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The Cachepot Pool


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I saw some floating candle holders the other day and thought there must be something I can do with these. I started off by using it as a view window to cut through the distortion coming from the bubbles of the sponge filter, but that got boring. I could have used them as intended, but I like to find different uses for things. So I decided since they look like small terrarium bowls that I'd try for a floating small "terrarium." Currently I have just put some coco coir and chia seeds in it. We'll see how it turns out. Since I have several extra of these I might try some other plants in the future, but I could use some suggestions.

Day 1


Edited by Aubrey
Title change
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@Daniel what would you consider an aquarium inside an aquarium? Would they be allowed to share water, because if they did what would make it a separate aquarium? If the inside aquarium had seperate resources from outside of the outer aquarium, is it technically still inside of the aquarium?

Anyway, Tanner from Serpa Design has already made a pretty cool terrarium inside of an aquarium.


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Week 1

I don't know if I can call the chia sprouts a terrarium at this point. They are well out of the glass container. It's more of a floating pot now.


As for the other container, the hydrocotyle is struggling to convert or at least is not growing much and has lost most of it's leaves. I added some pearl weed which is now converting and drying out some. I might have to find a lid to help with humidity in the container.



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Week 2

I'm going to give some background on the setup this week. It is a ceramic bowl. I'm guess it holds around 5 gallons. It's lit by a desk lamp and filtered with a sponge filter powered by a nano usb air pump. I used a bag of aquasoil from Petco and some crushed coral, both that I had laying around for about a year and needed to do something with. 

I set this up because I noticed I had about 20 rice fish fry in a cup of plant clippings. I have never had that kind of success in a spawn and wanted a space to grow them out. So naturally after several weeks with a new setup I decided I had more room for new fish and got 6 orange medaka. I really want to try breeding them with other color variants to get a tri-color. 


Anyway, I made an order from the Co-Op for this setup. I mostly wanted a new sponge filter and some plants. I put in a nano coarse sponge filter and 6 banana plants. I recieved them today.


And now for the update on the "terrariums."  The chia sprouts are booming. Their roots are starting to overtake the bottom of their pot. 


The other "terrarium" with hydrocotyle tripartita and pearl weed is doing much better. I believe the plants have acclimated to be emersed now. The hydrocotyle has grown many new leaves.


Thanks for checking out the update.

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Week 3

I have decided to change the name of this thread from "Terrarium" in an "Aquarium" to The Cachepot Pool. This will now be where I do a weekly update on my Chinese fishbowl, planter pot, cachepot, indoor tub, or whatever you want to call it. I'll still be focusing on the floating candle holders with plants and soil in them, but I wanted to make this more of a record of the entire setup. 

Now for the updates and some of my thoughts. 20201228_221604.jpg.eba45c80a00b54d60ebf877f2f333d81.jpg

The chia sprouts are still going strong. I really like to think of them as a tiny dense forest. Part of why I'm doing chia sprouts is because they are what I had, and the other part is because I've tried them before above the surface on wood where the water wicked up in some moss. It was moderately successful. The only reason that they aren't still a part of that scape is because they grew too well and reached the light and burnt. I wish I had photos of that.


The hydrocotyle is starting to take off while the pearl weed seems to be yellowing a bit. I also think I need to scrub the water scale from the glass.


I think the top down only perspective has some flaws for observation, but also that it is underappreciated. Maybe that was just my bias and ignorance before experiencing it. I enjoy losing track of time peering down into this small pool of nature in my living room.


Or staring at it from further away and watching the fish act as if no one is around. 

That's it for this week.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Week 6

I haven't updated this log in several weeks. I didn't see much happening that would warrant an update. Sometimes you just don't see what is happening though. I also thought I could show some of the "tools" I use with the setup.

Almost all of the chia sprouts have lost their seed leaves and started growing their first true leaves. Also it seems that the candle holder will not be able to support all of them. Many shrivel and wilt. I have to water them daily due to the small amount of substrate. It may not be as pretty and lush now, but we'll see how many survive for how long.


The other candle holder seems to be doing alright.


In order to do water changes in this bowl, I use a spoon and watering can. With it being on the floor, getting a siphon going is a bit of a challenge, so I just spoon it out.


Somehow or another the floating plants do make their way inside of the feeding ring and I use a bamboo skewer to lift them out. I also use it to prod and poke things inside the bowl.


If it doesn't need prodding or poking then it probably needs picking up, so I also use some tweezers.


This might sound odd to some of you, but I feel like sharing it. Last week was the first time my father has seen any of my tanks. I have been in this hobby for at least the last 3 years consecutively. It's mostly due to the fact that I visit my parents more often than they visit me. Anyway, I have 3 actual aquariums in addition to this bowl and several other small glass bowls. Out of all of them, my father got lost in this one. He liked "looking through the window in the lillypads." I felt incredibly accomplished. This man usually tolerates my discussion of my hobby, but never has shown any interest in it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Week 8

Well, the chia plants took a turn for the worse and I decided to remove them. I replaced them with a spider plant. I added as much soil as I could without sinking the candle holder. I think the amount of soil is the primary issue with plants not thriving, but we'll see what happens. At the very least, I think this is an attractive way to start off the spider plantlet before moving it on to a larger pot.


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So, I have been thinking...what about some sundews, butterworts, and venus fly traps? They have tiny root systems, love the damp, need water and humidity constantly, and would not outgrow their containers for a long time. alternatively, a mini phaleonpsis orchid in bark/spaghum mix--you might have to balast the candle holder with a weight on the bottom to keep that upright if it grew a flower spike.

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1 hour ago, Brandy said:

what about some sundews, butterworts, and venus fly traps?

Don't be giving me excuses to buy more plants. Lol. I might have to check those out. I have killed several venus fly traps, but I can never pass them up when I see them. This is the second attempt at keeping one in a "cloche," it's just an upside down jar. I think i failed previously due to lack of light, so this time it lives under the 3.0 instead of a desk lamp.


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