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To greenhouse or not greenhouse? Emersed growing

swyftfeet

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Joined
29 Oct 2021
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28
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WNY
I guess we all have to start somewhere, and I'm coming from complete ignorance. I don't even know the nomenclature of half of what I am doing.

I am trying to propagate pygmy chain sword (ET) in a tupperware container, it has a crack in it so it wont hold the water completely. I'm not totally sure how I want to set up my planted tank so I figured I could at least get started on some plants, I wanted an easy fast growing root feeder for shrimp to live on.

What I did was put a layer of about 1cm of pure clay non clumping kitty litter. sprinkled about a tablespoon of pure organic fertilizer on it, then covered that with potting soil thats over a year old that sat in my shed. I bought a little cup of the ET in what I think was agar agar for ~$11. I soaked the soil and then separated the plants, washed the clear jelly off the root system then stuck it in the soil using chopsticks.

I was covering the container with clear plastic wrap / rubber banding it, and moving it from one side of the house to the other as I have no south facing windows. Wifey thought my experiment was bonkers and was worried the small kids were going to make a mess of it.

someone was giving away a 10g tank up the road with a 24" t5 light. so now I have this set up.
Should I just keep the soil moist?
Should I fill the aquarium up to the dirt-line of the container while leaving the plants exposed to air, ( crack will let the water into the container fully submerging the root system)?
Should I cover the tank with Plastic Wrap or leave it exposed to room air circulation?
I was using normal untreated tap water (containing some chlorine), is that bad?
Some of the blades of the grass are yellowing, I'm hoping the plants are using nutrients to grow roots...
Am I just killing my $10 cup of grass?

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Last edited:

Nick potts

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25 Sep 2014
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830
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Torbay
If it were me I would add a decent layer of potting soil to the bottom of the aquarium, replant the pygmy chain sword and cover the tank with cling film/plastic wrap.

You want to keep the humidity high (90-100%), daily spraying with just water or a weak fertiliser mix and remove the plastic every day or so to allow gas exchange. Light it for 12hrs a day and you should be good.

Also, make sure the soil is moist but you don't want it water logged.
 

foxfish

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11 Oct 2009
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Guernsey
You need high humidity and warmth for the best growing conditions.
Whatever container you use it should have a lid on top and then offer as much light as you can, sunlight is best.
If you really want to see fast grown then the container should be around 75-80f inside and slightly cooler on the outside ad this will promote high humidity.
The very best results I have ever had involve using a heat mat under a glass tank and a sealed lid with only a 1/2” hole in the middle, not airing or spraying at all required because the humidity is so high.
 

tam

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5 May 2011
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1,163
I think there is a lot of over engineering going on. Potting compost, or garden soil, in a container e.g. a seedtray with some drainage holes. Plant the chain sword in that. Cover over with something e.g. an upturned clear plastic container (doesn't need to be sealed). Poke soil with finger now and then, when it's dry water it. Water until it's damp but allow the excess water to drain away. When it start feeling dry again, water some more. I'd stick it on a window sill but you can use artificial light.

You could use the tank as a propagator with several trays inside and cling film or just the glass/plastic lid.
 

foxfish

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Guernsey
Here are a few I have done, no spraying but heat mat and bright light.
 

swyftfeet

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29 Oct 2021
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WNY
@foxfish Thanks for the links! those look great and is pretty much exactly where I'd like to get with this at some point.
 

swyftfeet

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WNY
I cant even grow grass... Fertilizer burn?

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Angus

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29 Aug 2008
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Location
Vauxhall, London.
I cant even grow grass... Fertilizer burn?

View attachment 177401
I didn't use any fertilization when propagating or cloning myself a few years back, apart from what comes in the tap water, and i use de-chlorinator in the tap water, also i find compost introduces all sorts of nasties, whereas rockwool is pretty sterile, once root systems start growing or you get plantlets forming, start fertilisation, having said that, i absolutely ruined my tray bake aquarium plants by not changing the water in the tray enough and not keeping the environment warm enough coming into the cold months in the UK.
 
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