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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

I decided to redo my older(and rather messy) emersed setup post. You can still find the old post here;

Over the past year, I've been messing around with an emersed setup, with varying success and failure.

First a made a simple wooden rack from some spare wooden pallets.

I added some normal CFL lights with 3200k and 23 watts (i'd rather have 6400, but they are very hard to get where i live).

On the bottom layer, i put an LED T8 light, figuring i'd use the lower light for some mosses or something

Plants did alright at that point, i had some melting away, others did better.

At some point i decided to move everything to my basement and change the lower tray LED T8 light to spiral cfl's like i had above, because they obviously did better.

At first, the basement was doing alright aswel, but i soon faced another problem. There's a static temperature of about 53°F. A LOT of the plants started dying off, so I had to fix this.

For a while, i just heated the room, but needles to say, that was a rather expensive electrical cost.
At that point my interest was peeking towards aquaponics, so i figured i'd try a mini system of that, with heated water so the moist and temperature for the plants would raise too.

I had 2 old bunny cages(atleast the plastic bottom part) which i didnt use anymore, so i drilled those, put bulkheads in them and plumbed them. I put baked clay in them, used some iron chicken fencing to prevent the clay from clogging the plumbing. I was really happy with the result and after just a week of putting my plants in, i saw heavy new growth, the plants adapting from immersed to emersed.

I covered the tank with some thin acryllic to prevent the plants from drying out.

For now i'm using a relatively small 40l tank with mainly guppies(ones i didnt really like anymore in my main tank xD, they where my first fish, but i bought many so i got 100's of different colors, which isn't my thing anymore i guess.

I also put my bristlenose pleco pair(1 male, 2 females) to breed(in about a month i've had 3 successfull batches of eggs hatching.)

I intend to put a larger bin there soon, but at the moment my bins are outside to see how my cherry shrimp and cpd's will do there during the summer months.

Inside the 40 liters, I got a 190GPH pump running, pumping my water from the tank into the upper planttray, flowing through all of the clay, to the bottom plant tray, back into the tank.

Any question/suggestions are very welcome ^^

6,820 Posts
Hi azazan,

I understand the issue with growing plants in cool or unheated areas. I have my emersed setup in my unheated, attached garage and the temperatures in the winter can get to 40 degrees F (4.5 degrees C) I use heat mats under the containers that is controlled by a thermostat and typically the substrate temperature does not drop below 60 - 65 degrees F (15.5 C - 18.5 C). Because the area gets so cold I put bubblewrap under the heat mats to minimize heat loss in that direction. Here is what I use I suspect there is something comparable in Europe. Much more economical than heating a whole space. The mats I use are 17 watts each.

BTW, my wife and I visited Belgium maybe 15 years ago and had a great time; beautiful country and friendly people where ever we went.

My emersed set-up

Hydrofarm MT10006 9-by-19-1/2-Inch Seedling Heat Mat (also available in other sizes) - $20.50 US

- $26 US
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