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Dry Start Method & Shrimp Tanks

20387 Views 34 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Teacher104
Hello Everyone,

My book's website now has a 9 page article Small Planted Tanks for Pet Shrimp. It can be downloaded (for free) from the website. I wrote it to further promote my book and help beginning hobbyists.

The article describes my shrimp bowls as well as the more recent DSM setups (Tom Barr's method). I am very pleased with the DSM tanks. They contain carpet plants, plants that I never thought I would be able to grow.

Website for Ecology of the Planted Aquarium
http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/00388.htm
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I really want to try this method. It reminds me of the grassy patches near the edges of small mountain ponds that flood after rain or snowfall. I used to spend hours staring at minnows and insect larva in the short grass.
This sounds like a neat thing to try, and I was very impressed by Ms. Walstad's article!

So, if one wants to use the DSM to get an HC carpet going, are there any plants that would have lower demands for CO2, and "play nice" with the HC? While an HC carpet sounds nice, I like some shape and vertical variation in my tanks, and wonder if some hairgrass or other plants would be a nice vertical foil for the HC.

Does anyone have any ideas on plants that would not overwhelm the HC in terms of CO2 uptake?

I'm thinking along the lines of giant Hairgrass, Valisneria 'nana', or the Echinodorus angustifolia 'Vesuvius', with some stones and the HC carpet to make a simple NPT aquascape. Obviously plants that "require" CO2 fertilization would be out, as they would compete too strongly with the carpet plant.

Your thoughts?

Thanks,
Jane
The other rooted plant species that are growing well (but not too well) in the DSM are:

Marsilea quadrifolia
Eleocharis acicularis
Hemianthus micranthemoides
(Baby Tears, a bigger version of HC)

I think that HC and these plants take up so little CO2 (from the CO2 pool available) that you could add other slow-growers. Just make sure to keep the plants in check.

On that note, I'm not sure how to prune these plants. I've been just pulling them out. The Eleocharis acicularis (dwarf hairgrass) is threatening to take over one tank. As I discussed in my book (p. 45), this genera actively secretes allelochemicals into the substrate to inhibit other plants. I don't trust it. ;)
I am growing Eleocharis Acicularis in a NPT + DIY co2.
its growing... not super fast, but it is beggining to spread. It's got rather competitive plants though, and it has a large area to cover so it might be a while... I'm not sure what's its biggest demand: is it light, CO2 or NO3?

The best help to control the carpets is to use some kind of separation in the substrate where you want it, just make a stream with no soil and use only the topping substrate (ie sand) along the divide line. I have a piece of driftwood making the divide... but right now i'm more hoping to see it spreading than worried about it taking over :)

I'm planning a 15 gal NPT to start this weekend on DSM, i'll start it with E. Acicularis and H. Verticillata...
While I've found most anubias aren't very great for DSM (they seem to survive just fine, but grow even slower) they definitely wouldn't compete much. The round leaf shape tends to compliment HC and the color contrasts.

For a long time people were under the impression that HC is a high light plant (proven false now), and anubias doesn't tend to get along so well under high light. As such, HC and anubias typically haven't been thought of as an easy pair to put together.

What I'm wondering is why HC would suffer from low CO2 if it's a low CO2 demand plant. Wouldn't it be more resilient than most other plants to a lack of CO2? Looking at its natural habitat, the stuff spends a lot of time emersed or near the surface of rivers. you'd think this would mean a high CO2 environment, and perhaps inefficient CO2 metabolism given that other nutrients would be constantly limiting by comparison.
The other rooted plant species that are growing well (but not too well) in the DSM are:

Marsilea quadrifolia
Eleocharis acicularis
Hemianthus micranthemoides
(Baby Tears, a bigger version of HC)

I think that HC and these plants take up so little CO2 (from the CO2 pool available) that you could add other slow-growers. Just make sure to keep the plants in check.

On that note, I'm not sure how to prune these plants. I've been just pulling them out. The Eleocharis acicularis (dwarf hairgrass) is threatening to take over one tank. As I discussed in my book (p. 45), this genera actively secretes allelochemicals into the substrate to inhibit other plants. I don't trust it. ;)
Thanks for the suggestions. Ah yes, hairgrass and its chemical warfare! Its been a long time since I've grown hairgrass - thanks for that reminder!

Baby Tears H. micranthemoides, might make an interesting look - high and low.

And Dan, I really like the anubias suggestion. That and/or Java Ferns would be a nice contrast, indeed.

I think the point with HC was not that it was a low-CO2 DEMAND plant, but that it is inefficient in its CO2 Metabolism, as you suggested. This would explain how its thought to "Need" CO2 supplementation, when in direct competition with other plants that are far better at CO2 Uptake and Metabolism; it doesn't get enough because the fast uptake plants strip it out of the water. Therefore, it only grows well alongside other CO2-needing plants when there is heavy supplementation, and plenty of CO2 for all.

By removing the competition, it is able to meet its needs for CO2 and grow well. This is completely in line with the observation that HC is often emersed or near the edge of rivers - areas where there is plenty of CO2 available, and competition is not a factor.

In a low CO2 environment, with its poor uptake abilities, it suffers because of the inability to get enough; CO2 becomes the limiting growth factor.

-Jane
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For a long time people were under the impression that HC is a high light plant (proven false now), and anubias doesn't tend to get along so well under high light. As such, HC and anubias typically haven't been thought of as an easy pair to put together.

What I'm wondering is why HC would suffer from low CO2 if it's a low CO2 demand plant. Wouldn't it be more resilient than most other plants to a lack of CO2? Looking at its natural habitat, the stuff spends a lot of time emersed or near the surface of rivers. you'd think this would mean a high CO2 environment, and perhaps inefficient CO2 metabolism given that other nutrients would be constantly limiting by comparison.
Seems Diana is growing the HC under low light, therefore it doesnt gulp too much CO2 (and neither do the rest of the plants in the tank). I read the article (quick skim) and could not find a straight figure on wattage. But from what i read, it was not much.

Interesting that HC seems to no really need that much light... I am not sure, but maybe because the tanks are getting some sunlight HC is able to grow with such low wattage after being flooded. 1-3 hrs of sun goes a long way as far as lighting goes. However, since she got to grow the HC emersed, once flooded you dont need HC to grow anymore, just survive. This must be the key to having HC in lower light.

Something similar happens with Hydrocotyle verticillata, emersed it is very easy and very fast to grow even under low light... once it goes submerged, everything changes.
Interesting that HC seems to no really need that much light... I am not sure, but maybe because the tanks are getting some sunlight HC is able to grow with such low wattage after being flooded. 1-3 hrs of sun goes a long way as far as lighting goes. However, since she got to grow the HC emersed, once flooded you dont need HC to grow anymore, just survive. This must be the key to having HC in lower light.
Actually, the HC ws not just surviving, but actively growing. From the article, refer to:

"Fig 7. DSM Tanks after Submergence. Here are the two 2-gal tanks 3 weeks after submergence. Carpet plants are growing very well submerged. They have made such a thick mat, I can pour water into the tank without disturbing the soil layer."

Also, the lighting is discussed in the article as well:

"Light- 10.5" Clamp Light with a 14 watt screw-in CFL (GE's "Bright White"). The clamp light rests directly on the glass lids of both tanks.

Daylength- During the emergent phase, I kept lights on continuously for 14 hr per day.14 After submergence, I put tanks on the "Siesta Regimen" that I use for the bowls."

The siesta regimen is thought to interrupt any potential algae growth in a two-fold manner, by allowing CO2 to build up again (for the plants to utilize) and also to prevent the unused light energy from making iron more bio-available for algae.
Actually, the HC ws not just surviving, but actively growing. From the article, refer to:

"Fig 7. DSM Tanks after Submergence. Here are the two 2-gal tanks 3 weeks after submergence. Carpet plants are growing very well submerged. They have made such a thick mat, I can pour water into the tank without disturbing the soil layer."
Wow. They are actually growing... Now we're talking. Thanks for noting!
I saw from the images HC growing (surprisingly) even faster than E. Acicularis... that explains my EA carpet growing kinda slowish (also i have a 60cm/24" deep tank).

"Light- 10.5" Clamp Light with a 14 watt screw-in CFL (GE's "Bright White"). The clamp light rests directly on the glass lids of both tanks.
so its 14W... i figured it was around that range. Still it is quite low as a total Wattage (14 WPG though hehe).

There was still a little bit of a challenge with algae once submerged. Maybe strange to Diana... but I guess most of us deal with that initiation algae anyways :fish:

So there goes yet another myth: HC is not in itself that demanding with CO2/light :rolleyes:
If anything this shows that HC is demanding of CO2 because it's not efficient in its uptake; other plants that are more efficient can out-compete it unless compressed CO2 is provided. The fact that it doesn't need high light has been established for some time now, but for some reason the myth never seems to die.
so its 14W... i figured it was around that range. Still it is quite low as a total Wattage (14 WPG though hehe).

There was still a little bit of a challenge with algae once submerged. Maybe strange to Diana... but I guess most of us deal with that initiation algae anyways
*Sigh*, Yeah, the "watts per gallon" estimation is not very effective any more, since the type of bulb - Compact Flourescent, linear T5, linear High Output T5, and the metal halides completely turn the old "standard" flourescent calculation totally on its head! Add in to that the variable of a reflector's efficiency, and it really becomes difficult to decipher!

And figuring the strength of a Spiral CF is tough. I use one of those clamp-on reflectors with a spiral CF over a bowl as well. Its actually a pretty good reflector, both in shape and reflectivity. But the bulb's spirals cause a LOT of restrike. Personally, I have a kind of convoluted way of figuring it out for my own uses, since I run three 'Walstad-style' 10g's with 14 w spiral CF's in the dual incandescent "economy" hoods. Now you've got me wondering just HOW MUCH light is in these clamp-on reflector setups....???

I kind of picture the light within a cube, with emission going towards the 6 walls. The least effective is the one where the built-in ballast is, so that's effectively a Zero. Now, the downward facing plane, opposite the base, is directly pointed at the water. But its the least perpendicular to the lamp's walls, and only the "top" part of the lamp is really facing the water surface, and half of that is facing the ballast base. So, 1/6th of 14 is 2.3, but its a small part of the lamp surface, and half is facing the ballast, so I'd chalk that output surface up to perhaps just under a watt. Now, half of the surface of the spiraled lamp walls are facing each other, so I'd cut the possible wattage in half right there. Of the remaining potential 7 watts, since its striking the reflector at a less than optimal angle, MAYBE 1/3rd of it is actually getting down into the water. So, count that as 2.3 watts. So yeah.... the most we could expect from it would be the rough equivalent of 2.3 w + almost 1 w to yield ~ 3.3 watts equivalent over a 2 gallon tank, or about 1.65.... so just over 1.5 w/gallon in the "old" calculation of brightness. LOL at myself... I guess that's a VERY long winded way of saying YEP, its still quite low light.

And as for algae...... we've ALL had algae. The first few weeks of a new NPT setup can be rough, but after the break-in period, its FAR preferable (in my opinion) than becoming the fertilizer-serving-wench for my tanks, LOL!

-Jane
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*Sigh*, Yeah, the "watts per gallon" estimation is not very effective any more, since the type of bulb - Compact Flourescent, linear T5, linear High Output T5, and the metal halides completely turn the old "standard" flourescent calculation totally on its head! Add in to that the variable of a reflector's efficiency, and it really becomes difficult to decipher!
Yup, its kind of a riddle... I personally do nothing with the WPG rule. If only is just a way of briefly mentioning a figure. Furthermore... a bit of sunshine goes a LONG way. With 1-3 hrs of some sun, you have light that penetrates well, gives light requiring plants a good burst and sends everyone into pearling mode. Including algae!

And figuring the strength of a Spiral CF is tough. I use one of those clamp-on reflectors with a spiral CF over a bowl as well. Its actually a pretty good reflector, both in shape and reflectivity. But the bulb's spirals cause a LOT of restrike. Personally, I have a kind of convoluted way of figuring it out for my own uses, since I run three 'Walstad-style' 10g's with 14 w spiral CF's in the dual incandescent "economy" hoods. Now you've got me wondering just HOW MUCH light is in these clamp-on reflector setups....???
There's another important bit: reflectors...
Still, I dont go crazy with any light figure. Just notice the plants: if they are growing faster than you'd like: cut a little. If you are getting under-average growth and/or your nitrates accumulate a bit... add some light or rather "improve" your light. If the tank is over 20" I think the best/simplest thing is T5. The WPG serves maybe as a starting point, because with all the possibilities we have, we need something to start from.

I kind of picture the light within a cube, with emission going towards the 6 walls. The least effective is the one where the built-in ballast is, so that's effectively a Zero. Now, the downward facing plane, opposite the base, is directly pointed at the water. But its the least perpendicular to the lamp's walls, and only the "top" part of the lamp is really facing the water surface, and half of that is facing the ballast base. So, 1/6th of 14 is 2.3, but its a small part of the lamp surface, and half is facing the ballast, so I'd chalk that output surface up to perhaps just under a watt. Now, half of the surface of the spiraled lamp walls are facing each other, so I'd cut the possible wattage in half right there. Of the remaining potential 7 watts, since its striking the reflector at a less than optimal angle, MAYBE 1/3rd of it is actually getting down into the water. So, count that as 2.3 watts. So yeah.... the most we could expect from it would be the rough equivalent of 2.3 w + almost 1 w to yield ~ 3.3 watts equivalent over a 2 gallon tank, or about 1.65.... so just over 1.5 w/gallon in the "old" calculation of brightness. LOL at myself... I guess that's a VERY long winded way of saying YEP, its still quite low light.
I think in common little tanks anything (T8 or CFL) under at least 20W total, is low light; medium at best. And still someone will come with an example of a micro tank, with 2" water depth with a CFL bulb and a state of the art refelctor, getting high light readings and growing the pickiest of plants......

And as for algae...... we've ALL had algae. The first few weeks of a new NPT setup can be rough, but after the break-in period, its FAR preferable (in my opinion) than becoming the fertilizer-serving-wench for my tanks, LOL!
Exactly! I see no point in having a tank that needs a daily schedule to Fert, Feed, Adjust CO2, Water change, Trim.... everyday. Whoever likes it, fine. I just don't. I could put the extra effort in the first several weeks... and add some excel or some fert when i feed the fish in the morning....... But there's no way i'm having a tank that needs me everyday to survive. I'll enjoy that when i'm 70 :)
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Oh... on a side note: just started my DSM NPT \\:D/

I was going to wait for the weekend, but had some extra time... its a 15 Gal (24" x 12" x 12") with 34W T8. I will start some kind of journal, to share and get some help/counseling if (ahem... WHEN) needed.

Right now I have planted some Echinodorus Tenellus, Hydrocotyle verticillata and Eleocharis acicularis.

I don't have a big supply to start with, but i might come accross a few more (quantity) withing the next weeks. However, once I decide to fill with water i can pretty much crowd it on one day (from 200 Gal clippings).

cheers... and hooray for this thread!
Hello Everyone,

My book's website now has a 9 page article Small Planted Tanks for Pet Shrimp. It can be downloaded (for free) from the website. I wrote it to further promote my book and help beginning hobbyists.

The article describes my shrimp bowls as well as the more recent DSM setups (Tom Barr's method). I am very pleased with the DSM tanks. They contain carpet plants, plants that I never thought I would be able to grow.

Website for Ecology of the Planted Aquarium
http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/00388.htm
I absolutely apologize for making committing the cardinal sin of resurrecting a dead or old as heck thread. My apologies.

The thing is... I want to try making one of these shrimp bowls, as is a buddy of mine. He is convinced from the article published that there was just one shrimp. I think it was a small colony. But in the end... all we care about is:

How many shrimp are recommend in a one gallon shrimp tank based on your method? Also, what kind of snails (and do you consider snails necessary)?

Thanks
Hello Everyone,

My book's website now has a 9 page article Small Planted Tanks for Pet Shrimp. It can be downloaded (for free) from the website. I wrote it to further promote my book and help beginning hobbyists.

The article describes my shrimp bowls as well as the more recent DSM setups (Tom Barr's method). I am very pleased with the DSM tanks. They contain carpet plants, plants that I never thought I would be able to grow.

Website for Ecology of the Planted Aquarium
http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/00388.htm
Thank you. I will look into your guide. It is an awesome concept, the Natural! I just found you guys after researching for a while how to create an almost self-sustaining aquarium, that would bring so much to my students but would survive the Summers when I leave for 2 months with minimal care by another teacher in another classroom. And to think that it exists! I got so excited reading the posts here that I bought a 10 gallon glass aquarium. This is all I can think about!
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