How much excel can I dose after DSM? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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How much excel can I dose after DSM?

Hi all,

I'm in the process of doing a dry start in a 10g for monte carlo and dwarf hairgrass. After submerging, I'm not planning to provide CO2 for my tank because I'm hoping for it to stay rather low tech, so I'm a bit worried about the possible melt from transition. I am planning to dose excel, and although it is not a substitute for CO2, I figured it's better than nothing. I do not have any livestock for this tank yet so I am willing to work on the plants until they are healthy and stable.

So, in order that my monte carlo/dhg gets the best boost of carbon it can without added CO2 after filling up my tank, how much excel can I dose at once without it being harmful to any other plant growing processes? Or is it inevitable that my carpet will melt either way because I don't have CO2? If it's possible to dose extra excel, I'm thinking of doing this for a while until my plants seem stable and then slowly decreasing the dosage until I'm at the recommended dosage.

Anyone have any recommendations or advice? Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 10:03 PM
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I did something similar to this with HC in a 2.6 gallon nano and results were okay. I say "okay" because it doesn't really compare to the dense and compact growth that CO2 can provide but it's still growing, just not shooting many runners and shoots are bit stretchy. I just trim it often to counter this. I didn't even bother with Excel or glut. I'm also running medium PAR light to keep nutritional demand down. Not sure how long the tank will go on like this but it's been doing okay the last couple months.

This tank was setup just to keep from tossing the HC in the trash and I already had some petrified wood sitting around, so I did a quick 5 minute scape on it sewed the carpet with it. I really didn't care if it failed or not. Ended up looking pretty good, so I threw a few fancy shrimp in there and it's been chugging along ever since.

Here's a shot of it:

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 10:38 PM
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Why not save up and go for a CO2 system? I would recommend a company called CO2Art, has the best price/performance.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by madcrafted View Post
I did something similar to this with HC in a 2.6 gallon nano and results were okay. I say "okay" because it doesn't really compare to the dense and compact growth that CO2 can provide but it's still growing, just not shooting many runners and shoots are bit stretchy. I just trim it often to counter this. I didn't even bother with Excel or glut. I'm also running medium PAR light to keep nutritional demand down. Not sure how long the tank will go on like this but it's been doing okay the last couple months.

This tank was setup just to keep from tossing the HC in the trash and I already had some petrified wood sitting around, so I did a quick 5 minute scape on it sewed the carpet with it. I really didn't care if it failed or not. Ended up looking pretty good, so I threw a few fancy shrimp in there and it's been chugging along ever since.

Here's a shot of it:

Wow that's amazing! The tank looks awesome Makes sense that the growth doesn't compare to when it has CO2 but I am still blown away by how green and healthy it all looks, especially since you didn't use excel or glut! When I went to my LFS and was looking for a carpeting plant, the person who was helping me told me not even to bother with HC since I didn't have CO2. And he gave me a culture of monte carlo instead! I'm glad I did stick with the monte carlo because I don't have much experience with aquatic plants in general so I probably would not have been as successful with the HC as you were. But now I know it can be done! I hope the tank survives for as long as it can! Looks super cool

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Originally Posted by KeeperOfASilentWorld View Post
Why not save up and go for a CO2 system? I would recommend a company called CO2Art, has the best price/performance.
That would definitely be ideal! I'll definitely look into CO2Art in the future when I have the opportunity to invest in a CO2 system!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 05:28 AM
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you could also use aquatek for a regulator. i have the mini and it attaches to a paintball co2 tanks which is convenient for me and provides the co2 i need in my 2 20 gallon tanks. good price too

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-22-2018, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by waterblossom View Post
When I went to my LFS and was looking for a carpeting plant, the person who was helping me told me not even to bother with HC since I didn't have CO2. And he gave me a culture of monte carlo instead! I'm glad I did stick with the monte carlo because I don't have much experience with aquatic plants in general so I probably would not have been as successful with the HC as you were. But now I know it can be done!
Thanks for the compliments.

Yes, monte carlo should do pretty well in a low tech environment. I would have used that if I had any at the time. Only real requirement for MC and DHG is medium to medium high light and good nutrition. As long as you give them a nice dry start or use CO2 during the first few months, they will fill out nicely. Those are much easier to grow from my experience. The person at the fish store was giving you good advice because most low tech HC grow outs are usually huge failures.

I'm not going to sign off on growing HC low tech just yet, it's still too early to tell. I dry started for about 6 weeks without covering the top. I just kept substrate slightly damp by misting. I didn't add any water to the substrate during this time. This kept mold and algae at bay. I gave them medium light for 12-14 hours a day. Before I flooded, I noticed roots had nearly reached the bottom of the tank. This helped keep the HC from floating out of the substrate post flooding. The shrimp sometimes pull a plug of it from time to time, hence the bare spots but it overall it's anchored down pretty good. It gets about 5 hours of direct light with a ramp up/down at the beginning and end of photo period for a total of 8 hours. For feeding, I'm using the PPS method of dosing. My parameters are KH 0, GH 4-5, pH 5.8 and the temp is around 70-73.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the compliments.

Yes, monte carlo should do pretty well in a low tech environment. I would have used that if I had any at the time. Only real requirement for MC and DHG is medium to medium high light and good nutrition. As long as you give them a nice dry start or use CO2 during the first few months, they will fill out nicely. Those are much easier to grow from my experience. The person at the fish store was giving you good advice because most low tech HC grow outs are usually huge failures.

I'm not going to sign off on growing HC low tech just yet, it's still too early to tell. I dry started for about 6 weeks without covering the top. I just kept substrate slightly damp by misting. I didn't add any water to the substrate during this time. This kept mold and algae at bay. I gave them medium light for 12-14 hours a day. Before I flooded, I noticed roots had nearly reached the bottom of the tank. This helped keep the HC from floating out of the substrate post flooding. The shrimp sometimes pull a plug of it from time to time, hence the bare spots but it overall it's anchored down pretty good. It gets about 5 hours of direct light with a ramp up/down at the beginning and end of photo period for a total of 8 hours. For feeding, I'm using the PPS method of dosing. My parameters are KH 0, GH 4-5, pH 5.8 and the temp is around 70-73.
I'm glad to hear it! I was hoping to keep my tank relatively low tech, and I'm still learning a bunch about that too! I'm glad DHG isn't too hard. Although it seems to be doing a bit worse as compared to my monte carlo in my dry start tank. But wow, I've seen a few videos about people attempting low tech HC carpets and such, but I didn't know they turned out to be failures! What a bummer I guess some plants just need the extra care no matter what. Well, I hope your HC has a good run!

But now that you say you didn't add any water to your substrate for your drystart, I'm thinking maybe I should take some of my water out I've been reading mixed experiences with the amount of water I should have in the substrate, so I have a bit below the lowest point...but I've been dreading any mold/algae breakouts! One day I was checking out my growth and I saw a white string of something on one of my monte carlo leaves and I almost had a heart attack before I realized it was a strand of my dog's white hairs. but anyways, I've heard of shrimp pulling up plugs of carpeting plants before and I'm a bit worried about that! I guess I'll have to keep shrimp to a minimum if I do decide to add any.

About your lighting: do you often get algae from having your lights on for 8 hrs?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 01:28 AM
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I've read where others add water to the substrate until it reaches just below the substrate surface. To me, this sound like a terrible idea. There's no circulation throughout the substrate like there is when you have filter(s) running. Roots growing down into stagnant water? Not an ideal scenario. They need oxygen just the same. I just misted mine with a pump sprayer twice a day until the surface was completely saturated. The first few days the substrate would dry out between mistings but after a week or so, it stayed damp all day. I guess capillary action distributed the moisture evenly throughout the entire substrate. I never did cover my top either. Never needed to.

As for the shrimp pulling up plants, it's usually not a problem with dwarf shrimp unless you have a few shallow rooted places. Most of my HC rooted over 1" deep after 4 weeks. They held fine. The problem I had was using cheap scissors to trim them in the beginning, which lifted up a few clumps here and there. The shrimp found those pieces fairly quickly and yanked them out of there, probably trying to get some biofilm off the substrate surface or eating the brown algae on the carpet.

I haven't had any issue with algae except for the typical brown diatom algae. I can see a tiny bit on the tips of the leaves but most of it just sticks to the glass. I leave it alone on the side and back glass. Baby shrimp and snails will eat it, as well as flatworms and copepods. It eventually just disappears, never to return.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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I've read where others add water to the substrate until it reaches just below the substrate surface. To me, this sound like a terrible idea. There's no circulation throughout the substrate like there is when you have filter(s) running. Roots growing down into stagnant water? Not an ideal scenario. They need oxygen just the same. I just misted mine with a pump sprayer twice a day until the surface was completely saturated. The first few days the substrate would dry out between mistings but after a week or so, it stayed damp all day. I guess capillary action distributed the moisture evenly throughout the entire substrate. I never did cover my top either. Never needed to.

As for the shrimp pulling up plants, it's usually not a problem with dwarf shrimp unless you have a few shallow rooted places. Most of my HC rooted over 1" deep after 4 weeks. They held fine. The problem I had was using cheap scissors to trim them in the beginning, which lifted up a few clumps here and there. The shrimp found those pieces fairly quickly and yanked them out of there, probably trying to get some biofilm off the substrate surface or eating the brown algae on the carpet.

I haven't had any issue with algae except for the typical brown diatom algae. I can see a tiny bit on the tips of the leaves but most of it just sticks to the glass. I leave it alone on the side and back glass. Baby shrimp and snails will eat it, as well as flatworms and copepods. It eventually just disappears, never to return.
Welp, I have my water filled to a bit below the substrate level! My monte carlo seems to be doing fine, but do you think it's best if I soak some water out? I don't want to risk rotting their roots! What you said about circulation makes sense and I actually had only my substrate damp in the very beginning, but then I got worried that it would be too dry and my plants would shrivel up so I added a bunch of water after that. Probably didn't need to do that after all. Although it is quite dry where I live and even though I cover my tank tightly with seran wrap, I find that I have to spray at least twice a day usually.

Nice to know the shrimps wont cause big problems! My monte carlo are definitely rooting pretty deep and so hopefully that'll be enough to keep the shrimp from pulling them up. But its awesome to hear you haven't had much problems with algae! I'm worried about having a massive algae bloom or something once I start up my tank. Hopefully that doesnt happen
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