As Authentic As Able ADA Method Wabi Kusa - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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As Authentic As Able ADA Method Wabi Kusa

The company I work for is sponsoring a wabi kusa workshop at a hobby convention so I thought it would be a good idea to start my own to take to the show. The goal was/is to replicate the ADA wabi kusa I had in Japan as closely as possible given materials easily available to me.


Authentic ADA wabi kusa, 1 large stem mix and 1 small Crypt and stem







One thing I took interest in with the ADA balls is they're clearly made of some sort of straw, my guess is rice. I would guess wheat, barley, or other grain straw would work equally well. Unfortunately that's not available in small quantities where I am. I didn't want to buy a full bale just for one little wabi kusa. Instead, I got a bag of Aspen fibers which got a strong boil for an hour to soften them up.



Step 2: Grab a good double handful of fiber and make a circular mat.



Step 3: Add a few small rocks to give it weight. These were about 1 inch each.



Step 4: Wrap. Again, the local hobby store didn't have nice thick colored string so I had to go with the slightly thicker standard white variety. For reference, the white pad is approximately 3x3 inches.



Step 5: Add more fiber and wrap again, more loosely this time.



Step 6 (optional): Add moss and wrap. If I'd had an appropriately dark straw I wouldn't have mossed the ball, but since I only had light colored materials I went with the moss to cover it all up.

Phase 1


Phase 2


Step 7: Grab whatever stems you want. I had some R. rotundifolia, L. repens 'Red', and H. pinnatifida that weren't to happy in the tank so they got pulled for this. The B. monneri was doing too well so a bunch got yanked to get it out of the tank. The Crypt is a small C. wendtii "Tropica" (my favorite plant ever) to cap everything off.



Step 8: Chop the stems into 1 inch segments making sure there is at least one node per segment to get a good growing point. Mix well.



Step 9: With wet hands grab a handful of plant bits, put on the ball, and wrap. I used dark green cotton sewing thread to wrap both the moss and the plants.



You may notice the lack of Crypt leaves. It turns out I wrapped the inner ball too tightly to get the whole thing inserted so I ended up having to make a divet in the outer layer to shove roots and rhizome in. Note to self: wrap more loosely next time.

There you go, Phil's As Authentic As Able ADA Method Wabi Kusa.

Cheers,
Phil

Last edited by PEdwards; 03-16-2017 at 10:57 PM. Reason: ... --- ...
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 01:28 PM
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I have never seen this method before, and the first picture is the finished product? interesting. Where do the plants get their nutrients from, or is that all in the straw when it "decomposes"? also what company do you work for (if you care to say, if not its ok), sounds like an aquatic related company lol. Great write-up and how-to
Nate
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 02:29 PM
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PEdwards,
Thanks for the interesting thread.
I saw BettaBettas jump in this door (thread) and I had to see what he found!


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I have never seen this method before, and the first picture is the finished product? interesting. Where do the plants get their nutrients from, or is that all in the straw when it "decomposes"? also what company do you work for (if you care to say, if not its ok), sounds like an aquatic related company lol. Great write-up and how-to
Nate
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BettaBettas View Post
I have never seen this method before, and the first picture is the finished product? interesting. Where do the plants get their nutrients from, or is that all in the straw when it "decomposes"? also what company do you work for (if you care to say, if not its ok), sounds like an aquatic related company lol. Great write-up and how-to
Nate
Nate,

Thanks for the kind words. I can't say it's a new method, because it's not, but it's not a common way to make wabi kusa here in the US. Most folks here use soil balls rather than straw or other plant fibers. Right now mine is sitting in Super Simple Setup 2 that gets a good spray of tank water every day.

As for how they get nutrients, ADA has a line of nutrient supplements specifically for wabi kusa kept in bowls etc. If they're put in a tank then they get whatever supplementation the tank gets. The straw is just a place to put the plants and for their roots to grow. That's the main benefit; roots grow easily in the straw and can soak up quite a bit of nutrition from the water that gets in there. I have a catalog I got over there somewhere that shows them growing hydroponically in a greenhouse prior to sale. If someone were so inclined

I'd prefer not to say who I work for right now. It is an aquarium related company, but they're not sponsors of the forums so I'd rather not create potential issues. The first couple of pictures are of the real ADA wabi kusa I had in Japan. The following photos showing the step-by-step making are of the one I started a week ago.

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PEdwards,
Thanks for the interesting thread.
Thank you for the kind words DC. It makes me happy when I can help people learn something new.

Cheers,
Phil


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 03:24 PM
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I will definitely have to try this in my spare time, when I have more trimmings. I have 2 whole bales of hay outside, I guess I can use the smaller pieces of hay from that.
Anyway thanks again for the how-to.
Nate
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Nate,

Make sure to boil it first so it's easier to work with. Even if you get longer pieces sticking out they can always be trimmed. I had to do that with the Aspen.


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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 02:54 PM
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That's pretty cool! I've seen moss put through the blender, never would have thought of doing chop-suey with stem plants like that for a wabi-kusa.


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-13-2017, 03:23 PM
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Nate,

Make sure to boil it first so it's easier to work with. Even if you get longer pieces sticking out they can always be trimmed. I had to do that with the Aspen.
Sounds good, will note that.
Thanks
Nate
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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That's pretty cool! I've seen moss put through the blender, never would have thought of doing chop-suey with stem plants like that for a wabi-kusa.
It's a pretty good way of stretching a small amount of plants farther than they might otherwise go.

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wow what a cool way to do things.


This might be what i try in a little low tech bowl project
That's a good idea and is how they're often marketed by ADA.


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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3.16.17 Photo dump-

Wabi Kusa a couple days after making




About a week later(?) Some new growth is starting to show.




Various attempts at getting macro shots without a true macro lens. There are a number of really little shoots starting to grow that are a bit too small for my camera to photograph well.










Wabi's new home after a good cleaning. I'll be keeping the water level lower now to keep Wabi from getting too wet and making the stems rot.


Taken a few days ago. I think the Crypts are done for, but they won't be removed just in case. I've seen them come back from worse conditions.


Taken this morning. More little shoots are starting to appear, but are still to small to effectively photograph.


H. pinn and R. rotundifolia making a good go at it!




Thanks for watching. I'll have my laptop with me while I'm gone, so don't have a wild party and trash the place!

Cheers,
Phil
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 03:02 AM
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Wow, it looks great! Once all the parts that aren't going to grow melt away and you get some more noticeable growth, you won't be able to tell the difference between yours and the ADA version! I'm excited to see the final product.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, it looks great! Once all the parts that aren't going to grow melt away and you get some more noticeable growth, you won't be able to tell the difference between yours and the ADA version! I'm excited to see the final product.
Thanks Justin. There was quite a bit of melting while I was away so we'll have to wait and see what made it in a couple weeks.


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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 03:40 PM
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I'm curious as to why you decided to cut the plants up so thoroughly? It seems like they would've had a better chance to establish if you had simply left them intact and wrapped them around the substrate ball in their entirety.

I'm looking forward to the evolution of this project, in any case!

-Shaun
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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I'm curious as to why you decided to cut the plants up so thoroughly? It seems like they would've had a better chance to establish if you had simply left them intact and wrapped them around the substrate ball in their entirety.

I'm looking forward to the evolution of this project, in any case!
I didn't have enough plant mass to do a full wrap and the real ADA wabi kusa I got in Japan had cut stems. It's much better for getting coverage with a minimum of plant. I'll probably try the wrapping method next time just to see what the differences are.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 02:29 PM
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Any updates? Very excited to see how well it has done so far.

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