Emersed Experiment

Thought I would try a little experiment.

I’ve read that both Cryptocoryne and Alternanthera reineckiic can both grow emersed.

Thought I’d throw them in my aquaponic sump refugium area and see what happens. Both plants are fairly new to the aquarium… I think about a week old now, but I’ve seen absolutely no discernable growth on them. Not that big a deal, but I figured that these two little rosebuds could try something different and we might learn something.

So far, the sump has been a neat experiment. The water moves at a brisk pace and is fairly oxygenated, so plants seem to do well in the hydroton (expanded clay balls used in horticultural setups).

The only real problems so far are:

  1. The hydroton is still not waterlogged enough to sink completely. It’s slowly losing bouancy, but still floating. Because of this, seedlings and plants can start to sink as the clay balls move slightly with the water or as the plant becomes heavier through growth or taking on water weight.
  2. Because I am a dummy, when I designed the aquarium stand I didn’t factor in enough space to actually work inside the sump. Originally my plan was to have more emphasis on aquaponic growing, but it’s a shitshow trying to get my hands inside while avoiding getting cut on the glass baffles and not mangling anything I’m working on.

In the next iteration of this project (likely years down the line…. and constructed on my own property), I’d like to build a large aquaponic grow bed. Something along the lines of 2 4*8′ beds that can filter multiple tanks or one large pond like tank. It will likely also involve a green house and a more extensive monitoring system.

If I was giving advice to someone looking to start installing a sump, I’d say:

  • At least 30 gallons
  • Gate valves (more expensive, but more precise than ball valves)
  • Use acrylic baffles and soften the edges to avoid slices your fingers
  • If the aquarium is not in a noise sensitive room (like a bedroom or living room), use a 12v RV style water pump and add a 12v dimmer/regulator to it as a simple means to control output from the sump.

For now… Let’s see how these guys grow. My hope is that they take to emersed growing and I can eventually repatriate them to the paludarium above the water line and hopefully see some different growth or even a flower or two.