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Old 07-27-2013, 11:14 AM   #1
Tvadna
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Dirty proving ground- 1st dirt


I've read way too many good things about a dirt tank not to try it. I'm skeptical but curious. This is basically my own experiment with a dirted tank to see if it is legite or not.
I loosely followed a recipe I found.

10 Gallon tank

I found a bag of dirt called humus but it was mixed with manure so I followed the MTS regimine of wetting it then drying it out 4 times.

2-4 inch deep substrate
70% MTS Humus
20% Azomite
10% Activated carbon
Capped with:
90% Eco complete
10% Flourite

The tank is filled with RO water

DIY CO2 w/ modified Hagen mini elite filter to diffuse.
Drop checker: yellow
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:18 AM   #2
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Here is what I have for plants.

Red ludwigia clippings
Blyxa Japonica
Staurogyne Repens
Red ludwigia trimmings
Dwarf baby tears that were shabby looking after sitting in a bucket for a few weeks
Water sprite

7-19


Last edited by Tvadna; 07-27-2013 at 11:19 AM.. Reason: added plant
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:27 AM   #3
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Lighting: T5HO 2x18w/2x24w

The water sprite has shot up like the weed it is in my tanks.
The dwarf baby tears is spreading like wild fire with the drop checker at yellow.
Red ludwigia is showing some promise but it does fairly well in most of my tanks.
These three are pearling and streaming oxygen.

Not seeing much from the blyxa or the stauro as of yet. Some of the blyxa needs replanting because it has been uprooted.

July 27

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Old 07-30-2013, 09:51 AM   #4
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Cleaned up a bit of loose roots and re-planted some up rooted blyxa japonica. Also sold a hand full of dwarf baby tears from the back left...

July 30


Last edited by Tvadna; 07-30-2013 at 09:52 AM.. Reason: Removed dbt
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:56 AM   #5
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July 30
May have finally cracked the blyxa code. Left side


staurogyne repens. Center


Blyxa Japonica on the other side. Right


Anybody with suggestions or criticism.. all is welcome.
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Old 07-30-2013, 04:32 PM   #6
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How deep is the cap vs base soil layer?

Am I reading this correctly? Did you put azomite rock dust minerals in the mix?

If you are starting with ro water, tds = 0, have you checked tds over time? How about dkh? I'd like to see some data on what the parameter effects are.

Great job!
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:20 PM   #7
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Base: 2in, Cap: 3/4. A little deeper in the back.

Azomite, that is correct and it is very dusty, even in water. I wish I could find the article where it was listed as a good ingredient for a dirted tank. I also read that it is great for shrimp (strengthen their shell).
Is there something I don't know about the azomite?

I haven't checked the hardness yet but I will start to include it in the updates.
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:47 PM   #8
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Being that azomite is literally pulverized rock, I can only imagine it would make the water very hard very quickly, but I have no personal experience so I am interested in your results. I know that the stones in an iwagumi set up can increase hardness over time, but I suppose the sctual amount of azomite is a factor as well.

I know it is a common additive in organic gardening made popular by john kohler of growingyourgreens.com but I've never seen it in stores.

I have also read that it includes amounts of arsenic.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:17 AM   #9
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I added:
Hydrocotyle 'Japan'
Myriophyllum Mattogrossense
Pogostemon Erectus
Crypt Parava

August 02



This picture was taken with a different white balance then what I have been using, I think it makes the colors better but the dwarf baby tears have definitely changed color.

I'm concerned that I may be overdoing the CO2. My dwarf baby tears have turned much lighter, almost a yellowish white. I started to lower the CO2 level in the tank and the tips/new growth is going back to a green again.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandacory View Post
Being that azomite is literally pulverized rock, I can only imagine it would make the water very hard very quickly, but I have no personal experience so I am interested in your results. I know that the stones in an iwagumi set up can increase hardness over time, but I suppose the sctual amount of azomite is a factor as well.

I have also read that it includes amounts of arsenic.
I checked the parameters of the tank for the first time today and here is what I got.
KH: 12
GH: 14

All of my other tanks are around 4 for KH so this was a bit of a red flag for me. I did about a 40% water change and sucked up any loose Azomite sitting above my cap. Then I tested again.
KH: 7
GH: didn't bother but I would guess it dropped to about 8.

I went back to the auto white balance on the camera and think it looks better.
August 4

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Old 08-14-2013, 04:29 AM   #11
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It may be time to remove the water sprite. The EI dry ferts I've been using have really spurred some growth of the stem plants. I can't believe I haven't used them before!

August 13

Last edited by Tvadna; 08-14-2013 at 04:31 AM.. Reason: Date
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:33 AM   #12
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The old growth from the dwarf baby tears has died off after it started to turn white with rapid growth. I've eliminated too much CO2 as the cause and I think it is either not enough ferts to keep up with the light/co2 that spurred the rapid growth or possibly a spike in kh/gh.

August 13
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:33 AM   #13
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GH: 10
KH: 7

It seems that the Azomite in the substrate that may raise the hardness is either slowing or it isn't getting into the water column as much now. I will continue to test this before every water change to monitor the hardness.

The new problem in the tank is hair algae. It came in with a new plant order of Pogostemon Erectus. The pogo must have been grown emersed because the old growth died back quick but the new growth looks great. Does anyone have any tips when it comes to keeping this plant? Is it usually slow growing or do I need to tweek things?

Here is how I solve hair algae: FLAG FISH. They absolutely dominate the stuff. I just got a few and within 5 minutes of being in the tank I snapped this picture of one of them mowing it down like spaghetti. Highly recommend them as a work horse!
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:10 AM   #14
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I pulled the massive Water Sprite plant that grew from the middle of the tank. I sold it for $10. Not too bad, right?

The bad part is it disturbed the MTS, a lot. The tank was cloudy for days even with a 60% water change and still hasn't recovered fully. I guess this is the big disadvantage of a dirty tank. Planting seems to be permanent.

I pulled the flag fish because I added some CRS and they hadn't quite finished off all of the hair algae so it still exists.

I also introduced ramshorn snails to eat algae off the glass but they died within a few days. Could this be because I also added a few assassin snails?

Also found out I have HM (baby tears) not HC (dwarf baby tears). Either way, they're doing terrible.

August 27

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Old 10-08-2013, 03:06 AM   #15
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It has been a while since I've updated this tank. The hair algae returned with a vengeance so I nuked the tank with hydrogen peroxide and eliminated it. I also eliminated the CRS in the process. Since then, the tank has made a come back.

As you can see, the water is cloudy. It doesn't seem to have the typical green tinge like an algae bloom. Water changes haven't seen to help and I have been very careful not to disturb the dirt under the eco-complete. Does anyone have any idea of what this could be?

Does anyone know what the following could be?
Since the tank has been set up there has been a strange worms/eels in the tank. They are white, about an inch long and very thin. Their tails which appear to be 3/4 of the length wiggle rapidly to propel them through the water like the tail of sperm you've seen in science class. There doesn't appear to be anything that could be described as a head but at the 3/4 point where the tail stops wiggling, it appears to be slightly thicker. Could this be a parasite found in the original dirt I bought? Can it be harmful to humans? They don't cover much ground but wiggle so fast it is hard to photograph them. I may have to take a video.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Here are some pics

10-06-13

Full tank


Left side showing the Hydrocotyle 'Japan' taking over


Right side showing the Pogostemon Erectus
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