09-01-2011, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Dallas, TX
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
| | Re: i am trying to create an hc carpet in my tank via the tom barr dry start method?
It's up to you what to do. This hobby is about the fun, right? Choosing the dry start method as Tom Barr "invented" it is like learning to drive a car starting with an intentional accident. Sooner or later you will learn to somehow avoid that fire hydrant, allright. It will often be frustrating and not pleasant, yes. But you may find the whole experience to be enjoyable. This is a hobby and it's about the fun.
As I told you - the "improved" dry start method that requires daily water changes is labor intensive. It is not easy to suck all the water out of a tank with substrate in it. The substrate will get in your hose, or your hose will lose suction a 100 times. You need to do the routine every single day, and also you need REALLY strong light. Starting with 5 watts per gallon and more (10, 15 is better). Can you do all that day in day out and enjoy it? If you can then you will really love to grow plants that way because they will grow insanely fast. In case you have not realized it - what you will be doing is pure hydroponics. Google "ebb & flow" and stay away from reading too many marijuana forums (because that is what hydroponics is popular for).
Your Eco Complete is a substrate that is pretty bad. It provides porosity and black color. That's it with the positive things for a planted tank. It will buffer your tank water and it will release Calcium - both of which are not what a properly run planted tank needs. Still - you can have a beautiful planted tank with any substrate so Eco will work, just don't think it's something great. Great to see that you are using another substrate underneath. And don't rush to add those fertilizer tablets from day 1.
There are many other common sense advices that you need. Let's see if someone else will chime in on light period, CO2 diffuson, water flow in the tak, biofiltration.
One huge mistake you are making is to not even mention your filter. If you think all these dry starts, substrates, tabs, CO2, magic T5 bulbs, and so on will let you run a planted tank successfully in the long run you are mistaken. Find my threads that talk about filtration. For a start - you need about 2-3 gallons of biomedia only in your filter. But there is more to be learned about the flow through the filter, providing Oxygen for the bacteria, and especialy - what to do in the first 4-8 weeks of your tank development. Ask about these things in separate threads and label the threads clearly so other new folk can benefit from the discussion.