This method I developed is nothing new, but combines two hobbies I have.
Terrariums and aquatic emergent plant growth, and start up phases of aquariums.
Most all aquatic plants are grown emergent. This reduces pest and algae and increases the rates of growth dramatically without having to use CO2 at a massive scale as well as reduced labor/operational cost.
Using this same horticultural method, we may start a new aquarium in the same manner, saturating the soil with water, and allowing the leaves to remain in contact with the air above for good CO2/O2 exchange.
Obviously, we must everything that the plants require into the water or sediment at the "dry phase" as they are totally dependent on root uptake.
So I suggest ADA Aqua soil alone for this as once we flood the aquarium, it looks nice and does well for the plants.
Since it also contains NH4, this will help cycle the aquarium before you even fill the tank up(you typically wait 1-2 months before filling the tank, plenty of time for the bacteria to be well established).
Here's the benefits to the method:
Well, after the 4th week, I have 60 Cardinals, 70 amano shrimp, 40 Otto cats, 36 N. espei pencil fish and few L number plecos. The HC continues to dramatically grow without any issues.
Based on this case example, this method provides a simple easy no labor method to produce any number of low growing foreground rock or wood aquascapes without any real work.
No water changes/loose pieces floating around/being pulled up
No cycling the aquarium
No fiddling with CO2
No having to buy a lot of plant material initially
No transition from emergent to submersed states(some plants will, but with good CO2, this is greatly minimized)
No extra electrical cost running other equipment during the dry phase.
Can do it outside in a tray even.........
Filling the tank: