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Discussion Starter · #1 ·






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Picked up a nice package from Foster on here. Ill say these are some of the best packages I have seen. Plants were super healthy even after USPS held the packages for a couple extra days. They were super well insulated, and perfectly moist.

There is some
dwarf hair grass
repens
hydropiper
baby tears
monte carlo
riccia
some other I cant remember (a moss of some sort)
and even a TINY random java fern lol.

Im hoping these take off well in this set up since its my first attempt at a dry start.

I draped some plastic tarp over the tank and have to grab a spray bottle today for misting.

If anyone has any tips they would be greatly appreciated

MY technique (used lightly) was putting a TON of home made ozmo root tabs into the soil and sand, then putting some fertilized water just up to the sand top. I then planted each one accordingly to what seems to work best. Some I broke apart (like the hydro and grass) into small portions and was able to use my tweezers to get into the sand but others like the tears I had to leave in semi larger pieces and simply put my finger into the sand to make a 1/4 to 1/2 in indent. I then placed the tears into the hole. After the placements I used a small plastic cup to lightly pour more water over the plant to help smooth back out the sand to cover the roots nicely.

WISH ME LUCK!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
well its its been a month and honestly Im not super impressed with a dry start. MY tears dont seem to be rooting well at all and some of the plants that didnt make it (not many) melted and just created a nasty dark mess on the sand bottom. Hopefully future growth will cover this.
Im at the point where Im ready to just do a tank swap anyway but Im thinking of this.

Filling the tank up about a 1/4 to a 1/3 with water. Installing a spare heater to keep the water nice and warm. Installing a spare filter, either my whisper with the extensions removed or a tiny 5 gallon spare filter I have. Hopefully to keep the water clean and circulating.
Installing a couple DIY CO2 bottles to provide co2. I know its not optimal but better than no co2 at all and I am not moving my pressurized off my current main tank. I figure 2 1 gallon bottles being swapped off would probably be fine to keep enough in there.

In a couple weeks when my stand is finally finished just doing the swap over. Id actually like to use the current canister filter I have to cycle it but dont want to fill the tank fully. I could always fill it halfway and then just siphon the water out when ready to move it.

What do you guys think of this idea?

Heres a pic with the start of my canopy.



I could not get the pine to suck enough black stain to get a nice dark color so I actually caked on the stain quite a bit and pretty much let it dry up for a couple weeks. Seems to have that nice dark hard color I was looking for now but I will have to test that coating with the exterior clear I have wont soften the stain back up and make a huge mess. If it does its getting painted at this point but man I wanted that grain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
well my problems with a dirted dry start were too great. From algae to smells, to snails and detrus worms etc etc.
I finally tore the entire thing down and started from scratch.... sort of.

When I drained the water and started scooping the dirt/sand out it was one of the WORST smells I ever encountered in my days. Like jamming your head into a truck stop toilet.

The algae on the glass was like sand paper. I have found white vinegar is great for neutralizing odors AND killing algae. Just a tip.

One thing Ill say is that the dirt grows plants. I MEAN GROWS PLANTS!
My hairgrass and marselia EXPLODED. I also had a plant sort of like the marselia but with a much rounder bigger leaf that was insane and a moss I had in there was even propagating little pieces all over that looked amazing. I was so impressed with the plants that I left a bit of dirt under the new substrate.
I think the 1 to 2" of dirt people say to use is just way to much. I think 1/2" or even less of dirt is more than enough to feed the plants and give the roots something to dig to . My roots were no more than 1/2" into the soil anyway.
So I did 1/2" soil with about 1.5 - 2" of black diamond. It looks amazing.
I had so many extra plants right now that they are sitting in a tub with the old water, sand/soil and a light one them to see what I can do with them. I was going to do a RAOK but I told a friend Id pass some on the him. Ill have to see whats left. I might even try to grow them in tubs on the side for fun.

I also nabbed a kobalt portable carry canister setup on craigslist for 25$. I bought a solenoid and needle valve off amazon for abut 20$ and made my own mini co2 setup instead of the DIY I was doing previously (that apparently worked well enough). This setup can accomodate paintball tanks and I was going to use one of my buddy's until the full tank swap. Then Im using my current co2 setup on this and probably converting this makeshift one to my small tank since it can be hidden and redo that one next.

Heres some pics of it now. Much cleaner.
 

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Too much water in your drystart :p you only need to spray it :D and its kinda getting a feeling for it, i had to try 3 tanks before i got the hang of it :p good luck with the none emersed setup :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Too much water in your drystart :p you only need to spray it :D and its kinda getting a feeling for it, i had to try 3 tanks before i got the hang of it :p good luck with the none emersed setup :D
im doing immersed now. Orginally I Had only enough water to get to just below the sand but then a LOT of my leaves were burning. I was misting like 5 times a day.
Then I noticed algae growing on the sand so I went slightly immersed but even that caused problems. I finally filled the tank 1/3 and went full immersed but by then it was just to late.

Im doing an immersed setup now. The way I figure it I will cycle this water and get it set up then when Im ready Ill swap it with my 30 gallon and use the water from that to fill the rest of the tank so my fish wont get shocked to bad (fingers crossed).

I would try dry starting again but honestly only with smaller tanks.
 

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Hm. What would you expect if you stuff the roots of the plants in mud that has little air exchange? That is not what happens in mud in Nature.

The idea behind this "method" is to let the roots establish before you add water so somehow the plants have an advantage over algae when they start to compete. But the whole idea is fundamentally wrong. First off when you add water the plants start to adapt to the new environment. That is a process that takes time and algae can take over - mainly because during this initial period there are a lot of substances leeching into the water from plants adapting, substrate, etc. Second, and more important - there are ways to avoid algae altogether underwater and it is odd to try to beat them beforehand only to eventually jump in the same race.

One "improvement" to the so called "Dry Start Method" would be to add aeration to the substrate. But this is only if you really, really want to dry start for some personal reasons.

Another way is to setup an ebb and flow hydroponic environment inside the tank. How exactly and why is another topic. That way submerging the plants will be a daily occurrence and filling up the tank one day is not going to change the game as drastically as doing what you just learned is not a very good idea.

In all this the main point is lost - an established planted tank is not just plants that grow well and there is no algae. There are other factors that can develop properly only if the tank is setup properly.
 
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