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question on filling after the dry start up

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  • question on filling after the dry start up

    First off, thanks Tom and everyone else here on the forum for the great site and the great advice. I've poured through the threads on this board and really learned a lot while avoiding many of the pitfalls that I went through when i first tried plants years ago.

    Now onto my question... I read and really liked the idea of the dry start up tank so much that I decided to do that with my 55G tank to create a nice bed of Glossostigma, as well as some other assorted hairgrasses and crypts. I planted in flourite gravel, that i then dosed with NPK+ trace. I've been using a 2x55W @6700K AHsupply for lighting, plus the two 15W strips that came with the tank @5000K (figure the more the better for this stage). The lights are on 12 hours a day.

    I had some melting, and generally the gloss has not filled in nearly as well as I'd hoped after ~3 weeks. After a little thought, I realized that the lack of growth is probably due to the cold daytime temperatures of my house when no one is home (drops to approximately 60 degrees) for most of the day, and then is about 68 at night.

    First off, does this sound reasonable? There was no mention of room temperature in Tom's article, but I'd assume that its expected to be about standard tank temperature.

    If this is my problem, would I do better just going about it the normal way with filling the tank and growing from there? And if/when I do fill the tank, what temperature should the water be at? I don't want to melt what gloss I have grown so far, and will most likely need to add more plants to initially outcompete the algae. I'm not sure if I should add water at my room temp (~60s) and gradually heat the water up with a heater or just add ideal temp (~78) and the other plants to outcompete the algae.

    I'm a student currently living at home with my parents, so just raising the daytime temp is not really an option.

    Thanks alot for your help, and hope I haven't forgotten anything.

  • #2
    Anyone have any idea, or even an educational guess?

    Thanks in advance,


    • #3
      I'm very curious about this as well. I have just set up a Marineland Eclipse System 6 in a co-workers office and am trying this method.

      Actually, I wonder if slowly filling it up via daily misting with a hand sprayer isn't a bad way to go about it. It'll keep the humidity levels up, and opening the top to do this will also allow some air exchange (not sure how important that is, but I would think it to be beneficial). After nearly 1 week since setting it up, there's approximately 0.5in of water above the lowest level of substrate (which is angled back to front, not flat).

      I wonder if spraying a weak nutrient solution to be beneficial as well? Would mixing KNO3 and KH2PO4 in one sprayer, and CSM+B in another and rotating them each day be of some benefit? Sort of a "pseudo-EI" misting?



      • #4
        Warmer temps = faster growth, if you had a temp of say 80F, or 85F, then the plants grow much much faster, otherwise, you have to wait longer.

        The plants in my place are now cooler, but warmer since I took them inside recently.
        But growth slows own a fair amount at 10C drop, about 2X as slow.
        I suppose you could use a seedling heat mat, they are 20$ or so.

        Tom Barr


        • #5
          Thanks guys for the input,

          I've been adding ferts through the the excess water at the bottom rather than a mister as I'd be wary of burning the plants with ferts being sprayed directly on leaves. I know this is a problem for fertilizing garden plants, and seeing as these are being grown emmersed, I worry about the same problem.

          As for the filling, I think I am going to half fill with same temp water, and then heat the water from there, adding the additional plants the next day. This should give minimal time for algae growth while still allowing me to plant and not melt my plants.

          Also, I would think it'd be important to start CO2 injection when I submerse my plants so that they don't melt due to lack of CO2 either.

          Sound like a decent idea?

          I hope I don't mess this up. =/



          • #6
            Good point about the "burning" with too much fertilizer directly. I wonder if just a very weak solution would help at all. I need to add some CSM+B to the water already present on the bottom of the tank, but I haven't figured out yet how to add that and get even coverage...


            • #7
              If the plants are growing, then filling the tank is just being impatient.
              The lights should add heat. What is the temperature in the tank?
              An incandescent light will add heat and is inexpensive.


              • #8
                Hey Wiste,
                I guess its impatience depending on your viewpoint. I was using the emmersed method of growing because I thought it seemed both a quicker and easier way to grow the plants. Now, having realized its probably slower, I'm less inclined to want to continue doing it.

                The tank temperature, after having the lights on all day is 68 F.



                • #9
                  I thought it seemed both a quicker and easier way to grow the plants. Now, having realized its probably slower, I'm less inclined to want to continue doing it.
                  Given proper conditions plants such as glosso will grow rapidly submersed.
                  If considering the rate of plant growth as a primary condition, then setting up initially as emersed may not result in a quicker setup.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mjm View Post
                    Hey Wiste,
                    I was using the emmersed method of growing because I thought it seemed both a quicker and easier way to grow the plants. Now, having realized its probably slower, I'm less inclined to want to continue doing it.
                    Mike, I've had another look at the thread and it seems to me that the original post focused primarily on the main advantages of growing ground cover plants emmersed which were as follows:

                    No CO2
                    No dosing
                    No worry about fish uprooting it
                    No algae
                    No water changes pulling it up before it roots well.
                    Creates a thick mat that's very well rooted
                    The transition to submersed is much less problematic
                    High biomass
                    Bacteria is formed in the soil

                    It was mentioned that this would take about 2-3 weeks but later clarified that the time period would vary with the temperature.

                    The advantages listed above trumps the issue of speed as far as I can see.

                    If you're going to abandon this approach then half filling the tank is the same as filling it completely so there is no point in developing a strategy for half filling. You'll not outwit algae by half filling. You may or may not get melting of the crypts but so what? That's what crypts do and they grow back if the nutrients and CO2 are added properly.

                    Once the plants are submerged you'll have to start dosing, and adding CO2 like any other tank regardless of the water level.



                    • #11
                      Thanks guys for all the informative responses,

                      The time aspect was what initially drew me to the emmersed growing, but it sure wasn't the only positive I saw for myself. I'll probably hold out as long as I can, but after Thanksgiving starts family parties at my house, and I might have a bit of trouble explaining to my family and friends the very odd looking garden I have growing in the entertainment room =).

                      I'm happier with the growth now then when I posted originally, and although its not a full mat, its on its way. At the very least, along with the addition of some stem plants, I feel that I'll have significant enough biomass to keep algae from ever getting a foothold, as well as a fully cycled tank.

                      I realize that the half filling is not going to prevent algae, and was not suggesting that it would. Rather, I was concerned about the water temperature I should use when adding to my plants which have been growing colder than the standard tank temperature. I thought through it, and decided my best bet might be to add water that was the same temperature as the room, then raise it with a heater until it reaches the desired tank temp. I thought to do it half filled, as that will still allow me to plant all my stem and other plants as well when the tank does reach the desired temp.

                      This is my first real attempt at a planted tank, so I might be treating the gloss too delicately, but I'm not the one to say. I figure if I just add 78 F water and the plants end up dying back or something, I'd be pretty mad at myself.

                      Thanks again guys, and feel free to keep laying on the suggestions.