Plant ideas for a bowl - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Plant ideas for a bowl

I read through a lot of the sticky in the low tech plant thread, but it seems like the list has changed to a low light high tech list.
I am thinking about setting up a small tank or planted bowl for my girlfriend's fourth grade class room. Walstad style setup. I will probably do a dry start for a couple of weeks, then flood it and do DIY CO2 and wean the plants off CO2 to prevent everything from melting.

What I am looking for is some help figuring out plants that will do good in a small environment with little to no fertilization and indirect sunlight. I am not looking to see much growth, I actually want to minimize growth. The maintenance needs to be kept minimal. She likes the idea and likes having something the kids can focus on when they start getting wound up and frustrated. It will probably have cherry shrimp and a couple of male Endlers or Lesser Killies, depending on the size of the container and density of planting.
She spends 12-14 hours a day as it is at school and I can't make it in to do maintenance on the tank/bowl. So growth (once flooded) needs to be kept to a minimum. I probably want to avoid floaters and mosses.

Any suggestions?

Low carpet, sparse is okay, maybe even desired.
Maybe some bushy grass looking stuff near a rock or driftwood outcropping
Something taller to add depth in the back.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 11:23 PM
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bowls might require most maintenance in the first few months after start-up. you will want to start this at home indefinitely. once it's ready and looks nice, you can move it to the classroom. but you must do it right first.
Its going to need a little work at the start before it gets its own balance and can be low maintenance. if you don;t then it will just get taken over by algae and will look horrible.

check out some bowl journals on the forum to get ideas on plants. many of us use different plants. you can choose a bigger bowl (2gals or more) and have one type of plant growing out of the bowl, and a couple of others growing under water.

having only window light support the bowl can be a challenge. usually these need their own fixtures/lamps. definitely start it out with a good lamp at home, and get the bowl full with plants before moving it.

You dont have to start out with many plants. Mine started with a single plant of most of the species i have in my bowl and grew from that.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 02:13 AM
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I'd say use crypts, low maitenence, you could use crypt parva in the front and there are a bunch or crypts that only get about 7ish inches tall that you could plant in the back and they are mostly all low light. They are root feeders so you'd want to use dirt with a cap, sand works well.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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I'll have to dig through the journals section.
I'll look at crypts too. I may pick up a cheap light and a timer. The classroom is pretty bright without the lights on, but probably not enough to maintain the plants. A light will help the kids to see the livestock too.
I have some Anubis Nana Petite and java fern that has been maintaining it's self off of ambient light, no real growth over several months, but it still looks healthy. I'm going to plant it fairly densely right off the bat, so I am mostly letting it establish a root system and grow in slightly before I bring it in, but it will be at least a month or a month and a half to make sure it is stable before it gets moved.

Any other plant ideas?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 04:49 PM
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A dwarf lilly maybe? It probably wouldn't show the best growth ever, but they can handle low light fine (had 5 babies surviving on ambient light). Maybe they'd even send of lilly pads, that would be pretty fun to see in a class room. Just be careful with snails, even pond snails. Lilly's are the first to go when they start plant munching
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 05:21 PM
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I've found quite a few traditionally higher light plants do remarkably well in planted bowls under indirect light. With minimal fertilization their growth slows tremendously making it very easy to maintain them.

Hygrophila "sunset"--which needs nearly weekly pruning in a high light/c02 tank and monthly pruning in my med/noc02 set up--only needs a prune every 3 months in my 2.5 and 1g planted vases, but retains a bright yellow-green leaf color and a slight pink blush on the top leaves with indirect light from a window approx 2' away.

Carolina Lyrata is another favorite and contrasts nicely with java ferns and anubias in leaf size, shape and color.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 06:02 PM
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My favorite bowl plant is water wisteria. Grows under practically any light, shoots out lots of roots for shrimp to play on. And when it grows taller than the bowl it has cute little flowers.

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Back on the forum after two moves across two years! Slowly getting back into the hobby!
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