larch's planted HOB DIY

Discussion in 'D.I.Y.' started by larch, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. larch
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    larch Green fingers

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    So I have been toying with the idea of doing a planted HOB for awhile now, I am going to start with the bog part first as it will help keep down my ammonia levels. I bought a sponge insert that you usually get with an aqua-clear. I made two small holes in the sponge and then added my plants in the holes I made. I decided on a species of Philodendron as you can grow and propagate it in water. After the plants have settled I will add some moss on-top and tie it down with some string. The sponge is just a few inches below the water line so it works out perfectly:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Now it is question time:

    1. The sponge is pretty coarse will the roots be able to take a hold in it and grow?

    2. Will the plants compete for the same nutrients as my aquatic plants
     
  2. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    1. Yes but might clog up quick.
    2.yes they both use the same water so will use same nutrients.
     
  3. larch
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    larch Green fingers

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    Thanks, as for it clogging up I will make sure to rinse it out every now and then but the water already goes through a few levels of batting and filter wool before it reaches the top sponge. So hopefully it will not clog will see how it goes.
     
  4. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    Clogging doesn't only come from floating particles. Build up of microscopic "gunk" can occur.
     
  5. Slagter
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    Slagter Aquascaper

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    The roots of the plant will also clog up that foam pretty quick, once they start spreading.
     
  6. larch
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    larch Green fingers

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    I think cutting it smaller should solve it then, so the water can flow freely next to it.
     
  7. larch
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    larch Green fingers

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    Okay so I cut the sponge in half and flipped it on it's side will give more than enough flow for the HOB not to block it:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Kryo
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    Kryo Green fingers

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    Very cool!
     
  9. R.C.
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    R.C. Moderator Staff Member

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    Generally you'd want to use a plant with finer root system. In the past I've mostly used Hydrocotyle, which has very fine and small roots basically just attaching or covering the sponge surface. Otherwise, you could put a pre-filter sponge on your inlet and have only the Matrix in your media compartment.
     
  10. Barry.M
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    Barry.M Algae harvester

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    Hi Larch. I'd get rid of the batting (It'll get clogged up too fast) and keep the sponge. In the batting's place, fill up with Matrix. The roots will grow through the sponge with no problems at all. I fold my sponge back every six to eight weeks and trim about half the roots growing out of the bottom of the sponge.
    Some of the roots will attach themselves to a few pieces of matrix, just remove them with a pair of tweezers. Once every three to four months, lift the complete sponge, with plants intact out of the hob and empty the matrix into a bucket on old tank water. Swish it all around for a bit to clean it and re-open the pores of the Matrix, pop it all back in the hob. The sponge can be cleaned with the plants still attached, by gently squeezing the sopnge in a bucket of old tank water. Then place the sponge back in, switch on and you'll be good for another three to four months, depending on your fish and plant load. The matrix will be good for quite a few "washings,) but will eventually need replacing.
    The Philodendron is a cool plant to use and it eats nitrates, as will any indoor house plants that can be rooted in a jar of water in the kitchen window. Luck with this, it's a lot of fun.
    Here's a few pics of mine. The first pic is about three months old:

    [​IMG]

    The second hob is about one month old and has Bacopa, Hairgrass, Hidrocotyle, Tripartita, glosso, Marsillea HC, and the tiniest orchid I've ever seen...

    [​IMG]

    Here's a pic of the orchid. The entire orchid is 15mm in diameter! (It's attached to the piece of wood in the middle of the pic)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2014
  11. larch
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    larch Green fingers

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    Thanks Barry.M I took the inspiration from your thread. The batting wont be an issue as it is at the very bottom of my HOB and I need it to filter my water as I don't have any other filter in my tank. On top of that I have a mix of matrix and ceramic rings and on top of that my sponge sits.
     
  12. Barry.M
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    Barry.M Algae harvester

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    larch's planted HOB DIY

    Cool. That should do just fine then. These things are incredibly efficient and highly addictive. They also add an entirely new dimension to aquascaping. I must say that I've learned so much in the short time I've been running them.
     
  13. larch
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    larch Green fingers

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    Re: larch's planted HOB DIY

    Yeah from what I have read from your thread it is something I always wanted to try.
     
  14. larch
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    larch Green fingers

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    Added another specie of Philodendron (the ranking one) decided against adding moss to the sponge for now. Will leave it as is for the next month and see what happens:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Barry.M
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    Barry.M Algae harvester

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    Any updates? More plants etc?
     
  16. larch
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    larch Green fingers

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    Re: Re: larch's planted HOB DIY

    No new plants waiting for the others to show some growth. Been 2 weeks no growth and no dying. Will give it another month. Any thoughts?
     
  17. Barry.M
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    Barry.M Algae harvester

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    larch's planted HOB DIY

    I'd leave them as although there may be no visible growth, they're adapting to the environment. However, you can add if you want. Take a look on the betterweather site, there are a number of aquatic plants, already growing emmersed, that would suit the hob perfectly. You may find that you will have to do a liquid fert dosage in the tank, depending on your livestock level. The roots really suck the waste clean and if not enough waste is available, they will suffer nutrient deficiency in time!
     
  18. larch
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    larch Green fingers

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    Re: larch's planted HOB DIY

    Yeah I already do liquid ferts in my tank, tropica (green bottle) once a week and I do my DIY root tabs. I want to add moss too the sponge will it not kill any possible growth on the plants of it takes over?
     
  19. Barry.M
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    Barry.M Algae harvester

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    Not really, I've got moss growing in one of my other tanks amongst a huge "blob" of anubias. they seem to keep each other in check... Kind of balance each other out. Remember that moss attaches to the surface of the sponge, while most other plants will root through the sponge and grow through the moss. I don't see much competition there!
     
  20. larch
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    larch Green fingers

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    Thanks, I will source some moss then and attached it to the sponge thanks.
     

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