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Hustle’s low-tech bowl

HustleRussell

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7 Mar 2021
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Surrey
I was looking to get back into the hobby but I may be moving soon so didn’t want to set up anything big.

I was kind of drawn to the spherical design of the Biorb but realised that it’d be very difficult to grow plants in one due to the filter design.

Growing plants successfully was my Achilles’ heel in the past as I used inert substrates.

There’s some good inspiration for bowls here and on YouTube so I decided not to abandon the Orb aesthetic but to go down the ‘low tech’ route.

I bought a 40cm bowl which has a volume of 30 litres to the brim;

9AC875CB-B68C-4431-A8D0-E4EB220F2AC7.jpeg
 

HustleRussell

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I’m going to attempt to do a dry start so I made this widget so I can see where the water level is;

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HustleRussell

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I used some tights and gravel to try to give some height to the substrate

49C551A6-31D8-430C-9085-C06FC53677BB.jpeg


The plan was to put some nutrients down into the bottom level of the substrate so the bottom layer is a mix of 50% sand with garden soil and Tropica soil powder mixed in. I’ve got a generous cap of sand over that.

This is it as it stands now, most of the hardscape is in. I have tried to attach some Christmas moss to the wood so hopefully that grabs on.

I can tell already that planting this is going to be an exercise in patience!

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Andy Pierce

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Cambridge, UK
@dcurzon is right, you can make a pretty good go of a planted biOrb if you do some re-engineering: Current setup | Fireplace aquarium. Also, I've never directly tested this myself but I would suspect the ceramic filter media WOULD support growth of epiphytes like anubias or bucephalandra just fine as is. If it works you'd have a pretty sweet setup for those. Anyone ever given this a go?
 

HustleRussell

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love that lump of wood!!

My local Maidenhead Aquatics had a few big crates of wood outside. I was unemployed so I took my bowl with me and sat there for about an hour auditioning bits of wood. I also ended up losing a bit of it in a game of tug-of-war with another customer’s dog.

Re: Biorbs, there are upsides and downsides to going with this glass bowl. Everything would certainly be a lot less nerve-wracking if it were made of acrylic.
 

HustleRussell

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I've never directly tested this myself but I would suspect the ceramic filter media WOULD support growth of epiphytes like anubias or bucephalandra just fine as is. If it works you'd have a pretty sweet setup for those. Anyone ever given this a go?

I’ve got some plants waiting for deployment in here;

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I used alfagrog in the bottom to elevate the plants above the water line.

The Cryptocoryne has sent down roots straight through a couple of pieces of alfagrog! I suspect epiphytes would grow very happily on Biorb media.
 

HustleRussell

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Planted it out on Thursday

4AB4C852-B52F-455E-8421-EBA3C20E7BD5.jpeg


Moved it

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Clockwise from top;
-Christmas Moss (rubbed and tied on ‘trunk’)
-Schismatoglottis
-Java Moss (tied to rock)
-Micranthemum Monte Carlo
-Dwarf Hair Grass
-Cryptocoryne Albida Brown (v. small and hidden under branches)
-Cryptocoryne Mixed Brown

4711C571-8A32-497F-AD68-F5059344E89A.jpeg


I really don’t know how this is going to go as I’ve never had any success with plants before. The plan is still to dry start these plants before flooding the tank. I am not planning to put a heater in.

Potential problems will be transitioning the plants to submersed without CO2 injection and then keeping them going with the relatively low temperature of 20/21 degrees and hopefully without too much in the way of ferts.
 

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