TippeeCanoe's 38g Dirt
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > General Planted Tank Forums > Tank Journals


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-22-2013, 12:14 AM   #1
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

TippeeCanoe's 38g Dirt


Hi all, I am starting this journal to track the progress of this tank. I have, like many of the folks on here, been lurking in the the shadows for a long time and have finally plucked up enough courage to open up and show what I am doing. The idea behind this tank will be to try a low tech, dirted tank with occasional fertilizers added to the water column. The substrate is topsoil obtained from a local garden center (approx. 1" depth), followed by a thin 1/8" layer of charcoal (something I had rolling around in the bottom of my fish supply box making black dust), and capped with 1-2" of Play Sand. This is an experiment and not an aquascape. Curiosity got the better of me and I want to try this out.
So far, the flora is a few bunches of Vallisneria, a Melon Sword, and a small Tiger Lotus. I am being careful not to introduce any snails, dipping new plants, careful inspection, etc.
The fauna will be two angels. The ultimate goal will be to provide the angels with a tank all their own, without distractions, to (hopefully) raise a brood of their own. They have been spawning, both when I had them in a 150g community tank and now in their 20g that they share with 6 Brochis splendens and innumerable snails. Still no luck with these two. They try hard and go through all the motions, but they just don't seem to have the right stuff at this point. The eggs usually disappear within 24-48hrs. The B. splendens may be the culprits, I suspect, however.
I did a water test this morning and the N cycle seems to be progressing. Not ready for the fish yet. Photos of the setup and progress to follow.

PS: I really wanted to become part of "The Fraternity of Dirt", too!
__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-22-2013, 04:19 PM   #2
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

Here is the type of dirt I used for the bottom layer. After leak checking the tank and testing the sump/pump, I siphoned out as much of the water as I could which left me with approximately 1/2" in the bottom. I tried to be careful not to splatter or get too much dust stirred up. Being really dry, the soil was pretty hydrophobic at first and did not want to absorb any moisture. It took a little while to work the soil into a nice mush, but soon all the soil was damp and evenly distributed. Even though this soil is described as sifted, I noticed that there appears to be some composted organic material mixed in, but I left most of the smaller bits in. It crumbled easily between my fingers and I figure that it will continue to break down as this tank matures. This layer is roughly 1" deep and comes up to the top of the bottom rim. It was fun playing in the mud!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DirtUsed.jpg
Views:	24
Size:	50.9 KB
ID:	110570  

Click image for larger version

Name:	BottomLayer.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	17.1 KB
ID:	110578  

__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121

Last edited by tippeecanoe; 03-22-2013 at 05:31 PM.. Reason: Minor addition
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2013, 04:42 PM   #3
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

The next layer is a charcoal layer approximately 1/8" thick sprinkled evenly over the top of the mud layer. I thought it might be better to crush it and mix it into the mud layer, but I only succeeded in making a mess. Therefore, the result was a little less dusty and I hope this will break down as well. It will probably adsorb some of the toxins in the soil. I did notice a slight ammonia odor as I was mixing the soil and getting it thoroughly wet. It will be interesting to see how the N cycle progresses in this tank. The thought behind the charcoal layer is that after a forest fire or a grass fire, the ash and residue that result will often be washed into a stream bed or lake bed and covered up. I may be wrong, but I want to see if the plant growth is affected. My control will be my 20g with no supplements in the substrate.
__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2013, 04:44 PM   #4
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

Oops...and here is a picture of the charcoal layer. Still getting the hang of this journal thingie.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	CharcoalLayer.jpg
Views:	32
Size:	18.2 KB
ID:	110594  

__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2013, 05:01 PM   #5
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

The last layer is approximately 1-2" of unwashed play sand. I may regret not washing it later, but rather than wasting the water, I want to find out if it is really necessary, especially in a dirt tank. I think it may help the plants root and become established more quickly after the shock of moving. Just a hypothesis, not a statement of fact. I probably should have wiped down the front glass to remove some of the mud that splattered. It'll settle, won't it?
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	SandCap.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	31.5 KB
ID:	110602  

__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2013, 05:30 PM   #6
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

The DIY sump consists of a nested plastic storage container that receives the overflow water in a chamber on the left with several layers of coarse filter material, trickles down over some bio-balls, and then is pumped back to the tank via the return on the right. This can all be removed and disassembled for cleaning or reconfiguring with PVC couplings and barb fittings. When full, the sump will hold an additional 5 gallons of water. Additionally, there is an expansion for the possible addition of a brood raising tank if the angel pair that I want to put in this tank are unable to raise their babies on their own. The expansion tank overflow will enter through a fitting that will be in place of the plug at the left. That will be later. Right now, I just need to get the tank up and cycling.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	SumpInletOutput.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	22.4 KB
ID:	110634  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Sump.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	29.8 KB
ID:	110642  

__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

The DIY overflow/siphon consists of a 3/4" weir that goes into 1/2" PVC pipe and then down to the sump. A system of valves will allow me to split the flow from the main tank through the possible brood raising tank I mentioned earlier. What I will need to do is build another overflow similar to the one in the main tank to drain the brood tank into the sump. If needed, I could also drain most of the water from the sump through these valves. The pump I have on the tank now seems more than adequate, but I could step up to the next larger size if I find I need more flow. The overflow can handle it as well. With head losses, the pump is putting out roughly 125gph.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	OverflowSiphon.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	26.1 KB
ID:	110706  

__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2013, 05:57 PM   #8
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

More to follow - initial planting, driftwood, etc.
__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 08:37 PM   #9
Kai808
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Ameri,CA
Posts: 565
Default

Great to see another tank from Hawaii! I use the same top soil and can confirm all the extra stuff that floats up. I usually use it for my outside mini ponds and don't care about capping it or getting rid of the woody parts. But when I used it for a planted tank, I sifted it, and floated out the wood. It was like making MTS but with less drying. The only bad thing about that is, you would probably need five bags of topsoil just to get enough dirt for your tank.

Keep up the updates! I look forward to seeing this.

Aloha,

Kai
__________________
Kai808 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2013, 04:48 AM   #10
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

For the initial "planting", I pulled the smallest of my three Tiger Lotuses (Lotii?) from my 20g and a small Vallisneria that was also sending out a runner. My other two lotuses have pretty much taken over the 20g and the little one seemed to be doing well, but it seemed to me it would appreciate having a bit more room. Additionally, I wanted to have some sort of driftwood. I found a really nice curved piece on my walk home from work one morning and had it in the tank during the initial leak check and pump run to get it soaking. Until I got the tank filled, things were looking good. However, it seems I rushed the soaking process and, naturally, my driftwood floated like a log. I tried re-arranging, weighting with stones, etc. until I tried having the piece partially sticking out of the top. That seemed to work out pretty well.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	38g Dirt Sand 014.jpg
Views:	24
Size:	61.6 KB
ID:	112194  

Click image for larger version

Name:	38g Dirt Sand 015.jpg
Views:	21
Size:	36.0 KB
ID:	112218  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Drift.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	33.6 KB
ID:	112226  

__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2013, 05:06 AM   #11
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

Naturally, two plants (well, two and a half, if one counts the runner) is never enough, so I headed down the road to the LFS and picked up five bunches of V.americana and an Echinodorus osirus. The thought is to have the back of the tank filled with the Val streaming in the current that is flowing from right to left. The two focal points will be the Lotus and the Sword. Actually, the more I look at the previous post, I may actually have a Nymphaea pubescens than a Tiger Lotus. Oh, well, cool looking plants, regardless. I'm not entirely sold on this piece of driftwood. I took it out this afternoon along with the rocks that were holding it down and the tank opened up nicely. Also, it had that translucent, smelly white slime growing on it. Granted, not catastrophic, but still gross. I will have to think on whether or not I really want any driftwood. Or, I could see if I can find a thinner branching bit of kiawe wood that I can trim to make look like tree roots. Decisions, decisions!
__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121

Last edited by tippeecanoe; 03-24-2013 at 05:12 AM.. Reason: Hit "post" too soon.
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2013, 05:43 AM   #12
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

The lights are two LED flood lights I picked up from HD. I had to be careful not to point them at me as I'd probably be blind if I did. Wow are they bright! They are EcoSmart LED's, 1200 lumen, daylight white PAR38, 110W equiv, 4900K lights. I will be able to dim them, if needed. Right now, I have them in a couple of left over clip on fixtures from a previous build, but I will eventually suspend them above once I figure out a way. I get quite the shimmer effect with them on. So far, the plants seem to be doing well under them. They do seem to put out a little bit of heat, so raising them slightly higher above the water level than I have them now may reduce the amount they introduce to the tank. Although, the heat output at the water level did not seem significantly more than that of the t5HO fixture on the 20g using the back of the hand testing method. The Valls, as ragged as they are, are streaming tiny bubbles from their torn edges. I think once they get settled, the old leaves die off, and new growth comes in, they will look very nice. I still need to get a few more bunches though.

Thank you all who have taken the time to read about my foray into the dirt.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	LEDLights.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	17.3 KB
ID:	112234  

__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2013, 05:47 AM   #13
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai808 View Post
Great to see another tank from Hawaii! I use the same top soil and can confirm all the extra stuff that floats up. I usually use it for my outside mini ponds and don't care about capping it or getting rid of the woody parts. But when I used it for a planted tank, I sifted it, and floated out the wood. It was like making MTS but with less drying. The only bad thing about that is, you would probably need five bags of topsoil just to get enough dirt for your tank.

Keep up the updates! I look forward to seeing this.

Aloha,

Kai
Thanks Kai, I appreciate the information on the soil. I was wondering if anyone else had used it. I can say that so far it seems to be staying in place and I haven't seen any floaters. Although, I think if I got crazy re-scaping I might.
__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2013, 07:21 AM   #14
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

After putting in the Valls and removing the driftwood, it was still looking a bit too empty. Naturally, I had to go back to the LFS and pick up some more. Here are a before and after. Not much of a change, but it will give an idea what the goal will be. Also, I added a shot of my 20g with the angel pair that will go in here.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	38g Dirt Sand 001.jpg
Views:	24
Size:	68.3 KB
ID:	112898  

Click image for larger version

Name:	38g Dirt Sand 006.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	76.5 KB
ID:	112906  

Click image for larger version

Name:	38g Dirt Sand 008.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	66.3 KB
ID:	112914  

Click image for larger version

Name:	38g Dirt Sand 010.jpg
Views:	30
Size:	110.8 KB
ID:	112922  

__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 12:28 AM   #15
tippeecanoe
Algae Grower
 
tippeecanoe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Aiea, HI
Posts: 98
Default

Did a water test today (1230pm HST) to see how the cycling was progressing. My baseline is my tap water which has the following parameters:
pH: 7.8 (had to use the high range as the normal range maxed out at 7.6)
NH3/NH4+: 0.0ppm
NO2-: 0.0ppm
NO3-: 5.0ppm
KH: 5dKH
GH: indeterminable (I suspect a bad GH solution and in need of replacement)

Tank:
pH: 8.2 (might have something to do with the following)
NH3/NH4+: 0.50ppm
NO2-: 0.25ppm

I suppose the higher pH number may be due to the photosynthesis of the plants. The Vallisneria all seem to have tiny O2 bubbles streaming from them. I've noticed late in the day that even the Melon Sword will release them. I felt there was no need to test nitrate yet with the other two quite detectable at this point. I need to check the water earlier in the day before the photosynthesis begins. No water changes, just top offs due to evaporation.

Speaking of top-offs, I almost made a mistake yesterday by overfilling and flooding the bottom of the stand. Luckily, I caught my error before it overflowed! I need to watch more carefully when re-filling, obviously! My water change valve on my siphon assembly worked well and I was able to quickly drain the water down to a more reasonable level.
__________________
TippeeCanoe
Nikon Pimp #098
Fraternity of Dirt #121
tippeecanoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:18 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012