it is capped, although not terribly well. between me being in a hurry to get it done before my fish sitting in a bucket all died, and when planting i seem to have disturbed the cap in a few places. i would say on average the soil is 1.5" deep and the cap is the same. the cap is the same gravel i had in the last tank with some additional gravel mixed in. i reused the filters as well so there should be some bacteria left. the temp home is pretty much a no go as i'm sure putting around 40 fish albeit small fish in a 5 gallon bucket wouldn't end any better than the cess pool they are currently residing in. i will keep everyone posted and hopefully this will be over soon enough. what is bad about sodium chloride? how long will the tannins leach? i will try to get some pics tomorrow if i can find my camera. thanks again.