Dry-start? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 19 Old 03-24-2011, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
Dry-start?

Has anyone tried the dry-start method for their tank? If so, how did you do it? and is some form of co2 needed to get it to grow well? Also, how did you deal with the sloping of substrate, it would seem that the plants higher up would not get any water in a dry-start setup?
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post #2 of 19 Old 03-26-2011, 12:39 PM
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Well, the only one I know anything about is the sloping...

Soil should have a 'wicking' ability, to keep the high level moist, but misting the plants every so often will help as well.

I'm thinking about trying out the dry start with one of my soil tanks that went anaerobic.

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post #3 of 19 Old 03-26-2011, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
I just started mine, I had to add water by misting... I put 3 dwarf chain swords in but they've already dried and shriveled despite the periodic misting. Light may be too hot for it. Also, as for the wicking, it only works well if the amount of substrate covering the soil is thin, otherwise, the roots wont come in contact and dry. Does anyone else know anything about this method? From google, i can see that some have had huge success but theres a lot of talk about plants melting after the filling of the tank due to loss in CO2 exchange. Dont know if this style only works with high tech setups?
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post #4 of 19 Old 03-27-2011, 12:52 AM
never tried it. I've moved emersed plant to aquariums, but thats it. I can see a major advantage for algae when you fill the tank, then certain species will definitely shed leaves. I have submerged and emersed tanks, but never flooded one or drained the other before.

One thing about emersed is plastic wrap the top. You need high humidity. Sides of tank should be foggy/dripping. That would be the down side of any emersed tank. I look at mine right now you can't really see into very well cuz of all the water on the glass.

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post #5 of 19 Old 03-27-2011, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
Does anyone know how to tell if a plant can be grown using this method? I am doing as much research as I can but for some plants, I cannot find if they can be grown partially out of water. I have found that my crypts will can do it, but I am unsure if Aponogeton plants can or if plants like stargrass will be ok emersed. Does anyone know if there are traits of a plant that I can use to identify if plants can be grown emersed or not or have experience with the above 2 mentioned plants grown in emersed conditions?
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post #6 of 19 Old 03-27-2011, 08:16 PM
The bulbs and star grass are strictly aquatic. The crypt will definitely shed leaves when you fill the tank.

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post #7 of 19 Old 03-27-2011, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
Well, to my understanding, the melt is unavoidable unless i pump CO2 since the leaves wont be ready for the limited CO2, but the root system that i get from the dry start should be pumping out aquatic leaves and not just dying on me.. I think...?
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post #8 of 19 Old 03-28-2011, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SinCrisis View Post
Well, to my understanding, the melt is unavoidable unless i pump CO2 since the leaves wont be ready for the limited CO2, but the root system that i get from the dry start should be pumping out aquatic leaves and not just dying on me.. I think...?
To clarify, first on the crypt issue. Most of the species in Cryptocoryne are subject to the "crypt melt" if any one of several environmental conditions are changed significantly--and to the plant "significant" does not take much. CO2 will not prevent this. It is the environmental change that causes the melt. A new light tube, a change in water hardness or pH or temperature at a partial water change, disturbing the roots by transplanting even within the same tank, altering fertilization, etc, can all cause the melt.

Second issue is the matter of submersed/emersed cultivation. Most of our common aquarium plants are not true aquatic plants in the sense that they are permanently submersed in nature, but they are bog or marsh plants that spend roughly half the year emersed and half submersed (the latter caused by flooding of the rivers due to rain and/or snow melt). The species in the genera Cryptocoryne, Echinodorus, Anubias, Microsorium (Java Fern) fall into this category. Aponogeton are aquatic, when the streams dry they go into their "hibernation" of sorts. Vallisneria are aquatic. Many (but not all) stem plants are also aquatic, as are floating plants.

The bog or marsh plants have two types of leaves depending upon being emersed or submersed. Submersed leaves function differently that aerial (emersed) leaves which are generally thicker and sometimes smaller, usually shaped differently, etc. So a crypt grown emersed (dry start method) will, if submersed, naturally lose all leaves and grow new different leaves (even if the melt was not an issue). Echinodorus (swords) do the same.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #9 of 19 Old 03-28-2011, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
Thanks Byron!

I guess the aponogeton, and lotus are going into my main tank while the crypts grow in.

Byron, have you had any experience with this method for planted tanks? I know you've been keeping planted aquariums for a long time, have you ever used the dry-start method and if so, how did it work for you?
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post #10 of 19 Old 03-28-2011, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SinCrisis View Post
Thanks Byron!

I guess the aponogeton, and lotus are going into my main tank while the crypts grow in.

Byron, have you had any experience with this method for planted tanks? I know you've been keeping planted aquariums for a long time, have you ever used the dry-start method and if so, how did it work for you?
Shiort and quick answer, no. I have had or now have every type of substrate except soil. I have absolutely no desire to try it, as the information I have gleaned from every experienced author on the subject convinces me that for my purposes (with planted aquaria) there are simply no benefits for the risks.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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