DIY pothos plant filter

mattybecks

Polypterus
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Hi guys,
Just thought I'd share my recent build of a very simple pothos filter. At the moment it only has the roots in it, but I am thinking of adding some ceramic rings for a little extra filtering.
I'll be making one the same for my 180gal.

IMG_20190202_191627.jpg IMG_20190202_191545.jpg IMG_20190202_111802.jpg IMG_20190202_111728.jpg IMG_20190202_111708.jpg IMG_20190202_111643.jpg
 

mattybecks

Polypterus
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Feb 21, 2012
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Dubai, UAE
Did you ever add the rings? Thats how i had my first planter sump set up, roots dug right into the rings. Think im gonna do the same for my new planter sump project.
I have the rings, but I haven't added them yet. I was too busy setting up my new 180gal! But I plan to do it soon.
I have had something like this in the past with bioballs, the roots grew into all the little gaps and held everything together quite firmly.
 

Ulu

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mattybecks mattybecks

I saw your design quite a while back, and I wondered if it would work OK with just an airlift?

Someone once told me that in hydroponics the roots should be allowed to dry out a bit between waterings.

I don't do this, but I'm thinking more air will help the roots.

For a while I ran two systems with the Pothos in a remote planter, and just circulated the water to it with an airlift.
20190329_104439.jpg

I had to keep the drain free of roots and leaves though, or the planter could fill 100% and overflow.

If it filled up all the way, it put too much weight on the lids and tank brace, so I had to put some sticks under the planter for support.

Those systems are both gone now, but they worked OK and nitrates were reduced.
 

Coryloach

Redtail Catfish
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Personally, from experience, in line with Ulu's, I wouldn't combine media, filter and plants together. Healthy big plants, the ones you want to achieve, will grow big root systems. They'll block any filter, especially with media.

I used to plant my trickle filters but I gave up after several incidents of the water not flowing through but seeping out the back of the tank instead. I now keep my plants in drilled hanging pots submerged in water as high as the crown of the plants They don't get any flow through them besides what goes through the holes of the pots and it works just fine for water quality and even better for the long term health of the plant as it is not disturbed and let to grow wild. The mechanical impact of flowing water to the roots may not be best either.
 
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mattybecks

Polypterus
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Yeah I tried ceramic media in the tubes at first, but as was mentioned above, it did block some of the flow and I removed them. Now its just the plain PVC pipe with only roots inside which seem to perform well.
The end of the pothos pipe is very near to the intakes for the canister filters. I noticed the other one root had avoided been eaten and grown from the pipe about 15cm down into the tubing for the canister filter. I broke it off and changed the layout as I dont want roots growing into my canister filters.

pothos3.jpg
 
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mattybecks

Polypterus
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Feb 21, 2012
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Dubai, UAE
mattybecks mattybecks

I saw your design quite a while back, and I wondered if it would work OK with just an airlift?

Someone once told me that in hydroponics the roots should be allowed to dry out a bit between waterings.

I don't do this, but I'm thinking more air will help the roots.

For a while I ran two systems with the Pothos in a remote planter, and just circulated the water to it with an airlift.
View attachment 1390781

I had to keep the drain free of roots and leaves though, or the planter could fill 100% and overflow.

If it filled up all the way, it put too much weight on the lids and tank brace, so I had to put some sticks under the planter for support.

Those systems are both gone now, but they worked OK and nitrates were reduced.
When I do my water changes twice a week the roots are left hanging out the water with no water in the pipe and they do dry out a little. I haven't seen any negative effects from this, so it appears drying out a little isn't harmful.
 

Ulu

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40+ years ago, I did some big gardens and small hydroponic tubs. I kept the water + Miracle-gro in a sump, and the veggies above in tubs of pearlite.

Twice a day the pump timer filled the tubs for 5 minutes and stopped. The water would drip out for 12 hours, leaving the pearlite barely damp at the bottom by the time the pump started again. It essentially took 12 hours to dry the roots. This worked well, and with natural plus supplemental lighting growth rates were 50% better than what I was growing outdoors in soil.

I think this is totally specific to the plants, and those requiring lots of water did the best. I think some would have done even better with half the wattering, while others would droop.

I'm not into growing my own food anymore. Just ornamental stuff and shade trees. But growing in the aquarium is becoming a new challenge for me.

20191007_090948.jpg


I've put glass over my plants for the winter, but the yam on the right is failing with the cooling season, while Pothos on the left is still really green.
20191007_090723.jpg
Since I covered the sump and tank in styrofoam, I have added some glass windows in both. I can see the water levels and the fish get more light when the doors are closed.

20191007_090250.jpg

Those plants have a pond basket underneath each 10g tank, to preserve some of the roots from my Hungry Fish.
 
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Ulu

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This is the indoor half of that indoor-outdoor system, and I'm growing pothos here under the lights.
20191007_093304.jpg
Some is growing on to the masonry and some is just growing right in the water.

I've had pothos growing underwater for months and it doesn't kill it. (yet)
20191007_093239.jpg
But as it starts to strip all the nutrition out of the water the leaves will curl up a little bit and you'll have to trim the vines back. I have seen this when it's growing out of the water and people have reported it happens while growing in the water as well.
 
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Terraphyte Tank Guy

Exodon
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Feb 2, 2018
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Hello...

Pretty ingenious means of filtering the tank water. I've been messing around with using plants to filter aquarium water for some years and found the Chinese evergreen an excellent water filter. It will remove all forms of nitrogen even faster than ammonia or nitrite bacteria. In fact, if you wanted to, you could use this plant and skip water changes forever. Attached is a picture of a tank with a couple different varieties of the house plant.

TTG

 
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