aquatic situations.

I have several ideas for midground emersed plants to be grown on trellis rafts. I will come back to describe these with another post.

Of these three plants only the first, Pogonatherum crinitum is a true grass (Graminae). The Cyperus is a sedge (Cyperaceae) and the Acorus is a sweetflag (Acoraceae).

Pogonatherum crinitum

This one is still untested for riparium culture--I only recently acquired it--but it looks like it might be a winner. Known with the common names "baby panda bamboo" or "miniature bamboo", among others, it is not a true bamboo, but it is a grass. I am confused as to whether Pogonatherum paniceum (another plant that appears in searches) and P. crinitum are synonyms, or two distinct but similar species. I get the impression that they are the same thing. Descriptions for both describe plants growing with bamboo-like foliage to about 18" tall. It is very popular as a bonsai subject or houseplant and also makes a good houseplant. This could be a great riparium plant.



*



Acorus gramineus "dwarf"

I am still uncertain about the best classification for this plant. I have the species right, but I have run into some conflicting information on the variety, so I just identify it with "dwarf" in double quotes. The foliage is neat and tidy and has a perfect shape for a setup like this, with leaves that arch forward from the creeping rhizome at about a 45 degree angle. The top of that planter cup is three inches or so wide. The leaves reach to about 9" in length. Bruised foliage of this particular Acorus variety has a wonderful sweet spicy smell. Sweetflags are highly susceptible to spider mite infestation and damage, so it will be important to watch for these plants and treat promptly if they appear.



*



Cyperus albostriatus 'Nanus'

I have had this plant for a couple of years. It is unusual among Cyperus in that it has a running rhizomatous growth habit, instead of clumping habit. It is a bit difficult to see in this photograph, but the foliage includes leaves that arise in whorls from axils on the tops bare flowering stalks, like other umbrella sedges, as well as longer leaves that grow out of the ground from the plant crown. It grows to about 12" tall. This is a hardy plant and it stays looking very nice all winter long when kept as a houseplant. It dose well as a marginal aquatic, but thrives best with the crown at least an inch or so above the water surface.



*
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post #5 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 08:59 PM
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I had manzanita in my nano-riparium but I realized quickly I didn't have enough room to clean the sides of the glass without having to completely move the wood around every time. Tank size is 12x12x12 though so you may have enough room to move around if all the wood is centered.

Looking forward to see how this turns out.

-Charlie


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post #6 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 09:06 PM
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I like the look of that Acorus andCyprus. I really want to see how you make this into a masterpiece as always!
Jake

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post #7 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 09:51 PM
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That selection of plants looks very good. Do nurseries selling houseplants ever sell the pogonatherum? It looks like a winner for any size riparium. I haven't googled it yet, so I may find my answer there.

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post #8 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 10:30 PM
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Devin,

Can I ask where you found that dwarf Acorus at? That would make a great transition plant for my scape between teh Spathiphyllium and the Epi Trellis rafts with my anubias'.

Are 3 chunks of Anubias 'Gold' enough for you to start out with? I used the rest between 3 trellis rafts and a few more under the water. I've got a good selection of plants for you next week as alot of the ones I got just don't fit what I had in mind here is what will be headed your way so you can look them up ahead of time:

3x Anubias 'Gold'
1x Anubias 'Marbled' if it arrives before I ship
3-6 Stems Ludwigia Sengalis
3 Stems Ammania 'Bonsai'
5-8 Stems Hygrophilia 'Araguia'
3 Stems Micranthemum Umbrosum

I think there is also a couple of other stems (Hygro Tiger and something else that wasn't labeled when I got it.)

These are all emmersed at this point.

Craig

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post #9 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 11:10 PM
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hate to hi-jack, but has anyone grown anubias barteri emersed?
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post #10 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by F22 View Post
hate to hi-jack, but has anyone grown anubias barteri emersed?

I've got a couple that have been emmersed since I got them just set them on top of a filter pad with the rhizome and leaves out of the water, just moved them to floating Epi-Rafts in my Riparium...

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post #11 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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I like the look of that Acorus andCyperus. I really want to see how you make this into a masterpiece as always!
Jake
I like those plants a lot too. They are winners for riparium growing and it looks like these two smaller varieties will be good for this setup in the 15-gallon tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhazard View Post
I had manzanita in my nano-riparium but I realized quickly I didn't have enough room to clean the sides of the glass without having to completely move the wood around every time. Tank size is 12x12x12 though so you may have enough room to move around if all the wood is centered.

Looking forward to see how this turns out.

-Charlie
I will probably experiment with a few different hardscape possibilities. I won't have any plants rooted in the botom so it will be easy enough to switch it up as I go along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
That selection of plants looks very good. Do nurseries selling houseplants ever sell the pogonatherum? It looks like a winner for any size riparium. I haven't googled it yet, so I may find my answer there.
Hoppy I got that plant from violetbarn.com. I also purchased the variegated cultivar 'Variegatum' from them in the same order. glasshouseworks.com also sells both varieties.

I only got those plants ten days or so ago, but I have them potted up in the riparium planters and they still look good so far.
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post #12 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post

Hoppy I got that plant from violetbarn.com. I also purchased the variegated cultivar 'Variegatum' from them in the same order. glasshouseworks.com also sells both varieties.

I only got those plants ten days or so ago, but I have them potted up in the riparium planters and they still look good so far.
And, they are now out of stock! I guess someone else likes them, too. I'll be looking for that at the various nurseries I visit. I keep thinking I have seen it at one of them.

Hoppy
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post #13 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
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I probably about cleaned them out with my order. I remember the catalog listing said "Extremely Limited Supply". I hope that I can get mine to grow. It looks as though it will probably be pretty easy to propagate. As I was repotting these I noticed that they appeared to have been rooted directly from stem cuttings of larger plants. All I need to do is get them to grow to height, then start chopping the tops off.
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post #14 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigthor View Post
Devin,

Can I ask where you found that dwarf Acorus at? That would make a great transition plant for my scape between teh Spathiphyllium and the Epi Trellis rafts with my anubias'.

Are 3 chunks of Anubias 'Gold' enough for you to start out with? I used the rest between 3 trellis rafts and a few more under the water. I've got a good selection of plants for you next week as alot of the ones I got just don't fit what I had in mind here is what will be headed your way so you can look them up ahead of time:

3x Anubias 'Gold'
1x Anubias 'Marbled' if it arrives before I ship
3-6 Stems Ludwigia Sengalis
3 Stems Ammania 'Bonsai'
5-8 Stems Hygrophilia 'Araguia'
3 Stems Micranthemum Umbrosum

I think there is also a couple of other stems (Hygro Tiger and something else that wasn't labeled when I got it.)

These are all emmersed at this point.

Craig
Craig, I will be most grateful for those Anubias. Thank you so much for having me in mind. I will definitely plant them up on Epi-Trellis rafts, then start looking for a way to use them in a layout.

Those stems will be great to try out too. From looking at your tank I think it might be a bit dark down near the water for very dense grow of emersed stems, but your Anubias should do well there. I wan to try out some new stems in this 15-gallon setup. If one of those has finer foliage that will look right here I will try to apply it.

I'll send along this giant duckweed and that Nymphoides. I have one more piece of that Acorus dwarf that I can include too.

Glasshouseroks.com has that Acorus gramineus 'Dwarf' (not sure if that is same one that I have?) on their aquatic plants page...

http://www.glasshouseworks.com/aquaticplants.html

I wonder if this one might also get too much shade in your setup(?). It seems a taller one, such as 'Ogon' might do better. Would you like a few pieces of that one too?

If you use Acorus anywhere just be careful to watch out for spider mites. This plant is like candy for spider mites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F22 View Post
hate to hi-jack, but has anyone grown anubias barteri emersed?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigthor View Post
I've got a couple that have been emmersed since I got them just set them on top of a filter pad with the rhizome and leaves out of the water, just moved them to floating Epi-Rafts in my Riparium...
Anubias barteri grows awesome on those Epi-Trellis Rafts. Here is A. barteri var. nana...



...and here is 'Broad Leaf'

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post #15 of 236 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 03:37 AM
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Devin,

I would love to try both the 'Ogon' and the 'Dwarf' if you don't mind.

The Bacopa is taking off like crazy I will need to trim and propigate it soon as I want to add some to another spot in the tank.

Off to catch some sleep its been a long day.

Craig

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"C'mon, they're just plants, man, no big deal -- try some"
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