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Dry Start Method and Kessil H150

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Hi, All -

Been ghosting the Forum, finally had a question of my own. :)

After tearing down my last successful planted nano, I'm looking to start anew. Will be very simple high tech nano.

End Goal: dwarf hairgrass carpet, bonsai with either marimo or xmas moss, shrimp, endlers & embers.

Here are the specs:
ADA 60F Garden Cube 8.6gal
Twinstar 600E
Twinstar M3 Sterilizer
EcoComplete w/ root tabs (can't afford ADA soil at this time)
50W heater
CO2 with GLA regulator
Seriyu stone

So, had successful dry start with monte carlo in previous build. Looking to do the same method again, but the new twist is I have a spare hydroponics kessil lying around from my old reef sump. Would it make sense to use that for the dry start as it's a grow light? Or do you believe it'll cause some unknown algae in the substrate before I even get the system started because it's pretty intense?

Would love to know your thoughts & feedback.
Thanks in advance!
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Hate to rain on your plans but...

Unless you're doing it for aesthetic reasons, Eco Complete is inert. There's nothing special about it. It's also not always great for carpeting plants like Dwarf Hair Grass because of its size and weight and the scale may be a bit too large for a tank as small as the 60F. But that's up to you. If you want black, consider any number of black sands on the market. Or even smaller crushed lava rock. With EC, you're just paying for branding. You could get enough sand or crushed lava for far less than $10. If you already have EC on-hand, then it obviously makes sense. But if you don't? Encourage you to shop around.

Twinstar Sterilizer is generally a waste of money for a number of reasons.

The 60F is 7in high. So you probably don't want to keep any kind of fish like Tetras. Endlers would be better suited but just barely. I would only keep a handful of males because they're going to breed heavily.

Since it's an incredibly shallow tank, that means there will be more predation on any shrimp you have than if the tank were taller and there were more hiding spots for shrimp. So keep that in mind, as well.

As far as lighting goes during emersed growth? Just raise it if it's too intense. Can also use layers of window screen placed on top of the tank to dim the lighting.

About Dwarf Hair Grass... since your tank is just 7in high and you'll likely have 1-2in of substrate, that only gives you 5in or so of vertical space in the water column. Depending upon the DHG variety you get, it'll be probably a minimum of 2in tall. Leaves you with 3-4in of useful vertical water column space. Not great for fish. Shrimp would work fine.

If you want fish? I'd consider plants that can be kept much shorter.

Seiryu stone will likely impact your water hardness quite a bit in a small tank like that. You'll need to do some testing with your particular stone in order to know how much. I mention that because it's potentially problematic for shrimp if you aren't sure how it will behave in your setup. The easiest way to test is to soak the stone in a bucket of water for 2-3 weeks to and measure gH, kH, TDS, that sort of thing on a regular basis.
 

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If you decide to use eco complete make sure to dose a fertilizer with nitrogen when misting. As already stated eco complete is inert so if you just add water and nothing else your plants will die. When the tank is running your plants will get nitrogen from fish and leftover food. But in a dry start it's just what you put in.
 
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