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Re: Summer tub fun

"Steve Borgstrom" wrote:
> I purchased a 19-gallon "muck bucket" (a sturdy
> plastic tub with rope handles <snip>
> ...with the idea of raising some fish and plants
> outdoors over the summer. <snip, San Jose, CA USA,
> temp 80-90s F >

Hi, Steve--

Sounds like fun.  I'll assume temperature swings
from day/night will be the biggest issue for fish
viability.  You might think about indirect light
(keep it in the shade) to help minimize that, as
that's still probably plenty of light (much more
than most indoor tank setups without MH).

In the US Midwest and South mosquitos are an 
issue, and I assume there's some kind of bug
that breeds in the water where you live. I'd
vote for a fish with a big mouth to handle the
larvae (killies, platies, mollies, bettas, any
of the goldfish-like carp).  You don't need

> 1) Should I incorporate laterite into the
> substrate?

I'll bet they grow great with any substrate (or
even without a substrate).  If you need a substrate
for the desired variety of plants, it's only a 
summer... you can get away with anything.  Since
the plants will probably grow fast (lots of light,
even in the shade), you might stick some fertilizer
sticks or pellets in the substrate.

> 2) This tub will be in direct sunlight during
> most of the day but will be otherwise unheated.
> <snip> Swords?  Crypts?

Good call.  Don't waste the electricity (especially
since you're in California.  ;-)   Swords are really
hardy, but you might watch out for the crypts...
I would assume many of those species won't be able
to handle the temperature swings.

> 3) Which plants will tolerate the dry-ish air if
> they develop emerged vegetation?

Hmmm...  there will be some microclimate modification
since the surface of the water will have higher 
humidity than the surrounding area.  However, if
it is windy, that won't help much (you might put
a windbreak around so it doesn't dry out what
emerges.)  If you do that, you're probably alright
with most things... if they emerge, many plants 
tend to develop a waxier epidermis around their
flowering parts, and they know they've emerged
(biological changes are triggered out of the water
for most aquatic plants.)  I'd assume "constancy"
is the issue... don't let the wind dry them out,
and don't let the sun turn your bucket into a 
100F plant soup.  ;-)

Good luck... tell us how it goes.


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