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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What would you suggest as far as a plant/plants for a bowl. Obviously, they should not be fast growers so I would plant densely to avoid algae. They will be planted in dirt capped with sand. I will be adding shrimp when established. If this goes well, the wife will let me set up a row of them on a shelf in our entryway :D
 

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Hey, I set up a 1 gallon bowl of dirt capped with gravel. I put in water sprite, java fern, moss at first. Then it has become a catch all for the small odds and ends adding fissidens, rotala stem, hygrophila, and one I can't recall the name of that looks like boston ivy in miniature.

It looks good, but I had to start fertilizing and occasional excel as algae became an issue. Both this an my 10 gallon dirt tank have had major algae problems. Might be I didn't' start with the right plants, or they had too much light. So far, I'm not adept with dirt.

I tried a shrimp in the bowl but he seemed unhappily desperate to get out so I took pity on him and moved him. Now it's just plants and snails.

BTW, Go Cubbies! (Northsider by birth, in Boston for work and the Red Sox just don't have the same spirit as the Cubbies, they used to... but not since they won).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey Sparky, r u an electrician?
Soon the Cubs will have the thing that got the Red Sox to the promised land...Theo Epstein LOL. As far as the bowls go, I think the key is dense planting and emergent plants as well.
 

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For mine, I am just going to try different stuff and pull the items that dont work... eventually I will find a nice combination, seems like Hygro kompact is a good starter

I am wondering a good plant that would emerse after a time, I just started my bowl and have have jungle val which I am going to try and keep small... cutting and pruning the longer leaves... kinda like the bonsai method. I did throw in some purple cambomba, but thats definitely a fast grower, I will see how it does without ferts, and Hygro Kompact. eventually a plant that will emerse would be awesome! Mine is also a 1 gallon, so being a micro bowl it definitely makes it a little tougher.
 

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pygmy chain sword and dwarf sag are good plants for the bowl. java fern works and especially mosses tied to rocks and driftwood!
all very easy plants. a crypt would grow emersed btw and the arrowhead plant also looks great when emersed.
 

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While I have yet to try a Walstad bowl without floaters I noticed in Walstad's article that she really recommended something like frogbit so I went out got frogbit and put it in both of my bowls and I have not had any algae issues that I can see.

It blocks out a lot of the light and also sucks up nutrients.

Between the frogbit and the dwarf sag growing like crazy I am not sure there was anything left for the algae to use as fuel.

I have a few crypts and a red tiger lotus and a sprig of stem plant here and there in the bowls as well but honestly I can't see anything other than the dwarf sag, frogbit roots and java moss because the bowls have become so densely planted.

At the moment I would trust my bowls to grow a hard to grow plant more than my other tanks. When the dirt eventually gets exhausted I am sure it will be a different issue.

Like in most planted tanks if you have enough plant mass the algae seems to stay away. If you plant sparsely (like Iwagumi) the algae becomes a much more difficult problem. I don't have much experience with that so I don't have advice to offer on keeping a sparsely planted tank clean.

If you are doing a test run (which is sort of what I was doing - just a proof of concept before I did something more specific with the method) then I would suggest going with something known to avoid algae and other water issues. A single piece of hard scape with moss attached (I have a slightly emergent piece of Malaysian driftwood that looks sort of cool), dwarf sag or pygmy chain sword and some frogbit or other floater. Once it grows in the floaters and the bent over dwarf sag or chain sword will block a lot of the light so you probably want crypts or something that won't mind having a 'canopy' overhead.

These heavily planted types of tanks would also, in theory, provide a more stable and healthy environment for the shrimp.

You can then try to achieve specific aquascaping techniques later on once you have gotten a little confidence and experience with what works and what doesn't work.
 

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BTW, I didn't even sift out the wood chunks in my potting mix when I added it. The first week some floated to the top but I just grabbed the bigger ones out and left the rest sink. Within a month they had sunk to the bottom along with leaf litter, natural plant debris, etc. and whole thing looked very 'natural.'

Not recommending this method just pointing out that most of the potential 'problems' with the method are related to the way that the tank will look visually and are not water chemistry issues. As long as you get the proper type of 'dirt' and you 'cap' it with something sufficient then the only thing that you need to make the bowl 'healthy' is a sufficient plant mass. The rest of the concerns with this method apply to aesthetics.
 

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floaters are important. i use water lettuce in my bowl; frogbit and duckweed both work very nicely as do those floating ferns - Salvinia
The more I set up planted tanks the more I wonder why anyone would ever set up a tank without floaters. I am even starting to add frogbit to non-planted fish tanks that I help various people with. We will see what kind of luck I have in cutting down algae issues in well established fish only tanks by adding some floaters as time goes on.
 

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I've taken to using Hydrocotyle leucocephala as a floating plant. You can keep it along the rim of your tanks and it vine it around other decorations that close to your tank. If you're using a HOB you can even put the root part of the stems in the HOB and have it grow out and around the HOB to pretty it up.
 

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I've taken to using Hydrocotyle leucocephala as a floating plant. You can keep it along the rim of your tanks and it vine it around other decorations that close to your tank. If you're using a HOB you can even put the root part of the stems in the HOB and have it grow out and around the HOB to pretty it up.
Mind providing a picture to demonstrate this?

Interesting idea.

n/m. Just realized you are talking about Brazilian Pennywort. The whole vining onto everything is sort of self-explanatory in this case. Brazilian Pennywort reminds me of vineweed from the pictures I have seen of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I went to the "not so" LFS to select plants. I got some crypt. parva, anacharis narrow leaf ( najas ) and Echinodorus rosette dwarf sword. I planted the Anacharis behind a little piece of drift wood, a echinodorus on either side of the wood and spread the crypt across the front. I also picked up a cheapo 50 watt halogen light at Ikea. It's pretty bright but very adjustable in height. If anyone has thoughts on these plants, please share.
 
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