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Old 07-05-2012, 08:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default DSM Question

I am a couple of weeks into my 6 - 8 weeks of trying the Dry Start Method using mineralized top soil covered with Estes black aquarium gravel in my 40 gallon breeder tank. I have planted marsilea quad, a couple of types of moss, dwarf hairgrass and staurogyne repens as my foreground / carpeting plants. Instead of slowly filling the tank just below the gravel level I have been misting until I see a number of puddles letting me know that the soil and gravel are saturated. I had heard that this was a better way of starting the DSM and would prevent muddying the substrate.
My question is what happens if after the 6 to 8 weeks all I have is melted foreground plants? Do I dig them all up, replant new ones and continue to fill the tank with other plants then wait and add fish a week or 2 later?
Thanks for any information and advice.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: DSM Question

I know nothing of a dry start method. What is the purpose?

I do know that S. Repens needs CO2. If you don't feed it plenty, meaning DIY probably won't cut it, it will die irregardless of your substrate.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: DSM Question

Dry start is basically to give the plants a good foothold before adding water and without algae. All plants do not work for this principle though.
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Old 07-05-2012, 03:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: DSM Question

I tried dry start using HC and dwarf hairgrass- oddly enough they didn't start doing well until the substrate was drier than I thought they'd like. You want to make sure there's no puddles in the substrate, that means it's too wet. Treat it like anything you'd grow emersed, and keep the humidity up.

I've heard that it's actually easier to flood the tank from the start and not dry start at all, although I don't much experience with dry start (only tried it once, just flooded the other day). I use dirt tanks too, and as long as you've rinsed the dirt you're using well, I haven't noticed that dirt causes any sort of cloudiness if the dirt is well-capped.
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Old 07-06-2012, 04:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: DSM Question

Dry starting is quite a commonly used method. Some carpet plants for example grow much faster that way and you have the advantage of small plants not coming loose and floating to the top, any one who has tried planting a hairgrass carpet can understand why that's good, there is also the advantage of no algae as Susankat says, which can sometimes take over a carpet before it is established. Lots of people don't like the method saying plants find it hard to adjust after immersed and can melt. Some plants take to it better than others and some plants will adjust better than others when you fill the tank up.
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