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ReefHunter

Tips for Vallisneria grown outside

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Hi Folks

I have a freshwater community tank now but have a predicament to solve regarding needing alot of Vallisneria for my turtle. It is great for him due to the calcium levels and he loves the stuff but I purchase about 5 plants from my LFS every couple of weeks now. It’s becoming a bit of an expense. I thought about growing just Val in a separate aquarium but am now considering growing it outside in a 200-500L tub/pond given the amount required.

If I was to go down that path:

  • What substrate should I use – riversand, gravel, something else?
  • What size agriculture tub/pond will be enough to keep producing enough to remove 5 plants every couple of weeks on average?
  • How many plants should I put in initially and how long to leave for runners to get enough of a grow/remove process going?
  • Will the pond need to be clear, or will enough light get in at the top using an opaque colour?
  • Will I need a pond filter, a pump, or could it work without one (no movement)?
  • Would full sun or part sun be the best (I was thinking largely full sun, covered in shadecloth)?
  • Will I need to provide fertilizer and if so, how often and what type?

Any advice on these queries or anything else people consider is useful would be great.

Cheers

Adam

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Do you need to feed the turtle entire plants, or could you just trim the ends?  I have some vallis growing in my 6 ft planted rainbow tank, and every week I need to trim it because it just grows and grows.  I get a (small) handful every week that I chuck in the other tank with the silver dollars.

Don't know how many individual plants I've got, but it's approx 30 cms by 30 cms that is in vallis, quite sparsely planted too - the rest of the tank has other plants.  In my tank, I find if the vallis is too densely planted, I have more problems with hair algae than if there is room for the water to flow between the plants.

I've also grown vallis very well in a tank with no filter before, so I don't think a filter would be required.  But I do give it fertilizer with every water change.  The one I'm using at the moment, and seems to work for me, is Easy-Life Profito.

If you get a native vallis species, I imagine it would do well in an opaque tub, in full sun - but I've never done this, just thinking about where native val grows.

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Thanks for the intel MFF.  He’ll polish off the entirety of the Val plants.
When he was younger we had a tank with a variety of plants (Val, moneywort, elodea, java fern, java moss, anubias on driftwood, hornwort). We were feeding him a higher amount of protein but a little too much, along with a small range of fruit and veg. 
After getting some advice from ‘turtle guru’ Craig Latta, we reduced his protein and he started going ballistic on plants. All plants apart from hornwort (sometimes he’ll even shred just for fun) became fair game. No more planting.

Val and Elodea go in now, simply weighted down, plus hornwort, and watercress once a week or so. He gets turtle pudding 1-2 times a week, plus has a supply of shrimp and gudgeons which he’ll hunt when needed. He gets along well with the boesmanis and rainbow shark.

The Val is the favourite - its natural turtle food. I was scoring oodles of it for free from local rivers & creeks but even with proper treatment of aluminium potassium sulfate you get a snail outbreak due to some eggs surviving, so hassles get created.

Instead of another tank, I figured a reasonable sized tub would work, especially to produce alot and least amount of added extras. Interesting/good that you said no filter worked and thanks for the suggestion on fertilizer. Thoughts on a pump for circulation at least and reduce water changes?

Cheers, Adam

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I've never had a tank without fish - but I imagine in a plant only tank (or tub), water changes would not be necessary.  There is no waste created that needs removing.  Even circulation I think might not be strictly necessary for the plants, although they might do better with it.  I would think some surface agitation would be useful to avoid mosquito breeding in the tub, that would be a more important reason.  So if you're going to put a pump in there, I'd be sure to agitate the surface enough to disrupt the mozzies.

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If snail eggs are getting through your prophylactic plant treatment then keep the plants in water for 2 - 3 weeks until the snail eggs hatch (temp dependent ) then treat the plants again. Wait long enough until the snail eggs hatch but short enough they haven't had time to breed. 

If you keep one lot of eggs in a jar (at same temperature) as a sample, you will know when they hatch. 

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Thanks for the advice AH99. I’ve only ever tried the alum approach (dipping, up to a couple of days) but wondered whether the salt or potassium permanganate ones would be more effective. Usually I’ve been too keen to get the plants in the tank. Really appreciate your views. Any thoughts on the tub proposal? Cheers, Adam.

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Copper would be my poison of choice, especially against snails. Very cheap, easy to obtain, simple to use and easy to chelate out. You are going for snail annihilation which makes dosages even simpler. 

 

PP isn't much use on anything. Mild bleach or mouthwash would be gentler on plants than salt unless you were careful with salt dosage. 

In terms of growing plants, frogbit or duckweed is probably easier than val. There is a giant duckweed species from N.T. about three times the leaf size as normal duckweed. 

If growing elodea, use high nitrogen based fertilizers. In the wild, elodea is usually found downstream from sewerage. 

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Thanks AH. I thought about copper sulfate but was worried about residual transfer to the shrimp or fish, though with low levels I’d imagine would actually be fine. I’m going to try the tub option in a few weeks - a cut-off IBC, with a pump included. Cheers.

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It's a bit of overkill but if you (or anyone else ) wants formalin - useful for a myriad of ectoparasites or preventative treatments or sterilisation, I have 2.5 litre unopened bottles for $50 each. Security cap sealed. Manufacture date Aug 2020 so good for several years. Just PM me privately to arrange.

This class chemical would typically need registration and a business trade account to purchase so a good opportunity to buy at wholesale prices. I bought 10 bottles last order so a bit much, even for me and all my tanks.

To give you an idea, 370ml of this + 0.4gm of Malachite Green into 2.5L of water gives you 2.5 Litres of Blue Planet - Rapid White Spot Cure. (I can provide Malachite Green too). 

If you have roof sarking, wrap that around the IBC skin and slide back into the steel cage. It will reduce radiant heat water temperatures in summer and provide UV protection all year around - adding years to the plastic getting brittle and cracking. 

 

 

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