The initial concept for the aquaduct of the Shrimphaus was for water flowing over slate with epiphytic plants and mosses clinging to the slate under the water with leaves growing up out of the water. That didn’t work out very well. The underwater rhizome of the Anubias nana ‘Coin’ slowly rotted away, killing the plant. The Christmas moss and the Bucephalandra pygmaea ‘Bukit Kelam’ didn’t look brilliant either. Which leads to the new concept for emersed plants in the Shrimphaus…
Emersed plants on land
Whilst leaving a channel for water flow, land is built out of black lava rock on the slate shelf. The lava rock is very porous and wicks up the water so staying continuously wet. The epiphyte Anubias coffeefolia (replacing the Anubias nana ‘Coin’) and the Bucephalandra have their roots down amongst the lava rock staying wet, but the rhizome and leaves of both are in the open air. The Christmas moss is simply placed on top of the lava rocks without any attempt at “planting”. I have tried to keep things moist topside with irregular (when I think about it) misting to try to transition the plants gradually to standard indoor room humidity, but I’m not sure that’s actually necessary. The wet lava rocks and moss will perhaps provide some degree of elevated localised humidity.
a river runs through it
shrimp on a shelf
There is good water flow action from the river. I had been wondering whether any of the shrimp would ever make it up onto the shelf part of the Shrimphaus and then when I looked, there was one of the little guys on there checking out the water flow. I had noticed previously during a major water change of the Fireplace Aquarium that the amano shrimp would try quite desperately to climb up the wall of the aquarium upon which water was pouring down even with lots of standing water at the bottom. This must represent some type of “swim upstream” instinct in them. Perhaps the neocaridina shrimp (the Bloody Marys of the Shrimphaus) have a similar type of instinct that makes them seek out flowing water and go upstream? In any event I have installed a shrimp-safe screen just in case on both the submersed portion of the pump and on the river outflow on the shelf.
I’m not sure how the shrimp got up there, but I did manage to catch a video of the dismount. Not too graceful, but seemed to get the job done. If the shrimp was looking for other shrimp to party with, there were none to be found this time.
Emersed plants: a new adventure
I had thought that since all of the plants intended to grow emersed are fully capable of growing completely submersed that when emersed it wouldn’t really matter at what level the water was but now I’m starting to appreciate the value of land. Examining photos and videos of Anubias in the wild shows them mostly growing on the riverside near but out of the water, or occasionally completely underwater, but not very often in the flowing water with leaves sticking out into the air as I had been trying to do. We’ll see how the new “river run” approach suits them. The Bucephalandra was already looking pretty ragged when I implemented the new river run concept in the Shrimphaus; hopefully they’ll be able to stage some sort of rally in the new setup.