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Dry start 2.5 gallon


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I had to take down my 2.5 shrimp tank when I moved, I never set it up again and things are starting to settle down with school so I wanted to try and do a budget dry start with my empty 2.5 gallon.

I wanted to do mainly moss and carpeting plants, I have a desk lamp I can use but I'll eventually get a better light.

my main question is how do I start?

What substrate can I/ should i use?

what plants do well in dry start?

how long do i do the dry start before adding water?

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I've never done it myself but from reading it doesn't look hard to do. But you'll need lots of patience.

Substrate. Choose substrate that will suit to your carpet plant. In 2.5g tank your plants must be small, so they need appropriate substrate.

You just need to set up you tank (I'm not sure in case of shrimp but if you don't have there's no additives). So fill the tank with substrate and arrange your woods, stones, etc.

Then you plant the carpet plants and attach your moss to wood/rocks.

Fill up the tank with water. The level of water should stay under the level of the substrate. Then cover the tank with plastic to keep it moist and don't forget to spray everything at least twice a day (maybe more with tank of this size and warmer weather now?). And be patient for at least about 6 weeks.


It's what I read about the method and it's how I would approach it. HTH

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1. You'll need some plastic wrap/sheeting and tape and a spray bottle. Spray bottle filled with conditioned tap or RODI mixed with a teeny bit of ferts and remin. Keep the plastic on the top and spray it once or twice daily to keep it moist, but be sure not to let any water pool on the substrate.

2. Buffering substrate will help support the roots with nutrients better than gravel due to its porousness, so I'd use aquasoil or the like.

3. The plants you've named will work. I've had all three in DSM. DHG tends to get really small after DSM, but it looks nice!

4. It's up to you but most people say at least a month. I would say until you like the amount of rooting or carpeting you're getting. Remember: Patience is key.

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ok, I was planning to use play sand, and liquid ferts, so i can just put conditioned water with liquid ferts and spray that on it?

Pretty much. Just a tiny bit of ferts tho. I don't have an exact number because I used a mix of solid (powdered) KNO3, K2HPO4, and CSM+B. :/ what type of liquid ferts are you using? You'll probably want only a very small

amount in each spray. I've known people to have success with DSM without ferts and just active soil.

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Come to think of it, playsand may cause issues because it's known to pack tightly as well as being known as a poor substrate for planting. I'm not sure you will get the full effect of the DSM because your plants may have trouble rooting. Consider a small gravel or soil type substrate. Or even a bottom layer of substrate with the sand over the top (before or after DSM).

Oh, and good luck! :D maybe start a journal so we can all follow your journey!
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Never used top soil, maybe someone else can chime in, but I'm sure it would work well, just maybe cover it with sand before you fill up the tank so it doesn't cloud up too much?

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/4/2016 at 4:01 PM, aquariumlover10 said:

ok, I dont have alot of money so I was gonna get aqueon liquid ferts.

I'm not familiar with that. I am on the other hand cheap.

So off to the hardware store for Osmocote and then Ebay or some hippy supply for the gel caps.

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I filled my 2 gallon with Mr. Aqua Soil. I believe its $17.00 and it does wonders for foreground plants. that all I use, doesn't cloudy the water as much as others that I have seen. I grew GE in Mr. Aqua Soil and it grew in 5 days to germinate and 10 to fully bush out. very nice.


I posted a video here, check it out. search Glossostigma Elatinoides and my video here should pop up.

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