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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all, so this is going to be my record of this project but I figure it might help others. Researching didn't yield tons of sources or guidelines so here goes.

Materials:
Substrate ball:
- organic soil I have used previously in dirted tanks, don't remember the brand.
- red clay powder mixed in for iron.
- I made a baseball sized lump and surrounded it with ZooMeds frog moss (for terrariums, apparently it's pillow moss?) and tied it together using fishing line.
Light:
- jansjo led desk lamp from Ikea (trying it out, it was cheap so I'll see how it goes).
Plants:
- crypt wendtii, parva, and undulata
- pogostemon helferi
- hydrocotyle Japan
- baby tears
- various mini bucephalandria
- some type of rotala
- ludwigia peruensis
- a very tiny piece of hygrophila pinnatifida (trying to save it)

I set this up last night and took the pictures this morning, keeping plastic wrap on it for a while to transition from submersed to emersed. Hopefully it won't take too long because the rotala, crypts, and some hydrocotyle Japan were already growing emersed.
 

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If you want a cleaner look, pull the wrap tightly over the top and then cut with a box cutter or razor about half an inch below the top rim. It might be harder w/ a round top, but it'll look nicer than the bunched up plastic. Maybe you can use a rubber band to keep it tight around the rim.

The crypt and plants look great though!

What did you use under it? Looks almost like one of those takeout sauce containers (very clever!). Nice job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Very pretty!!
If you want a cleaner look, pull the wrap tightly over the top and then cut with a box cutter or razor about half an inch below the top rim. It might be harder w/ a round top, but it'll look nicer than the bunched up plastic. Maybe you can use a rubber band to keep it tight around the rim.

The crypt and plants look great though!

What did you use under it? Looks almost like one of those takeout sauce containers (very clever!). Nice job!
Thank you both!

I was planning on trimming the plastic this afternoon actually just didn't have time. As for the container, yes it was some sort of take out container I had lying around. Using actual dirt as the substrate proved to be just as difficult as my research suggested. I managed to get the moss on tightly enough to keep it together but I was worried that since it is actually terrestrial the bottom part would decay and foul the water so the very bottom has a 1.5 in diameter (ish) circle with no moss. I was also worried that some of the dirt would spill and the ball would fall apart so I put the ball over the rocks in the container with holes an inch from the bottom to contain any soil that spills, hopefully this way the plants could still access it eventually.

So far the only drawback is that there is an ugly plastic container in there but such is life, it managed to contain nearly all of the substrate and the rocks are doing a good job of covering up the ugly parts! :)

Bump:
Looks pretty sweet so far! Will any of the plants you used grow up to the top rim?

Also, to piggy back on bereningas comment, for a cleaner look, press n seal would be perfect for this.
Most likely it will depend on how the light works/nutrient limitation in the soil but I would say the rotala, ludwigia, and baby tears could make it.. unless I decide to trim them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quick update:
Everything is going nicely, the rotala and hydrocotyle are showing the most growth which is great. Other than that the baby tears and ludwigia are showing signs of transitioning to emersed. I started opening up the plastic wrap for about an hour every day, do you guys think I could start speeding this up or just keep taking it slowly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Growth is good, rotala is growing faster than hydrocotyle Japan and the baby tears are in 3rd.. Only regret is the layout and choice of plants but hey it'll be a hot mess of pretty emersed plants in a few months. Trimmings will be needed to keep some from overtaking and shading the others. Plastic wrap should be able to come off in a week or so and then I can clean those water marks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It is going well, it could be brighter but for $10 you can't really beat it. The only plant not doing the best is the hydrocotyle japan which seems to be reaching a lot for the light so it might not be bright enough to effectively carpet but it could be possible with trimmings, only time will tell.

Just checked on it.. been very busy the last two days, the limiting factor may not be the light but the gas exchange due to the plastic wrap. I opened about 1/5 of the plastic wrap two days ago and there has probably been a 33% increase in growth.. least that's what it looks like to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Been a little while since I've updated, been setting up a new tank and school/work is taking a lot of time as usual but here goes. I let the time get away from me and rushed the removal of the plastic wrap, though it had been a week and it had only been about 4 days. Anyway I put plastic wrap back and idk how long it will be before it comes off. Please excuse the water marks I never got the chance to clean them. :icon_sad: Time for a trimming? Maybe even the playing field for some of the other plants besides the rotala and hydro?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Awesome!!! I just started my first Wabi kusa about 5 days ago. It doesn't look nearly that good though! I think you have done a really incredible layout and have a great plant selection. Here is the link to my now humbled Wabi :grin2:: First Wabi Kusa - "Untouched Oasis" - The Planted Tank Forum
Thanks for the praise, its great to hear!! Believe it or not I felt the same way as you when I started, the plants did all the work after a couple weeks :). I saw yours the other day but didn't get the chance to post. I've been so busy I'm a bit behind on checking out other peoples threads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
More pics! Slowly getting to the point to take off the plastic! I'm absolutely in love with the rotala even with the little ikea light it still gets a beautiful yellow in the leaves and pink stems. Tried to get some from every angle, enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
More photos its been a while, I stopped using plastic wrap about a week ago now. Everything is growing nicely even the crypts, they're hard to get pics of though so I will try again tonight. I had no idea hydrocotyle japan flowered! They're so tiny though it was hard to get clear pics. Nonetheless enjoy! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Another update! Really starting to think it needs a trim :/ but I love the overgrown look. The wendtii grew a spathe!!!!! Super exciting for me, tried growing crypts emersed a while ago for the spathes but didn't have much success.. might dedicate one specifically to crypts now!

Enjoy!
 

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