DSM plants melting and moulding

DionS

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Hi everyone,

I'm quite a beginner at aquascaping but i just bought my second 8 gallon nano cube. I already own one 8 gallon nano cube in which i only use a heater and filter. The inhabitants are mostly amano and orange neo shrimps and some rasboras.
for my second nano cube I saw a picture of a iwagumi style tank and it looked really cool to me and i decided i want to go for that kind of look. A lot op people advised me to start with the DSM, which i did. I wanted to plant HC but the store clerk told me it was to hard to pull of for a beginner and he advised me to go for Monte Carlo. So i bought some and I planted the monte carlo in bunches throughout the tank. Now, about 2/2,5 weeks later it's all melted down and gone slimy for the most part. Since i really like the look of HC i decided to go for it and 'buy' a few pots and planted these.

My question is; can you guys give me some tips on what i could've done wrong in the first try? The temperature is about 24/27 C. and i have no idea about the humidity. i keep the tank sealed for the most part and have a little air vent in the corner. I mist water over the plants about once or twice a day and i added some liquid carbo and fertilizer to the bottle (very little amount advised to me by the store clerk)

I hope i can get some help on here!

Thanks in advance.

(Side note; the HC i "bought" [for free] weren't the greatest looking, but still a bit green/yellow-ish, will these plants live up again when placed in a Co2 rich envoirment?)
 

Andrew Butler

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I didn't get on with the DSM myself so decided to just plant it and fill in the end, personally I wouldn't do it again but many people have and still do.
Personally I would consider filling the tank up and as it's only small a daily waterchange is going to be easy enough for the first week (which you will then slowly phase out) and as there's no livestock in there over-gassing isn't an issue so turn the CO2 up, just a little to start will likely help but not so much it's just being wasted.
I've made several assumptions, mainly that you are planting into a soil type substrate and have CO2 gas available (not liquid carbon)

With the DSM I found so many people had slightly differing opinions on the best way to cover/uncover how much water to add etc and what worked for one seemingly didn't work the same for another. There are people who will give you a simple answer that makes complete sense but people report that's failed for them too.

Just my opinion
 

PARAGUAY

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Be careful of "store clerks" Theres a good dry start method vid on YT( probably here somewhere as Nigel is a member ) calledDry Start Method by Nigel Aquascaping. Nigel might come on this
 

lilirose

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Is your 8-gallon tank a 30 liter Dennerle Nano cube? I have a couple of them, I find that because of the small footprint and the height relative to the width (they're 30x30x35cm), they are not ideal for either Iwagumi or DSM.

I recently attempted a DSM in a 60x30x30 tank, tried to plant Monte Carlo with clean hands and tools, etc, and it started growing visible grey mould after four days. I flooded the tank immediately as this was the only way to salvage the substrate. It's doing fairly well now (after adding more plants post-flooding) but I'll be adding CO2 next week because the growth is pretty slow and algae is gaining a foothold.

Honestly, IMO if the plants are melted and slimy, you need to flood the tank, you will not likely have success continuing with DSM- adding more plants to melted plants will, in my experience, lead to endless melting.
 

DionS

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Is your 8-gallon tank a 30 liter Dennerle Nano cube? I have a couple of them, I find that because of the small footprint and the height relative to the width (they're 30x30x35cm), they are not ideal for either Iwagumi or DSM.

Honestly, IMO if the plants are melted and slimy, you need to flood the tank, you will not likely have success continuing with DSM- adding more plants to melted plants will, in my experience, lead to endless melting.

The tank is a 8 gallon/30L Qubic LED, i got two of those right now. I planted the other one with monte carlo aswell and flooded it immediately which resulted in floating mc and not being able to replant them.

I haven't got my co2 setup complete yet so i can't flood it just yet, how about the roots? Won't the plants float to the water's surface when they are not settled?
 

DionS

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Is your 8-gallon tank a 30 liter Dennerle Nano cube? I have a couple of them, I find that because of the small footprint and the height relative to the width (they're 30x30x35cm), they are not ideal for either Iwagumi or DSM.

The tank is a 8 gallon/30L Qubic LED, i got two of those right now. I planted the other one with monte carlo aswell and flooded it immediately which resulted in floating mc and not being able to replant them.

I haven't got my co2 setup complete yet so i can't flood it just yet, how about the roots? Won't the plants float to the water's surface when they are not settled?
 

DionS

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I would flood it but i haven't got the co2 diffuser yet, how much co2 would you suggest adding at first? This will be my forst ever co2 setup so no idea on the amount of bubbles per second.
 

lilirose

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You can flood before adding CO2- I flooded my "DSM" tank several weeks ago, but my regulator won't be here until next week. I'm dosing with EasyCarbo (basically the same as Seachem Flourish Excel) to keep the algae from going insane.

The fact is that plants that have melted into slime are dead, and their presence in the substrate at this early stage will kill other plants as well. You won't revive them by adding more plants, nor by adding CO2.
 

DionS

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The fact is that plants that have melted into slime are dead, and their presence in the substrate at this early stage will kill other plants as well. You won't revive them by adding more plants, nor by adding CO2.

Oh, good to know! I did add new plants to the spots where the 'slimy' plants were at, i did air the tank for one night to dry out a bit but do you think it will still affect those new plants? If so, i'll flood it next week.
 

DionS

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This is how the tank currently looks. I think i know what i did wrong in this, i didn't keep enough space between the plants when planting them. But correct me on that if i'm wrong.
 

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lilirose

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Oh, good to know! I did add new plants to the spots where the 'slimy' plants were at, i did air the tank for one night to dry out a bit but do you think it will still affect those new plants? If so, i'll flood it next week.

I suppose you can only wait and see. Personally I wouldn't wait until next week to flood it- with my own DSM tank I flooded it within an hour of noticing serious issues, as I was concerned that the substrate would become unusable, as mould spreads extremely rapidly.

You have not done any harm by planting close together, in fact most people would recommend it.

I would remove anything that's turned to slime- the plants in the front centre and part of the right corner look to be in a very poor state.
 

DionS

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I would remove anything that's turned to slime- the plants in the front centre and part of the right corner look to be in a very poor state.

Those are the plants i got for free, wanted to give it a shot and try to rescue them. Any tips on keeping the plants down when i flood it? As i said; the last mc i planted floated :confused:
 

lilirose

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What I did was to lay the thick plastic bag that the substrate came in on top of the substrate and plants, then poured the water in on top of that. I then tackled anything that floated with my hands and a pair of planting tweezers (I think many people avoid using their hands but I have always found it easier). Monte Carlo in particular is forgiving of being shoved slightly under the substrate if need be- once it really begins to grow, it will pop through.
 

DionS

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What I did was to lay the thick plastic bag that the substrate came in on top of the substrate and plants, then poured the water in on top of that. I then tackled anything that floated with my hands and a pair of planting tweezers (I think many people avoid using their hands but I have always found it easier). Monte Carlo in particular is forgiving of being shoved slightly under the substrate if need be- once it really begins to grow, it will pop through.

Great help, thanks! I'll buy the plants which i wanted to add when dsm was done tomorow and i will flood it tomorow evening! Thinking of adding rotala green under the filter and baby dwarf grass along the edge of the dragonstones 👌
 

Andrew Butler

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Hi @DionS only you can decide which way to go, many people use a slightly or even very different approach that all achieve great success and just as many fail.
Read this remembering I never got on with the DSM! Some people have suggested it was possibly part to do with the huge difference in substrate heights which it looks like you might have, whether this is true or not I've no idea.
I think there is some healthy looking plant there that would soon spread and fill your tiny aquarium out so I would probably consider taking all the plants out, have a pick through, find the healthiest looking pieces and start again with them only. (You could quite easily try putting the other pieces into some regular soil in a container that resembles a propagator and if they take off you could always add them in or use them somewhere else)
You can bury the plants so only the tinyest bit of green is showing which should anchor it in place, but don't go burying great big or unhealthy clumps though.

Then it's down to you whether you want to try and go down the road of a dry start, flood it or a mixture of the two.

Have a look through this thread; I've not looked for a long while or remember exactly what George did but it should show you how such a little amount of plant can soon spread to take up a large amount of space.
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/georges-one-pot-iwagumi-challenge.29695/

Keep the thread updated and let us know which way you go and how you get on.
Good luck
 

DionS

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Then it's down to you whether you want to try and go down the road of a dry start, flood it or a mixture of the two.

Have a look through this thread; I've not looked for a long while or remember exactly what George did but it should show you how such a little amount of plant can soon spread to take up a large amount of space.
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/georges-one-pot-iwagumi-challenge.29695/

Keep the thread updated and let us know which way you go and how you get on.
Good luck

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the help and the options you gave me, it helped a lot. I actually went with the removal of some died back pieces of the plants and i added the remaining plants which i wanted to use for this tank and decided to flood it. I choose to flood mainly because of the fungus that went into the old plants and i was afraid of it returning and contaminate all other plants. I will try a DSM tank again soon with a more level substrate. I do think this was the right decision and i will keep you guys posted here!

Small side question; I added the filter and heater to the tank and the co2 diffuser is ordered and set for delivery on monday or thursday. Will the plants handle this short period of lack of co2? I see them perling now which i think indicates they have plenty of it as for now.

Thanks again, pictures show the flooded tank, i will trim everything when it's all settled in a few weeks.
 

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DionS

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Update: (picture coming soon) So i've contacted the seller of the co2 diffuser which i ordered. It said it would be shipped within one day and it will arrive within the next day, it didn't. I will receive the diffuser tomorow but won't be able to install it until the day after tomorow. I went for the Neo Co2 diffusor Medium size. I am starting to worry a bit about the plants since some of them are starting to die, get gray and just don't look well at all. Mostly the plants in the corner of the two middle dragonstones are almost gone and the one plant on the top righthand side is starting to die. I might just order a new batch of plants when i got the co2 system installed since most of you guys who helped me here said DSM isn't that good anyway. I just had a lot of trouble planting those plants in a filled tank last time :oops:
 

Andrew Butler

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most of you guys who helped me here said DSM isn't that good anyway
It's worked for countless people but I just didn't get on with it.
just had a lot of trouble planting those plants in a filled tank last time
if there's no fish then you can drain it right down for a start to make things easier, a decent pair of needle point type tweezers and 'wiggle' the portions into the soil so they hold (this is made much easier with a powder type soil substrate). Portioning plants up so they are of a 'nice size' is something you will learn by doing, if the portion is made up of various pieces you have after trimming (not as one) then providing you get them in the substrate so they hold they will (hopefully) all become one one carpet.
 

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