DSM advice

Discussion in 'Plant Help' started by Andrew Butler, 26 Feb 2019.

  1. Andrew Butler

    Andrew Butler Member

    Messages:
    1,148
    Location:
    Banbury, Oxfordshire
    I know there are many views and opinions on the DSM but I seem to be struggling a little.
    I don't think the height difference in the scape helps at all.

    What are peoples recommendations or advice? (sensible ones please)

    I started the lazy DSM but some plants starting rotting and others drying out.

    Help welcome please
    Andrew

    20190131_125501.jpg
     
  2. Zeus.

    Zeus. Member

    Messages:
    2,083
    Location:
    Yorkshire,UK
    Tricky as you first try didnt work out :arghh:

    Think I would go and do the lower areas only which dont dry out so fast, letting the higher areas of AS go dry, let lower area fill in then plant the other areas with the possibility you may need to flood
    Think the advantage of the above plan is you can get the deepest areas going which get the least light first, plus it will also send runners out from areas that will have a decent water supply from that area.
    In the higher areas you could do the DSM in shallow trays to get a lager carpet mass ready for the next stage of planting.
    Think thats how I would tackle it in your shoes M8
     
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  3. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Location:
    Leicester
    I think if you want lazy DSM you're going to need flat and level substrate.
     
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  4. Andrew Butler

    Andrew Butler Member

    Messages:
    1,148
    Location:
    Banbury, Oxfordshire
    I think the main problem with the first try was the wood and the fungus that made me flood it.

    Maybe a spraybar with a very gentle flow on might leave the substrate in place.
    Going to give it a think over but think the DSM might not be my best way forward.
    I do wonder how people do make it work with sloped substrate though.
     
  5. Andrew Butler

    Andrew Butler Member

    Messages:
    1,148
    Location:
    Banbury, Oxfordshire
    You just beat me to it!
     
  6. tam

    tam Member

    Messages:
    890
    What's the goal with the dry start? Lots of root growth and multiplying plant mass quickly and cheaply? Remove the wood and level out the substrate - water until it's wet but no standing water. Plant your plants. Cover with a piece of clear plastic leaving a small gap. Wait until you have achieved the mass of plants you want then use them to scape with. You could do it in a separate tray even.
     
  7. Andrew Butler

    Andrew Butler Member

    Messages:
    1,148
    Location:
    Banbury, Oxfordshire
    The goal is/was to have a go at a dry start but most importantly hold the substrate in place!
    The moment a filter starts pushing water through a lily pipe it will be everywhere so that's the thinking behind a long spraybar with plenty of holes so flow isn't so direct, just while I wait for the carpet to grow out then swap it out for a lily pipe and skimmer.
     
  8. soggybongo

    soggybongo Member

    Messages:
    238
    Location:
    Bradford
    easily done mate and easily cocked up. the trick is to maintain dampness within your aquarium but not too much humidity. @Andrew Butler I see your lights are very close to tank surface. this will create heat/ humidity within the aquarium hence you are getting dried out plants. lift the lights but ensure the tank is compleatly sealed from escaping air. and once only daily give your tank a good spray/ misting then reseal. in the later stages and when your tank has started to take hold and grow you can start to give a little more air i.e 1cm gap in opposite corners to create a vacuum circulation effect, however you will need to mist maybe 2-3 times per day at this point.

    would not call this lazy but a patience method as usually takes between 6-8 weeks before flooding so resist the urge and let the plants mature.
     
  9. Andrew Butler

    Andrew Butler Member

    Messages:
    1,148
    Location:
    Banbury, Oxfordshire
    The lights are the standard spacing the Twinstar lights are with the brackets.
    I done a fair amount of reading on things before I started and so many people have different ideas that 'work for them / never fail'
    Low humidity has never been a problem so struggle to work out why some of the plants in higher areas dried out yet others showed signs of wet rot. :crazy:
    Moisture in the lower areas of the substrate has never been a problem either.

    The lazy reference is to what I picked up from Jurijs' 'cheat' where instead of burying the plants you just lay them on top of the substrate.
     
  10. soggybongo

    soggybongo Member

    Messages:
    238
    Location:
    Bradford
    you must have a gap somewhere in the wrapping mate, as for laying the plants on the substrate ummmmmm I would say not. I always bury my plants

    as you can see I aint doing nothing different from you see pics below

    day 1 of DSM
    [​IMG]

    Day 14
    [​IMG]

    the hole bottom right corner makes it easier for me to remove old water daily.
     
  11. soggybongo

    soggybongo Member

    Messages:
    238
    Location:
    Bradford
    I have Anubias barteri nana all over including really high up in the tank and these do not dry out at all throughout the day.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. soggybongo

    soggybongo Member

    Messages:
    238
    Location:
    Bradford
    I really think this is your lights being so close and warming up the tank air and that air is escaping hence the evaporation and drying out.

    the last pic I put up was just before I removed old water and resprayed. as you can see the wood is soaking and the plants are dripping.
     
    Last edited: 26 Feb 2019
  13. Andrew Butler

    Andrew Butler Member

    Messages:
    1,148
    Location:
    Banbury, Oxfordshire
    Temperature was normally around 21 and humidity was always in the high 90s; too high if anything.
    As for the lights you will have to take that up with twinstar; they make lights that sit a certain distance above the top of your aquarium.

    It seems to have worked fine for Jurijs and other people; in essence all you are doing when going down the dry start route is making your aquarium a propagator isn't it?
     
  14. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

    Messages:
    8,267
    Location:
    nr Bath
    Hi all,
    It is.
    I'm keen on high humidity, I think if you keep DSM (or propagators) close to sealed you are more likely to be successful with soft tissue plants. I like water beading the lid, leaves and walls of the propagator. It isn't strictly necessary, but it is safer, drying out is the thing you need to fear.

    Have a look at @foxfish's advice in <"DSM issues...">. I'd really like a <"Dew-point cabinet">, but still out of my price range. If you have time the whole <"Humidity over ..."> thread is worth a read, and gives some details about plant physiology and water.

    cheers Darrel
     
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  15. Andrew Butler

    Andrew Butler Member

    Messages:
    1,148
    Location:
    Banbury, Oxfordshire
    There is so much varying advice and opinions and advice on the DSM it has left me a little confused if I'm honest.
    I understand there are different approaches to make it work but it's when people advise mixing the methods I become a little confused.

    I'm beginning to realise the DSM simply isn't for me so I think I might be better off filling the aquarium, flooding it with CO2, use a long spraybar on a low powered filter which hopefully won't disturb the substrate too much then when things have (hopefully) filled in get the lily pipe out and crank the flow up too.
     
  16. soggybongo

    soggybongo Member

    Messages:
    238
    Location:
    Bradford
    the other option you have is flood and crank up your co2
    Wasnt saying the light is wrong for lighting the tank but too close to tank surface when covered in plastic or cling film when going down the dsm.
     
  17. foxfish

    foxfish Member

    Messages:
    4,382
    Location:
    Guernsey
    Yes there does seem to be many opinions based around DSM, I used to comment of all the post that came up and offer my advice but, of late very few folk seemed to agree with me so I leave it to others to advise nowadays.
    However the advice I gave In Darrels link, is still the method I use and have used for many years with fantastic success.
     
  18. Andrew Butler

    Andrew Butler Member

    Messages:
    1,148
    Location:
    Banbury, Oxfordshire
    I did listen to you before and read the posts but so many people with their own ideas as I say just left me confused.
    I don't understand how some plants can be dry and others starting to look rotten and not dry at all in similar locations. I had the same first time round and second attempt I thought I'd use the lazy method - it works in a propagator so why not with the DSM?
    I listened a bit much about my humidity being too high as the problem before.
    I don't have a heat mat but it's quite a warm room.
     
  19. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Location:
    Leicester
    I must admit it can get a bit confusing, and I suppose if your scape slopes and has different levels, success may depend on the substrate you use and how well it promotes capillary action. AS grain size results in a structure that is probably a little too open to promote effective capillary action. So you can become caught between a rock and a hard place; too much water at low levels and still not enough higher up. This in turn can lead to plant stress and mould. I think a multi-level DSM would probably work best with loam based soil; its mixture of sand, clay and silt probably allows for the steady movement of moisture. I also think heat will help to drive the process, which will perhaps be an advantage if your substrate has an open structure like AS.

    Anyway just to confuse you even more the following methodology worked for me, but my AS was flat and level...

    1. Firstly, add water to a level just below the surface of the substrate, and aim to keep it that way; spraying every day can raise the water level above the top of the substrate.
    2. Keep the tank sealed with clingfilm, but let fresh air in for 5 minutes every day to replace the old stagnant air, hopefully this will prevent mould.
    3. Spray the plants on a daily basis with a dilute fertz solution, about 3ml TNC Complete per litre. The draft from the sprayer should also help force fresh air in and stale air out.
    4. Repeat for 2 to 6 weeks during which time the plants should become fully established and then flood.
     
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