10 Gallon Dry Start -- E. 'vesuvius' and C. 'wendtii'


Prolific Poster
Mar 17, 2010
Port Orchard, WA
(This is a long introduction. If I should move it, or change it to a blog entry, please advise. Thank you.)

Hello, All.

I became super interested in the dry start method two months ago. So I started one. I've been taking pictures irregularly and paying lots of attention to different things during the process.

I'll go into detail with photographs later on.

This thread is to ferret out the answer to a couple of questions I have regarding emmersed plants.

To begin with, the tank is a 10 gallon standard glass. I made a cover for it out of a custom cut glass at Lowe's hardware store. A couple of weeks into my work I managed to break this cover along the length of it, creating two nearly equal halves. Call it a unique vent...

The substrate is worm castings and building sand. Building sand is a tan/brown/gray/black kind of mix; something you would use to firm up paving stones. It was a cheap, wierd choice. I'll go into the "why's" in the journal later on.

I have two 65W CurrentUSA SunPaq CFLs in a CurrentUSA fixture on top of the tank. This would be far too much light for what I want were I growing immersed plants. It produces enough heat to raise the ambient temperature of the tank to about 5 degrees F over room temp. I have a small heating pad beneath the tank, which adds about 5 degrees F more. Overall, the ambient temp of the tank is approximately 85 F.

I struggled with Humidity Vs. Wetness in the beginning. There will be more on that in the journal. Currently, relative humidity is about 75%, give or take 10%. I measured this with an analog hygrometer, cheap digital hygrometer, and my eyes and nose. I find that my eyes and nose are far more accurate. You get what you pay for...

I planted about eight little C. wendtii in the foreground. I love this plant. I think it is adorable. I bought them as five or six inch tall, full specimens from the LFS about three years ago. When they went into the dirt this time around, they were barely alive, with no more than three leaves apiece. I have some photos showing their growth over the last several weeks. The important part is that I believe they are doing well.

I received about twenty E. vesuvius in the mail from Tom in the beginning of April. I authorized a payment and assumed that he wouldn't send them until it hit his account. He's a busy man and forgot to mention he mailed them the next day. Instead of checking the mail each day for the first week, I waited until the payment cleared my PayPal account. The plants were found in their mailer by my son about six days after Tom put them in the mail. When I opened their bag, they looked and smelled like they were breaking down. I could tell that when they were mailed, they were healthy, full specimens. By the time they went into the dirt, however, they were mostly dead. Each had four to six stubby leaves at the center, with browing tips, and dead/dying leaves all around. Complications, etc., resulted in me leaving them that way. Periodically, when the soil is a bit dryer at the top, and the plant holds firm enough, I snip the dead and pull it out. These plants do not get big, but they send runners out like crazy. I have had sister plants root and grow, some dying, some not. Typically, I cut the runner at the base, trim the excess and replant the sisters elsewhere with limited success.

I put a four inch rhizome of Anubias barteri with a single leaf on it in as well. It has grown five leaves since then, two of which yellowed and were removed.

The question is: Why are the Crypts fluorishing while the Echs do not? I don't know what the emmersed growth for the vesuvius looks like, or if it even does well in that condition. Crypts grow well out of water, with robust foliage. The Anubias do, also. Any ideas?

As I read this, I feel as if it is a bit long winded for such a simple question. If you were me, though, you'd understand. I think about plants all day. I may have a problem.

Thanks for reading and responding.


Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Sep 23, 2007
South Florida
Hi Justin,

FYI, many crypts grow in areas of flood/drought and they flower when the water level goes low...

Anubias can also grow out of water next to streams and waterfalls, etc.

Not sure about the vesuvius, but the other two grow emergent in the wild...