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  Topic Review (Newest First)
02-05-2013 03:31 PM
Jnad Hello!

Tha water is still cristal clear and everything seem to bee doing good.
I can see small traces of dirt on top of the sand layer but it Does not affect the water color. Maybe there are some air or gasses that has to bee realesed in the start of a dirt tank, it seems to settle.

I dont now why my water got cloudy when using 2-4 mm gravel, reading on the internett i see most dirt tanks use gravel with no problem. Maybe i should have been waiting more than two weeks beafore changing the cap too sand?

Any thoughts?

02-02-2013 04:40 PM
Originally Posted by Rich Guano View Post
Who had the right to give anaerobic soil a bad name? Is it really a bad thing?
I've wondered the same thing. It seems anaerobic soil would harbor the anaerobic bacteria that eat nitrates out of the water.
02-02-2013 11:21 AM
Jnad The tank has now been running for some days with sand cap and the water is crystal clear. The sand seem to do the trick and the tank is looking great.

I have been adding some fishes and some shrimps:

10 Mosquito rasboras, this is a great looking little fish (see link)

5 Sherry shrimps
1 Oto, a small algae eater

01-31-2013 07:35 PM
scotty b try running a sponge filter for the 1st couple weeks ,. thats what i had done and it cleared up everything in a day, ive caped dirt with sand,litter clay and gravels ,. i like the results of capping the dirt with litter clay the most sand a close second and gravel was the messiest
01-31-2013 07:20 PM
Jnad The cube have been running for 7 hours now with sand cap, everything looking good so far. Crossing fingers

When looking at the dirt and the sand cap layers i actually see dirt/muddy water rising up trough the sand cap. It have not reatched the top of the sand cap yet. I hope it not will.

01-31-2013 09:02 AM
Jnad My patience run out changing the gravel to sand just now

If that dosent work i will try cat litter as only substrate.

If that dosent work either i will go back to saltwater tank
01-29-2013 10:00 AM
Rich Guano Who had the right to give anaerobic soil a bad name? Is it really a bad thing? What about the use of trumpet snails and blackworms?
01-29-2013 08:41 AM
Jnad About the use of sand as cap for the soil, i reading in Walstad's book that the soil may beacome very anaerobic if the grain size is too small?

Any experiences?

01-29-2013 07:08 AM
Jnad Did a water change on saturday, the water seem to stay clearer now, but i have no circulation or filter in the tank, i stopped it on saturday, this could be the reason that it looks clearer now.

But i do still see dirt particels on the plant leaves, could the problem be air or gasses that burst inn to the water column taking dirt with it?

I will wait a couple of weeks more, if it not clears up i will try too cap the dirt with the sand with grain size 0,2-1,0mm.

If that also fails i might consider just trying cat litter (burned clay with no additives) as the only substrate, flourite is to expensive for me.

I was hoping to have some succsess with dirt tank though

01-27-2013 03:52 PM
tiggity You'll be fine, it will be cloudy for a few days but after wc's and your filter running it will settle and clear up
01-27-2013 02:44 PM
Rich Guano That's what we are trying to decide just now. I just opened a poll in the low tech forum. (sand vs gravel)

That sand is a great idea. I have used Pool Filter Sand successfully for years. 0.4 to 0.6 mm grain size. But I have not yet used it over dirt. My only concern is that the grain size is large enough to allow nutrients to fall back into the soil, thus extended its useful life.
01-27-2013 02:32 PM
Jnad Tanks for your replies.

Yes i will redo and test this soil once more in this small tank if the cloudyness dont go away.

My local hardware store do have sand that i possible could use for capping the soil. It has a grain size of 0,2-1,0 mm.

What do you think, is this a better option than the 2-4mm gravel i am using now?

01-27-2013 02:25 PM
BruceF I’ve used sand long enough to know that it gets plenty ‘dirty’. I sometimes add a little pea gravel to the potting soil and then cap that with sand. Other than I what I do I don’t know.
01-27-2013 01:57 PM
Rich Guano
Originally Posted by BruceF View Post
I think it is pretty normal. You might want to soak the soil before you put it in th tank. Change the water a few times. You might want to use a less porous cap like sand.
Hey Bruce,

I like sand too. I am working on which is better sand or gravel. I like the capping properties of sand, I like the look of sand. But from what I know about gravel, it is allows the nutrients from unconsumed organics to fall back through into the soil, thus completing the cycle, and allowing the soil to remain rich for many years. I believe I can achieve the same result with sand by using snails and worms, but I have not completed my studies yet. I will open a new post on this subject.
01-27-2013 01:51 PM
Rich Guano Very Good Description, It translated very well into English. Not the Queens English mind you, but into the melting pot English we Americans call.. um... English.

OK, I see how I can help.

First off the soil seems to be ideal. The rich blackness indicates it is composed of organic materials and probably contains very little clay if any at all. Clay actually is a good thing and is often added to the soils, but we do want to avoild colloidal clay as it will stay suspended in the water column.

Second you stirred up a bunch of murky water by over-soaking the soil before adding the cap. You see, you added water to the soil and basically stirred it around (like making chocolate milk) when you added the swords. Then the dirt suspended in water rose though the gravel once all the water was added.

There are two competing methods to solve this. One is to add the top cap of gravel while the soil is still dry. You should use a deeper top cap of 1 1/2 + inches in the case of gravel.

The second is to wet the soil before adding top cap, but do not add too much water. The goal is to have the soil feel like a rung out sponge (soft, not dried out). You just want to re-hydrate the soil, not turn it into mud or muddy water. And give the soil plenty of time to soak up the water before you start to stir it or cap it.

Lastly you will have to do water changes if the water is discolored, and run a power filter (Hang on Back, whetever). Your water should be clear after just a couple changes and several hours of filtration.

Since this was a "test" tank are you willing to dump it and try to rehearse this again before moving onto the big tank?

I would like to hear the results of the next test.

I hope this made sense.
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