Dirted tank help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 07:35 AM Thread Starter
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Dirted tank help

I have a 120 gal tank that will become a planted, dirted tank with a 55 gal refugium. I want to use MGOPS and cap with sand in the main tank and MGOPS capped with gravel from existing tank (to help with cycle) in the refugium. All biological filter media from canister and HOB will also go in refugium.


Question about the MGOPS. Does it come with time release nitrogen in it. At Home Depot where I live they have Vigoro Organic Garden Soil. Has anyone have experience with this product. It has .08-.05-.08 on the bag. Is that OK for a tank? I want to use pool filter sand as a cap. Does it come in black, how fine is it. I can't get BDBS in Canada.


For my slopes when I aquascape, I plan on using eggcrates and filling with crushed lava rock (locally sourced, extinct volcano really close to my place) then 2-3" of soil, then 1-2" of sand. Slopes aren't planned to be too drastic but not sure if they will hold or settle to a more level position. Will a moderately planted tank help keep slopes in tact.


I will be starting a journal when I get close to building everything for my tanks. Stand, Lava Rock features, DIY CO2 system, refugium and aquascape.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their comments and suggestions as this is my first planted tank.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 09:08 PM
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First, I have no experience with MGOPS. That said, I have used Black Gold compost because it is cheap and available to good effect.

Sand will always try to settle in my experience, but I think you are going about it the right way. I've done something similar and it worked fine. My suggestion is to do your egg crate lava rock thing, then add sand to fill in the gaps until the lava rock/egg crate is covered. Slope that as desired. Then add dirt and follow the contour of your slope. If you are worried, use Small pieces of lava rock or clear plastic at this point to make "damns" along the slope to prevent shifting. Top the dirt and damns with more sand and neaten up your slope. That will give you the best chance at a slope that won't sink or shift. If you use a carpet plant that has lots of roots like DHG or HC, you have even less to worry about when it comes to sliding or erosion.

Also, because MGOPS and Compost are so rich in organics, don't be afraid to cut your dirt with sand. I did this in a tank rescape (didn't feel like trying to separate the sand from my dirt) I took the old sand/dirt, mixed it with a little fresh compost to spruce it up, and I had a lot less trouble with algae in the second tank than the first.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 07:14 PM
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So I'm working on a Walstad tank so I don't actually have experience with any of this yet, just lots of research.
I am also planning on using Miracle Grow Organic Soil. From what I understand this is a great soil to use but due to the amount of organics in the soil it is recommended to cut it like Thanatopsian said. I was reading one of the best things to cut it with would be something that has a high 'cation exchange capacity' (not sure exactly what that means lol) but basically something that is going to help keep the ammonia and other nutrients in the soil. I plan on using pure clay cat litter (fragrance etc free). This article also recommends Safe-T-Sorb which is also really cheap. You would want to mix it 50/50 with the soil to help reduce the chance of the soil be coming anaerobic.
And you still want to cap it with sand or gravel. (I use Black Diamond Blasting Sand already so that's what I'll be using to cap, its $7 for 50lbs)

This is one of the most useful article I have found. There is a whole section on using MGOC in a planted tank
Suitable soils for the Walstad method - El Natural - Aquatic Plant Central
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abomans View Post
I have a 120 gal tank that will become a planted, dirted tank with a 55 gal refugium. I want to use MGOPS and cap with sand in the main tank and MGOPS capped with gravel from existing tank (to help with cycle) in the refugium. All biological filter media from canister and HOB will also go in refugium.


Question about the MGOPS. Does it come with time release nitrogen in it. At Home Depot where I live they have Vigoro Organic Garden Soil. Has anyone have experience with this product. It has .08-.05-.08 on the bag. Is that OK for a tank? I want to use pool filter sand as a cap. Does it come in black, how fine is it. I can't get BDBS in Canada.


For my slopes when I aquascape, I plan on using eggcrates and filling with crushed lava rock (locally sourced, extinct volcano really close to my place) then 2-3" of soil, then 1-2" of sand. Slopes aren't planned to be too drastic but not sure if they will hold or settle to a more level position. Will a moderately planted tank help keep slopes in tact.


I will be starting a journal when I get close to building everything for my tanks. Stand, Lava Rock features, DIY CO2 system, refugium and aquascape.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their comments and suggestions as this is my first planted tank.

Pool filter sand only comes in 'natural' color. It's made to go inside a pool filter, it doesn't get seen.

MGOS doesn't technically have time release nitrogen. It has nitrogen, and all the nutrients get released over time.

You might not find BDBS but you should be able to get the same thing. Start checking with sand blasting places. There's lot's of them in BC (I know it's a big place) You're looking for coal slag. It's a very common blasting material. Sometimes rental yards and tool supply places that deal with sand blasters have it.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 01:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ermpickle View Post
So I'm working on a Walstad tank so I don't actually have experience with any of this yet, just lots of research.

I am also planning on using Miracle Grow Organic Soil. From what I understand this is a great soil to use but due to the amount of organics in the soil it is recommended to cut it like Thanatopsian said. I was reading one of the best things to cut it with would be something that has a high 'cation exchange capacity' (not sure exactly what that means lol) but basically something that is going to help keep the ammonia and other nutrients in the soil. I plan on using pure clay cat litter (fragrance etc free). This article also recommends Safe-T-Sorb which is also really cheap. You would want to mix it 50/50 with the soil to help reduce the chance of the soil be coming anaerobic.

And you still want to cap it with sand or gravel. (I use Black Diamond Blasting Sand already so that's what I'll be using to cap, its $7 for 50lbs)



This is one of the most useful article I have found. There is a whole section on using MGOC in a planted tank

Suitable soils for the Walstad method - El Natural - Aquatic Plant Central


I was about to post the same thread from APC. There are still a few of us that use both APC & TPT. Anyway i just did a Walstad tank. I went with MGOPS mixed with some top soil and a bit of old aquarium fluorite. You can check it out in my signature.

Safe-T-Sorb or any cheap unscented kitty litter works great as a high CEC material for cheap. I didn't use it because I didn't have it on hand. Also you can cap with it as well. There are a decent number of people with dirted tanks who have done so. If you want black though a medium or fine grit coal slag is a great way to go. I went fine because menards is closer than tractor supply and I thought I had read people saying you can cut your hands on medium grit? (unsure)

Anyway, I can't wait to see how it turns out! One day I'll have a 120
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 08:36 PM
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This is what the back of the old bag of MGOPM used to state and was the go to substrate for dirted tanks. The NPK rating was .1, .05, .05. The key thing was that it was composed of "pasteurized poultry litter" (as opposed to cow manure that might be found in others):

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Here is the Organic dirt I am planning on going with.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/at...1&d=1483867304


On the bag it says .08 - .05 - .08


Ingredients - A rich source of organic matter. Includes : peat moss, compost, humus, lime, natural fertilizer.


Does it look to be OK.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 08:09 PM
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I have had success keeping slopes in my dirted 30 gallon by cutting soil with dead leaves. This also provides a good term source of carbon for the tank.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
You're looking for coal slag.
I've never heard of coal slag being used in an aquarium. Is this common? It is my understanding that coal slag contains some pretty serious heavy metal levels.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 08:12 PM
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Dirted tank help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bananableps View Post
I have had success keeping slopes in my dirted 30 gallon by cutting soil with dead leaves. This also provides a good term source of carbon for the tank.











I've never heard of coal slag being used in an aquarium. Is this common? It is my understanding that coal slag contains some pretty serious heavy metal levels.


Coal slag = black diamond blasting sand. Seems like many of us use it
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbroush View Post
Coal slag = black diamond blasting sand. Seems like many of us use it

Oh I had no idea. I knew what coal slag was separately, but I don't use black substrate so I never tied to together with the black diamond blasting sand I kept reading about from everyone else.

That stuff is industrial waste. It doesn't leach anything?
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 11:52 PM
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Oh I had no idea. I knew what coal slag was separately, but I don't use black substrate so I never tied to together with the black diamond blasting sand I kept reading about from everyone else.



That stuff is industrial waste. It doesn't leach anything?


Nope. Not that I've read about anywhere
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:03 AM
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I oversee 20 student tanks at my school, most of which have coal slag substrates. No problems breeding livebearers and shrimp. My main tank at home currently has fluorite black sand, but it used to have coal slag. I successfully raised several broods of pygmy corys on it. They never complained of heavy metals. I still have a most of those babies now four years later.

I love the stuff because it's cheap and attractive, and really holds plants down because of the weight. Root tabs or a soil sub are a must though.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 01:40 AM
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That stuff is industrial waste. It doesn't leach anything?
Re-purposed aggregate actually and for the most part inert.

Swimming is not that difficult.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 01:47 AM
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Re-purposed aggregate actually and for the most part inert.
That's quite a euphemism. If you guys say it doesn't leach, I believe you, but I don't think my concern was altogether misplaced: most coal combustion byproducts are toxic enough to warrant Superfund registration.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 03:25 AM
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That's quite a euphemism. If you guys say it doesn't leach, I believe you, but I don't think my concern was altogether misplaced: most coal combustion byproducts are toxic enough to warrant Superfund registration.


I mean if it used to clean things it's probably okay, right?
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