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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay I'm finally getting around to doing an emersed growout setup! The main goal of this setup is to finally start growing my own plants to use for aquascaping purposes, because of problems and frustrations associated with quality and size of plants when purchased from retailers (and, truth be told, from other hobbyists). By growing my plants out in stonewool-stuffed netcups, I have an opportunity to achieve the size and density I am looking for in each of my plants before actually aquascaping with them.

I am well aware of the fact that some plants will end up making the transition from emersed to submerged a lot easier than others, but the beautiful part of this project is it affords me the opportunity to learn which plants work and which don't. As we all know, some plants (HC comes to mind) make the transition flawlessly, while other plants (crypts come to mind) start to melt when you look at them wrong.

So, what I plan on doing is setting up a few mini-greenhouses that I will procure from a local hydroponic store. Here is what they look like:




I will then take my stonewool plugs:




And put them inside of the netcups:




Then they will be submerged in aerated water almost up to the top of the stonewool, and sealed up in the dome. Regular misting will be applied, of course, and the standing water will be changed once or twice a week. For lighting, at least until further notice, I will be using 4 bulbs of an 8x54w T5HO fixture that I really need to find a use for, since I can't sell it:




Hopefully I will never run out of plants ever again this way, but that's a lofty goal! We'll see. I begin this project this weekend. I will be starting off by attempting to propagate my UG this way. Does anyone have any comments, criticisms, or words of encouragement?

:)
 

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Have you considered using organic substrates instead of the straight aqueous solution with rock wool? It seems that people are having real good luck with topsoil and potting media in these emersed setups. I think that the plants get a much steadier delivery of nutrients this way than can easily be provided in water. I have started adding MTS and potting media to riparium planters and I have seen that this improves plant growth and health a lot.

Check out the emersed setups by legomaniac89 and gmccreedy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm open to the idea... I will check out those setups now. Thanks for the response!
 

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Have you considered using organic substrates instead of the straight aqueous solution with rock wool? It seems that people are having real good luck with topsoil and potting media in these emersed setups. I think that the plants get a much steadier delivery of nutrients this way than can easily be provided in water. I have started adding MTS and potting media to riparium planters and I have seen that this improves plant growth and health a lot.

Check out the emersed setups by legomaniac89 and gmccreedy.
It really depends on what your growing! Don't over do it! Some crypts don't need much, some need considerably more.

Mineralized soil seems to work very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
~ 21" x 12"

It's a standard sized nursery flat. So yeah, they're not really big at all. But the beauty of going with these standard flats is that I can keep certain species separate from each other if they require differing ideal humidity levels... as opposed to doing all of my various plants in one great big rubbermaid container.

edit-- while I'm on the subject... to those of you who have experience with emersed setups... you *have* noticed that different plants require different ideal humidity levels, right?
 

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Looks like a good start! I used the rock wool pots in the beginning, but eventually transferred the plants over to a peat soil mix, and they are definitely growing better. I know that crypts especially are heavy root feeders, but you don't want the soil to be too rich or it can burn the plants.

If you get the UG growing well, I'd be more than happy to take some off your hands ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah I don't really think I trust myself just yet to grow aquatic plants in terrestrial soil mixes. I will definitely experiment soon enough, but for now I'm probably going to stick with rockwool. It's clean, convenient, and fits inside of the netcups so perfectly. I want to keep the plants "modular" so that I can move things around and change my mind a lot until I settle on a particular arrangement.

Another thing is, any time I've gotten plants in pots instead of in bunches, they survive the transplantation into an aquascape much better. Maybe it's because I've always been so meticulous about pulling off all the excess rockwool while still leaving some intact, but I find that having a little rockwool around the roots helps to both anchor the plant AND prevent transplant shock-- regardless of whether the plant came already submerged or if it was grown emersed. And I hate melty plants, what a buzzkill.

Then of course, I already have a crapload of dry ferts, so I might as well be able to keep using them in this setup.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions, everyone, keep them coming please!

:)
 

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I have a video of my emersed set up in the general planted tank section. I'm fairly new to emersed set ups but have gained alot of insight over the past few months. There isnt much you can do wronge it's pretty easy.

From my experience I'd go with anything over top soil. It's cheap and it works but it's messy, smelly, and gets all over the place.

I'm using Flourite in my set up and it works great. My plants are growing like gangbusters.

With that light and 4 bulbs you could set up a bunch humidity domes. Your gonna have to hang it high above the domes because it's gonna put out heat and cook your plants. Or at the very least dry them out. It's best to keep the water temp a few dig. above the air temp in the dome thats what creates humidiy. You might want to think of a heating mat for your trays if your room temps is under 75 dig.

I have a double bulb 80 watt t5 fixture over my set up and had to instal a pump system to keep them from drying out. It was either that or mist them by hand 3 or 4 times a day and I don't have time for that.

If I had that light I'd hang it from my ceiling in one of my spare bedrooms and the floor would be nothing but humidity domes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If only I had a spare bedroom in this place... :(

The idea does intrigue me... but I still plan on downgrading this light eventually. I already planned on keeping it high above the plants, but it will be pushed against the wall. I figure I'll be able to get a 5' x 2' footprint. And the room it will be in stays at a steady 75 degrees. I have a few ideas about how to automate the setup, too, that I can't wait to try out. It'll be a throwback to the days when I used to dabble in mycology. I'm really excited about this project! Going to worms way this weekend...
 

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Yes, humidity is variable from species to species. You need to work that out on your own. Some like it, some don't.

The nursery trays are "1020" trays, 10" x 20".
As far as the rockwool goes.... your going to be limited in what will take. You need to provide alot of nutrients to the water column if your going to do it that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
^ Thanks for the advice, Glenn!

So, a little update: the 8-bulb fixture is just TOO DANG BIG to fit in my skinny-ass apartment. It was way obnoxious. My girlfriend made me promptly take it back down again. :(

But I don't blame her. It really was just too gaudy. The only way i can do what I want to do is to keep using aquariums, and in this particular case, ones that come out from the wall no more than 12".

So my new plan is to use 20g long tanks. I just happen to have one laying around, and I have a couple of those 2x18w T5NO fixtures. So my plans are changing a little bit, and things are being set back a bit, but I'm patient.

Stay tuned...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Okay so this is what I think I'm going to do. Someone tell me if this will work...

I'll take a 20 long and fill it halfway with water. Then I'll put some bubble wands on the bare glass bottom and hook them up to an air pump. Then I'll put together a floating tray kind of thing out of a styrofoam sheet and cut holes in it. Then I'll fill those holes with net cups that have rockwool and some kind of plant in them. Then I float this tray in the tank, with the lid sealed for humidity.

This is basically a scaled-down DIY floating raft hydroponics setup that people use to grow lettuce.

I'm guessing I'll have to use some kind of standard hydro veg formula for nutes, but is there any reason why I couldn't just use my EI ferts?

I'm guessing I could use this humidity chamber to grow anubias, UG, HC, and some crypts, who knows?
 

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By growing my plants out in stonewool-stuffed netcups, I have an opportunity to achieve the size and density I am looking for in each of my plants before actually aquascaping with them.
I will then take my stonewool plugs:

And put them inside of the netcups:

Then they will be submerged in aerated water almost up to the top of the stonewool, and sealed up in the dome.
This sounds like something I could do to transport plants to Florida. For I will staying in an efficiency for a few months and don't want to put substrate down for that short time. Where did you get the plugs, pots? Cheaper when you buy in bulk?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
^ LOL that's cool! I've never heard of lmgtfy before!

Anyway, I have a Worm's Way local to me, so that's where I got my rockwool. http://www.wormsway.com.



Just to ask again, does anyone know if there's any reason why i couldn't use my EI ferts instead of going and buying a hydroponic formula?
 
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