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Dirted Tanks...

Discussion in 'General Fish Talk' started by Fishn', Jun 21, 2017.

  1. Fishn'

    Fishn' CCA Members

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    Any experience, insight, advice with dirted tanks. I'm considering capping with sand and of course, lots of plants such as swords, cryps, blyxa, and vall.

    Has anyone mineralized their dirt? Effects on pH with mineralization?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. CSnyder00

    CSnyder00 CCA Members

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    Never tried it. I'm interested in what you find. I imagine you would have soil degradation issues and water clarity issues.
     
  3. b considine

    b considine Global Moderators
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    I've got a mineralized 65 which has been running since around 2009. My pH hovers around the mid 6s, which is how it comes out of the tap.

    I don't use pressurized CO2 and my light bulbs are woefully out of spec (they're years old), but crypts do great. Blyxa never did well, probably because of the CO2 bit, and I haven't tried any val.

    My (admittedly occasional) fert regimen is the Seachem line, primarily Excel (daily), Flourish (weekly), and N, P, and K when I think about it.

    I did have some algae issues when the tank was new, but now, all algae issues are due to the bad lighting.

    I follow the instructions from Aaron Talbot and Sean Murphy, found here.

    Blaise
     
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  4. Frank Cowherd

    Frank Cowherd Global Moderators
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    I have had a few such tanks. I have covered the soil with gravel and sand but usually mainly gravel. The plants do well for years. I have also incorporated laterite and other similar mineralized materials. I have not mineralized the soil itself.

    These tanks can turn into a green algae maze if they get sunlight or too much light of any kind.

    Diana Walstad has published a book on this type of tank. It is entitled ECOLOGY OF THE PLANTED AQUARIUM (A Practical Manual and Scientific Treatise for the Home Aquarist.) I heard her talk on this many years ago and that is where I got my inspiration for doing planted tanks with dirt.
     
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  5. dogofwar

    dogofwar President of the CCA
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    What specific soil do folks use? Available at Home Depot?
     
  6. Frank Cowherd

    Frank Cowherd Global Moderators
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    You can use potting soil in bags from stores as it is usually already sterilized. And you want the kind that does not have vermiculite or stuff that looks like Styrofoam.

    You can also get great soil from someone's vegetable garden. Garden soil that looks good and loose is great. You can put it through a screen like chicken wire to remove big stuff. Then you can sterilize it in the oven.

    From the internet:
    In a conventional oven: Set the temperature somewhere in the range of 210 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the moistened soil in an oven-safe container, and cover it with aluminum foil. Use a cooking thermometer to make sure that the center of the soil pile hits at least 180 degrees F, and then cook for 30 minutes.
     
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  7. dogofwar

    dogofwar President of the CCA
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    Did the Internet recommend to do this only when one's spouse is out of the house?

    Matt

     
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  8. FishEggs

    FishEggs CCA Members

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    I recommend mineralizing the soil first. The first tank I darted I used cheap topsoil from home depot and mineralized it according to the GWAPA article previously posted. Plants loved it and did well for years. I recently darted another tank with organic potting soil without mineralizing first. I got super swings of water parameters and lots of algae and you can't put any fish in it for several weeks even with seeded media since the ammonia spikes so high.
     
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  9. b considine

    b considine Global Moderators
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    I used plain old topsoil.

    Blaise
     
  10. Maryland Guppy

    Maryland Guppy CCA Members

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    I have used Miracle-Gro in the green bag potting soil and Scott's premium topsoil.
    A 50/50 mix but sifted all wood chips out of it.
    The miracle-gro is sad half will go to the trash after sifting.
    Plant heavily from the start and no ammonia spikes.
     
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  11. Fishn'

    Fishn' CCA Members

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    Lol
     
  12. Fishn'

    Fishn' CCA Members

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    I've heard of some using osmocote slow release all purpose fertilzer to help supplement the dirted tanks over time. Using planting tweezers to bury it in the sand and dirt after it was placed in a clear vitamin capsule.
     
  13. b considine

    b considine Global Moderators
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    I haven't had to add any ferts to the roots of my 65 since set up. I do use the Seachem line of liquid ferts on an "occasional" basis.

    Blaise
     
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  14. JChitty

    JChitty CCA Members

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    Dirt Tank.jpg My first attempt at a "dirt Tank" was a disaster last summer. I did not mineralize the soil. My second attempt was last October and I mineralized the soil using the technique from the GWAPA article. I also decided to try black diamond blasting abrasive as a substrate material to cover the soil. I used the medium grit. It is sold at the tractor supply company off of route 66 in Manassas. 50 lb bag is only $7.99
    It is basically coal slag which is inert. Ph did not change and is still around 6.6[​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
     
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  15. Fishn'

    Fishn' CCA Members

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    Very nice. Do you keep Cory's or other digging/catfish in the tank with the black diamond blasting sand? If so, how do the barbs and fish hold up?
     
  16. JChitty

    JChitty CCA Members

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    Fishn' :
    In this tank I have panda, sterbai and gold laser cories. All are juveniles. From what I can tell from visual examination there appears to be no damage to their barbs.

    Other info on this tank:
    It is a 30 gallon tank...36x12x16
    Filtration...2 old Penguin 125 filters...poret foam inserts.
    Lighting...36 inch light strip...2 tubes....both have been converted to LED tube bulbs.
    Plants currently in tank. Ludwigia repens, crypt affinis, crypt wendtii and Red tiger lotus.
    I was curious about setting up a dirted tank. Primarily I wanted to grow some red tiger lotus. Had them years ago and read on a you tube video the if you keep the leaves from growing to the surface the surface they would reproduce through runners.

    Originally 4 bulbs and now have 7 plants.

    Jim
     
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  17. Fishn'

    Fishn' CCA Members

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    Thanks for the info. Sounds like a nice tank.
     

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