View Full Version : Experimenting w/ Iwagumi and the Dry Start Method

Holy Samosa
02-09-2011, 07:55 AM
Howdy folks.

My first effort w/ HC in my 46 gallon bow hasn't went so well, so I've decided to pull out the little bit that remains and try my hand at propagating it into a nice carpet in a 2.5 gallon tank using Tom Bar's Dry Start Method:


For those unfamiliar with this approach, the gist is that you start plants in your tank emersed (above the water line), in more of a terrarium environment then later fill the tank after the plants are strong and well established. The more notable advantages of this approach are that many plants (like HC) grow significantly faster emmersed and that new-tank algae isn't an issue.

This will also be my first shot at an Iwagumi (Japanese for "rock formation", I think) aquascape. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that our area is privileged to an abundance of good rocks for Iwagumi, so if anyone has leads on good stone let me know. While I'm asking for stuff, I think I'd like to score a small quantity of dwarf hairgrass for the background of the tank, should anyone have a smidge to spare.

Anyway, I haven't actually embarked on this project yet but I figured I'd force myself to follow through by declaring my intentions to the club. :-) I'll keep you guys posted.


02-10-2011, 08:51 AM
cool! Is this going to be your fancy rimless tank for which we've all been waiting so patiently?

02-10-2011, 09:19 AM
I figured I'd force myself to follow through by declaring my intentions to the club

Great, so we get to nag you into doing this? I am interested to see how it goes.

Holy Samosa
02-10-2011, 11:40 AM
Nope, unfortunately this won't be a fancy tank. I'm just going to pick up a cheap 2.5g All Glass Aquarium from PETCO as I'm blowing my aquarium budget on a new Eheim 2217 to get better flow in my main tank.

Yes, please do harass me if you don't start seeing pictures up here in the next couple of weeks. :)

02-13-2011, 04:04 PM
Any ideas as to what lighting or filtration/water circulation you'll use?

Seems like a good way to learn the dry start method, so you don't have to try it in a big tank first.

Holy Samosa
02-16-2011, 02:42 PM
I'm just going to use a RedSea Nano HOB filter I have laying around.

It's sooo hard to resist my impulses and just to keep this cheap and simple. I keep looking at the ADA nano tanks (http://www.adgshop.com/Mini_Cube_Garden_and_Cube_Glass_Aquariums_s/97.htm) and Seiryu stone thats for sale on PlantedTank....


Chris Fox
02-16-2011, 05:05 PM
I actually have an ADA 60-F (8.5g) I'm trying to sell/trade!

Beautiful tank, just not compatible with curious kitten. I'd sell it for $60, but I'd rather trade if you have anything fun, I'm just now starting to setup a high tech planted 120 gallon.

Chris Fox
02-16-2011, 05:07 PM
Also definitely let me know if you find any great stone locally, I too am continually tempted to order rocks online and that sounds expensive.

Holy Samosa
02-22-2011, 09:45 PM
Today is a very good day.

In a splendid moment of serendipity, I scored this incredible ADA 60f from Chris and my box of Seiryu stone arrived. I was so excited to check out the stone in the tank I couldn't even be bothered to clean the glass.


When I bought the stone the other day from a thread on the Planted Tank (more are still available if you act fast: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/swap-n-shop/127374-seiryu-stones-package-deal-35-shipped.html), I was planning on putting this nice stone in a crummy 2.5 gallon Top Fin aquarium. I'm thrilled to have lucked up on such a beautiful tank for this lovely rock. Glad I bought extra, too!

By the way, pictures really don't do the Sieryu stone justice. It has an extraordinary character, with fissures, and veins and complexity of texture. I'm really glad I bought the stuff. If I had more cash, I'd buy another box in a heartbeat while it can still be had...

Again, a big thanks to Chis Fox for the tank (and light). It's nice to have another fella in AAAA Plant Posse.

02-23-2011, 07:57 AM
What glass? All I can see are rocks, and very nice rocks too. It rocks! (get it?, heh, heh, heh) Looks good without the plants.

Chris Noto
02-23-2011, 08:15 AM
Now just add Hemianthus, right?

02-23-2011, 11:38 AM
Did you get the Eheim yet? Marine Designs in John's Creek can get you one for $129 with media!!

02-23-2011, 12:11 PM
It looks SOOO good! A beautiful tank really does make a difference.

Holy Samosa
02-23-2011, 10:44 PM
Thanks, guys!

Next comes the soil. I'm working on scoring some slightly used Aquasoil Amazonia Poweder-type from a fella on the Planted Tank. Amano tank, Amano soil, Amano stones. Kinda feels like the time I scored my first Member's Only jacket back in 1983...

After that, scape, plant the HC then a few weeks later a bit of dwarf hairgrass. A few more weeks, then flood!

Holy Samosa
02-23-2011, 11:11 PM
And I did score a broken Eheim 2217 from Donny (AKA chevybow). I'm hoping a new impeller and a few other parts will have it up and running soon. $129 is a great price, though.

The 2217 should really move the water through this tank. ;-)

Holy Samosa
03-17-2011, 12:34 PM
After a fiasco trying to buy used Aquasoill via a guy on PlantedTank.net and getting screwed, I managed to score waaaay more Amazonia II than I need from from Jeffrey Hart. Maybe I should start another tank to use up all of that soil...

I also purchased a really nice and inexpensive T5 HO fixture from fishneedit.com. (Great lights-- check them out!) For the moment it's just on legs, but I plan to hang it as a pendent.

Last week I spent nearly an entire day cleaning the tank and arranging the stone. The tank is on my bar and visible from three sides, so this made the aquascaping a challenge. Ideally, I would have liked more slope in the substrate, but this was difficult to achieve with the multiple viewing angles. That said, the tank will usually be viewed at an angle from above and from such a vantage point the tank does have some visual depth.

Unfortunately, despite being exceptionally careful, I somehow managed to slightly scratch the nearly pristine tank. :-( Grrr!





I initially planted a bit of HC that ad been growing submersed in another tank, but more was needed if I wanted to fill the tank with water before 2012. Luckily, I scored a really nice 4x6 portion of emmersed grown HC via Aquabid and got it planted last night. Woo hoo!







Now, I just hang out and "watch the grass grow"... I got pretty good coverage from the 4x6 portion of HC, so maybe I'll get to fill up the tank in May. :-)

03-17-2011, 01:03 PM
That was worth the wait! I grew up near there, and it looks just like that in the winter, when the grass dies back. Now that it is spring, you will see the grass fill in the spaces, and it will look stupendous. You done good!

03-17-2011, 04:35 PM
Love what you've done with the hardscape - can't wait to see it all grown in!

03-17-2011, 06:01 PM
WOW!! has te beginnings of an Amano tank, looks fantastic!!!!

03-18-2011, 09:24 AM
I'm curious, how are your cats going to deal with an open tank?

Holy Samosa
03-18-2011, 11:52 AM
Thanks, guys!

I admit, that I'm slightly concerned about my kitties getting curious. We're going to try to encourage them not to harvest the livestock and I may need to use a screen or glass lid-- at least during their 're-education'.

Chris Fox
04-07-2011, 12:36 PM
How's the progress going? Have you flooded the tank yet? I'm not sure if you were looking for CPDs for this tank, but sounds like someone is bringing a mature school to the meeting on Sunday if you're attending!

06-03-2011, 12:54 PM
Also definitely let me know if you find any great stone locally.
At Animart in Austel I have seen petrified wood. I has been a while since I have been there, thus best to call if they have, (770) 941-2252.