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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


Ruellia brittoniana is one of the first plants Hydrophyte sent me when I started an riparium. It was my favorite for quite a few weeks. But, then some of its bad habits began to show up - like a visitor who stays a little too long?

Its positives:
Very attractive leaves and it has a stem like a miniature palm tree.
Grows fast and doesn't need special care.
Has very nice blue flowers, giving you surprises when you least expect them.
Grows both in a nano raft and a planter cup.

Negatives:
Grows fast, to the point where the "palm tree" top gets up to a foot across, if not more.
In a raft it gets so top heavy it can topple the raft.
But, worst of all, it makes lots and lots of seeds, and they all sprout. I have tiny Ruellia plants on the substrate of the tank, on the hardscape of the tank, growing on the filter and on submersed plant leaves, in all nearby planter cups, and I suspect soon on top of my head! The tiny seedlings aren't bad looking, and don't grow up very soon, but there are just so many of them.

I think a good practice with this plant would be to keep an eye on it and prune off all seed pods while they are still green. I still like the plant, but is isn't my favorite now.
 

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That plant is pretty handy, but it's growth habit can get to be messy and difficult to accommodate. I found that untidy looking plants could be improved by removing most or all of the leaves, then letting them grow back in again. It is real easy to propagate R. brittoniana with cuttings just suspended right in the water: they root readily. Another trick that I learned with them was to use a couple of kebab skewers stuck into the planter to train the stems so that they grow out over the water and away from the glass.

The spider mites also like that plant. It's not too difficult to control them though. The plant is pretty compact and I found that I could wipe out mites on R. brittoniana by just sinking the whole planter overnight in the bottom of the tank so that all of the leaves were underwater, then repositioning the next morning.

I believe that that one in the picture above is actually the cultivar R. brittoninana 'Katie'. The species plant looks rather different with a height up to 3' and much longer leaf internodes. I think that the species is actually a more attractive plant, but it needs a good-sized enclosure to grow up. I had one planter of it going in the 120-gallon tank a while ago. It is the tall plant on the right in this picture in among the grassy Eleocharis sedge.



That one was a good bloomer too.
 

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Very interesting plants! They should make a "Riparium plants" section in "plant profiles."
Hydrophyte, what is that grassy looking plant in the center? I really like how it looks.
Thanks,
Jake

Also, what do you guys think a nano riparium would look like? With like one or two planters and a nano trellis or two?
 

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The viny plant is something that I have never been able to figure out. I don't know what it is, but it grows well with its roots in the water and makes a nice effect.

That grassy stuff is giant hairgrass, Eleocharis montevidesis. It is a sedge, not a true grass.

It gets to be difficult to hide the riparium planting accessories in tanks much smaller than 20 gallons. Most of the good riparium plants also need more space than what is available in a nano tank. You might do alright with just a couple of planters in a 10-gallon if you can remove the canopy, suspend the light and let the plants grow up above the top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My 10 gallon riparium experiment convinces me that a 10 gallon tank makes a very good riparium, if you keep the water level much higher than normal, so the plants can spread out above the tank. This also, in my opinion, requires a rimless tank. The black or other solid rim detracts from the effect when the water level is high. But, I'm extremely pleased with the 10 gallon tank:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, I follow all of the Riparium threads here - so much to learn! Picking fish, for me, is limited by which ones are cheap enough that when I mess up and have to replace them I won't be depressed. And, unfortunately, I do mess up far too much.

But, those are really great looking fish! Like a shark was messing around with a catfish, and this is the result?
 

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Yeah this group of seven individuals that I just ordered wasn't exactly cheap, but I think that they will be worth it. I hope that the box will get here OK. They should be the perfect fish for this low-input system that I have in mind with emersed plants, a plant-free underwater area and a nice gravels & stones underwater foreground.
 

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I also saw you 40g thread Hydrophyte, and I can't wait to see it finished! My riparium idea would be (or was) having a rimless 5g, with 1 planter and two nano rafts. I totaly forgot about your 10g Hoppy! Also, could I add some moss that I found to the emersed rockwork?

Thanks guys,
Jake
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Any aquatic plant that doesn't require high light intensity and/or good CO2 should work very well in a Riparium. Moss would likely grow all over the place if it is Java Moss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My palms, assuming that is what they are, and I think it is, are doing very well in the planter cups. They continue to send out new leaves, and look very healthy. But, while I asked about Croton's I never did get one to try. Instead I got the Purple Waffle, Hemigraphis alternata, Purple Passion, Gynura aurantiaca (my spellings of these may be wrong - I can hardly read my writing), and Dracaena gadsaffiana. Of those the Purple Passion is doing the best, growing nice and low with the leaves open fully for best effect. The Purple Waffle is a big disappointment, because, even though it is growing very well, the leaves don't show well at all. The leaves just point upwards at about a 45 degree angle, and not fully open, so you mostly see the undersides and not the great texture of the tops. The Dracaena looks good, but is really too coarse to fit in well, with too long internodes. But, one out of three is a pretty good ratio.

Probably tomorrow I will be trying another popular houseplant as a Riparium plant. I'm keeping it a secret right now, because if it works out well I plan to become a millionaire.:biggrin:

EDIT: Well, my road to riches turns out to be a freeway - lots of traffic. I just spent some time reading this site: http://www.hydro-culture.net/ and this list http://www.hydro-culture.net/plants.html and I find my next project is one of those plants listed. It is African Violets. Apparently these will do very well in a riparium, once adapted to hydroculture growth. My wife has one now that isn't doing all that well, so I plan to convert it to see how it does.
 

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Another houseplant that you might watch out for are the various "tulip anthurium" cultivars. There are quite a few of them I understand that these have mostly been selected from Anthurium amnicola. Most Anthurium are epiphytes, but A. amnicola grow on wet rocks in streams, similar to the occurrence of many wild Anubias. They might be somewhat less hardy than the wild species plants, but I bet that some tulip anthurium could be grown this way.

Google "Anthurium amnicola"
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
When I started this method for setting up an aquarium I hoped to be able to find a couple of bloomers for my tank. But, now it looks like there are more possibilities out there than one person could ever hope to try out. No one needs to make a "cliche" riparium at all if they don't want to. My wife wants me to try for an all African Violet riiparium - a fascinating idea, but I would still want a few long slender leaf plants mixed in to break up the scape a bit. This system may not be a panacea, but it doesn't miss by much.
 

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Sure, I have one in my nursery tank that I could send you. PM me if you want it. I really need to hand off some of my plants to find room for the many others I want to try.
Hoppy, the Ruellia brittoniana came today! Thanks for sending it so quick! It made the trip nicely! I put it in a small planter with clay balls, Flourite and root tab. I have no more room in the 75g rip. Good thing I'm picking up a used 29g tomorrow :D Thinking about a shrimp Rip, need to read up on ferts and shrimp. Oh yeahhhhh....
 

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A setup with emersed crypts in planters and Anubias on rafts as midground plants would be pretty cool for shrimp, and a fun and easy way to keep a little collection of Cryptocoryne. You could do something like that in a 20 high or 25 high and it would basically be like 1/2 of that 55 that I have going.
 
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