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Dry start: my 11gal nano (Title was: Hardscaping my 2nd try)

Steve Smith

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Re: Hardscaping: my second try

jonny_ftm said:
About the plants, what's the moss that I see people put on the wood of many Amano and contest tanks?

Not sure, there are lots! Probably something like weeping moss, christmas moss, peacock moss, java moss etc etc... All have a different way of growing, but all respond well to being trimmed. They thicken up and look marvelous :) You *have* to trim them though, not just pull at them, otherwise they'll grow stringy (with a few exceptions).
 

jonny_ftm

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Re: Hardscaping: my second try

Hi,

About the mosses, Amano uses them much:

aquariumart04.jpg


What kind of moss are on those wood as they seem to remain very short?

I'll post later with some more arrangement on the substrate to make a thinner layer on front and add more perspective. It will be a big work though, hope it won't stress the plants too much as this dry starting is some fragile
 

jonny_ftm

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Hi,

2 weeks later (sorry, but condensation limits front shots. I don't like to remove it to avoid messing the glass with some left sand):





The recipient is to help maintain good humidity. And 2 calibrated Hygrometers to monitor hygrometry reliabely

The tenellus didn't rot and looks great. The P. Helferi grew in size significantely. The C. Parva is nice green and didn't melt.

Still waiting for emerged leaves to appear to scream success :)
 

jonny_ftm

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3 weeks later

I modified the small rock on the left and will be pruning the helferi for the layout in few weeks

Top view to compare the growth with the previous shot, 3 weeks later, and after having pruned the tenellus from decayed leaves:




Front shots, with/without flash:





I got new leaves from all plants. The P. Helferi is getting bigger in size and is well rooted, far better than the ones planted in my 60gal since 2 months. The C. Parva is the slower but new leaves are out and old ones still great looking, no melting.

E. Tenellus is a deception as it doesn't behave like usual swords: fast growth, old leaves decay too quickely rather like stem plants. If it stays as invasive once immersed I'll have to get rid of it as my main concern is a low maintenance tank. Any idea on another plant I could replace the Tenellus with? Blyxa?
 

neelhound

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The rock on the left looks nice. I think replace with eleocharis
 

neelhound

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IMO blyxa looks best around rocks or wood. In that space where the echinodorus tenellus is elecocharis would proabably be more suited. :D
The main annoying thing about blyxa is that it floats too much but its leaves are ok
 

glenn

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what are you going to do with the open space at the front, it looks very nice bare and the p. Herafi around it but i think it would look nice if you made a path way with play sand leading right to the back going through the stone and wood.
a bit like this.
5-22_front.JPG
 

jonny_ftm

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@neelhound
Thank you, you convinced me the eleocharis road, I'll try to order some of it. I'll keep some tenellus between the rock on the right and glass, it could be easier to control than in the background open area

@glenn: sure, I plan to. It's only in the growing emerged phase. Once well grown, I'll enhance the P. Helferi layout to focus on the pathway. It could end with some contrasting higher plant, like R. Wallichii (putting it in the end of the pathway and filling the left back corner with eleocharis too), or to a rocky part, adding some rocks in the right back corner up to the pathway, have to see... If I go that way, I'll add the sand in pathway before submerging the tank
 

jonny_ftm

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1 month later, aquarium is now 2 months old, but Eleocharis is just 3 weeks old

So, replaced the tenellus in background with Eleocharis, it is sending shoots every where too, but at least it is taller for my setup. Also, P. Helferi was trimmed





And 48h ago, added some Anubia Barteri var. Nana "petite" on one branch of the wood

 

Garuf

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That's a great tank you've got there, how are you finding emerse growing in innert soil? I was always told you have to have a rich substrate?
 

jonny_ftm

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Inert substrate :wideyed:

It is a 3 cm layer of earthworm castings, topped with flourite black sand, misted with water fom my EI tank. :)

Growth is great, C. Parva and P. Helferi are well established. Eleocharis too, just I still didn't remove the leafs dead when I planted it, due I didn't separate them well. Also Eleocharis still need some time, it is 4 weeks old, where others are 8 weeks. Growth could be much faster I believe, but I only used 22W light.

Anubia is astonishing, no contact with soil for the middle plantlets, only 2 weeks, and already emersed leafs :D

I could give it a few weeks more if everything remains fine
 

vauxhallmark

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It's looking great.

One thing that it might be worth thinking about before you fill the tank is the substrate slope (ie, there is none!).

When you add water it will appear (from the front pane) that the subtrate is sloping down towards the back. If you make it slope so that it's about twice as high at the back as at the front, it will appear almost level with water added. If you want it to appear to slope up, you will have to put an even steeper slope in!

Also, be aware that all the rocks and stones will appear closer to the front glass when the tank's filled.

If you do decide to make any changes to the slope it's probably going to be easier to do now, before the tank is filled.

All the best!

Mark
 

jonny_ftm

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Thank you for the feedback,

I thought so much abot the slope. The problem is that when I put the substrate, the front layer ended to be too thick. If I need a slope, the back part would have to be too heigh for my taste. Also, it will be problematic to hide my heater with a very high soil in the back. I ended up building that mountain on the right. But now, I see I should have better put it on the left, as it will be the exposed face.

Finally, over time, slopes tend to level...

But if you have any suggestion to improve relief in another way...
 

jonny_ftm

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I modified the layout mainly by changing the left rock to a shorter one with more surface relief:





Anubia roots are heading to the substrate. They don't dry in the moist air and I could remove cotton now:







Now, the P. Helferi is showing an interesting move to the emersed less sexy form:




The P. Helferi in middle of the tank are still showing a nice submerged form (look at the one in 2nd photo, on the right of the anubia). The front lateral plantlets are loosing submerged leaves and sending emersed ones. I don't get it why, but the light, more intense in the middle, can be an explanation :crazy:

I'm also thinking at the fish. It will be around 10-15 Boraras maculatus red fish or the Danio erythromicron (blue fish, but likes harder water and very shy not shoaling), some critters or some Hara jerdoni

I need an advice on what I can put all behind/above the big mountain on the right: Anubia var nana (not petite), Winlow Java fern?
 

TBRO

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Very interesting Journal, are you worried about a crash when the system is submerged? Some moss would do very well on the wood in the current conditions.

Looking forward to the flood - T
 

Mark Evans

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very interesting indeed. very nice too.

I'm another person that just cant get my head around the dry start method. why? i ask. grow everything to emerged state to then put it underwater for it to transform back going through the same problems you'd have from planting in the first days immersed.

Tom barr is god like at times, but i never do understand the dry start HC method. either you can grow it or you cant, if you cant, learn. Plus, i think a scape would look strange with a fully grown HC carpet, and the stems etc not even close to being grown in., then having to replant a HC carpet because it's already grown in :?
 

jonny_ftm

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No crash, if you know what to do. Plants are established with the roots, soil is cycled, filter also. The only difference will be CO2 and O2: surface movement and good CO2 gasing is the key of success once submerged

Ferns can't go on the wood right now, they will need daily or 2x/day misting --> too much work for me

What hassle/problems are there in a dry start? To grow tropical plants under our latitudes, be it emersed or immersed, we need to respect their needs. Most people fail for the same reasons:

- they do completely close the lid, no aeration ---> no O2, no CO2
- they mist daily ---> mold
- they keep water level above substrate ---> algae, mold, rotting
- they don't keep a good humidity level: above 80%
- use inert substrates

Dry start is 0 problem in this case: no maintenance at all, plants grow, no algae, just misting 1-2/ 15d
Stems will grow instantly when you immerse your tank because the soil is cycled and rich. You can grow them emersed if you like, but you'll go for regular trimming maintenance. The aim is to reduce maintenance and simplify the start

Anyway, any help on what should I put on the right back corner, above the "mountain" on the right? Anubia var nana (not petite), Java fern?
 
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