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Where to use Dirt Balls?

Where to use Dirt Balls?

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In this article, we will cover the use of Dirt Balls in aquascapes and as various standalone projects.


If you aren’t completely sure about your specific idea for a Dirt Ball layout, the golden rule is: as long as the ball has access to water and light, its plants will grow (in the context of indoor use under normal conditions).

An individual composition

If we aren’t interested in using a Dirt Ball in the context of a bigger layout, we can use it as a beautiful standalone natural decoration. We usually use either shallow tanks (like this one), or different ceramic bowls (like these ), or even containers like the DOOA Shizuku).

Wabikusa compositions featuring hardscape

For more natural, complex compositions, we recommend creating a suitable hardscape layout, which can accommodate the Dirt Ball as its center point.

Using Dirt Balls in shallow aquascapes

To achieve a natural look in shallow aquascapes, we put Dirt Balls along the back glass of the tank, so that they are roughly 2/3 above water level. This creates a great base for the emersed section of the aquascape, creating a feeling of a river/pond bank.

Artificial light vs. Sunlight

A usual question among beginners in the world of Wabikusa is whether we need artificial lighting in order to grow Wabikusa. The short answer is: No. Most plants will grow even under natural sunlight if placed in a spot with bright light. However, there’s quite a big risk of overheating and plants drying out when using direct sunlight (especially in the summer months).

Using appropriate lights can bring us many advantages. Under a stronger light, plants grow faster, they don’t stretch towards the light and the overall growth is more compact and healthier. The plants also bloom, get interesting colour hues, and much more. Artificial lighting also provides a stable lighting period throughout the whole year, so your Wabikusa will not stagnate during the winter. A great lighting option are these LED lights.

We have a tip for those of you who have an aquarium and aren’t planning to get a separate light for your Wabikusa layout: Put the Wabikusa right next to your tank, where it can get ample light intensity from the lighting unit which is over your tank. We only recommend this solution if your aquarium light is very strong.

Using Dirt Balls to grow terrestrial plants

At OPAquatics, we grow giant Spathiphyllum and beautiful Begonias in our Dirt Balls. Many other species, which love having roots in moist soil, would grow well in them. We only recommend this to more experienced growers.

In conclusion

As we’ve already mentioned in the introduction, Dirt Balls essentially only need two things - water and light. There is a myriad of options when it comes to incorporating Dirt Balls in your layouts, the only limit is your imagination. We wish you lots of successful Wabikusa projects, whichever way you decide to compose them!

© OPAquatics 2022 (Autor: Pavel Ottl)