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DSM, dry start method: New(?) method to make a nice rug of HC before you add water

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Tom Barr, Aug 24, 2007.

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  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've been growing HC in a room at the lab that has small tanks, but decided to try growing HC emersed.

    This led to the idea that follows.

    It's just growing HC initially as a terrarium plant, which is does quite well as and quickly sends runners and forms a thick mat that's very well rooted.

    I used ADA aqua soil amazonia, added enough water to fully saturate the soil without having it come to the surface.

    No CO2, no worry about fish uprooting it, algae, water changes pulling it up etc before it roots well.

    This can be done for large tanks as well that desire a large rug or mono culture of HC. Rocks can be added before, or after, just not moved around a lot while the grow in period is taking place.

    This method surly works for most ground cover plants also.

    Once well rooted, growing well, the transition is much less problematic and you have a high biomass, bacteria is formed as well and it takes about 2-3 weeks.

    One of the keys is growing it high moisture, so a glass lid or a plastic wrap should be used along with the tank's lighting(1.5 w-2w/gal of standard FL's works pretty well).

    Once grown in, fill the tank with water and set up=> instant clean healthy HC.
    It could not be easier, no dosing, no CO2 etc(that comes later, but is not nearly as troublesome, since the hardest initial phase is now done).

    Some might fine they like terrariums also:)

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  2. Sintei

    Sintei Lifetime Charter Member
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    plenty of people do this to get HC-mass (growing emersed). Althou ive never seen anyone do it in an aquarium. I cant imagine anyone waiting a couple of weeks to add water to an existing tank ;) I mean, common.. it will taunt you "fill me, fill me".
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I see folks do this with fishless cycling everyday on line:)

    The nice thing is that it's easy and reduces any dosing, algae or new tank set up issues. No water changes, very very simple etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. FacePlanted

    FacePlanted Guru Class Expert

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    I think that is an awesome idea. I wish I would have thought of something like that when I set up my tank.

    One question though. When you fill the tank up with water and the HC has to convert from emersed to submersed form, won't there be a bunch of "mushy HC" from the emersed parts melting before the new submersed growth fills in?

    The HC I got in pots was grown emersed (I believe) and after I planted it, many runners and stems turned to mush and it took a while before I saw new growth.

    However, this method sure sounds like it would still work better because the plants are already established with good root and leaf growth. I seems like that would make it a lot hardier and able to make the transition much easier.

    Couldn't you do this with most plants that can be grown emersed? Maybe even plant your entire aquarium layout with emersed plants. Grow them in quickly and healthily, get their roots going, then slowly fill the tank up with water.
    Could use crypts, HC, rotalas, limnophila, etc.?

    Cool idea.

    -Mike B-
     
  5. sw00n

    sw00n Junior Poster

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    I'm very interested in experimenting and giving this method a try. I've got a spare 2ft tank where ill try to grow glosso and HC emersed.

    I just have one question at the moment. How air-tight does the tank need to be to maintain sufficient moisture? The current cover glass have 2 corners cut for fitting filter and heater cables into the tank. Should I bother to cover these up?
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I just lay a glass lid over it

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. George Farmer

    George Farmer Lifetime Members
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    I'm going to try this in my new 5 gal. nano.

    Thanks, Tom.
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    George et al, this is easy as pie.

    You have a dense rug, established root systems, zero algae, well cycled N cycle in the sediment(bio already there after 3 weeks).

    Add water, CO2, filter and ferts.

    People always carry on about how hard it is to start up HC or a new tank.
    Well, here's a very simple solution, better and simpler than anyone else's I've ever read.

    If you have a simpler easier fool proof no algae and dense rug method, let us know:)

    Why limit/torture ourselves with water if it's not even needed in the start?
    Many do and assume they must, but that is their own limitation that they place on themselves.

    Be careful about doing that type of behavior in this hobby as well as life.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. shake

    shake Lifetime Charter Member
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    Just set up a 40cm tank to give this go.

    Added some gravel/laterite I had left over on the bottom and then a layer of ADA Amazonia.

    Lighting consists of 2x24w Household compacts rated at 5000k each. Each light is equivalent to 100watts.

    Some of the HC was in bad condition. It's only been 3 days but I can see some improvement already.

    Will keep everyone posted.
     
  10. fish94

    fish94 Junior Poster

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    Do you have to use CO2 with HC once the tank is full or can you go the non-CO2 method or even Excel route? I have read on other sites that HC can't be grown without CO2. And since Tom has done some things rather easily that others suggest are impossible, I thought I'd ask.
    Thanks,
    Phil
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Excel and HC works great.
    I know several folks that have done that.
    I grow HC 3 ways:

    This way with no water
    CO2
    And non CO2 at the lab in tubs.

    I started another 2 small 3 gallon nano tanks using some HC from the first tank.
    I have them going already even after a few days.

    I am sloping the ADA AS at about a 30degree angle to see how that might affect growth.

    Seems to be fine thus far.

    I may try this start up method on a 50 gallon cube to see the potential through to the very end product.

    I saw some nice little round HC pots with rocks on AquaticQuoient recently.
    Nice little terrarium style herb gardens etc.
    If you have not gone to the forum there, it's quite nice and the group is pretty active.

    Mainly folks living in Singapore.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tom, since I have a question about HC I’ll ask it here hope you don’t mind. Would HC grow in a brackish environment, well, not exactly brackish in its truest form but very, very, very slightly salted water, enough so that a school of bumble bee goby would be content? How about in an aquarium with a pH of about 7.5?
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    No, not well at all.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Here's a few pics:

    Before:

    resizeddrytankstart1.gif

    Planted,

    resized2galdrystarttank.gif

    After 4 weeks:

    redone3gal.gif

    Now you add water, CO2(or excel), and maybe a little ferts.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. dealt

    dealt Prolific Poster

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    Question: When you start submerging it to water, will its immersed form melt down and start growing to submerged form?
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If you add enough CO2, no, why would it?
    Gas exchange is the only change when you submersed it, and if you add enough CO2 to compensate, there should not be any melt.

    Plants melt when submersed namely due to gas exchange differences.
    Some folks might not like the look of say H difformis emergent leaves, but those tend not to die with decent CO2.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. dealt

    dealt Prolific Poster

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    Oh...but it will eventually change into its submersed form? I thought the transition from immersed to submersed will always go through some meltdown. That's what keeps me from trying this. I was often told that a tank with plants raised immersed, when filled with water will be like a 'new' tank. I thought plants will eventually melt and turn into its submersed form. I guess what I believed was wrong.

    Is the same thing with crypt melts on new tanks? Is it also caused by lack of c02?

    Many thanks for clearing this up. Can't wait to get try HC now.
     
  18. saxenamohitm

    saxenamohitm Junior Poster

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    Hey,
    Meand my friend are planning to take on tis method of setting up a tank. But we are not aware as to which species are suitable for it.
    We are planning a whole setup with emersed species, if we could know which species wecould try it would be great!
    The tank is about 8 gallons. And we are looking for a setup full of tall stem plants on a thick carpet of grass. (i cud not find HC here, so we'll have to try some other species.)

    Thanks and Regards
    Mohit
     
  19. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I had been wondering about trying this too - growing the whole tank of emersed plants, stem plants, carpet plants, etc. all at once. But, Tom didn't recommend that. I can see reasons for not doing it. Stem plants need water to support them as they grow upwards, where carpet plants don't grow upwards, but spread horizontally. Emersed forms of stem plants are usually radically different from submersed forms, where carpet plants are not much different in the two forms. And, the growth rates would be different, so the stems might be ready long before the carpet was ready or vice versa. So, I gave up the idea.
     
  20. saxenamohitm

    saxenamohitm Junior Poster

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    hmm...so wot carpetplants can we try it out with?

    for us only the following species are readily available,
    java moss
    dwarf hairgrass
    pygmy chain sword
    riccia.

    i would want to avoid very demanding plants in terms of light and nutrition because i want to keep the tank setup as natural as possible.
     
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