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Two 20 gallon Indoor (concrete mixing) Tub Journal


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Been trying to make cheap planted tubs for propagation and rooting trimmings. I have a dirted indoor 50 gallon rubbermaid pond and a dirted indoor 40 gallon tuff stuff for this purpose.

Today I set up 2 more, two large concrete mixing tubs from Home Depot, 13$ each for the tubs,24 x 36 outer dimensions, 8 inches tall, 20.9 gallons when filled to the rim, I’m going to use this journal to document my progress.

Dirted with a thin layer of miracle grow organic garden soil:


used pea pebbles to cap (full bag for each):


did 100% water change like 6 times on each:



using a single 32 watt ge balanced spectrum grow light for each:


No heaters, but I am going to get sponge filters for them.


Had some Val runners I trimmed out of another tank, maybe 9 of them, planted them in one of the tubs:


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A couple months ago I Planted a Tupperware container with 5 Val and 5 Potamogeton Gayi, along with some other stuff.  The Val and Gayi flourished, so I took a huge chunk of plants from the corner for the tubs:



Separated them out to individual rooted sections and planted them up. I put The Val in the tub that already had some and the Gayi in the other tub.

had a blue hygro grow emersed like crazy, brought it over to my 150 to try and convert it.  It’s been in there for over a month and doing good so I decided to trim out the rooted sections and plant them in the tub


I was able to get 5 good rooted sections

I also scrounged up 5 dwarf sag runners and 2 Taiwan lily that I got planted in the Val tub


I have a scarlet temple growing emersed that I want to convert so I moved it to the 150 gallon, but I was able to trim a rooted piece from the bottom that I planted in the Gayi tub:






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looking a little cloudy this morning, guessing plants brought in good bacteria and I’m getting a Slight bloom:


Got some large Aquarium Co-op sponge filters in the afternoon, quite a bit too large for the trays, so I am using them a little differently

I have the top tube going down into the sponge with a 2-3 inch length of air hose in the tube. The goal being to give the air more distance to travel with the long air hose inside, while the tube keeps the air flowing out through the top instead of the sponge, (this greatly limits the effectiveness of the filter):


trying to get them as far into the substrate as I could stirred up some dirt:


so I drained the tubs as far as I could, dug out the substrate where I wanted the filters and got them flat on the bottom.  I put the substrate back in around them, filled The tubs and did another near 100% water change:


I added more Val to the Val tub, along with some pearl weed, and 2 purple silver tiger queen crypt runners:


In the Gayi tub I added more Gayi , jungle Val, and 4 Nurii Rosen maiden crypt’s.  Along with the sponge filters I also got some ez planters and pearly weed for them today, so I Figured I’d try the Co-op way and added some root tabs to the pots and put them in the gayi tub:


Both tubs got a cap full of flourish advance and A squirt of Ez green on day one, I added it again after the water change.

Edited by MattyIce
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Here is the current Gayi tub:


My pearl weed from the previous post came in looking very bad, something around 10 days in the mail in winter was not good for them at all.

though one of them looks like it actually has some root still alive and part of the plant is coming back:


The other one was not so fortunate and has completely melted so I trimmed a Rosen maiden crypt propagation from another tank and put that in the rock wool with some roots sticking out the bottom and put it in the EZ planter:


The well rooted scarlet temple I planted earlier is looking great, while some of the rosen maiden is melting and others are starting to adjust/grow:


planted a few pogo octopus:


and hooked up a breeder box in the tank, trying to hatch rice fish eggs from algae where I found some eggs (been adding snails to the tubs):


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Here is the Val tub:


had some more blue hygro growing emersed, took some trimmings from it before putting it in my 150 to try and convert it:


The blue hygro planted from before is looking good:


the silver tiger queen crypts haven’t grown much, but I’ve found them slow growers that enjoy low light, I think they are still adjusting:


the Val has taken off incredibly, the runner below was there when I planted the main plant but it has since rooted itself and started to send out its own runner:


I be also planted a few more Taiwanese Lily’s, some moneywort I found floating in a tank and a sprig of HC Japan I also found floating in a tank:





With out heaters and the tubs on the floor they stay around 63 degrees.

both tubs got a squirt of EZ green and a cap full of flourish advance today.

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The Gayi Tub:

this tub has been about 1 degree colder than the Val tub, I had some spare 1 1/2 inch insulation, so a couple days ago I put the tub on it and have monitored it since then. 

 it only raised the temp so it is about half a degree colder than the other tub, Not too large of a jump, a little disappointing:


pearl weed, jungle Val, and scarlet temple are showing good growth:


About a week ago I put in a bad looking Christmas’s moss bridge that I had thought died in one of my Jack Dempsey tanks, presently surprised to see life:


The Val Tub:

started some other tanks been picking a few Val and blue hygro out of this tub, also took an Ez planter with the crypt from the gayi tub for a new tank, it’s very convenient:


seeing nice growth in the blue hygro rooted sections I planted last week:


New leaves are starting to show on the purple silver tiger crypt:04918CE0-2A0F-4563-8DA6-A4AA63922B36.jpeg.a9327d40cbf5e10a8244397eeb08917c.jpeg

The runner on the dwarf sag was started when I planted it, but it’s finally turned into a plant:6A267EE8-A8E4-48FC-892D-362DF6791103.jpeg.8ade95815fecdd05855a456fb79c0d12.jpeg

And the Val is doing amazing, the runner that had rooted from last week has another plant with its own runner now:


Edited by MattyIce
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  • 2 weeks later...

Moved my tubs yesterday, reorganized an area behind one of my fish racks and set up a 4 foot wire rack for the tubs.  Moving the tubs was terrible, definitely a two person job. They are very wobbly and not the sturdiest.


I didn't like it, the lighting wasn’t that good and it was inconvenient trying to work in the tubs.

 I had about 5 inches space above the tubs to work with, I increased it to 8-10 ish.

I also moved the tubs to alternating ends of the rack and set up the lamps to shine through the wire rack for each tub to give more light spread.  With this set up I hope to set up 2 more of these tubs:


Gayi tub is doing well:A0B9B85F-C8E4-4282-A5A3-70AA09673BD0.jpeg.445d54fee3a5ce5a611f751d45a9da8a.jpeg

The jungle Val has started to send out a few runners but nothing incredible. 3 of the nurii crypts have started to grow new leaves, one melted though. The scarlet temple is doing pretty good and the Gayi is flourishing:


the Val tub is also doing well:


Blue hygro is looking good, some pearl weed trimmings I planted when I first set up the tub are really filling in, and the Val is doing incredible:


im getting some algae in the tubs, last week I water changed but didn’t dose ferts but got more algae.  Water changed yesterday, doses the gayi tank with ez green and flourish Advanced , but just dosed flourish advanced in the Val tank. Going to see what happens in a week.


With this I also cut back the lights to 9 hours for both tubs and with moving the tubs the lights are a little further away in their new spot. I am hoping that will also help with the algae.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So a month plus, decided to check the roots on some of the stem plants. Most of the stem is melting on this hygrophila, not really rooting too well, some of the stem is rotting, so I trimmed that off:


Some of them, the roots seem to be adjusting to the dirted substrate, seeming to adjust from taking nutrients from the water column to taking then from the substrate:36044800-6AF1-4D89-B0DD-8491DF3E9775.jpeg.34a0ab4f7701b9227ef57b61f1d1916f.jpeg

Kinda disappointed, decent light, dirted tub, macro and micro nutrients...So I added some root tabs, I puncture both ends with a razor blade so air can get out of the tab:


I’ll give it 2 weeks and check back on the rooting:DDE69C80-F671-428C-B371-7A8F9DCA517D.jpeg.8dcf493117cb9f91091932f24dc6c51c.jpeg

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  • 4 months later...

So all the emersed stem plants that I tried to submerse died.

sold off about 100 Val and pot Gayi cheap to the local club


started a third tub using dirt substrate and a crushed coral eco complete substrate mix. Taking a bunch of the Val, I trimmed it down to individual plants or plants with a small runner and divided them between the old tub and this new one


It has been about 3 months since that happened, don’t like the crushed coral eco complete, I still get algae and the algae clings really well so I end up pulling the substrate out when removing the algae, the pea pebbles are heavier and rounder and the algae does not cling as well:



All three tubs have white clouds and cherry shrimp.

the middle tub also had 3 Florida flag fish

and the bottom has an oranda gold fish


after replanting the val it has not grown back as well in the first Val tub and unfortunately the emersed stem plants never took off:

but the dwarf sag is doing pretty well and the pearl weed is doing great, I also also have some nice red bacopa Carolina and there are still a few Taiwan Lily’s alive but that is about it in this tub:


the gayi tank is doing great, after harvesting it’s taken right back off, and the jungle Val is also slowly taking over:


The pearl weed I had gotten and was almost entirely melted, has bounced back very nicely:


but the Nuri crypts arnt making any real improvement:


Edited by MattyIce
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  • 6 months later...

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