I figure I might as well start from the top.
Once upon a time, I had about 4 fish tanks...that is until a lightning bolt decided to come to my house and say hello.
Long story short, my house burned down and all of my poor fishies/shrimps went with it. Thank god I had good insurance!
It's been almost a year, and the contractors my insurance hired are putting the finishing touches on my house, so I figure it's about time to start up a new tank.
I've never done a dirt tank before, but I like the logic behind it, so I figure I'll give it a shot.
Step one: Get the soil ready. I've got my bag of Miracle Gro Organic Potting soil. Luckily I had a window screen laying around in the basement of the house I'm renting, so sifting all the bark and rocks out wasn't too much of a pain.
Now I'm keeping the soil damp and letting it mineralize while I wait for some of my supplies to come in the mail.
Unfortunately I can't put the soil outside because a certain neighbor's cat loves to use my yard as a toilet, and I'm sure he'd find my tub of dirt to be a wonderful litter box.
Instead I have it inside next to a heater. I figure the heat will help speed up the process a little.
If you are trying to mineralize the soil you need to dry, then wet, then Repeat. Until the dirt doesn't smell at all.
I have done tanks with the MGOPM before, but after my last batch with top soil when I followed the mineralizing instructions to a tee, I would not do it any other way. A tarp on the pool table, spread it out thin and use a fan on it. It will go quicker.
Someone who asks for advice, then does the exact opposite.
This tank is a product of these forums. Almost everything about it, from the filter, to the plant selection, were recommendations I received from people on this forum. Just wanted to give a quick thanks to all the awesome people on this forum that helped me put this tank together!
Update: I added some Fissidens Fox to the rock, and some Rotala Romosior Florida and Rotala Macranda to the back left corner. I'm happy with how everything is growing, and I'm surprised that I have had zero algae. I shouldn't say that....probably just jynxed myself.