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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have started work on a new product line and I am looking for some help with consumer testing. The product development is still in its preliminary stages, but I'll do my best to explain how it works. Tomorrow I might try to shoot some better pictures than the ones that I link here with this post.

The product/system is a planter cup that holds the roots of a submerged aquatic plant with a nutrient-rich, topsoil-based rooting media. Here is a shot of one of the planters planted with a Crinum plant.



This design/concept is US Patent Pending.

This is a For Trade offer. In exchange for a pack containing several of the planters I hope that interested respondents will take the time to use them with appropriate plants in their own planted setups, then get back in touch with me to share observations on plant growth and overall impressions of the product concept and design.

Aquarium plants can obviously grow very well rooted directly in the gravel in the bottom of a tank, but this apparently new product offers several potential advantages for aquarium plant growing, including the following:

  • long-term feeding of plant roots that reduces need for careful water column fertilizer dosing
  • enclosed design prevents soil-based rooting media from escaping into aquarium water
  • low-profile design easily buried in aquarium sand or gravel and thus hidden from view
  • can be used with any kind of existing aquarium substrate, including very coarse gravels that offer poor rooting environments for plants
  • easy repositioning of plants within aquarium

The planter is best for aquarium plants with thick crowns that develop sturdy root systems in the bottom substrate, such as Cryptocoryne, Echinodorus, Nymphaea and Aponogeton. It is less suitable for plants that grow adhered to hard substrates (e.g., Anubias, Bolbitis) or stem plants (e.g., Rotala, Ludwigia, Hygrophila).

Serious aquarium plant hobbyists may find limited use for this sort of planter--preferring instead to root plants in plant substrates filling the aquarium floor--but it could prove useful for growing plants in more fish-dedicated setups, such as goldfish or cichlid tanks. Nevertheless, plant enthusiasts might apply it in certain cases. I have observed steady, healthy growth from plants rooted in the planters, but it seems that the limited root run limits the eventual size of the plants, so plants that can grow to large proportions, such as Echinodorus swords, might be more easily managed in smaller tanks. The planter might also work well as a way to accommodate a few bottom-rooted plants in low-tech setups featuring mainly "epiphytic" plats, such as Java fern, growing on driftwood or stones.

Please send me a PM if you might be interested in this offer.

Cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I have already gotten two responses. I need to run right now, but I'll be back in touch with PMs later today. For now I will limit the number of offers to six. If I receive a number of additional responses then these first six will go the the first six respondents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks very much for your interest everybody. I think that I responded to everybody. Now there are three left, so send a PM soon if you want to try these planters. I hope to get these sent out by Wednesday.

I hope that somebody with a high-tech setup might be willing to try the planters. I do not currently have any high light + CO2 tanks set up and I am curious as to how will grow in the planters if driven a bit faster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Craig, I haven't tried them that way, but I think that they would work well in an emersed setup, and that could be a good way to get a bunch of nice specimen-size and algae-free plants ready for a whole planted layout.

OK if Craig will take one of these sample packs then that's all six spoken for. However, I'll send out an additional one or two if there is anybody who has a high-tech setup to try them in.

Hey Craig I got your Epi Trellis Rafts in the mail you should see them tomorrow or Tuesday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey xJaypex that would be great if you could try these out. Can I send you some?

The only things that I request in exchange for the sample pack are observations on the growth of plants in the planters and general impression of the product design and concept. It would be great if the people testing the planters could also get pictures of their setups and the results that they observe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well just send me a PM with your shipping address and I'll include yours with the rest.

I'll send out one more to a respondent with a high-tech setup.

I will start offering these for sale from the Riparium Supply site when I can figure out the rest of the packaging and logo design.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Actually water and gases can diffuse across most of the top surface of the planter. There is a really effective design update that puts a stiff cloth screen below the top inside surface with a void in between. I mean to get a picture of that soon but I have been so busy.

Plus, it appears that some aquatic plants can supply their rooting zones with oxygen via vascular exchange. The planter media that I use in these is mainly comprised of a forest topsoil with natural organic matter. I have observed that for a short while after planting there is sometimes an objectionable rotten-eggs odor in the planter cup, but after the roots have established inside I only detect a sweet humus scent.

One more available for somebody with a high-tech setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It looks as though these are all spoken for for now. I'll respond to these last couple of PMs then work on getting the sample packs ready to ship out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks! It may seem simple, but I have been working on it for a long time and it is fun to finally make it public.

There will eventually be larger sizes. I have started out with these two smaller models because they are easier to use in smaller tanks. The height of the container is an important limitation. If one wishes to maintain a natural aesthetic in the aquarium then the planter needs to be short enough that it can still be covered up with gravel or sand.

These planters go along with low-tech methods very well, including ripairum setups. All of the (still not very well arranged) underwater plants that I have going in my 50-gallon are in these planters.

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hey folks all of the planters that I had ready to go for the consumer testing offer are spoken for.

These things do work pretty well and I am going to offer them for sale just as soon as I can finish resolving the logo and packaging. I want to start out with a reduced-price promotional "TPT exclusive" sale here in the Swap n Shop, so watch out for that if you have been curious about them.

I really hope that this thing can be successful and serve as another handy tool for growing aquarium plants. Thanks everybody for your interest!
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I don't know yet. I will have to open a spreadsheet and do some math.

I have thought that they could be handy for vals because they could help to keep them from running all over the place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I got most all of these shipped out in bubble mailers via USPS First Class. I am still waiting to hear back from one or two folks with for addresses. I hope that you will all see them next week.



The plants grow reasonably well in these things, although the planter does seem to limit there eventual size because there is only so much room for the roots. Here is a shot of the open bottom of a Tank Planter with a Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia rooted inside.

 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
this would also limit the melting of crypts if you moved them right? Since the roots are in the same "substrate".
I don't think that I would make that claim. The tank planter could potentially lessen the shock of transplant for crypts by minimizing disturbance to the roots, but the plant would still be experiencing the other changes in environmental conditions that could trigger a melting response. Crypt melt generally isn't such a bad thing. Most all crypts will bounce back and grow again when their new conditions have stabilized, and they re-sprout with all new leaves.

Thanks again to everybody who responded with interest in the consumer testing offer. On Saturday I shipped them out to everyone on the list except for the one person that I am still waiting to get a shipping address from. They went out via USPS First Class, so you all should see them trickle in during the course of the next week or so.

Early this morning I posted a new offer for a "Mini Garden" combination package. This includes a greater number of the Tank Planters (5) at a price lower than the eventual retail price. Here is the link.

Tank Planters Introductory Offer

 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I sent out a confirmation PM after mailing these things off, but so far I have only gotten two messages in response. I really hope to hear back from people who received these.

If you received one of the sample packs or if you are still waiting for it then please send me a PM.
 
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