Newbie DSM planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-16-2020, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie DSM planted tank

Hello,

I'm in my 4th week of DSM with my 125 liters (33g) tank, I haven't had an aquarium since I was in middle school, 30 years ago.
The equipment I have:

- EHEIM professionel 4+ 250
- EHEIM 350 UV lamp
- CO2art regulator and difusser + 2kg tank
- Dennerle Trocal 36W LED

The soil is Amazonia Aqua Soil + Power Sand Advance, the sand is Colorado sand.

My aim was a carpet of DHG and some moss and other plants around, I know my mistake was to get the epiphytes and mosses at the beginning as they don't really like the dry start, but they seem to be holding on.
My dry start method is:

- 12 hrs / light
- tank is covered with 2 opposite corners left opened
- a little spray in the morning mostly on the mosses and a bigger spray in the afternoon when I get everything wet (when I arrive and before I leave the office)
- at least 15-20 mins / day fully open
- I have made a "rope" made of twisted paper towels and I insert it in one of the "witness" holes I left on either side of the aquarium and it just sucks the excess water, no mold problems so far

I have 4 questions:

1) You can see the Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini' (Mini Parrot Leaf) on the left side has grown considerably, I have trimmed some of it as it was shadowing the DHG and some of the moss.
Should I trim the big bunch that's on the left between the log and the wall of the tank? I'm afraid it will day from lack of light.

2) I want to test my filter, CO2, UV and "plumbing" before I flood the tank, is there a problem if I "wet" the filter and then it's left to dry for some weeks?
Can do the test run without the filtration media?

3) The yellow sand has a greenish color on top, I'm afraid there might be algae, should I just scoop it out and replace with other sand or let it dry outside and put it back in?

4) Do you think I did anything wrong? Is there something out of place?
My opinion is that some of my plants are doing OK and some are just surviving but I don't think there is much I can do.


Thanks
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 12:18 AM
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Hello and welcome!

First tank in 30 years and you went dry start? Sir, my hats off to you!

The only mistake I see is what you already admitted, the epiphytes should not have gone in at dry start. I made the identical mistake when doing my dry start for my Walstad bowl. It was pretty much a disaster for me with only a few of my buces surviving and most of my moss coming off in clumps.

If you think a plant is getting so big its block light to your carpet then you should of course trim it back, otherwise I wouldn't bother. You can always trim down the road once it actually is blocking the carpet. Or let it grow and and take over /shrug it will be up to your aesthetic sense at that point.

At this point you can start your tank up at any time since you are planning to do co2 anyway, just blast it heavy for the first week or so to help the plants to adjust.

And no there is nothing wrong with running a filter and then cutting it off. Especially if its just for a few hours etc. You won't build up any large amount of bacteria of course, but its just for testing so who cares.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 12:24 AM
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I"m very surprised you both had trouble with the epiphytes. Whenever I acquire Buce, Anubias, etc I kept them emersed with a moisture retaining top until I decide what to do with them. I've kept them that way long-term. What exactly happened to them?


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
I"m very surprised you both had trouble with the epiphytes. Whenever I acquire Buce, Anubias, etc I kept them emersed with a moisture retaining top until I decide what to do with them. I've kept them that way long-term. What exactly happened to them?
The emersed part is the key I believe. They need high humidity and their roots wet apparently. Attaching tissue culture buce to wood and spraying even 5 times a day didn't save most of mine. About 15% made it. The rest dried up with all leaves turning brown and flaking away. It's in my Walstad bowl journal in my signature if really interested. Since then I have seen how greenhouses grow epiphytes and not only are the roots emersed but they put them in tents as well and spray them down on some kind of schedule.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 01:42 AM
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Wow nice tank! And I'm intrested in how did you do your DSM. And which country are you from?

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 01:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
The emersed part is the key I believe. They need high humidity and their roots wet apparently. Attaching tissue culture buce to wood and spraying even 5 times a day didn't save most of mine. About 15% made it. The rest dried up with all leaves turning brown and flaking away. It's in my Walstad bowl journal in my signature if really interested. Since then I have seen how greenhouses grow epiphytes and not only are the roots emersed but they put them in tents as well and spray them down on some kind of schedule.
OK, they were all TC. I didn't see that. I've always bought the regular emersed stuff and in a container with AS and a cover they do great. Sometimes I have to mist once a day.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2020, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Hello and welcome!

First tank in 30 years and you went dry start? Sir, my hats off to you!

Thank you! You know how it goes, I had an empty space in an office cabinet and thought an aquarium would fit nice there so I measured it up and ordered the custom made tank. The guy from the shop asked me if it was for aquascaping and (at the time I didn't know what that was ) I said noo, it's for fish .
Then I started looking for some filters and some lights and saw the planted tanks and I decided I want one and it all went downhill .
My biggest worry now is that the wife will find out how much I've spent on this.


In my opinion the DSM is best for people that don't want to invest too much time daily on this and don't want to rush it, if you prepare and use quality stuff (and damn expensive!) you don't have much to do other than watch it grow



My epiphytes and mosses (especially the Anubias and the Java moss) seem to do a lot better since I have added some very diluted ferts to the water I'm spaying them with since I thought they can't go into the substrate and they need smth other than tap water to help them grow. The rest of the plants I spray with tap water I'm leaving open for 12 hrs to have some of the chlorine evaporate.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetxx View Post
Wow nice tank! And I'm intrested in how did you do your DSM. And which country are you from?

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Thanks, like I mentioned in my 1st post, my DSM is:


- light 12 hrs/day
- little spray in the morning on the mosses, epiphytes and the wood

- big spray in the afternoon all over the tank
- tank is covered with 2 opposite corners open about 5cm diameter holes
- 15-20mins/day fully open
- I have 2 "witness" hole/pits in the substrate on the front of the tank where I monitor the water level and use paper towels to get it out or small tube if it's took much (it was too much in the beginning)

- the temperature in the tank is 23 - 27C (depending on whether the tank is hit by sunlight or not)

- humidity now stays at 88 - 92%



I'm from Romania
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Mold confirmed, help!

Hi guys.


Apparently my worst fears were confirmed, the blueish/greenish stuff from the sand I was mentioning in my 1st post as being algae is mold.
I have scooped the contaminated sand out and it smells foul, you can see in the photo it stained the paper towel.

I have also washed the rock with H2O2 and sprayed a little IPA on the sand ( I don't have any H2O2 left)
I've left the tank without it's cover for almost 2hrs, sprayed the plants a bit and put the cover back.


1) Is there anything else I can do besides monitoring it? The problem is that tomorrow is Easter here and with the COVID restrictions I won't be able to check it until Monday morning. Will it be safe until then? I don't think that a catastrophe will happen in approx 40 hrs.
2) In theory flooding will kill all the molds/fungus/etc as they don't like to be under water, correct?
3) Can I run the DSM for another week or so while monitoring? So far the mold was only on the sand and the neighboring rocks not on the plants or the substrate.
I'm not yet ready to flood it.
4) I think the dehydration does kill the plants faster than the mold, doesn't it?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 11:56 AM
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Are you sure its not simply algae?

Anyway regardless mold won't hurt much, its just unsightly. I wouldn't try to dry it out or anything the plants need the water. Once you do flood, it will go away. Before then its not a big deal. Every look at a swamp? It can get a lot worse and all the plants are still growing.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 12:01 PM
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Sounds like BGA


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 01:16 PM
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I don't think what you have is mould or fungi.

Based on my 4 failed DSM, mould and fungi usually are white with round little balls full of spores and usually found on the substrate or dying bits of plants, or spider web like growth on plants down to the substrate.

Once you have any of these, be prepared that your plants will all melt. Even after flooding, mine still melted nonetheless..

Only after I got a co2 system, hoping that it will help the survival of the plants due to increased photo period and not limiting co2, and 50% water change everyday, did I manage to salvage half of my last DSM plants..

This is why everytime I see people having successful DSM, I'm so green with envy. Even though what you all did, was what I did..

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-20-2020, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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48 hrs later my tank seems fine, indeed it looked (and smelled) like BGA.
Will that re-appear after I flood my tank?
I assume the UV filter will kill those too, correct?
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2020, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Hello,

After 5 weeks of DSM I have flooded the tank 48 hrs ago.
While blasting CO2 like crazy and also forgetting to setup the timer and CO2 was running non-stop at 100+ bubbles / minute I had these parameters:

kH: 4
pH: 6
NO3: 30 ppm
CO2: > 120ppm (calculated and direct test)
Light: 6 hrs/day
Temp: 26C

Unfortunately I didn't check the test kit before the flood and it doesn't have NH4 & NO2 tests, ordered, waiting for them to arrive.
I did a 50% water change today.

I pulled out and cleand dead leaves of a little anubias and a bucephalandra that weren't doing so great before the flood and they definitely smell like BGA, I also saw some BGA on the other anubias leaves.
Is there anything I must do now or I should wait until the aquarium cycles?

Thanks.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 02:22 PM
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Judging from your nitrate levels, it should have cycled. But just to be sure, test the ammonia and nitrite levels. Congrats!

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 04:55 PM
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Be careful during flooding, when I did DSM it was successful.. then cyanobacteria took over right after. Was a disaster. D:


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