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Thread: Does Flowing Water Benefit Plants Significantly?

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    Enthusiastic Enthusiast Zath's Avatar
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    Does Flowing Water Benefit Plants Significantly?

    Hey guys, sorry I've been away for so long. Hope to be more active again soon. :/

    I'm setting up a second terrarium (knew it was going to happen eventually), as I started to re-pot some of my seedlings a couple days ago and realized I was going to end up with WAY more pots than I could handle.

    So I dug out my old snake enclosure (a 50-gal. aquarium) and cleaned it out.

    The mistake I made was to do some engineering in my head at Lowes, while in the aisles looking at stuff.

    I came up with what is potentially a pretty nice system for my seedlings / utrics (the terrarium plants). That is...if it even matters.



    I can fit an aquarium pump inside one of those PVC couplings...run it through one side of the tray, and have it drain on the other.

    Will moving water benefit my plants at all, or should I take everything out, plop the plants in the bottom of the tank and fill it with an inch of standing water?

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    Chief Cat Behavior Specialist Knuckles's Avatar
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    What you have basically designed is a simple partially enclosed hydroponic system (fully with lid). I'm not one of the utricularia experts on TF so I will not give my opinion there but many plants benefit from being grown hydroponically. One issue with transparent hydroponic setups is unwanted algal growth just fyi.

    Good luck, it looks great =)

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    Enthusiastic Enthusiast Zath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knuckles View Post
    What you have basically designed is a simple partially enclosed hydroponic system (fully with lid). I'm not one of the utricularia experts on TF so I will not give my opinion there but many plants benefit from being grown hydroponically. One issue with transparent hydroponic setups is unwanted algal growth just fyi.

    Good luck, it looks great =)
    Thank you, but I feel I should clarify a couple things you brought up.

    It -will- have a lid. In fact, it does, it's just not included in the pic. I cut it out of clear plexiglas with three small holes; two for my fingers, so I can manipulate it, and one for electrical cords.

    Second, it's not going to be transparent. I bought some mylar-like material that I'm going to wrap around the outside to reflect light, but there's no sense in doing that until it's ready for plants to go in.

    I'm also curious why you call it "hydroponic". It was my understanding that hydroponics use either no soil, or synthetic soil replacements like gel (or....something). Mine are going to be potted as usual in peat / sand with sphagnum foundations and top-dressings. I'm mostly wondering if the moving water is going to make any difference to the plants or not.

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    w03's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great chance to experiment!
    As far as I know, I don't think there's a specific preference for flowing water other than that such a setup wouldn't go anaerobic or stagnate.
    If any of the rheophytic species were in cultivation, this might be a really good way to provide for their needs.
    Other than that, the only species I can think of at the moment that has a preference for flowing water is Genlisea aurea. In it's natural habitat it usually grows with cool water flowing over the rosette.
    "Potential has a shelf life." -Margaret Atwood
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    Chief Cat Behavior Specialist Knuckles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zath View Post
    Thank you, but I feel I should clarify a couple things you brought up.

    It -will- have a lid. In fact, it does, it's just not included in the pic. I cut it out of clear plexiglas with three small holes; two for my fingers, so I can manipulate it, and one for electrical cords.

    Second, it's not going to be transparent. I bought some mylar-like material that I'm going to wrap around the outside to reflect light, but there's no sense in doing that until it's ready for plants to go in.

    I'm also curious why you call it "hydroponic". It was my understanding that hydroponics use either no soil, or synthetic soil replacements like gel (or....something). Mine are going to be potted as usual in peat / sand with sphagnum foundations and top-dressings. I'm mostly wondering if the moving water is going to make any difference to the plants or not.
    Awesome, It seems you're all set to test some plants. I had no idea what medium you would be using; but yes, sand & sphagnum are commonly used in hydroponic systems & work great. Nutrient delivery still takes place through the water, or no nutrients are added with plants that require little to none. I know nothing about utrics apparently as w03 knows. lol. I've been trying to upload some pics of the ones I'm currently killing.
    Last edited by Knuckles; 06-24-2015 at 08:20 PM.

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    Enthusiastic Enthusiast Zath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knuckles View Post
    Awesome, It seems you're all set to test some plants. I had no idea what medium you would be using; but yes, sand & sphagnum are commonly used in hydroponic systems & work great. Nutrient delivery still takes place through the water, or no nutrients are added with plants that require little to none. I know nothing about utrics apparently as w03 knows. lol. I've been trying to upload some pics of the ones I'm currently killing.
    No worries. I blithely assumed that when I said "seedlings" most people would assume I meant Drosera and Sarracenia, lol. Come to think of it...I can't even think of a single instance hearing about someone growing a utric from seed, and most Nep growers have a dedicated greenhouse or tent, rather than a terrarium, lol.

    Anyway, this is primarily for Sarracenia seedlings, and the few plants (like utrics) that I can't grow outdoors in full sun. I just decided that since the 50 gal. gave me so much room height-wise, I might as well use it for something constructive.

    I should be around a little more soon, but don't worry about your utrics, I'm sure they'll be fine, lol. I just had to rescue my U. calycifida "Yog Sothoth" because it's sphagnum media was starting to congeal @_@. Not sure what that was about, but I made a pot of fresh stuff and transplanted a few large pieces, and I've ceased to worry about it. U. sandersonii is probably the first plant I've had that I'm going to have to selectively kill, even though I love it. I have two 4" net pots of it that look like chia-pets, and they won't stop, lol.

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    BS Bulldozer SubRosa's Avatar
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    Your system is definitely hydroponic by the strict definition of the word. In hydroponics the media is just a means of holding the plant in place, and nutrients are supplied by the solution which passes through it. Hydroponic media vary widely.
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    I think moving water helps get Air to the roots and allows the plant to grow more and healthier, but that is my opinion. I sometimes top water my plants to get air too the rot
    Ot systems and they seem to be growing great! I haven't done an experiment with two of the same plants in same condition to test the theory of its healthier to do it as opposed to tray watering but i just might do it now that i think about it lol! Let us know what happens!

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