Sunday, September 2, 2018

Emersed Growth of Rotala 'bonsai''

What would you do with trimming stalks of aquatic plants after tank maintenance? Put for sale? Or giving it for free to fellow hobbyist? Or throw it away?

There is another option: planting it emersed. 😊

I would like to write down step-by-step planting Rotala 'bonsai' emersed for your reference. This plant is beautiful underwater. Below are some of the  photos taken from my tank before it was trimmed.  

Beautiful Rotala 'bonsai' in the tank (submersed condition)
It needs frequent trimming to get a bushy shape

Trimming stalked
What you need for planting emersed are quite simple. A jar, scissors and tweezers, soil (here I use AquaSoil) and of course the trimming plant stalks. 

What you need to prepare before planting
First, add aqua-soil in the jar with about 5cm soil depth which is good enough for stem plants to spread the roots.

Aqua-soil was added in the jar
Next, add in water which is just above the soil surface level, which stimulates the "swamp environment". :)
Water was added just above the soil level
After that, you can start planting trimming stalks by using tweezers to push the stalks into soil. You can plant stalk by stalk or 2-3 stalks at a time. 

My daughter was helping me to plant Rotala 'bonsai' in the jar

Planting started
Rotala 'bonsai' was planted densely in the jar
After planting done, using a Cling-wrap plastic sheet to cover the top of the jar to keep high moisture environment in the jar. It is really essential to keep high-level moisture during this transition period so that plants can adapt accordingly from submersed from to emersed form. In nature, it happens for the plants along the riverside, whereby water raise-up and lower down from time to time. Aquatic plants in nature can adapt to those changes fast since it has an existing strong rooting system. For the emersed planting project, plant stalks taken from a fully submersed environment where nutrients can be uptaken from soil and also water column. Once it is planted in emersed from, there is no water column, hence rooting system takes important roles for plant development.  we need to keep the high moisture environment until plant roots develop for its nutrients uptake from the soil itself.  

You can poke some holes on Cling-wrap sheet after covering the jar. It would give better ventilation in the jar to prevent molding and plants can get more CO2 from the atmosphere. A few holes are enough for the ventilation and at the same time, still can keep high moisture environment. :)
Cling-wrap was covered on top of the jar. 
The plant jar was kept outdoor to receive natural sunlight. I keep it in a good lighting place but not under direct sunlight to prevent it became "steam vegetable". :) It is necessary to keep the plant in check daily to ensure plants leave is moist. Spraying mist daily is also good during this transition period.
Spraying daily is good during this transition period
After a week time, signs of root spreading could be seen from outside jar.

After a week, a sign of root spreading could be seen.
After 2 weeks, more roots were spreading out. At this time, you can poke more holes on the Cling-wrap daily to get the plants gradually get use to the emersed environment. 
After 2 weeks, more roots were spreading out
At this time, more new emersed leave could be seen from the stems. Cling-wrap could be opened more and more gradually.

New emersed leaves after 2 weeks planted
After 4 weeks, Cling-wrap was totally opened. Rotala 'bonsai' is now in fully emersed form. New emersed leaves sprouting nicely.
After 4 weeks, new emersed leave popping out nicely

Cling-wrap was removed totally
After 6 weeks, plants had grown very well and got much taller. Spraying mist on plants daily is recommended. Also, keep a check on the water level in the jar daily to make sure the soil does not dry up. Water level in the jar should be kept at soil level without any ponding to prevent mosquito breeding. 

Rotala 'bonsai' after 6 weeks plant emersed.
After 2 months, plants was fully grown at the prime. Time to capture some photos. :)

Rotala 'bonsai' after 2 months planting emersed.

The emersed leaves are in a shiny dark-green colour and stems are turning reddish 

The tip of leaves looked beautiful!

Dark green colours of emersed leaves

Strong healthy stalks
The jar is now can be placed on your studying desk or work place where adequate light needed. You can also harvest the stalks and plant submersed in the tank.

The process of planting other aquatic plants emersed can be a bit different base on each species. Nevertheless, the steps should be about the same.  

I hope you find the journal is useful. Happy planting! 

Cheerio! :)

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Day Has Come: IAPLC 2018 Submission

After more than 2 years, finally, the day has come! "Passionately Curious" Tank has been submitted to the greatest Aquascaping Contest IAPLC (International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest) 2018.

It has been more than 2 years of hard works with lots of wonderful things that I could learn from this hobby.

Thanks "Passionately Curious"! :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

"The Raintree Canopy": 4 months young

After 4 months growing, mini fissidens moss has spread and covered most of the wood branches. It looks so nice now. I love the way the mini fissidens grows, slowly and not invasive. Totally no trimming needed at all for the last 4 months. I guess it would be just nice like that for the whole time. 

"The Raintree Canopy" at 4th month
There is no chiller being used for the mini fissidens to grow at all for this tank. There is only cooling fan has been used so far to keep the water cooling down a bit. The average water temperature of this tank is about 27 degC. The moss, however, is not so lushing green at all time. It might need some time to adjust the parameter for it to grow nicely lush. Nevertheless, I am quite happy with the tank so far and love to see how it grows.

The tank now is "shrimp only" tank, Amano shirmps and Fire Red Shrimps I guess the shrimp love it since no predator there and moss are everywhere for them to play hide and seek and finding foods. :) 

A short video of the tank as a record at the 4th month growing. Hope you all enjoy it! :)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

"The Raintree Canopy": Algae Bloom & How was it controlled

As expected, under the high-intensity lighting, algae and fungus developed very fast during the first week. Fungus also covered all over the driftwoods. I was not so worried about fungus because it will naturally disappear when tank matures and also easy to clean by algae eaters like Otocinclus/Shrimps or Horned Nerite Snails in later stage.

Blue Green Algae was also seen on every branch and covered the mini fissidens. It might due to the water circulation since the canopy is quite big and block the flow direction. 

Blue Green Algae
Even with some matured bio-media was seeded together with new bio-media in the filter, the tank has not been cycled right away yet. Hence, I could not put any algae eater crew there. Some actions to be taken to minimize the bloom of algae at that time. To reduce the lighting intensity, Salvinia minima was put in the tank. It also helped to absorb excess nutrients there as well, so less chance for algae to compete with other plants. Even some trimmed stems plants were also put in the tank for the same purpose. 

Salvinia minima was put in the tank to somehow reduce light intensity

Salvinia minima as floating plants

Some trimmed stem plants were put in the tank. :P
After about 2 weeks, tank was fully cycled! Yay! :) Water change for about 70% to lower down excessive nitrate (NO3) level before putting in algae crew. 
Ammonia and Nitrite level was 0ppm 2 weeks after set up
Since the tank has lots of fungus and algae (i.e. blue-green algae, brown diatoms, thread algae..etc.), so different kind of algae eater was put in to clean up this mess. Two Otocinclus affinis and five Amano shrimps were there at first. They worked really well and algae reduced dramatically after a week. However, since this bonsai has lots of branches that twisted densely, 2 dozens of fire red shrimps were put in the tank so that the smallest area could be taken care of this algae eater crew. As expected, those small creatures really had done a really good works! Algae is out at bay! :)  And the tree was really relieved! 

Those fire red shrimps really made the difference
Algae eater medals to be given to them
And to record their hard work, nothing is better than a reward video at week 3. Hope you enjoy it! Cheers and have a good night! :)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"The Raintree Canopy": Aquascaping Setup

It might be the time to put up the summary for the tank specifications:

Tank Size:
36cm x 22cm x 26cm (High Clarity / Low Iron Glass)
Gross Tank Volume:
ADA Aquasoil New Amazonia (<3L)
Filter System:
Eheim Classic 150 (2211) 
+ 13mm GUSH inflow/out flow Lily Pipe
Filter Media:
Bio Media Filter
28-29°C (Day) / 27-28°C (Night)
Twinstars 360E, Temp: 7050K, 17W, 1100 Lumen, 
Full spectrum LEDs for optimum color reproduction
Light Duration:
6 hours (0800hrs- 1100hrs, 1800hrs-2100hrs)
Pressurized Co2:
OceanFree Co2 System + CO2 diffussers
Co2 Duration:
6 hours (0700hrs- 1000hrs, 1700hrs-2200hrs)
Carbon Supplement:
Seachem Excel: 0.5ml daily
Seachem Florish: 1.0ml weekly
Seachem Iron: 1.0ml every other day
Seachem Potassium: 2.0ml every 2 days
Other additives:
Seachem Prime
Water Change Regimen:
50% weekly
Water Parameters (Cycled):
Tested using API Test Kits
pH = 7.0
Ammonia = 0 ppm
Nitrite = 0 ppm
Nitrate = 5-10 ppm
Rotala Rotundifolia
Anubias nana 'petite'
Fissidens Splachnobryoide
Neocaridina Davidi 
Caridina multidentata
Otocinclus affinis

Step-by-Step setting up the tank was summarized as below: ^^

Leveling of the cabinet and tank were checked before water flooding. 

The tank was cleaned properly before placing in the position.

Plastic mesh was placed at the bottom so that the rocks would not damage the tank since the force would spread around. Pagoda rocks were chosen in this setup since I would want to make the scape having some warm feeling. This rocks can be found quite easily at any LFS in Singapore. As can be seen, an island was created at the corner of the tank.

Lava stones were placed at the bottom of the "island" to create the height for a better sense of depth and also to create a good environment for beneficial bacteria in the future. 

ADA Aquasoil (normal type) was put on the island after that. 

Lastly, Sudo Bottom Sand was placed in the tank. I chose Sudo Bottom Tank since it had warm colour and matched the idea of the layout (i.e. warm tone). It looked quite nice at the time of setup. 

Water was introduced into the tank followed traditional method. :P

Rotala Rotundifolia was planted on the island. That was a very beautiful stem plants that grow very fast which would help to minimize algae outbreak at the beginning period. It was planted quite densely at the background.

I attached Anubias nana 'petite' to small lava stones using superglue and placed it under the canopy of the tree. It would be good growing under the shady area there. 

Finally, the "tree" was placed in the tank. It fitted nicely in the tank. I feel it was a bit crowded with all equipment and stuff in the tank though. I would find the way to minimize all that clutter in the future once tank becomes more stable. 

And that was the final product by end of the setup day! Tada! :D

I will update more on the coming days. Thanks for reading. ^_^