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Heated Propagator: An emersed growing experiment . . .

dw1305

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Hi all,
I appreciate the concerns over using peat but when you experiment you want to eliminate as many variables as possible.
Peat is actually quite variable, the only way to get an entirely consistent product is to use the very white sphagnum peat milled from <"ombrotrophic mires">, and I'm really not suggesting that as sustainable.

If you want an entirely consistent growing medium you would need to use a mineral medium like perlite or rockwool.
I did collect various beck leaf compost samples and found the ph varied from 4.2 to 6.8
I might try a single variety "single malt" leaf mold, just Oak (Quercus) perhaps?

cheers Darrel
 
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Wookii

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So a quick update. Not a lot to report, not a massive amount of growth. I am getting some greening of the rockwool, and I’m wondering if it is staying too wet and I should reduce the flood frequency. Thoughts?

I also wonder if I’m using too much light?

F0A027D0-F128-42A3-8093-064632AE7C41.jpeg
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I am getting some greening of the rockwool,
I think it is probably inevitable if you have suitable conditions for plant growth. It is back to the <"plants you want and the plants you don't">. If they hadn't gone green <"I'd be more worried">.
... We used to use <"perlite trough culture"> for these experiments, partially because the presence, or absence, and colour of green algae on the perlite surface gives you a good idea about the nutrient status of the pot.

cheers Darrel
 

Maf 2500

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What is the strength of the nutrient solution you are using @Wookii ? The plants to me look as if it might be too strong for them at this stage of their growth..... maybe...

Whilst I agree with @dw1305 that algae is somewhat inevitable on a wet media with nutrients and light, an excess of nutrients won't be helping there either. When the plants are more grown in they will be both shading the substrate and taking up more nutrients so competing with the algae on two fronts.
 

Wookii

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What is the strength of the nutrient solution you are using @Wookii ? The plants to me look as if it might be too strong for them at this stage of their growth..... maybe...

Whilst I agree with @dw1305 that algae is somewhat inevitable on a wet media with nutrients and light, an excess of nutrients won't be helping there either. When the plants are more grown in they will be both shading the substrate and taking up more nutrients so competing with the algae on two fronts.

I’m using the Soulfeed High-K in RO water, dosed at 0.5g per litre which is the foliar feeding dosage. I also add 4ml per litre of Rhiztonic and 20ml of Catappa-X to acidify the water.
 

Sam66

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I am getting some greening of the rockwool, and I’m wondering if it is staying too wet and I should reduce the flood frequency. Thoughts?
Inevitable unless you cover the surface of the rock wool but it shouldn't really be a problem. If you want you can prevent it by covering with plastic sheet discs/squares (preferably white) cut with a slit for the plant stem or with light coloured gravel or perlite.
 

Maf 2500

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I’m using the Soulfeed High-K in RO water, dosed at 0.5g per litre which is the foliar feeding dosage. I also add 4ml per litre of Rhiztonic and 20ml of Catappa-X to acidify the water.
That amount of Solufeed would give you about 0.573mS EC, according to the Solufeed website, which is going to convert to around 350 ish ppm tds. (I am going to ignore the Rhiztonic and Catappa-X for now and assume they are not interacting with the ferts or adding to the tds but I am not familiar with these products.) That is likely to be fine for strongly growing plants but I would be tempted to reduce it to half or less for sensitive young plants such as here. If you have a tds meter you can check the values in your reservoir.

One other thing, look out for signs of calcium deficiency. With the RO water and the Solufeed there is no source of calcium here. Ferts without calcium are designed for situations where the calcium is supplied from the soil (or water source). Hydroponic systems need a source of calcium so I would advise adding some (eg. calcium nitrate) or at least cutting the RO with tap water.
 

greenbliss

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I also wonder if I’m using too much light?
You can tell by looking at the plants. Cryptocoryne species if blasted with weapons of mass photon destruction tend to lay their leaves more flat and parallel to the substrate. If the lighting is more moderate or too little they might grow more vertical or even almost completely straight up, and the rhizome would also grow vertically searching for light. Yours look like they have enough light, but I don't know if it's too much. Keep in mind that even around 20 years ago people would induce species that live in full sun in the wild to flower using older types of fluorescent bulb with aroud 11-13 hour photoperiods without many issues. I don't know about the Bucephalandra though.
 

Wookii

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That amount of Solufeed would give you about 0.573mS EC, according to the Solufeed website, which is going to convert to around 350 ish ppm tds. (I am going to ignore the Rhiztonic and Catappa-X for now and assume they are not interacting with the ferts or adding to the tds but I am not familiar with these products.) That is likely to be fine for strongly growing plants but I would be tempted to reduce it to half or less for sensitive young plants such as here. If you have a tds meter you can check the values in your reservoir.

Thanks @Maf 2500 , I’ll make up a fresh solution and halve the dose then.

The rockwool is staying quite wet between flooding, should I reduce the frequency down from the current 4 hourly, or stick with it?

One other thing, look out for signs of calcium deficiency. With the RO water and the Solufeed there is no source of calcium here. Ferts without calcium are designed for situations where the calcium is supplied from the soil (or water source). Hydroponic systems need a source of calcium so I would advise adding some (eg. calcium nitrate) or at least cutting the RO with tap water.

Ah, I hadn’t realised that, I had assumed the Solufeed contained everything.

I have plenty of Calcium Chloride, would that be suitable? How much should I add, i.e. what ppm of Ca should I be aiming for?
 

greenbliss

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I have plenty of Calcium Chloride, would that be suitable? How much should I add, i.e. what ppm of Ca should I be aiming for?
Calcium Chloride certainly would be good as it would add some Chloride which is also needed by plants. Would it be possible to use Calcium Sulphate and Calcium Chloride (the latter just to add some Chloride)? I think it is somewhat normal to do that in remineraliser recipes.
 

Maf 2500

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The rockwool is staying quite wet between flooding, should I reduce the frequency down from the current 4 hourly, or stick with it?
Rockwool stays wet for ages so you can likely reduce the frequency if you wish or just leave it as is. TBH you could probably get away with twice per 24 hours for young plants. These are aquatic and/or bog plants so they are used to the root zone being totally wet, so it is nothing to worry about and not like terrestial plants that need lots of air around their roots. I think that the leaner you dose the more often you would need to irrigate, just in case the plants were using up the smaller amounts of nutrients between floodings.

I have plenty of Calcium Chloride, would that be suitable? How much should I add, i.e. what ppm of Ca should I be aiming for?
As long as there is some I am sure it will be fine, even 1 or 2 dGH will be enough. Maybe aim for the same levels as the intended final destination tank, whatever that is, and considering the magnesium from the ferts also.
 

Wookii

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As long as there is some I am sure it will be fine, even 1 or 2 dGH will be enough. Maybe aim for the same levels as the intended final destination tank, whatever that is, and considering the magnesium from the ferts also.

Thanks. I have a mixture of powdered CaCL2 and MgSO4 I use to mineralise RO water for my shrimp tank, so can easily add some of that. One scoop of my 'Smidgen' spoon should take the 6 litres the propagator contains to 1dGH.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
.......... That amount of Solufeed would give you about 0.573mS EC, according to the Solufeed website, which is going to convert to around 350 ish ppm tds. (I am going to ignore the Rhiztonic and Catappa-X for now and assume they are not interacting with the ferts or adding to the tds but I am not familiar with these products.) That is likely to be fine for strongly growing plants but I would be tempted to reduce it to half or less for sensitive young plants such as here. If you have a tds meter you can check the values in your reservoir........
I think that is good advice.
As long as there is some I am sure it will be fine, even 1 or 2 dGH will be enough
. One scoop of my 'Smidgen' spoon should take the 6 litres the propagator contains to 1dGH.
Somewhere there, 10 ppm calcium (Ca) should be plenty.

cheers Darrel
 

Wookii

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Hi @Wookii
How is the setup getting on?
Regards Konstantin
would like to know aswell!

Sorry guys, in the middle of moving house, so it’s been a manic few weeks.

The propagator has been a bit of a nightmare. Around two weeks ago I opened up the lid after a week of not checking it, and the plants were crawling with black aphids! Loads of the leaves were wilted.

I took all the pots out and submerged them for 48 hours and skimmed off the hundreds of little b&st&rds.

Unfortunately I reckon I lost about 1/2 the leaves on the plants.

I also decided to change the lights from the two tubes to an old Fluval Plant 3.0 I had in the garage, set at 60% which is quite a big reduction in light. It’s helped I think as the leaves are more upright, and also the algae on the rockwool has largely gone or significantly reduced.

That combined with the reduction in ferts suggested by @Maf 2500 above seems to have worked quite well. Most plants have put out quite a lot small new leaves now.

To be fair, I reckon if I’d planted these plants in a mature CO2 injected tank, I’d have good sized crypts by now - so the merits of the propagator aren’t looking good currently! 😂

Anyway here’s an updated photo - though not much progress to look at :

43F6D3CD-CF30-48D7-A9E5-59890A7A4662.jpeg
 

Konsa

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Hi
Sorry to bother you when you have your hands full with the house move and Im gutted you had aphid infestation too.
My experience with Albida brown and Lutea hobbit is more or less same when I had them in propagator(Strong plants achieved but not much different from grown submerged with good substrate and no runners)
Will continue to follow for how you get on tho and all be best with the house move)
Regards Konstantin
 
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