My 35g hex tank is WAY overgrown. My 180g is taking longer than expected to set up. I don't want to trim then discard, sell or give away the clippings because my 180 will be darned near empty after I transfer everything from my 35g Hex into the 180.
What is the cheapest, easiest way to temporarily grow out the clippings while I am working on my 180g? I was thinking something along the lines of 5g buckets with dirt bottoms (35g is dirt bottom and 180g will be dirt bottom) and a light of some kind on the top with a timer? Will they need circulation? Will an air-stone do? I was thinking of a drop of household ammonia now and again to keep the nitrifying bacteria that migrates into the buckets thriving and also provide a bit of nutrient for the clippings?... mmm... probably won't. Dirt (straight organic planting soil) offs a lot of ammonia initially so extra ammonia doesn't make sense.
I plan on seeding the new soil in the 180 with the soil from the 35g and 5g buckets. I know about nitrifying bacteria... but I also know that there are a whole bunch of other strains of good bacteria wallowing around in the dirt of my 35g. I figure moving the soil from the 35g will kick start these other colonies of bacteria in the 180g.
Anyone do something like this? Any pointers? Any other ideas for very cheap, not too big, easy to move temp plant only grow out tanks? I don't want to invest too much in a temp system. I guess I could do some semi-transparent storage bins. How deep should they be?
Oh yeah, I can easily boost the plants with tons of CO2 while they are in the temp grow out system. I have an endless flow of carbonated water on tap that I can dose the plants with periodically. (My 35g does not have CO2 and I doubt my 180g will either.)
I second DaveKS on the totes. Also do not add ammonia or really anything to the tubs by way of chemicals. As long as this is less then a 6 month solution you don't have to worry about fertilizers etc.
Depending on what you are growing will determine how good this will work for you. If you are growing something that can be emersed, then I would not even think about filling this tub with water. Just put in enough that the substrate is covered. Then plant into the substrate with the plants out into open air. You won't need to worry about circulation or anything like that. The plants will get more CO2 from the air then they would if you were running pressurized system. You are doing a dry start at this point and its how all the greenhouses that grow our plants operate. You will need a top of some kind for the tub (can just be plastic wrap) and a light. A cheap shop light in the 4000k - 7000k range will work fine (depending on what you have available at your hardware store).
You can if you need to add some water to the tubs so you don't need to keep misting them constantly, putting an inch or so of water above substrate will accomplish this so the tops of the plants stick out of the water but part of the leaves and submersed.
Definitely the most effective way of growing things out. But if your plants can not grow emersed then you will need to adjust accordingly. I wouldn't hesitate to consider 2 tubs, one for submersed growth and the other with emersed if you have a mix of plants. Its more expensive obviously, but the effectiveness of emersed growth is such that it will likely pay for itself rapidly.
For specific plant setups like anubias etc you should check out propagation videos for that plant on youtube.
Good luck and let us know how it goes!!