Dirt tank and what to add??? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Dirt tank and what to add???

Not sure if this is the right soil but I just picked up a bag of Mircale Grow Organic Garden Soil with peak moss and manure. It seems that many are using the Potting Mix instead of the Garden Soil. I screened the dirt out of large chunks of woods. Is this the "right" dirt to use? I haven't added water yet because I am waiting on some laterite to arrive and to mix them in with the dirt. Do I need to add anything else with the dirt? I have a full bottle of Osomocote. Should I even add some with the dirt? Before I will cap the dirt with some fine gravels, I should mix the dirt with some water until I get mud, maybe need to do this for couple of days?

Thanks....


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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 02:10 AM
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in one of my nanos I used that kind of dirt (MG organic garden soil) but didn't mix any fertilizer into it at all. I did wet the dirt before capping though, but only enough to moisten it and make it firmer and easier to cap. It worked for me and I'm getting good growth and not having any problems with livestock
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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in one of my nanos I used that kind of dirt (MG organic garden soil) but didn't mix any fertilizer into it at all. I did wet the dirt before capping though, but only enough to moisten it and make it firmer and easier to cap. It worked for me and I'm getting good growth and not having any problems with livestock

Thanks. Hmm...I think I have my answer. The manure may not be desirable but I don't expect to put any fish in there for a while. So, I am going to stick with this soil. And it was only $7 for a 40lb dirt. I believe the potting mix (no manure in it?) is $13 at Homedepot. Yeah, I am presoaking the dirt right now. Couldn't drain all the water and I am sure a lot of the water would either evaporate or get soaked up by the soil in couple of days. I think I am going to mix the laterite and that's about it.


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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 02:18 AM
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I use this dirt in all my tanks. 10 of them Everything from shrimp to apistos and plecos, which all breed like crazy!No problems. I also use ridiculous amounts of light with no algae issues either. Fluorite, clay or other ferts I haven't played around with at all and the tanks looks and grows great.

Add your dirt, wet it pretty thoroughly, cap it and fill the tank GENTLY ie: use a small airline to siphon in water. Try to plant the tank heavily immediately. The dirt will cycle the tank for you. There you go, done

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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I use this dirt in all my tanks. 10 of them Everything from shrimp to apistos and plecos, which all breed like crazy!No problems. I also use ridiculous amounts of light with no algae issues either. Fluorite, clay or other ferts I haven't played around with at all and the tanks looks and grows great.

Add your dirt, wet it pretty thoroughly, cap it and fill the tank GENTLY ie: use a small airline to siphon in water. Try to plant the tank heavily immediately. The dirt will cycle the tank for you. There you go, done
That's good to know. I thought the manure could cause problems....


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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 03:35 AM
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%@^%@ I"M SOOOOO SORRY!!!!!

I misread!!!!!! I use the organic potting soil!!!!!!!!
I hope its not too late!!!!

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 03:45 AM
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That's good to know. I thought the manure could cause problems....
I wish I could tell you all the why's about why manure is bad in a fishtank, but I'm a noob really in this area. I think manure will produce ammonia as it is broken down, and it smells anyway.

I would reemphasize planting a great deal of fast growing stem plants right away. Over 50% of the surface area of the substrate. They will take up Ammonia and Nitrate and maybe Nitrate from your water and start the momentum of the processes just starting. I really think it's worth the investment, even if you don't want them all forever.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 03:47 AM
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%@^%@ I"M SOOOOO SORRY!!!!!

I misread!!!!!! I use the organic potting soil!!!!!!!!
I hope its not too late!!!!
I'm wid you, bud!
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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%@^%@ I"M SOOOOO SORRY!!!!!

I misread!!!!!! I use the organic potting soil!!!!!!!!
I hope its not too late!!!!

Too late for what??? Is ok. I will stick with this soil. Not sure how much manure is left because I think I screened them out already. I am just seeing some small branches and peat moss. The bigger stuff is not there or maybe only a little. I have no intentions to add fish for at least a month.


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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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I wish I could tell you all the why's about why manure is bad in a fishtank, but I'm a noob really in this area. I think manure will produce ammonia as it is broken down, and it smells anyway.

I would reemphasize planting a great deal of fast growing stem plants right away. Over 50% of the surface area of the substrate. They will take up Ammonia and Nitrate and maybe Nitrate from your water and start the momentum of the processes just starting. I really think it's worth the investment, even if you don't want them all forever.

I will see how it goes. I don't believe I have much manure left after screening the bigger chucks out. I am not smelling anything right now. It may take a bit longer to become safe for fish but that's ok. I have no plans to add fish any time soon. As for algae issue, this is a low light tank. I may not going to add plants that soon, at least waiting for the water to clear up a bit first. I am planning to use some of my bio media from my other tanks to start the cycle quicker.


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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 04:49 PM
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If you are using the manure soil, I'd suggest planting the tank as heavily as you possibly can...to avoid algae.

The rest sounds good
Be interesting to see how it turns out.

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 04:53 PM
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Hello!

Dont be afraid of the manure, i used soil containing 30% cow manure in these two tanks in this tread:
plant growth pictures

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-16-2013, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Here is an update. I flooded the tank this past Sat. I have been doing 80% WC with aged, treated water (10 hours+) daily until this morning. I am getting 95% water clarity here. I did add 2 big tsps of purigen though. I am also using a sizable, established bio medias from my other tank. Phosphate level is around 3ppm. Don't have a nitrate kit. GH is around 5 degree. KH is about 2 degree. Currently, just planted 10 stems of Blyxa Japonica. No, they aren't pearling yet. I have been poking the substrate with a pair of scissors and didn't see any big bubbles coming up. No strange smell coming from the water either. I do kind of worry that the substrate by the middle of the tank is a bit too thin. Maybe less than 1 inch of dirt. I am planning to carpet the area and not intending to plant any big root feeders in the middle though.

Here is the tank. Yeah, this is an old 20g Long tank. There are some carbonated stain I couldn't get rid of yet....



I am using a 48" shop light from Lowes and 2 6500k t8 bulbs. They are only 3" above the water. Just waiting for the weather to get cooler to order some Marselia minuta for the tank carpet...


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Last edited by tetra73; 07-16-2013 at 11:26 PM. Reason: photos
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-17-2013, 03:59 PM
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Tank is looking great! Super clear! Purigen is some GOOD stuff! I'd suggest more plants though, asap

You probably won't see gas pockets in the substrate for another week or so. If it concerns you MTS snails work well...and a friend of mine has had very good success using undergravel heating to promote flow in deeper substrate areas.

ps. the only plant that pearls in my dirted tanks is baby tears.

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-17-2013, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Tank is looking great! Super clear! Purigen is some GOOD stuff! I'd suggest more plants though, asap

You probably won't see gas pockets in the substrate for another week or so. If it concerns you MTS snails work well...and a friend of mine has had very good success using undergravel heating to promote flow in deeper substrate areas.

ps. the only plant that pearls in my dirted tanks is baby tears.

Thanks. Still deciding which plants to use for carpeting. I have a lot of chainwords from my other tank. However, I want something different. Unfortunately, I can't get them locally. Decisions...decisions, decisions...


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