Riparium help - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Riparium help

I have been trying to find out a good home for my clown loaches.

I feel that the best would be riparium. It just seems like a good idea! Minimum or none plant damage, slightly shady. Plus, my friend says she is going to give me some of her plants, which from what I read about ripariums- go great in ripariums!

I don't know much. Do I need to have a strong lighting for the plants?
I understand that the plants are generally housed in some containers that suction to the aquariums and/or hob filters. Do I need nutrient rich substrate? Any how to's?

Will a venus fly trap be a good candidate?

Any tips?
Can I fill it to top with water?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 11:09 PM
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there are several people with build threads floating around, there is one in my signature for a sump style riparium ,and there is a plant list being compiled as well https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/25...nt-list-3.html

as to lighting, usually no you don't need strong lighting (at least not ridiculous) as you're usually growing house plants that tolerate lower light levels, and you don't need light to penetrate through water. nutrient rich substrate is up to you, the idea with ripariums is the plants get most of the nutrients from the water column, so most people use hydrotone, expanded clay beads, or in my case pea stone. The venus fly trap i have no idea about. filling it to the top is ok, just remember only the roots of the plants should be in the water, nothing more; some people like to leave their aquariums partly empty and move the plants down as well, this increases the humidity for some more sensitive species.

tips, if you're looking for fast growth to start with, i highly recommend wandering jew and brazilian pennywort, both are quite easy (the wandering jew especially so) and grow very quickly for me. They'll at least get you started and you can decide if you like it


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 11:46 PM
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Venus Fly Trap won't work in a Clown Loach tank.
They are native to a temperate zone, with cooler water and a distinct winter. They do poorly in a setting that does not allow them to go dormant in the winter. Clown Loaches are native to warm tropical rivers.

Ripariums can be incorporated as part of the tank. The most common set up like this is a sort of planted wall across the back and some kind of waterfall trickling though it. Only a portion of the tank holds water. For Clown Loaches in this sort of set up you would need to start with a tank of several hundred gallons, and only half fill it (the other half being the emersed background). This would almost be better as a construction project for fish this size.

Ripariums can be more like a sump. The aquarium is any size you want (large, of course, in this case). Water is pumped to a separate container above, below or to the side of the aquarium. This separate container is where the emersed plants are grown. It can be as complex as another whole set up landscaped with rocks, wood and so on, or could be a smaller aquarium (perhaps a 20 long, or 40 breeder) as the 'box' with the plants in pots, or planted directly in a substrate like the Hydroton, (mentioned above) or lava rock. Anything so they are anchored.

Another version of this is where the planter box for the plants is supported on the inside of the aquarium. Water still needs to be pumped through it, there will not be enough passive diffusion to make it work.
Some plants (mostly trailing types) can grow out of the tank itself, trailing over the edge, with roots in the water.

The plants chosen for this can be (and usually are) house plants that will thrive with moderate light. I have seen some really incredible set ups that include exotic orchids, epiphytes, ferns and other more difficult plants. Careful attention to the lighting is needed for these more difficult plants.
A simple reminder, though. House plants that tolerate low light are not really growing very well, they are mostly just sitting there. If the riparium (in any form) is supposed to be part of the nitrogen removal system the plants will need more light to really grow well. If you can get a plant specific bulb and aim it at the plants from a close distance your plants will grow a LOT better, and will do a much better job at using the nutrients from the digested fish food.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help. All the info gives me a good idea. And lots of options, too. I have some brazilian pennywort to try. It looks like I will give it a shot hopefully. Will a big shop light work for lighting?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 10:48 AM
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I'd hate to sound stupid, but what's a riparium?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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It is a different way to add plants jn the fish tank besides floating or rooting in substrate. Usually there are different species used in ripariums than planted tanks because the plants are grown above water with roots grown in water. The other forum members in this post mentioned different ways of setting plants up. If you google, you will find many different setup pics. Hope that helps!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 03:11 PM
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A quote from the opening post on the Riparium Plant List thread that should help describe ripariums.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaAurora
A Riparium can be most simply defined as keeping plant leaves/stems emersed (above water) while roots are immersed (below water) in the aquarium. This can be done via raft, planter basket, shower caddies, stuffed in HOB or attached to hardscape/decor to achieve the same effect, as well as just left leaning against the side of the tank/sticking through an opening in a lid or if tall enough planting the base of the plant in the aquarium substrate (edit: to clarify I am referring to Lucky bamboo here with stocks below water but stems above).
In a high humidity riparium many aquatic plants can be grown this way, but a lot of house hold and other plants also work with this style and don't need such high humidity. Its a great way to boost nitrate absorption and add more life and color above/around the tank as well as giving more hiding places in the roots for fauna. The downside would be the obvious shade created by these emersed plants means less light for immersed plants below them, but some work with lighting types (like submersible LEDs) or setting up lights at an angle can help get around this.
As for lighting it depends on what plants you are using-same deal as with aquatic plants. Pothos for example is a simple easy low light plant, while I've found Ruellia brittoniana 'Katie' does better in medium or high light, in low light Ruellia lost its lower leaves very quickly on my riparium.

Method of planting can vary. Most commonly plants are anchored in a foam media place at the top of HOB filters, or in plastic shower caddie style 'planters'. But there are people who have made over the tank sump systems with flower boxes planted with riparium plants as well.. and I recall someone had acrylic planter box build for their tank (back of tank sump). There is no real wrong way to plan as long as: you use aquarium safe materials (nothing that breaks down, contains harmful chemicals, or is unsafe metal (not stainless steel)), as you ensure the plants leaves stay above water.

There are no specific rules for substrate, I personally use expanded clay media which is commonly used in hydroponics and aquaponics-aquaponics is very similar to ripariums though typically involving edible plants and keeping the plants and their roots out of reach of the fish (to avoid the being eaten). The clay media is very light weight and wicks up moisture so you don't have to be too careful about keeping water level at max. Plenty of people use gravel and I've seen some use enriched substrates like aquasoil. Since I use an inert substrate I dose liquid ferts in the tank (phosphorous, iron, potassium, and seachem flourish). Because these plants have access to plentiful co2 you do not need to inject co2 into the tank or use a co2 liquid substitute, they don't need it. If you are say using a large planter box where all the plants roots can share the same substrate you could use roots tags or consider a soil base with a cap (would not personally recommend for the shower caddies as these had slits on the bottom-soil would get out, ). Whatever you sue for ferts make sure its aquarium safe fertilizers, some garden ferts may harm fish, inverts, and your filters beneficial bacteria.

As stated above Venus fly trap (which according to someone I know that grows them in a closet (I know sounds odd) are high light plants and) not good candidates for a riparium. Standard house plants (excluding cacti, succulents, and coniferous plants) are a good place to start, but anything that needs a dormant/winter period is not a good idea unless you are willing to take the plant off the riparium and place in garage/outside for the winter.

I keep my water line near the top of the tank but evaporation brings it down quickly so I have to top off the riparium tanks 1-3xs a week. I don't know much about your fish but knowing if they are jumpers or not would be important to answer how low you keep your water level.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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That is incredibly helpful, Aqua Aurora. Thank you for all the great info.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish Em View Post
That is incredibly helpful, Aqua Aurora. Thank you for all the great info.
Happy to help the riparium plant list thread should have some more info contributed by other members too.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 12:58 AM
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I would select a light fixture that is about the same length as the area being planted. If you are planting the back, the full length of the tank, then the light should be just about that long, too.

A good reflector will really help a lot.
Home Depot has a shop light that looks like it is made of chromium diamond plate. Very shiny silver, and raised pattern on it. This reflector has been tested by some planted tank folk with a PAR meter. Though this fixture uses T-8 fluorescent bulbs, the light level is more like a T-5 set up because of the good reflector.
You could also look into LED options- uses a lot less electricity. A couple of spotlights aimed at the highest light plants could throw enough light sideways to work for medium and low light plants, too.
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