I began a first attempt at an emersed setup today. I'm looking for some help/guidance/advice on it. I've got a single picture here, more may follow, depending on how it goes (ie if I don't get tired of it tomorrow and throw the plants back into my aquariums.)
The basic setup: I've got a plastic tote-type container with about 6 to 8 inches of water. There's a small fountain pump inside, and 4 bricks on which I've sat potted crypts. Right now there are 6 pots with crypts. The bricks are there to keep the pots high enough that water flows through the sides without going over the tops. The water has to be that high to keep the pump submersed.
For substrate I started with something like mineralized topsoil, mixed with osmocote pellets and vermiculite; on top of that I added peat moss, and then I planted the crypts in there. I topped the dirt with play sand.
First question - does this substrate sound reasonable for emersed crypts?
I took some of the idea for this substrate from this article here: http://www.aquascapingworld.com/maga...s-Emersed.html
Although the topping with sand was based on something I read somewhere else.
My plan was that the fountain pump would keep water sort of splashing and spraying around inside the container, as an aid to keeping the moisture high. This sort of worked at first: I think you can see that in the picture. I covered the container with a piece of thin plexiglass, very clear. Sat a 2xT8HO light on top of it, with one 6700k bulb and one 10,000k bulb.
Second question - does this idea of having water spraying from a fountain inside the container make sense, or would this be too much water for an emersed setup?
Shortly after I took the picture, and then left the room for about 5 minutes, things started going south. One problem is that I think the holes in the clay pot coupled with the consistency of the substrate I'd come up with allowed too much of the stuff to get out into the water. I have never worked with vermiculite before, so I don't know if maybe this is part of the problem. The substrate might be too... fluffy. That was the intention, but I don't know if it will work with these clay pots. The holes in the clay pots are only less than half an inch diameter, but stuff is escaping and it looks like that might keep going.
Third question - for anyone who works with clay pots in this kind of setup, how do you keep the substrate from leaking?
Another problem is that the pump slowed down significantly and started making noise. I think it's probably got particulate matter in it. The water got dirty very quickly. I could see that a significant amount of sand had splashed out of some of the pots, from water hitting it from the fountain. This seemed far from ideal, so I went about emptying the whole thing and replanting, skipping the sand.
Unfortunately when I refilled the tub with water more of the substrate immediately got into the tub from the pots. So the water's still dirty, and the pump is still noisy and not flowing as rapidly as it did at first. This may be okay - I really just want water flow. This is only a 20 dollar fountain pump from Lowe's. If anybody thinks the original idea of water sort of raining onto the plants is a good one, though, I will continue to try to resolve things.
Any information or help would be greatly appreciated.