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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First let me take a minute and thank everyone on this forum who have posted and asked questions and even more thanks to everyone else who took the time to answer those questions as well as my own. Because of you I feel like I have finally built a tank that (assuming it doesn't go to hell) will be the best I have ever done.

And Now ON TO THE SHOW!

Equipment
10 gallon Aqueon tank (Thank you Petco for your Dollar a Gallon Sale)
Finnex HMA-50S 50w Titanium Heater
Fluval Aquaclear 30
EHEIM Skim 350 Aquarium Filter

Lighting
Current USA Planted Plus Pro

Substrate
Black Diamond Blasting Sand (2040)

Hardscape
Seiryu stone

Flora
Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' for the carpet
Staurogyne Repens
Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini'

Fauna
3 Caridina multidentata (Amano Shrimp) [Cleaning Crew 1.0]
3 Otocinclus [Cleaning Crew 2.0]
Started with 4 Black Diamond Shrimp and now I have over 20

CO2
Red Sea CO2 System 500 attached to a Paintball tank

I am still debating if I should wait it out and do a Dry Start Method (worried since I have never done it before) or if I should just flood the tank now and get the filter and heater running.

ADVICE WELCOME

Here are some pictures of my progress so far.
















Again Please Advice welcome, this is my first time doing something this at this level and I don't want to mess it up lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I really could use some advice here. I don't want to mess up this lol I don't think I can afford to get the plants a second time lol I really could use some advice from people who have done the Dry Start Method using BDBS and any advice they want to give. What should I be on the look out for, do I need to use ferts now or when I flood the tank, again..... advice requested.
 

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I have never used BDBS but I have used other types of substrate for the DS method. I would recommend you go less than more in my experience. You can tell if they are getting dried out and don’t let that happen but definitely do not over water. If you are going to put any fertilizer in your spray bottle then I would recommend a very little amount. I did it before and I could see the different ferts on the leaves once the water had evaporated. Lean is key. Hope this helps, Skye
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am here for my Week 2 update.

So far things are doing ok. I have gotten a routine down for misting and airing out the tank. The Staurogyne Repens are starting to grow and I am happy to see that. and it looks like the Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' is doing pretty good too. I am not seeing any dying leaves or mold growing.

My Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini' however seems to be dying and I am not sure if it is because I planted them at the highest point of the scape and they just aren't getting enough water or if there is some other reason. They didn't look all that great when I got the plants but I thought maybe they would bounce back.... I guess we will have to see.

I also picked up some Dry Start Spray from the Glosso Factory with hopes that it will help give the plants the ferts they need during the DSM. If it works well I may ditch my Seachem line of ferts and go with their system. It seems pretty well organized. Has anyone had any experience with them? (Maybe a question for the ferts section of the forum)

Anyone else done a DSM with BDBS? Any feedback would be welcome





 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Day 16 update. I really haven't seen much in the way of growth on the Monte Carlo and I think the AR Mini is trying to hold in there. I am switching from a once a day misting to a 3 times a day misting where on the third time in the day I soak up any excess water from the substrate using paper towels (Viva brand ones are great for this and totally reusable) I am hoping that by increasing the frequency the AR Mini doesn't die off because its roots are getting water more consistently.

I was looking online and saw that Current USA now offers a Serene Freshwater LED Kit which is basically backlighting for your aquarium. So i took an old Ikea Dioder that I had and set it up behind my tanks. It doesn't look as fancy as the one they have but its still a cool effect.






Please feel free to offer any feedback . I really would appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Day 21 Update (3 weeks in whoo hoo!)

OK, so this dry start method is really challenging me each day. Not because its difficult... its because I really want to flood my tank as more time passes! lol However patience and routine has been the key.


Looks like my new routine of misting 3 times a day has been helping the AR Mini. Its starting to bounce back and I am starting to see new growth! (SUPER EXCITED) Sadly I don't think all of it is going to bounce back so I may have to use some clippings later to fill in the gaps. Everything else seems to be doing good as well. I have gotten a little bit of leaf burn on the S. Repens (largely in part to my over use of the Fert Spray) but I seem to have the dosing amount under control now so lets see how it turns out.

So for those out there who have done the DSM before and you used Monte Carlo.... how long did you wait to flood your tank?

Please feel free to offer any feedback or suggestions.




 

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I'm afraid I can't help with tips on DSM, but just wanted to say that this is going to look great once it's filled in!

I wish my country's fish stores did a £1 per gallon sale, super jealous!
 

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So for those out there who have done the DSM before and you used Monte Carlo.... how long did you wait to flood your tank?
It took me about 30 minutes before I flooded my tank ;)

I never understood the dry start method. Strong lights, CO2 and ferts = carpet without a dry start in like 2-3 months, so why even bother with a dry start? That's how I see it anyway.

My vote: Flood the tank, crank the CO2 while there is no livestock and watch as the plants fill in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Day 28 (4 Weeks since planting)

I have had really good success with my system of misting 3 times a day, soaking up all the excess water about 25 minutes after the 3rd misting and then applying the Gloss Factory Dry Start ferts right before I covered it up for the rest of the night. It looked like the AR Mini was is starting to come back in some areas but it is not going to be as many as I had planted. Looks like I will have to get another batch of the plants to fill the gaps later on.

Today is Sunday and a few days before Thanksgiving and I have run into a little problem. I realized I was going to be away from home for a period of 4 days and it would be impossible to keep up on my routine. So I have decided to flood the tank today. I went about it a little differently than some people. I decided to take half of the water out of my low tech planted Betta tank and transfer it into the new tank. Then I topped off each of the tanks with a load of fresh water. Hopefully it will help cycle the tank a little faster. (Both were then treated with Seachem Prime)

Heater is set up, Filter is running and CO2 is being fed in through side of the intake tube of the AC30 and I have been pushing it hard and heavy to get a lot of CO2 in there right away.

In preparation for the new tank. 3 weeks ago I took the AC30 and set it up to run in tandem on my existing 10 gallon Betta tank to cycle the media and get some bacteria growing.

So today starts Day 1 of the flooded tank

Here are some pictures










Now here is really where I could use some advice.

First..... When should I perform my first water change

Second ...... When should I start with the ferts. Currently I have pretty much ALL of the Seachem line of ferts. (Flourish, Iron, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Trace) I will probably use these up and then switch to Dry Ferts.

Any other changes I should make now that I have flooded the tank?


Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You put your CO2 line into your filter intake? Is there a reason you're not using a diffuser?
Honestly when I got the CO2 kit Red Sea CO2 System 500 (Paintball Bottles) it comes with a large bulky "turbo reactor" and it seemed to lose more C02 than it helped to dissolve. So after looking online I came across a few posts about people feeding the C02 line into their intake on their HOB filters and allowing the impeller to dissolve the gas into the water column. It has worked pretty well for the last couple of years. Didn't really see a reason to change it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My vote: Flood the tank, crank the CO2 while there is no livestock and watch as the plants fill in.
I have a question about the "crank the CO2" part. Do I want to just get the CO2 up to green in the drop checker or should I go full yellow since I don't have to worry about killing any livestock? And if yellow then how long should I let it run like that before I start to dial it back in preparation for livestock?

You should start fertilizing the water column now that you have one 😉 the plants don't stop eating just because their environment changed.
Good point. I have stared adding ferts as of today and I am working with some great folks over in the Ferts section of the forum to work out a good dosing schedule.
 

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I have a question about the "crank the CO2" part. Do I want to just get the CO2 up to green in the drop checker or should I go full yellow since I don't have to worry about killing any livestock? And if yellow then how long should I let it run like that before I start to dial it back in preparation for livestock?
Drop checkers should be a light yellow colour even with fish in the tank.

Aim for a 1.0 drop in pH to start (if there is livestock)

No livestock, go for a 1.5 drop in pH. Dial this back to 1.0 when you decide to add fish, let them adapt and then bring it up a few more points to 1.2 or 1.3.

Measure tank water without any CO2 dissolved in it. That is your baseline pH. Then measure the pH throughout the CO2 period and note your peak drop in pH. Adjust as needed to reach the 1.0 - 1.5 drop.

Most reports on journals here with fish are in the 1.0 - 1.4 range. You should be able to get away with the higher numbers because you're running a HOB filter, so lots of agitation / O2 exchange.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have a question about the "crank the CO2" part. Do I want to just get the CO2 up to green in the drop checker or should I go full yellow since I don't have to worry about killing any livestock? And if yellow then how long should I let it run like that before I start to dial it back in preparation for livestock?
Drop checkers should be a light yellow colour even with fish in the tank.

Aim for a 1.0 drop in pH to start (if there is livestock)

No livestock, go for a 1.5 drop in pH. Dial this back to 1.0 when you decide to add fish, let them adapt and then bring it up a few more points to 1.2 or 1.3.

Measure tank water without any CO2 dissolved in it. That is your baseline pH. Then measure the pH throughout the CO2 period and note your peak drop in pH. Adjust as needed to reach the 1.0 - 1.5 drop.

Most reports on journals here with fish are in the 1.0 - 1.4 range. You should be able to get away with the higher numbers because you're running a HOB filter, so lots of agitation / O2 exchange.
Ok in the past I have just let the CO2 run 100% of the time because my system is manual on and off I do not have the ability to automate it. I do understand that this will waste CO2 But I have found that it makes things more consistent.

But you mention that the drop checker should be bright yellow even with livestock in the tank. How do you know how much CO2 is too much?
 

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Ok in the past I have just let the CO2 run 100% of the time because my system is manual on and off I do not have the ability to automate it. I do understand that this will waste CO2 But I have found that it makes things more consistent.

But you mention that the drop checker should be bright yellow even with livestock in the tank. How do you know how much CO2 is too much?
You watch for fish gasping at the surface. That is too much CO2. Check the drop in pH and adjust 0.1 less, and watch again, repeat.

24/7 is perfectly fine, just ensure you aren't gassing the fish at night. Run an airstone at night, have the airstone turn off an hour or two before the lights come on to let CO2 build up a little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Day 35 (Day 7 since flooding)

Well this is the first full week since I flooded the tank and its been a mixed bag of excitement and worry.

For the excitement part. It looks like the Monte Carlo had enough time to set up roots in the BDBS. This is good because now I don't have to worry about it floating. Also the Monte Carlo and the AR Mini are showing some new growth since I flooded the tank so that is also good news and the S Repens is of course rockin it like a champ.

The worry part comes also with the Monte Carlo and the AR Mini lol I am getting a huge section melting back so i am hoping it will recover in time.

For ferts I think I am going to use the Seachem Planted Aquarium Dosing Calendar from their website at least until I run out of the stock of Liquid ferts I have. Then I will switch to dry ferts and try my hand at the true EI dosing

New Pics for the week



 

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Very nice looking tank. I would recommend getting a timer for your co2. They are very inexpensive. Also save you a lot of time refilling a paintball co2 tank, and your livestock especially shrimp will thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Very nice looking tank. I would recommend getting a timer for your co2. They are very inexpensive. Also save you a lot of time refilling a paintball co2 tank, and your livestock especially shrimp will thank you.
Thank you for the compliment and the advice. Sadly, a timer isn't the issue for my C02 lol as I have several of those. The unit I purchased doesn't come with a solenoid it is only a manual dial that I can turn on or off. Some day i hope to get a proper CO2 unit with solenoid but right now that is just an expense I can't afford. I am curious about your advice about the shrimp however. I know you can gas out fish by adding too much CO2. But I figured that since I have my CO2 feeding in through the HOB that it will dissipate faster. Right now I don't have any livestock in the tank and likely won't until the carpet grows in and the AR Mini starts to grow out.
 
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