Problems with dry start method of HC

Goosaba

Junior Poster
Sep 17, 2013
3
0
1
Connecticut
Hello fellow lovers of tiny wet plants. I've done a ton of reading and tried to follow most of the directions given by you experts on the DSM with HC, but after almost 4 months I'm finally reaching out for help. I just can not get my HC to grow healthy.

I have a 20 gallon tall, using a 24"-36" Marineland Aquatic Plant LED (the longer one with lights to the edges) which is outputting about 120 PAR at the substrate surface at center line across length (I checked with my friend's PAR meter) and have it going for 10-12 hrs. I've used only Poland Spring water as the tap water here is terrible. Temp in the room is consistent at around 75f. I am using some ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia II that I bought a few years ago and has just been sitting in a closet until 4 months ago, it has been dry the entire time. My friend and I bought our HC from the same place online and started our tanks on the same night. His is now a complete carpet, very lush and looks amazing. As you can see from the pictures I'm attaching mine looks like a barren wasteland of poo. Help!

When I first started I had an issue with fungus. I sprayed in spots with a gentle solution of peroxide and water, 1:4 of 3% peroxide. And also pulled out the clumps that were being decimated. After that initial fungal attack I was fungus free after a week or two of battling it. I then gently flushed the substrate, pouring water in and siphoning it out from below the substrate to get rid of most of the peroxide that might have been left, at least that was my hope. Also the tank has never dried out, is covered with plastic wrap and I spritz often. Water is always just beneath the substrate surface.

But look at it, it's terrible! What's odd is it looks to me like anywhere the HC touches the substrate, it dies. But the higher leaves not touching look extremely healthy. If one of the shoots gets too tall and falls over both it's base and the tip which is now touching the substrate then go brown. Is my substrate poisoned? Did I perhaps go overboard with the peroxide? I've read a few people had issues with the Amazonia II, could that be it? In the shot glass you see in the wide shot I put a bit of extra Amazonia II and a couple of the plants as a test, the substrate in the shot glass has had no peroxide, but even those plants have gone brown at their bases. Have any of you seen this before? Advice?

Thanks a ton in advance for your time.
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Mar 20, 2013
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Maybe it's just too moist. I've tried dry-starting HC and hated the hassle and the results. It grows faster if I just planted it submersed. And it doesn't help prevent algae, either. I still get GDA and fuzz. But anyway, it's possible that it's experiencing toxicity of some sort. You do realize H2O2 can kill plants.
 
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Goosaba

Junior Poster
Sep 17, 2013
3
0
1
Connecticut
Hey Solcielo. Too moist? I didn't realize that was possible with these plants. Perhaps I'll back off on the humidity in the tank as a test, open the plastic wrap a bit more each day. And I do realize that H2O2 can kill plants in high concentrations, but I read a lot of posts on dealing with the spidery fungus that can happen during the dry start method and most recommended I go with a 4:1 water to H2O2 solution spritzed lightly on the trouble spots. I may have poisoned the substrate doing this though, unfortunately. I'll try flushing it a few more times to see if that helps.
 

Goosaba

Junior Poster
Sep 17, 2013
3
0
1
Connecticut
Here are two other pictures.

Edit: I've attached two images but only one shows up. Same issue above but I attached three and only two are showing up. Strange.
[attachment=1665:name]

View attachment 5009

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Mar 20, 2013
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Yes, too moist. That's the problem with dry-starts which encourages mold and fungus. It's called a DRY-start for a reason. Anyway, considering how healthy the tops of the stems are, it's definitely dying. You're best bet is to trim the tops and replant them. Discard the bottoms. As long as the substrate is wet, you don't need to cover it at all. Also, it's good to have air circulation to bring in fresh air in the tank.
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
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Solcielo lawrencia;122395 said:
Yes, too moist. That's the problem with dry-starts which encourages mold and fungus. It's called a DRY-start for a reason. Anyway, considering how healthy the tops of the stems are, it's definitely dying. You're best bet is to trim the tops and replant them. Discard the bottoms. As long as the substrate is wet, you don't need to cover it at all. Also, it's good to have air circulation to bring in fresh air in the tank.

I agree and with prior post.

I came up with the idea for planted folks to do this and supported it, but if you use CO2, there's not a lot good reasons to do it.
For non CO2 methods, there's some good rational however.

Too moist, not allowing the plants to dry up some.
I grow Gloss and HC outside in California central valley weather, it's very low humidity.
I use it in bonsai ground cover, and I water daily, but it's hot and dry here. It gets a few hours of direct sun also.

So you do not need jungle like conditions for humidity for the DSM.
It's perhaps the highest % of hobbyists mistake in fact I'd say with issues with the method.
But, this will never save you from algae and other issues once you fill the aquarium up, but it might help some.
 
I also DSM my HC and i had massive problems with mold and fungus, but since i didnt moist it too much after Tom advice a few months ago, it grew nicely, but the damage was done,
I kept it too moist for some weeks, allowing GDA and BDA to grow and when i submersed it, HC grew nicely due to Presurized co2, but also did algae..to the point that it completely covered the HC and i was forced to remove all of it and place it on a pot outside..

My opinon is that you reset this, reset all of it, even substrate since it has algae on it almost certainly, or if not, it has fungus on it,
but the substrate you can try to place the top layer on the bottom, and the bottom layer up, this way you could even use the dead HC as fertilized, but i cant say for sure, just saw this ideia a while back here on the forum,

Next time, if you plan to stick with this method, dont cover the tank, and moist it only enough for the substrate to become darker, not yet and soapy, thats the biggest problem...

Also, i agree with just use HC as submerged form if you have pressurized CO2, just keep it on the rock wool to anchor it, and it will be much easier to plant it.

- - - Updated - - -

I also DSM my HC and i had massive problems with mold and fungus, but since i didnt moist it too much after Tom advice a few months ago, it grew nicely, but the damage was done,
I kept it too moist for some weeks, allowing GDA and BDA to grow and when i submersed it, HC grew nicely due to Presurized co2, but also did algae..to the point that it completely covered the HC and i was forced to remove all of it and place it on a pot outside..

My opinon is that you reset this, reset all of it, even substrate since it has algae on it almost certainly, or if not, it has fungus on it,
but the substrate you can try to place the top layer on the bottom, and the bottom layer up, this way you could even use the dead HC as fertilized, but i cant say for sure, just saw this ideia a while back here on the forum,

Next time, if you plan to stick with this method, dont cover the tank, and moist it only enough for the substrate to become darker, not yet and soapy, thats the biggest problem...

Also, i agree with just use HC as submerged form if you have pressurized CO2, just keep it on the rock wool to anchor it, and it will be much easier to plant it.
 

Calcuttan

Junior Poster
Mar 3, 2016
11
0
1
Late to butt in but I must share my experience with Cuba DSM. Mold and fungus will grow where there is a lot of damp and no movement of air. Keep the tank reasonably airy and moist at the same time. I wouldn't keep the tank covered in cellophane paper for too long. But then I have the advantage of living in a very high humidity tropical part of the world where it does not get dry very easily even if I do keep the tank top open. In dryer areas, I suppose, one has to spray the water more frequently and let there be some natural air flow. I have never measured the humidity inside my tank but I ensure the substrate is always moist. Also I am growing it on Fluval Stratum which is less nutritious compared to ADA.
 

Rodrigo

New Member
Jul 21, 2020
2
0
1
43
Brasil
I agree and with prior post.

I came up with the idea for planted folks to do this and supported it, but if you use CO2, there's not a lot good reasons to do it.
For non CO2 methods, there's some good rational however.

Too moist, not allowing the plants to dry up some.
I grow Gloss and HC outside in California central valley weather, it's very low humidity.
I use it in bonsai ground cover, and I water daily, but it's hot and dry here. It gets a few hours of direct sun also.

So you do not need jungle like conditions for humidity for the DSM.
It's perhaps the highest % of hobbyists mistake in fact I'd say with issues with the method.
But, this will never save you from algae and other issues once you fill the aquarium up, but it might help some.


Hello
I agree and with prior post.

I came up with the idea for planted folks to do this and supported it, but if you use CO2, there's not a lot good reasons to do it.
For non CO2 methods, there's some good rational however.

Too moist, not allowing the plants to dry up some.
I grow Gloss and HC outside in California central valley weather, it's very low humidity.
I use it in bonsai ground cover, and I water daily, but it's hot and dry here. It gets a few hours of direct sun also.

So you do not need jungle like conditions for humidity for the DSM.
It's perhaps the highest % of hobbyists mistake in fact I'd say with issues with the method.
But, this will never save you from algae and other issues once you fill the aquarium up, but it might help some.


Hello Tom Barr,

I've been doing my dry start for 2 weeks but during the second one I've had this inccident with spidery fungus. I read this post and I have concluded that I did the same mistake (high levels of humidity). All my Montecarlo melted. I'm thinking about treating with hydrogen peroxide 3% diluted 4 x 1 and plant some Montecarlo again. I could flood it but I'd like to grow some moss on the woods. So I guess my only option is to continue. Is hydrogen peroxide safe for the plants?