"No-Tech" Planted Jars/Vases - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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"No-Tech" Planted Jars/Vases

I would like to start a planted vase without any filter/light/heater. I was wondering if anyone has advice on how to go about this. Or if there are any threads with walkthroughs. I have handful of extra eco complete I will take from my established nano tank for the substrate in the vase, as well as using some trimmings from that tank. I would also like to toss in a couple snails and a few shrimp. Would sunlight from being placed on an eastward facing windowsill be enough light, too much, or not enough light? I have various succulents on the same windowsill that thrive. How often and how much percentage water changes should be performed? Any suggestions or advice is appreciated, as I have never done a no-tech vase before. Thanks!


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 03:32 PM
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I have several no and very low tech planted bowls/vases. Right now I have a 1 gal and an 8 oz no tech tank and a 2 gal with light only. One no tech tanks get eastern AM light and the other is in a SE window. All three have a mix of planted, floating, and emergent plants. The only fauna in all three tanks are some snails. I'm not sure how shrimp would do in these tanks.

- Getting the light right is a bit tricky until the plants are established, then the plants usually outcompete algea.

- Temperatures swing by 10 F as the sun comes and goes. Temperature swings are more dramatic as the tanks get smaller. The temps vary from 65-78 in the smallest tank.

- I do water top-offs every couple of days and 25% water change every 2 or 3 weeks. For the smallest tank I use a turkey baster to do water changes. :-)

The nice thing about tanks that small is they are easy, quick and cheap to set up. Put it on the windowsill and see how it goes. I would recommend starting with the plants & snails and then if the tank seems like it is stable/warm enough for shrimp, throw a few in!
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-22-2014, 04:20 PM
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Larger no-tech tanks can often cope with a fair amount of direct sun as their size helps moderate temp swings; smaller/pico tanks and vases do better in indirect and reflected light. Direct sunlight, even early morning or late evening light, is an algae magnet. Even that's not necessarily a deal breaker, as it sets up the ideal conditions for--eventually--having a thick algae layer on the window-side surface that provides ideal grazing grounds for shrimp.

How much light will be needed--and how much your particular window will provide--is a matter of experimentation. A well placed lace curtain or frosted window covering (on the window or the tank wall) can reduce light levels or, if your vase is on a wider counter/table top--a well placed houseplant can offer needed shade during the brightest periods. Where there's direct sunlight, I try to place the vase at least 3-4' away from the window; indirect I'll set up a means to place the vase right in front of the window.

In terms of set up--clean the container well, making sure to rinse it thoroughly to remove any residue, and add your substrate. Add water--I usually use water from an established tank--and plant up. Most folks will tell you to plant heavily, and generally I do, but I've found small vases work just as well being only lightly planted at first so long as some of the plant mass is fast growing--floaters, certain stems, etc. Until you get more experience, add stock slowly. Early on I'd add a pond snail as my test pilot--when it quite climbing out of the water I knew I was good to add additional snails or a couple small shrimp. Once they'd done well for at least a month, I'd consider adding larger stock/stock levels. These days, 100+ pico setups later, it's a lot easier to jump ahead and figure things out to allow almost immediate stocking.

Don't forget hardscape either--pico setups are a great place to scraps of wood too small to be worth bothering with in your larger tanks. Part of the charm of tiny tanks is the ability to set up and break them down at whim to play with ideas--getting in the habit of tucking smaller pieces of wood in the back of your larger tanks will give you a ready to hand, BB and biofilm laden bit of decor whenever you need it.

Water changes will depend on the setup--but I generally aimed for 10-25% weekly with an occasional 50-80%. Weapon of choice was airline hose-the small diameter worked well to get in between plants with good suction without pulling out water too fast. Using R0 water for topoffs can help reduce the need for water changes; evaporation can be a bugger in small vases and TDS can skyrocket quickly.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the information! Between your two responses, I should have the info I need to give this a shot pretty soon. Now I'll just be on the hunt for a nice sized jar.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 03:40 PM
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Thrift stores and Target are my favorite hunting places for interesting vases/bowls/jars. Craftstores sometimes have good containers--but they tend towards being too thin, too expensive or having wavy/clouded glass.

Best sections to look in are: vases, candleholders and kitchen storage/cannisters.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 05:01 PM
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I can attest to the warning about sunlight! I set up a soil based tank with some Argentinian sword, who went through quite a rough journey and were just crowns for a while (no roots or leaves). Put them in a vase with soil and gravel in a south east window...
day 1 Feb 11 2014



Then the hair algae started.. not too bad at first but it turned into this by July 7th:


Decided to try removing it.. it was so thick it was all weaved together and 95%+ came out with one pull.





Right after:


Moved it down to a bookshelf just below the window so it gets indirect sunlight now and some indirect tank light too. No more algae. Photo about a month old (October) look how huge its gotten! I need a larger vase.



I use to do weekly water changes (about 85-90% at the beginning because there were a lot of pond and ramshorn snails in there but I stopped and let it go with just top offs for a few months.. after the algae nightmare I did weekly water changes again but now its just very other week, with top offs on the non w/c weeks. There are still 2-5 pond snails in there.

Due to photobuckets new bs cost for use of images on forums I have deleted all photobucket accounts. I apologize if you enjoyed or found my photos helpful.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-26-2014, 05:47 AM
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I have a Dirted 1.75L Jack Daniels Bottle with anacharis, Java Fern and a Marimo with pond snails and a tiny assassin snail
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-26-2014, 02:18 PM
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I set up 2 1 gallon pickled jalepeno jars at the same time for holding some mosses. Couple hours of direct sunlight in a west facing window. Algae farms in 3 weeks. I cleaned one, put some blasting sand and dwarf hair grass (DHG) in it with the moss. It turned green then crystal clear. The hair algae was removed in one twisted swirl with the moss that went into another tank. I put some guppy grass (naja) in with the DHG and it is clear and holding.

Both jars had a single ramshorn snail from the start that has proliferated. One died, but there are babies roaming in the green water jar. The DHG jar snail is still well with its babies.

The second jar is a green water jar. I change water and the green water goes from light to dark. The moss appears to be fine. But I do need to move it.

I have lids sitting loosely on the jars and that keeps the evaporation close to none. So no top offs.

In short, easy to set up a jar. Don't over think it. I put these in the window to see how fast algae would appear. I've seen the green water, hair and these pretty little clusters of algae on the walls. The water is surprisingly clear in the DHG jar and I think it is pretty.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-26-2014, 03:19 PM
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My 10l vase has been up and running for more than a year without tech. Just added an ikea led lamp to help fight the dark winter season. Snails, lots of shrimp and 4 small rasbora fish have been happy and healthy for almost a year. Only top of water.

Put a bamboo plant in the vase and its gone beserk.






Last edited by Matsnork; 11-26-2014 at 03:30 PM. Reason: pics
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-26-2014, 04:51 PM
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Matsnork nice bamboo sir


guess what, that makes me want to start a thread for biggest, tallest or distinctive outgrowth of a planted system. You dont see lots of super tall bamboo, but that happens to be perhaps the only thing that does spectacular in my bowl, mine are like redwoods and the ones you have are taller than most



who else has tall outgrowth emersed growth that actually runs from the tank

small old reef tank:

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Last edited by brandon429; 11-27-2014 at 06:01 AM. Reason: sp
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 03:44 AM
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I grow emersed Crypts in approx 1 gallon vases I bought at Wal-Mart 5 or more years ago. They are in a southwestern facing window. I keep them about 4 feet away from the window on a large table (at work) and need to shade them from the lowering sun in late September-October. I move them to lights on top of an electrical transformer for 80F bottom heat. Have a 55 watt PC over top during winter.

Watch the changing sun levels due to season is my biggest takeaway from my experience.

12-1-2009 showing a few jars on the transformer so you can see the setup and empty jars. They are 6.5" in diameter.



12-30-2009-Plant was purchased as Crypt affinis. It is not.



Same plant 3-15-2013:


Jerry Smith Bloomingdale, NJ, USA

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65 Gal Tanganyikan Biotope:
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-02-2014, 01:11 PM
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Nice!! I have some crypts under metal halide that grow emersed out of my 5g I really like these easy reds

small old reef tank:

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