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So i'm transitioning from reef to freshwater. I've seen on youtube how to aquascape the tank beautifully with plants.. and i never knew that you had to do it without water, then add the water.

i'm setting up a new tank so it'll have to cycle... the question is do I plant the plants now, or cycle the tank, drain the water, and refill it with the same water? (problem is I dont have anywhere to store 29 gal of water).

Also, is a whisper 350 too much flow for the HOB filter?

thanks!

tank dets: 29 gal, aqueon modular LED x 2 hood (30"), whisper 350, black sand. Nothing has been set up, i'm just waiting before I start filling the tank for more info.
 

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I just want to caveat this by saying there are many ways to do this and people will have different opinions about it and water changes etc. But, you can setup your soil and hardscape first, take your time with it if you want and really get it the way you like it. Then when you have your plants and you're ready to go, plant them right into your dry tank. I personally think it's easier to plant into soil that's been sprayed down a bit with some water so it grips the plants a bit better. Tweezers are very helpful when doing this, and you should plant them fairly deep for their size, about an inch if you have enough plant height to work with so that when you do fill your water they have a better chance at staying put. Check the plant however, some plants actually shouldn't be planted and instead be attached to rock or wood. While you're planting, it's a good idea to be spraying the plants down occasionally so they don't wither. If you have tall stem plants, actually planting them after the water has filled up can make it easier to judge their position. Then you can fill it up, very slowly! You can put some filter floss down on the substrate and push a hose outlet into it to fill it up. I just use plastic bag and lay it down like a rug over the substrate, and then pour a couple cups of water directly onto the bag until there's a few inches, then I take a bucket or hose and continue carefully pouring it on that bag. The whole point of the filter floss or bag (or even your hand) is that you dissipate the force of the water going into the tank so you don't mess up your substrate and all the planting work you just did. Then at this point, you can cycle your tank with the plants in. They will actually help the cycle somewhat, but it's also a good period of time to let your plants adjust to growing in water if they weren't already. During this period you may want to do more frequent water changes. If you're using aquasoil, it can leach out a lot of amonia during the first few weeks, and that can hurt some of the plants. People suggest doing daily water changes the first week, then every other day the second week, then 2-3 times a week on week 3, then 1 a week after that. If you're not using aquasoil you can probably go a little easier on the changes so the bacteria has an easier time growing. Can you share a link to the Whisper 350?
 

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Soo to o answer your question, do not cycle the tank and then drain it to do a dry start. If you want to grow a carpet of plants AND do not plan to add co2 (low tech) then the best way to grow that carpet is the dry start method where you plant easy carpet plants like hair grass and then let it grow using room air with just the substrate under water but the green part of the plants in air. This is not a beginner friendly task.

If you are not trying to grow a carpet I highly suggest not doing a dry start. Instead, fill your tank and plant right away. If using inert substrate you will want to add your fertilizer of choice right away. If you don't know what fertilizer to pick then I suggest nicolg thrive.
 

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Soo to o answer your question, do not cycle the tank and then drain it to do a dry start. If you want to grow a carpet of plants AND do not plan to add co2 (low tech) then the best way to grow that carpet is the dry start method where you plant easy carpet plants like hair grass and then let it grow using room air with just the substrate under water but the green part of the plants in air. This is not a beginner friendly task.

If you are not trying to grow a carpet I highly suggest not doing a dry start. Instead, fill your tank and plant right away. If using inert substrate you will want to add your fertilizer of choice right away. If you don't know what fertilizer to pick then I suggest nicolg thrive.
Haha minorhero, I feel like I'm getting on your nerves. This has become my quarantine outlet and I tend to get too wordy. I assumed they meant filling it with water after, as a reaction to all the videos you see of people planting in an empty aquarium and then filling it, not necessarily the dry-start method. Ok, I'm done for tonight!
 

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Haha minorhero, I feel like I'm getting on your nerves. This has become my quarantine outlet and I tend to get too wordy. I assumed they meant filling it with water after, as a reaction to all the videos you see of people planting in an empty aquarium and then filling it, not necessarily the dry-start method. Ok, I'm done for tonight!
Ahhh gotcha

You are definitely not getting on my nerves, like you, this is definitely my quarantine outlet.

A lot of folk will plant into a dry tank because its a little easier. You can definitely plant when the tank is flooded, this latter is how I do it when I still have fish in the tank.

Anyway there are 2 methods for cycling a tank. Plants in or Plants out. You can cycle a tank with a tank fully planted. If you have a lot more patience than me, you can cycle with the plants out doing what some people call a "dark start method". Using this method you put a blanket or towel over a tank after you fill it and you don't uncover it until after its fully cycled (no risk of algae because no light is getting into the tank) and then you do 100% water change and your done. This method has the advantage of skipping a lot of the fiddly maintenance tasks in the first month (read, a lot of water changes for active substrate tanks - there is less incentive to use this method for inert substrate tanks).

Anyway if you decide to plant after you cycle you could drain the tank down and then plant, just keep the tank substrate under water so you don't kill all the bacteria that built up in it during the cycle.
 

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I prefer plants in myself. I use inert sand, so what I do is set up hardscape and root tabs with and where the plants In mind I will be using.Then let it the filter run for a few days to get clear and settled. Then I do a water change and plant it out. Grow it out for week or two then fill my filter with boring media from my large canister filter on my largest tank where the jebo 828 filter has been running for 15 years. Pretty much an instant cycle. I add fresh bio rings to the jebo 828 it barely notices anything missing as on a densely planted tank the plants ARE more the filter than the filter sometimes...
 

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Another curve ball to add to the mix here: we don't know whether the plants being used to begin with were grown immersed or emersed. That can have some bearing on what results you get from a dry-start vs a wet-start. If you put a bunch of plants that were grown immersed into a dry-start, you may have issues and vice/versa until such time as the plant can make the transition to it's new environment.
 
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