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Old 10-15-2009, 07:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Plant advice for dry start method?

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Originally Posted by dwalstad View Post
I've never mineralized soil until recently (see below).

For those that want to mineralize soil, you could try Tom Barr's 'Dry Start Method' (see FAMA, Dec 2009 issue). Put the plants in while you're mineralizing the soil. Generally, aquatic plants will grow faster and get established better in the emergent form. I'm testing concept in two tanks right now with dwarf hairgrass and drawf baby tears (HC).
Hi, first post, new to NPT, and planted FW aquariums in general
I'm thinking of trying this method out to minimize the number of plants I need to buy (my tank is a 46g bowfront).

Does anyone have recommendations of the types of plants to use? I think I'd really like the look of a low ground cover (in addition to other stuff), but I'm not sure if I can get anything like that locally. Of course, I also do not know my plants at all, so I'm not sure of light requirements or water requirements for different plants.

Like I said, I have a 46g bowfront, which is 18" tall, and I have a 96w PCF light coming in today. I haven't tested my tap water recently, but I THINK it's moderately hard.

So, I just checked out a local store, and here's what they have (this is probably my biggest selection, so I think I'm going to stick with them):

*Dwarf acorus $2.50
Swords $5
*Borneo $4
Crispic $4
Java windilou $3
Java fern $3
Wonder bulbs $1
*Arrow head $5
*Silver leaf 2/$5
*Joseph's coat $3, 2/$5
*Florida ruffle $3, 2/$5
*Acorus $3
*Palm Bella $2.50
Giant hygro $4
Undulatus $4
Crypts $7
Nana $6
Coffeefolia $6

Potted ($7):
Borneo fern
Wendtii green, red
Radican sword
Rose
Sword
Ruby red melon
Balansea
Coffeefolia
Marble queen sword
Anubias
Afzelli
African water fern
Echindorus azelot

*These are not true aquatic plants??

(I'm sure I've butchered some spellings!)

Just looking for a little plant direction; any advice appreciated!

Last edited by only120xs; 10-15-2009 at 10:02 AM.. Reason: tagged the non-aquatic plants
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plant advice for dry start method?

So, I'm trying to learn about these plants, and I'm finding very few which are low growing...

Also, I'm beginning to wonder if many of these will work not submerged?
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plant advice for dry start method?

A few weeks ago, I set up a couple experimental 2 gal tanks with DSM. [I'm trying to see whether I can get carpet plants to later survive (as submerged plants) in a small tank by themselves where they don't have to compete with more robust growers.] I purchased 4 species from AquariumPlants.com (grown at Florida Aquatic Nurseries). Because they had been grown emergent, they were perfect for DSM (my plants didn't have to adapt to submerged condition). The HC (Hemianthus callitrichoides, dwarf baby tears) has done the best, spreading nicely in both tanks. The dwarf hairgrass (Eleocharis acicularis) and Anubias petite are multiplying very slowly. The Glossostigma died almost immediately. I still don't now what will happen when I finally add water to these two tanks. DSM is very experimental.

I think DSM with carpet plants may be a big challenge for a beginner. Carpet plants don't compete well with other plants in an NPT, because NPT does not have CO2 injection. My experience with these plants in the past has been dismal. Echinodorus tenellus (chain sword) and Christmas moss are the only small plants that have done well in my NPTs.

If you're starting out with a 46 gal NPT, I'd focus on larger plants and floating plants. This size tank is perfect for swordplants (E. ozelot, E. bleheri, etc) and C. wendtii (red and green). If your store is selling submerged plants, you'll have an advantage using them.
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plant advice for dry start method?

While I haven't tried growing carpet plants emersed yet, I have grown marsilea sp. in a NPT with excellent results. The mother plants were sending roots all over the place and filled in quite nicely. The lighting wasn't that intense either (1.5-2 wpg).
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plant advice for dry start method?

Good to know!
Do you have any more information on the particular species?
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plant advice for dry start method?

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Originally Posted by dwalstad View Post
I think DSM with carpet plants may be a big challenge for a beginner. Carpet plants don't compete well with other plants in an NPT, because NPT does not have CO2 injection. My experience with these plants in the past has been dismal. Echinodorus tenellus (chain sword) and Christmas moss are the only small plants that have done well in my NPTs.

If you're starting out with a 46 gal NPT, I'd focus on larger plants and floating plants. This size tank is perfect for swordplants (E. ozelot, E. bleheri, etc) and C. wendtii (red and green). If your store is selling submerged plants, you'll have an advantage using them.
Thanks! That's kind of where I was leaning also.
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Old 10-15-2009, 04:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plant advice for dry start method?

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Good to know!
Do you have any more information on the particular species?
I scrounged up my old receipts and found that it is Marsalia quadrifolia. When it first arrived, the stems were about 4-6" tall from being grown emersed. After about a month in the aquarium, it had started to revert back to its submerged form (the older stems simply died off).

This is just my opinion, but I think it does well in NPT's because of the nutrient rich substrate. I noticed that it REALLY took off once it was established and the roots had hit the soil level. It also doesn't seem to mind the relatively low light levels that I had considering it was shadowed by the taller water wisteria, amazon swords, and floating plants.

I'll have to snap a couple pictures of it in a new 10 gallon NPT that I am in the process of setting up.
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plant advice for dry start method?

You are right, the items with stars are emersed plants, and will simply die slowly under water. Acorus is a nice pond plant, growing well in just a few inches of water, but not fully submerged. Some of the other common names I think of as outdoor plants, such as Joseph's Coat (Common name of a summer annual actually named Amaranthus tricolor). Since common names mean so little in actual plant ID it is better whenever possible to properly ID the plant with a Latin name.

Marsalia is probably the best carpet plant for lower light situations.

46 gallon bowfront is a tall tank, not so long. Difficult to get light down to the bottom past all the taller plants. I would go with the medium sized Echinodorus, Vals, larger stems and similar plants for the dense 'Jungle' look. Anubias or Java fern tied to driftwood.

If you are aiming for a more open look then the Dwarf Anubias and any of various mosses (just pick one species of moss) tied to an arching branch of driftwood would be a good way to get something interesting up higher while still leaving it open, then some ground cover plants on the floor of the tank. Something a little larger in the back, but not as rampant as most stem plants could be any of several Cryptocorynes.
Many of the ground cover plants are not great at growing through gravel. If you must cap the soil use a thin layer of the finest gravel or sand that will do the job.
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Old 10-17-2009, 04:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plant advice for dry start method?

Great information from both of you! Glad to hear that there's another carpet plant for NPTs.

Here's link to Marsilea quadrifolia. Its the four leaf clover plant, originally from India.

http://www.aquarium-gardening-notes....ea-quadri.html
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plant advice for dry start method?

Quote:
Great information from both of you! Glad to hear that there's another carpet plant for NPTs.

Here's link to Marsilea quadrifolia. Its the four leaf clover plant, originally from India.
I'm not trying to hijack the thread, but wanted to chime in on the Marsilea post. I have had a tough time with Marsilea getting established, but once it set in it finally came back to life and is doing "okay". Part of that would be the depth of the aquarium, and the other part is that I am noticing predation of the leaves. The only culprit I can think of would be the bristlenose pleco, who seems to gag at the thought of having to eat GSA, unless ramshorn snails eat Marsilea. She sure is pretty, but I don't know how much longer I can stand it. I secretly hope that I'll catch my CAE eating it one day, giving me a really good reason to let him try another method of aquatics, permanently.

I know of two other npt-ers using Marsilea with great success in tanks in the 18 inch deep or shallower range.
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