20 Gallon Iwagumi Dry Start Method

Robb

New Member
Apr 1, 2019
13
5
3
52
Staunton, Illinois
Hello all, this is my first attempt at both an Iwagumi style and the dry start method (DSM) for achieving a carpet. As the pictures below show, not much growth in the Monte Carlo over the first week, but that’s to be expected as I believe the plants are spending all their energy on establishing roots.

I am using a Twinstar 600EA, a crushed inert substrate as a base layer, and UNS Controsoil (black, fine grain size) as a top layer. Rock is Seiryu stone. There’s some Riccia fluitans stuffed into a few crevices on the rocks.

I rinsed the base layer well before placing it into the tank and layered the Controsoil over the top. After deciding on the rock layout I then moistened the soil with approximately 1 gallon of RO water using a garden sprayer. There are no visible puddles or pools of water.

Five containers of tissue cultured Monte Carlo were split and planted into the substrate. A since tissue culture cup of R. fluitans was split and attached to the rocks.

The tank is covered with plastic cling wrap and I initially kept it covered for 48 hours. Lights are on a 12/12 light/dark cycle. Temperature in the house is 74F so I figure inside the tank it’s in the mid to upper 70s.

After the first two days, I’ve been uncovering the tank for about 30 minutes each day to allow for gas exchange. I spray the inside of the tank with RO on an as needed basis when I see the humidity dropping. I mostly spray the Riccia on the rocks since they dry a bit faster than the substrate.

So far no issues at all with fungi or algae contamination.

Here are a few pictures...They are in opposite chronological order, so from August 8th after one week, August 1st right after planting, and July 31st right after deciding on the final rock layout.

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Robb

New Member
Apr 1, 2019
13
5
3
52
Staunton, Illinois
Well it’s been two full weeks now since I set up the tank. All seems well so far. Plants are now growing above soil level (new stems and leaves)!

A few of the original leaves turned yellow and died back but that has now stopped.

Continuing to open the tank once per day for 30 minutes for air exchange as well as misting the plants, soil, and rocks to maintain high humidity. No visible mold can be found.

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Robb

New Member
Apr 1, 2019
13
5
3
52
Staunton, Illinois
Welcome to the end of week 3! Starting to see a noticeable change in the Monte Carlo carpet. I had some Pogostemon helferi or Downoi cuttings from another tank so I decided to plants those in front of and around some of the rocks. I think it makes for a nice contrast.

Eventually I’d like to add some color to the tank by placing a red colored plant in the background. I am interested in hearing your suggestions. Here are a few pictures taken earlier today.

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