I picked up the vase in this project at a local thrift shop. After it sat for some time, I finally figured out what I wanted to do with it - an aquatic setup.
I used a base layer of Zoo Med Excavator® Clay Burrowing Substrate - I've found this substrate to be very useful in "holding" items in place. On top of the clay substrate, I added fine, white sand for appearance purposes. I wanted to give this piece a bit more flair, so I added a piece of sagebrush wood I collected from the Idaho desert.
On top of the sagebrush wood I added ivy cuttings, Callisia repens [chain plant] cuttings, Pilea glauca cuttings, and moss. These cuttings have already rooted into the water below. These roots will feed the plants by in-taking excess nutrient from the water produced by the snails, freshwater plankton, and other bio matter - a.k.a. - natural filtration - this is in addition to the aquatic plants. [I have listed below the plant species used in this piece]
The aquatic plants are thriving! I have had to trim some of them down to thin out the growth; this will also encourage thicker growth (which is a good thing). The trimmings from the aquatic plants were recycled into another project (post to come). I try to recycle all plant trimmings whenever possible; those that aren't able to be reused are mixed in a small worm composting bin (these worms go to feed my savannah monitor lizard [it's kind of like the circle of life]).
There are ram's horn and pond snails living the good life in this pico aquatic world. They help breakdown bio matter, algae and the fish food I feed them. I feed them fish food because I want to encourage faster breeding by providing excess food. The snails are doing just that - using the plants and sagebrush wood as nurseries for their jelly egg sacks. As the snails hatch and grow, they also feast on the fish food and other bio matter. This gives them a boosted growth rate, which is desired because the snails are being raised to feed my school of pea puffers.
Daphnia and cyclops - tiny freshwater crustaceans - also thrive below the waterline. Upon close inspection, you can see these tiny creatures zig-zagging through the water column. These tiny crustaceans were collected from a nearby fishing pond off the Boise River called, Parkcenter Pond. Also from Parkcenter Pond are small detritus worms that are now thriving; these growing worms are periodically collected from the vase with a small syringe and fed to the pea puffers (bit of a pattern here). I try to make sure each piece I make is not just natural looking, but also serves a purpose.
There isn't much maintenance to be had with this piece. I do not do water changes; instead I top-off the water as needed from evaporation and plant usage. I do not have a problem with algae as the natural plant filtration (and daphnia) takes away the ability for algae to thrive. This vase receives lighting from strip LED lighting used on the undersides of the bookshelf shelves; the bookshelf upon which this piece and other aquatic environments I have created sit.
Have questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below or on Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook.