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Old 07-18-2011, 01:30 AM   #1
BlueJack
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DirtLand -10g-


Thanks to the petco $1 per gallon sale I picked up a 10 gallon tank for no apparent reason. Having an empty tank laying around just didn't sit right with me, so I decided to try a dirt tank.

Went out and bought 3- $8 clamp lamps for my lighting. Luckily I had some left over topsoil and an old bag of very fine black sand.

*Update March '12*







I had a bag of blue rocks laying around. Not sure how I feel about them yet. What do you guys think? I don't want to use any driftwood or big rocks in this scape. Mainly a plant only tank.



I made the background out of laminated cardboard paper. My goal is to line each side of the "blue rock river" with red cabomba. The blue backdrop will hopefully draw you eye to the dark area and maybe add some depth.



I heard horror stories about dirt floating all over the tank, so I was worried about filling it up with water. It wasn't bad at all...just like any other substrate I've used.


Red cabomba I'll be using to line both sides of the river bed.



I also intend on using riccia for ground cover, and maybe some alternathera reineckii, Ludwigia repens, and ludwigia arcuata clippings from my other tanks.

I'll only have 1 fish in here. A paradise fish.

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Last edited by BlueJack; 03-28-2012 at 05:48 AM..
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:24 AM   #2
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Ha! A "Just Cuz" tank, lol... very interesting - I like your riverbed And a paradise fish - they are so beautiful! Can't wait to see more updates.

I like your idea of laminated paper for the background

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Old 07-18-2011, 02:14 PM   #3
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Looks like a great project. I have the same 10 gallon with the same clip on light just waiting for me to scape it (still working on my new 40b). Gotta love that $1/g sale
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:32 PM   #4
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(still working on my new 40b). Gotta love that $1/g sale
Thanks. I love those 40b tanks! I wanted to get one but didn't have enough room. I guess 3 tanks in the bedroom will have to suffice.
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:57 PM   #5
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i have the same light fixture! haha which bulb are you using? i got the 23W, 6500k one

btw, where did you get that plant fixture thing... so useful for lights
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:23 PM   #6
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i have the same light fixture! haha which bulb are you using? i got the 23W, 6500k one

btw, where did you get that plant fixture thing... so useful for lights
Thanks! Got it from home depot. They have a few different sizes..I needed the 15 inch one so my light would hand dead center over the tank.

Right now I have it suspended 14.5 inches above the substrate. I'm still debating on which bulb to use. A 19 watt bulb will give me ~ 65 PAR and a 23 watt bulb ~85 PAR. Most of the plants I'll be keeping are somewhat demanding so I'm leaning towards the 23 watt. Any opinions?

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Old 07-18-2011, 07:20 PM   #7
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oh GEESH that chart just made me O_o
i don't think glosso needs 100+ PAR lighting...
i've got mine vertical, 23W, roughly 8-9 inches from the substrate.

guess ill be bringing it back down to 13W..
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:42 PM   #8
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oh GEESH that chart just made me O_o
i don't think glosso needs 100+ PAR lighting...
i've got mine vertical, 23W, roughly 8-9 inches from the substrate.

guess ill be bringing it back down to 13W..
You can use this as a reference. The water line is 7.3 inches. So the first example is 18.3 inches from the substrate, Second example is 13.3 inches from substrate and the last (kinda like yours) is 10.3 inches from substrate. All using 23W bulbs.

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Old 07-18-2011, 08:47 PM   #9
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nice start!
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:03 PM   #10
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I have 14w, 19w, and 23w and am currently using the 14w right at the top of the tank.

I've seen good growth on my moss, riccia, Micranthemum umbrosum, and Salvinia minima so far if that helps at all. 14w right at the top would be equal to 23w several inches above the tank I believe.

Any idea on what you've going to grow?
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:23 AM   #11
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Any idea on what you've going to grow?
So far I've got baby tears, red cabomba, purple fanwort, some kind of gold ludwigia, some kind of alternathera and bacopa. Hopefully the fanwort and bacopa grow in thick so it covers up that white backdrop.

I just planted everything so the water is still kind of murky. Also, I didn't rince the topsoil. I just threw it in there and capped it with fine black sand. There was definitely wood chips in there and I think some tannins are being released.

I threw in a bio bag from one of my filters since I didn't mineralize the topsoil first. Introducing bacteria is kind of the same thing right? Just at a much slower pace? Isn't mineralizing another way of saying "bacteria eating the organics"?

Lastly, I really don't want to have a powerhead in this tank, but how will the plants get nutrients and CO2 without water movement? Will simple convection be enough to move nutrients and CO2 around to all my plants?




Thanks for any help
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:27 AM   #12
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thats gold nesea

nesea pedicellata
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:29 AM   #13
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thats gold nesea

nesea pedicellata
Spectacular! I was having trouble figuring out what I bought.
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:13 PM   #14
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I threw in a bio bag from one of my filters since I didn't mineralize the topsoil first. Introducing bacteria is kind of the same thing right? Just at a much slower pace? Isn't mineralizing another way of saying "bacteria eating the organics"?

Thanks for any help
What do you mean mineralize it first? I study soil and there is no way to flash mineralize the organic amendments in soil. I've seem people on this site talking about boiling and baking soil before going into a tank but all that is doing is sterilizing it so that the amendments take much longer to mineralize once added to the tank. I think someone once read that industrial fertilizer production utilizes heat so they assumed a waterbath or oven would work - in reality you need over 1000 degrees F and extremely high pressures to have any effect. Saying you can do this at home is like saying that you can make a diamond by jumping up and down on coal long enough.

To mineralize soil you are going to need to take advantage of bacteria, there is no other way to do it at home. You could drop all the soil into your compost and water it for several months or you could rig up a bubble barrel and bubble the soil in a water bacteria mixture for several weeks both of which would mineralize some of the soil but not all of it. Luckily miracle grow likes people so see instant results so they load their soil up with high amounts of immediate release (mineralized) organic amendments versus those that need processing - for instance bat guano and earthworm castings are naturally mineralized by the bacteria in the animals gut and are immediately available to the plants whereas feather meal, alfalfa meal, bone meal, and most of the rest of the organic amendments need processing first which makes them a slow release.

Luckily you don't want completely mineralized soil. If it was 100% mineralized then most all of the nutrients would be gone by your third or forth water change; well at least all your nitrogen would be. The non mineralized amendments are what gives the soil it's slow release profile which I assume is why people like to use it. All in all I wouldn't worry about it

Tanks looking great.
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:51 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ReluctantHippy View Post
What do you mean mineralize it first? I study soil and there is no way to flash mineralize the organic amendments in soil. I've seem people on this site talking about boiling and baking soil before going into a tank but all that is doing is sterilizing it so that the amendments take much longer to mineralize once added to the tank. I think someone once read that industrial fertilizer production utilizes heat so they assumed a waterbath or oven would work - in reality you need over 1000 degrees F and extremely high pressures to have any effect. Saying you can do this at home is like saying that you can make a diamond by jumping up and down on coal long enough.

To mineralize soil you are going to need to take advantage of bacteria, there is no other way to do it at home. You could drop all the soil into your compost and water it for several months or you could rig up a bubble barrel and bubble the soil in a water bacteria mixture for several weeks both of which would mineralize some of the soil but not all of it. Luckily miracle grow likes people so see instant results so they load their soil up with high amounts of immediate release (mineralized) organic amendments versus those that need processing - for instance bat guano and earthworm castings are naturally mineralized by the bacteria in the animals gut and are immediately available to the plants whereas feather meal, alfalfa meal, bone meal, and most of the rest of the organic amendments need processing first which makes them a slow release.

Luckily you don't want completely mineralized soil. If it was 100% mineralized then most all of the nutrients would be gone by your third or forth water change; well at least all your nitrogen would be. The non mineralized amendments are what gives the soil it's slow release profile which I assume is why people like to use it. All in all I wouldn't worry about it

Tanks looking great.
Thanks! Very good info!

On APC they talk about spreading the soil over a tarp, soaking it and letting it dry out. Then repeat the process like 4 times to mineralize it. I didn't know if that was necessary or not. I didn't end up doing it so I was wondering what effect it would have. Guess it's not a big deal at all. Thanks

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/?p=vB52554
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