Hobbit Aquarium Garden

Michael Langerman
8 min readJun 17, 2020

I bought this Hobbit Crassula Ovata succulent plant from Traders Joe’s on May 14th, 2019

The succulent comes in two pots, which is great for watering the plant.

I want to check how this plant grows with roots in the water of my aquarium gardens.

Let’s clean the roots from soil.

Aha! There are two plants.
That’s even better.
So, I can grow one plant potted in soil and the other plant with roots in water.

Water the potted plant.

I am going to give it away.

Wash roots of the other plant clean of all dirt.

In this example, I use a round shaped plastic box to set up a nursery.
Fill the tank with dechlorinated water, gravel, rocks, shells, and etc.
The whole setup is very similar to what is shown in my “Aquarium Nursery” video.

Make a planter out of a plastic jar cover.

Use a marker to outline the shape of the hole.

Use a sharp blade to cut the hole.

I like to trim off the sides of the cover.

A cover without sides slides on and off the box very easily.

Put the planter on the tank.

Put the plant in the planter.
I use a seashell to prop the plant.

We can spin the planter around without moving the tank to expose all sides of the plant to light as necessary.

Here is a top view.

The plant stays above the water on top of the planter with only roots in the water.

Here is the plant about two weeks later on May 26th.

New white roots are growing.
The Hobbit looks healthy.

I have been keeping the garden covered to reduce evaporation.

June 21st, 2019 A wound has developed in the past month in the spot where the plant was rested on the planter.

I want to take a cutting from this Hobbit.
This part that grows right above the wound seems to be healthy.

Let’s put the cutting in a piece of plastic straw.

Then I put it in a small cup and fill the cup with gravel.

This way the cutting stays upright and secure.

Fill the cup with dechlorinated water.

In the following two weeks, new roots grow on the cutting.

Here you can see them better.

On July 4th, I move the cutting into a newly built aquarium garden.

This aquarium garden has a more efficient planter.

Here you can see the new cutting in the garden on the left, and the old plant is in the garden on the right, 5 days later on July 9th.

I don’t cover the plant after it developed the wound.
The plant seems to be doing fine.

Keep only roots in the water.

The new cutting gets dehydrated since I moved it into the new garden.

The roots of this plant are not in the water!

To make the roots go deeper I cut off the bottom leaf.

Now I can force the plant deeper in the hole.

And the roots are now in the water, as they should be.

Here is the plant one week later, on July 15th, looking much better.

On August 15th, I move the old plant into a new aquarium garden.

On the evening of October 6th, 2019 I cut the bottom leaf of the old plant and move the plant into a 3 liter jar aquarium garden with Cherry shrimp.

A drop of juice from the fresh cut of the plant may bleed into the water.

By the next morning all the Cherry shrimp in this aquarium were dead.

After this incident, I moved both plants into aquarium gardens without fish or shrimp.

Here you can see both Hobbit plants on December 8th, 2019.

Roots grow up to 1 cm long and both plants have some new leaves growing in the past 7 months.

This is the cutting I made from the old plant on the left.
It has roots longer than the old plant.

Seed shrimp and common pond snails seem to be doing fine in aquarium gardens with Hobbits.

Though, I make sure to keep only the roots of the Hobbit in the water.

The rest of the plant stays above the water.

And if I have to make any cuttings, I would let the wound fully dry before placing it in water to avoid poisoning.

The Hobbit grows very slowly with roots in water.
And looks pretty.

It makes the Hobbit succulent suitable for my self-sustainable aquarium gardens without fish.
Have fun and happy aquarium gardens :)