Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Christiansburg, Va
Starting a journal on my 55 dirt tank
Hey there! I'm starting a journal on my 55g, which I am doing as a "dirt" tank. I set up a 40b earlier, but it doesn't have any real soil in it. This 55 has a base of Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil, capped by a 50/50 mix of pea gravel from Lowes and FloraMax, purchased at Petsmart.
Here's the tank - it's about 3 - 4 weeks in, so I have some catching up to tell how it got to this point.
The big piece of quartz you see on top of the driftwood is only there to hold it down until it stops trying to float. I'm glad I've gotten used to seeing it there, it looks like it's going to take a while to waterlog the wood!
The tank is totally low tech, because I don't know how to do Co2. This is only the second tank I've ever set up with live plants (the 40b being the other) so I have a lot to learn. The lights are a twin tube 48" shoplight with T8s in it - one is an Aqueon 8000 full spectrum, the other is a Phillips 6500 daylight. It sits directly on top of the versa glass tops, under a wood canopy. It puts out very little heat, and the wood canopy isn't solid so it vents well.
If the plants look like they've just been haphazardly tossed in there, it's because they have - lol. I've been moving them around a lot as I buy more, and it doesn't really disrupt the soil much - it all settles right down again. I have a HUGE amount to learn about plants, and some will not get enough light with this setup I fear, but that's how I'll learn what works & what doesn't.
I'm very bad with plant names, but I will look them all up and monitor how they do. The distance from the soil to the lights is about 19" - 20" and I bet the par is nil by the time the light hits the bottom. I'm erring on the side of caution, because I don't have the funds to do Co2, and I don't really want to anyhow (at least pressurized). I'm hoping I can find the right plants that will do well in this tank. Slow growth is fine with me, as long as I can keep the whole tank healthy.
Well, that's all I have the energy to write tonight!