• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

Hobby aquarium plant grower using big grower methods.

tiger15

Member
Joined
14 Mar 2018
Messages
749
Location
USA
I am skeptical that his set up is optimal for emerged growth. First, he uses plastic tub with lid that will cut off substantial amount of light. A clean glass lid will cut off about 20% light, and a less transparent plastic lid will cut off more. This is why aquascapers prefer to use open top tank. With moisture building up on the underside, he will have to clean out algae often to prevent more light cut off. Second, with the lid on, it will cut off circulation and replenishment of CO2 to negate the advantage of areal growth. Daily opening and closing of the the lid will mitigate, but it is unnecessary extra work. Third, he is using hydroponic clay pellets to grow stem plants, but not running it as a truly hydroponic set up. He is submerging the roots and I don't see aeration of the water by any means. Over time, stagnant water will go anaerobic and stunt plants. I made the same mistake in my hydroponic experiment and killed plants.

Question on growing emerged hydroponic herb
 

Stan510

Member
Thread starter
Joined
20 Oct 2021
Messages
355
Location
Hayward ca
I did take a look at a video he did last year on Java fern and he seems unclear on the best propagation emersed. He said he takes a leaf with spores and puts that in soil "Baby ferns will spout from those spores". No,plantlets sprout from leaf edges. He also does not seem to get he could grow them by the thousands if he harvested those spores and sowed them over sterile potting soils or mixes. Would only need small containers for the first few steps of that.
 

Wookii

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2019
Messages
2,577
Location
Nottingham
I've fancied having a go at something like this for some time, just as a proof on concept to see if I can get it to work for crypts, buce and anubias. Not as a commercial project though, just to see if I can propagate enough for a large future tank.

I was looking at the smaller scale off the shelf heated propagators though, and running a nutrient rich water through it, perhaps combined with an ultrasonic mister to increase humidity and keep the leaves moist - I think that's pretty much how Tropica do it (minus the mister), from what I've seen on videos of their greenhouses:

Small_Variable_Prop_7b020c55-c17f-4704-9e7b-274cf2a3fe0a_510x@2x.progressive.jpg

You can get these types of propagators too that supposedly enhance growth and viability by growing the cutting/plantlet in a neoprene disc and use a pump and spray bar system to spray the exposed roots from underneath with nutrient rich water whilst still giving the roots free access to O2 and CO2:

41giLdU2QxL._AC_.jpg



It's touch and go whether its worth the effort, and offers any real cost saving over simply buying a few dozen pre-potted plants from retail outlets, but I do love a good project 😂
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,107
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I was looking at the smaller scale off the shelf heated propagators though, and running a nutrient rich water through it, perhaps combined with an ultrasonic mister to increase humidity and keep the leaves moist - I think that's pretty much how Tropica do it (minus the mister), from what I've seen on videos of their greenhouses:
That should work really well. <"Fogging units"> allow you to root all sorts of cuttings that are difficult using other methods
.....and offers any real cost saving over simply buying a few dozen pre-potted plants from retail outlets
I think potentially it does, because you could use relatively small propagules and much softer, younger tissue than you could without the mister.
You can get these types of propagators too that supposedly enhance growth and viability by growing the cutting/plantlet in a neoprene disc and use a pump and spray bar system to spray the exposed roots from underneath with nutrient rich water whilst still giving the roots free access to O2 and CO2:
<"Aeroponics">. Fill and drain (aka <"ebb and flow">) is really good as well and popular with grow your own "Tomato" growers. You don't really need either method for aquarium plants, an air stone in the reservoir is more than good enough.
If I were to try such a thing out, I would be doing it outside in the summer useing natural light and heat.
I think I would as well, definitely the cheapest, easiest option.

cheers Darrel
 

Wookii

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2019
Messages
2,577
Location
Nottingham
Hi all,

That should work really well. <"Fogging units"> allow you to root all sorts of cuttings that are difficult using other methods

I think potentially it does, because you could use relatively small propagules and much softer, younger tissue than you could without the mister.

<"Aeroponics">. Fill and drain (aka <"ebb and flow">) is really good as well and popular with grow your own "Tomato" growers. You don't really need either method for aquarium plants, an air stone in the reservoir is more than good enough.

I think I would as well, definitely the cheapest, easiest option.

cheers Darrel

What sort of nutrient levels would be required in the solution do you think Darrel? I may be oversimplifying, but I was thinking of just using old aquarium water which is already dosed to EI levels, and perhaps adding a second dose of EI ferts given the plants have access to atmospheric CO2 levels?
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,107
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
What sort of nutrient levels would be required in the solution do you think Darrel? I may be oversimplifying, but I was thinking of just using old aquarium water which is already dosed to EI levels
My guess would be that would be plenty of nutrients for most of the plants that you are going to want to propagate (I'm guessing <"Aroids and Ferns">), it is back to the <"Tomato/Orchid dichotomy">.

If you were growing a <"Turned up to eleven plant"> or Radishes? a <"Different argument">.

eve_556-jpg.jpg

Grown at 556 ppm nitrogen (N).

cheers Darrel
 

tiger15

Member
Joined
14 Mar 2018
Messages
749
Location
USA
What sort of nutrient levels would be required in the solution do you think Darrel? I may be oversimplifying, but I was thinking of just using old aquarium water which is already dosed to EI levels, and perhaps adding a second dose of EI ferts given the plants have access to atmospheric CO2 levels?
I have the same question regarding how to dose emersed hydroponic grown plants. In EI, it’s OK to dose nutrients in excess as you do large water change to reset. In emersed grown, there is no water change but to replenish water loss to evapotranspiration.

As water is evaporated but not the nutrients, wouldn’t you run the risk of concentrating too much nutrients in the hydroponic water If you dose EI every time. I am presently growing herb and bog plants in passive hydroponic set up. I am afraid of over fertilizing and alternate watering with tap and aquarium water. Perviously when I water with aquarium water only, I believe I killed them from fertilizer burnt.
 

Hufsa

Member
Joined
22 Aug 2019
Messages
632
Location
Norway
I think I read somewhere that hydroponic growers dose with a premixed fertilizer up to a certain target TDS, adding more when the TDS drops to get back up to the desired value. But I may be misremembering, correct me if I am wrong
 

Wookii

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2019
Messages
2,577
Location
Nottingham
I have the same question regarding how to dose emersed hydroponic grown plants. In EI, it’s OK to dose nutrients in excess as you do large water change to reset. In emersed grown, there is no water change but to replenish water loss to evapotranspiration.

As water is evaporated but not the nutrients, wouldn’t you run the risk of concentrating too much nutrients in the hydroponic water If you dose EI every time. I am presently growing herb and bog plants in passive hydroponic set up. I am afraid of over fertilizing and alternate watering with tap and aquarium water. Perviously when I water with aquarium water only, I believe I killed them from fertilizer burnt.

I’m not sure - technically the growth rate should be a lot faster with emersed plants due to the free access to CO2, though counter to that I’m considering slow growing species.

I guess you could use TDS as a proxy for fertiliser concentration, though that could get skewed over time if not all nutrients are consumed in equal quantities.

I guess you could deal with that by emptying the liquid completely and replacing with fresh which would exchange everything other than that wicked up by the substrates.

An initial EI dose feels like a decent place to start in my mind - maintaining the water level with RO water for evaporation, and maybe using occasional TDS measurement to determine the redosing schedule, with maybe monthly liquid full replacement?

EDIT: @Hufsa beat me to the TDS idea.
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,107
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I guess you could use TDS as a proxy for fertiliser concentration,
I think I read somewhere that hydroponic growers dose with a premixed fertilizer up to a certain target TDS, adding more when the TDS drops to get back up to the desired value.
You are right, a conductivity target is what the hydroponic glasshouses use for Tomatoes, Peppers and Cucumbers. These targets will change dependent upon the growth stage of the crop.

cheers Darrel
 

tiger15

Member
Joined
14 Mar 2018
Messages
749
Location
USA
Hi all,


You are right, a conductivity target is what the hydroponic glasshouses use for Tomatoes, Peppers and Cucumbers. These targets will change dependent upon the growth stage of the crop.

cheers Darrel
It is not feasible to drain or measure TDS in a passive hydroponic system which is nothing more than a vase filled with clay pellets and maintaining a reservoir of water in the bottom. Your gut feeling based on observation of plant health may be the only guidance on how much to fertilize.
 

PARAGUAY

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2013
Messages
2,436
Location
Lancashire
You can make your own plant mats that can be cut up in squares by putting cuttings monte carlo ludwigia, hyghro ,bacopa eg in an inch of aquarium water in a washing up bowl the roots of these intertwine very soon the stems reach the top of the bowl and the monte carlo spreads all over . Wont work for all plants but as @foxfish says outside seems to work for me too.
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,107
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I guess you could deal with that by emptying the liquid completely and replacing with fresh which would exchange everything other than that wicked up by the substrates.
I would, and every couple of "drains" I'd use rain or RO water to flush out the salts.
It is not feasible to drain or measure TDS in a passive hydroponic system which is nothing more than a vase filled with clay pellets and maintaining a reservoir of water in the bottom.
You can get conductivity (TDS) meter with remote probes, or just pour the liquid into a narrow jar etc.
based on observation of plant health may be the only guidance on how much to fertilize.
It will <"work">. I used this method long before I thought of the "Duckweed Index" for <"perlite trough culture"> by judging the level of greeness (algal growth) on the perlite surface.
......... We used to use <"perlite trough culture"> for these experiments, partially because the presence, or absence, and colour of green algae on the perlite surface gives you a good idea about the nutrient status of the pot........
There are examples in the <"Scientific background to the leaf colour.....">.

eve_7-jpg.jpg

7 ppm nitrogen (N)

eve_556-jpg.jpg


556 ppm N.

cheers Darrel
 

tiger15

Member
Joined
14 Mar 2018
Messages
749
Location
USA
Just read his stem plant farming update. He has abandoned LECA and switched to soil media, and sprayed with Miracle Grow water on foliage daily.


His daily spraying provides foliage fertilization, and air exchange for CO2, but at the cost of high labor. With no drainage and closed lid, water will accumulate in soil. Even bog plants can develop root rot and die in anaerobic saturated soil. He commented that he sprayed very little water and used turkey baster to suck up excess water, which is extra labor.

I am amazed that he published a series of YouTube to promote his inefficient farming technique and even attempt to sell plants.
 

Similar threads

Top