Ok, so after reading some recent posts here about iwagumi NPT's I've dicided I'm going to try following the dry tank setup someone mentioned in this link: http://www.barrreport.com/articles/3594-dry-start-up-method-planted-aquariums.html
for my 55 gal tank.
I will be planting a variety of cover plants and some emergent mid ground plants in the dry tank startup. Here they are, and I've denoted which ones will be comming in pots (relating to a later question I have):
CLOVER, FOUR LEAF Dwarf(Marsilea quadrifolia)
Dwarf Baby Tears (Hemianthus callitrichoides)(potted)
Pennywort, Brazilian (Hydrocotyle Leucocephala)
Cardinal Plant(Lobelia cardinalis) (Potted)
Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)
Baby Tears (Hemianthus micranthemoides)
Now, I believe these are mostly ground cover plants and a few mid-ground stemmed plants that I can plant in my wetted substrate / gravel (topsoil and 1-2 mm pool filter media). I chose a wide variety in the hopes that I'll find out what grows best and presumably the best growers will outcompete the others or I'll end up with a nice cover variety.
Is this a good selection for the dry tank startup that I'm attempting? Any additional suggestions? Anything in the list above that will not work for the dry setup method? How many of each plant should I buy for my 55 gal? After I get a decent layer of cover I'll raise the water and add in more midground, background and floating plants, but since I've heard that ground covers are the hardest to grow in NPT's I thought I'd try growing them first.
As far as physically planting, I have two questions:
For the smaller ground cover plants, can I put their roots just in the gravel filter media, or does some part of the plant need to actually be touching the topsoil underlayer when I plant it? (I'm worried about burrying smaller specimens, or having ones just in the sand not having enough initial nutrients to grow roots to the soil underlayer).
And, for the plants that come in pots (which I denoted above), should I remove them from the pots? Divide them if they are in bunches? How is this done?
Finally, if it helps anyone answer my questions, here are my tank's parameters:
2 60w compact flourescents coralife
1.5" topsoil, 1" pool filter media, and peletized dolimite lime mixed w/ soil
extremely soft water
GH / KH both @ 1.5
PH 7.0 - 7.3
I'm guessing the soft water will be ok for the initial dry setup, because, well, there won't be any water (save for just covering the substrate) and the plants should hopoefully get enough nutrients from the soil.
Thanks for anyone's help in advance!!