Pros & Cons about DSM - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Pros & Cons about DSM

Forgive my ignorance as im new to planted tanks. I see a lot of people starting of their tanks in a dry method, what i dont get is why ? What are the pros & cons ?
Most tanks ive seen doing this, the plants look half dead and its only until they fill the tank with water do i see the plants perking back up.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 03:51 AM
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its way easier, and plants usually only look half dead if you dont do a DSM correctly, which frankly its hard to mess up.

the perks of dry start:
-low maintenance
-low chance of algea, or mold unless you have too much water (which you can suck out with a small syringe)
-free co2, when you cover the top with a glass lid or saran wrap (which i personally prefer) it traps it in there, sometimes it helps to poke a hole or two, i actually blow into it a few times a day and to be honest i think it makes a difference
-for plants that need rooting so they dont float, or become unrooted by fish or water movement this method is perfect, especially for baby tears, glosso, moss, ect. so they can fill in their roots, keep ground, and after flooding just need a little triming
-can keep the lights on longer, promoting more growth

-time, it takes a little bit of patience, but its worth it in the long run
-algea when flooded, which doesnt occur most of the time, but you can have some with high light and low co2

all in all its super easy, cost efficient, just put in substrate, plant little seperated bunches or single stems, mist with a spray bottle or mister ( i use water from a very well filtered tank, i prefer it over tap water, but whatever floats your boat) i keep a suction cup old school thermometer so i can moniter my heat from the lights and to find out how high i need to hang them, then just throw on some saran wrap, tape it down to create the seal for moister....... and your done, i mist my DSM tanks about every 2 days, sometimes three, just make sure to keep the water level right below the surface i find that is the easiest way

a little tip, try to get plants already emersed so they dont have to go through a change from submersed to emersed, but ive done it both ways and its not a HUGE difference, but you will usually have the submersed die off a little..

good luck, if your new i highly suggest the DSM instead of messing with co2 setup and new tank algea and cycling blah blah blah just search threads read a little and try it out for yourself, i think you will come to like it

with best regards

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Last edited by wetbizquit; 07-11-2012 at 03:53 AM. Reason: grammer :)
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 03:54 AM
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Some carpet plants are so tiny that planting them in a tank full of water is very difficult, and the little plantlets keep floating back up. HC is one example. You can much more easily plant each tiny plant in damp substrate, they can't float out, and they won't get algae growths, since there is no standing water for the algae to grow in. HC readily grows emersed, so you can completely carpet the tank this way, then when you fill the tank with water you have a carpet without waiting for it. Glosso is another plant that has similar problems. As, does dwarf hair grass.

A disadvantage is that you have to be patient, willing to wait for the emersed growth to fill in the bare spots. And, it is a different setup from a planted tank, with saran wrap over the top to maintain the humidity in the tank. Unless the substrate is a fertile one, ADA Aquasoil, for example, you have to figure out fertilizing the emersed growing ground cover.

But, another pro is that ADA Aquasoil's ammonia problem is taken care of with a dry start. The ammonia is mineralized by the dry start, so you don't have to do the closely spaced big water changes for a few weeks, like you normally do with Aquasoil.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 04:30 AM
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't DSM only suggested if you are going to have injected CO2 when the tank is flooded?
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 04:37 AM
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You can dry start without CO2. The CO2 is important in the case of carbon greedy carpet plants such as HC..which will likely melt without it once the tank is flooded and they no longer have the easy supply from the air.

Another advantage of dry start is that you can use ferts like Miracle Grow. I've got a 10g with HC started about a 3 weeks back on eco complete, and I'm tossing in diluted Miracle Grow, and it works great. I'm also blasting it 15 hours a day with about 90 watts of CFL...which I simply couldn't do without making an algea hand grenade submerged.
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