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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was inspired by some other threads of people and their "plant boxes."
So instead of throwing out a 10 gallon tank I cracked while attempting to drill a 1" bulkhead into, I decided to try my hand at emersed culture. The goal of this experiment is to grow some more difficult plants and turn them in for my aquarium club's HAP.

So here's my setup, feel free to comment and tell me what I am doing wrong and/or right.

Started with the tank and a Finnex clip on light fixture I had from a previous setup.
The Powerhead us also old from the times before the circulation pumps. :)

I bought cheap food containers from Wally World (5ct for <$2) that were small enough for me to fit 6-8 inside the dimensions of a ten gallon, but were still 3" deep. I wanted to be able to keep at least 2.5" of water in the tank, so it is less maintenance. Plus, I believe 3" depth gives enough room for roots. I drilled holes in the side and bottom of the container to let the water soak in. I stacked the containers to drill the bottom holes, and drilled the side holes one container at a time. I also let the bit do all the work, cause excess pressure will crack the plastic.

I used a bit of old substrate on the bottom 1/4" of the pot, to keep the dirt from getting in the water.

Next, I added cheap top soil I got from Lowes, for less than $2.

I capped the soil with more excess substrate, but the majority of the container is soil, I'd say 85-90%. Also, don't throw away the tops to the containers you bought to use as pots, they make great name tags.

At the moment, I don't have an extra glass top, so I am using plastic wrap. Here is a shot of the finished product, with the light wired into my system timer, and the tank placed below my 75G.

You can see, I planted one species for now, some Hygrophila sp. 'bold'.

Now for some questions, how do you keep the setup from getting infested with bugs? Won't I get bugs from the dirt? Is there any reason to change the water on a regular basis?

Premium Member
2,011 Posts
Nice tank josh! are you going to cover that drilled hole?
I use regular potting soil and so far so good. no bugs. I don't think there are bugs in the soil.... LOL. however if you were to use soil from outside you'd have eggs and bugs.
do you know what your humidity is?
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