First Timer: My Collection of Low-Tech Dirt Tanks..New Picture Update 3/4 (56k)
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Old 10-23-2011, 03:14 AM   #1
irishchickadee
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First Timer: My Collection of Low-Tech Dirt Tanks..New Picture Update 3/4 (56k)


So after stalking the forums and doing some research on the matter, I decided to take the plunge and start my own dirt tank. I have to thank my friend for the final push when he gave me a 30gal tank a few day ago . Also wkndracer's thread about his 55gallon low tech added to it. (found here)

I decided to use Miracle-Gro Organic Potting Soil and Estes' gravel, approximately an inch of each. Started the hardscaping with assorted river rocks collected from the St Lawrence and topped it off with some duckweed acquired from a friend (yes I'm aware that many people consider duckweed an aquatic plague lol).
The filter is an AquaClear 200 (20-50gal), which was previously run on my old 20gal so was already seeded with beneficial bacteria. I added on the filter without disturbing the filter media in hopes of avoiding extreme cycles *crossing my fingers* . Since its a HOB I had to modify it a little so it wasn't tossing duckweed all over. I just cut down a 2L coke bottle and boxed it around the output so the waterfall didn't catch all the floaters. I also put a sponge around the intake pipe to act as a prefilter to catch any stragglers.



I plan getting 2 or 3 few shop lights from Lowes like these here and hanging them over the tank with daylight spiral CFLs. Right now there is just a single Hagen Power-Glo over the tank to provide lighting (plastic plants don't require much and my live plants wont be arriving for a few more days.

Yes I will be getting a background (probably just plain black, and looking into purchasing some driftwood (just don't want to pay an arm and a leg for it). I may even add some more rocks.. It's a work in progress.

So what do you think? Any advice is greatly appreciated

Last edited by irishchickadee; 03-05-2012 at 12:35 AM..
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Old 10-23-2011, 12:25 PM   #2
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Looks good! I think you have done everything properly with the tank. Can't wait to see some more plants in there, lol!

Only thing I can think of that would be neat is with those lamps. I saw someone on here who painted a lamp like that, then kinda hung it above the tank. It looked really cool. I do something neat like that, then stick a couple 6500k daylight bulbs CFLs there.
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Old 10-23-2011, 03:16 PM   #3
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Are any of the plants/decorations from your pre-established tank? If not try not to feed too much for the next few days to avoid a mini-cycle!

Good luck with your tank!
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Old 10-23-2011, 04:02 PM   #4
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Great start! I like the rock placement.

The red plant will need some iron to maintain its color. Brightwell aquatics Florin-FE is the best source. Found it to be the cheapest here.
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Old 10-23-2011, 07:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Looks good! I think you have done everything properly with the tank. Can't wait to see some more plants in there, lol!
Yeah I can't wait to really get it going. I'm so excited to get the plants, even have a few pieces of driftwood on the way, also looking at a Manzanita branch or two to really set it off.

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Are any of the plants/decorations from your pre-established tank?
The plants and large decorative rocks are from the old tank. That was set up for almost 2 years so plenty of time for bacteria to form on them. I am taking it easy though, no need to take any risks especially since the pictus cat (almost 7inches long now) has been around for nearly 3 years already. I had a bad time curing him of ick when I first bought him from the LFS when he was whopping 1inch. Better safe then sorry with this crew.

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Great start! I like the rock placement.

The red plant will need some iron to maintain its color.
Thanks, I think I may add some more rocks, the ones I get from the St. Lawrence river have such great color, and you can't beat free. The plants (apart from some duckweed) are currently plastic But I will definitely keep your advice in mind when I get my shipment in.




Thanks so much for the great words of encouragement. I can't wait to really get going on this tank.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:19 AM   #6
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Talking

The plants arrived!!!! Two orders arrived in the same day actually. So of course I was a little busy when I got home I also bought 2 dome shop lights with cfl bulbs to hang over the tank and black contact paper to act as a background (will have to redo it when I'm in a more patient mood). Everything is FINALLY planted/tied to rocks. Time for pictures....

Two of the "Three Amigos" hanging out by the dwarf hair grass and Isoetes sp. These guys are so fun, and easiest to photograph when Tiko gets out of the way.


This.... Is Tiko, one of my most curious fish. He loves to watch everything I do and a total camera whore.


Zeke doesn't like the camera as much, looks like he was about to bite me.


One of my tiger barbs playing in the bubbles, kept nipping at my arm as I was planting the Bacopa monnieri


My other parrot, Java, doing a little jig for the camera, of course Tiko trying to get in on the picture.


Java photo bombing Tiko's side shot.. I SEE YOUUUU


My pearl and opaline gourami's playing in the duckweed.


What the tank looks like.. NO MORE PLASTIC!




Next up for the tank will be installing the canister filter once it arrives, hanging the dome lights with conduit, adding driftwood and maybe more rocks.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:33 AM   #7
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Awesome man! Fish look wicked happy, nice work!
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:51 AM   #8
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Thanks, yeah they seem to love this new tank and they keep checking out all the new plants. Now for the exciting part of watching it all grow.
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:05 AM   #9
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Cool

Oh yeah, and this is the canister that is coming
AquaTop 400UV

The waiting kills me.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:53 AM   #10
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Nice looking tank. And great looking fish.

Keep an eye on the Nitrates, Nitrites, and Ammonia for a few weeks. You are going to get a decent spike from the potting soil.

Good luck, and keep up the good work.
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:53 AM   #11
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Nice looking tank. And great looking fish.

Keep an eye on the Nitrates, Nitrites, and Ammonia for a few weeks. You are going to get a decent spike from the potting soil.

Good luck, and keep up the good work.
Yeah I'm hoping to curb a major cycle by using a filter that's already been cycled and frequent water changes but you know more than me since you're part of the Fraternity of Dirt :-) . My fish are a tough buch but I won't take the risk of losing them to something like ammonia. I appreciate all the feedback and advice. Any and all is welcome

Side note, Ive been cruising the forum and saw some drastic measures people had to take because of fish TB. My UV sterilizer can't come soon enough. Plan on running both filters though until the canister is cycled.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irishchickadee View Post
Yeah I'm hoping to curb a major cycle by using a filter that's already been cycled and frequent water changes but you know more than me since you're part of the Fraternity of Dirt :-) . My fish are a tough buch but I won't take the risk of losing them to something like ammonia. I appreciate all the feedback and advice. Any and all is welcome

Side note, Ive been cruising the forum and saw some drastic measures people had to take because of fish TB. My UV sterilizer can't come soon enough. Plan on running both filters though until the canister is cycled.
Lol, don't let the Fraternity membership fool you. I just started in the dirt business, but I was watching one of my tanks very closely. By spike, I mean 40 ppm nitrate over night and 10ppm ammonia very soon after. Just watch it like a hawk and you should be in the clear in about 3 weeks. Running a bigger filter than I was should help, but it will still be up there. One question, did you use the Miracle Gro in the green bag or orange bag?
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cableguy69846 View Post
Lol, don't let the Fraternity membership fool you. I just started in the dirt business, but I was watching one of my tanks very closely. By spike, I mean 40 ppm nitrate over night and 10ppm ammonia very soon after. Just watch it like a hawk and you should be in the clear in about 3 weeks. Running a bigger filter than I was should help, but it will still be up there. One question, did you use the Miracle Gro in the green bag or orange bag?
Yeah I keep checking the levels. I used the brown bag, the organic kind. Was your filter already cycled from another tank or was it brand new?
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:44 PM   #14
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Yeah I keep checking the levels. I used the brown bag, the organic kind. Was your filter already cycled from another tank or was it brand new?
I believe with the bag you used, you will not have readings that will be that high. I used the green bag which gave me the really high readings.

My filter was already cycled. The tank had been running for about a year before I added the dirt, but it is only 2.5 gallons, and a small internal power filter. That did not help my tank at all, I am sure.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:55 PM   #15
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I believe with the bag you used, you will not have readings that will be that high. I used the green bag which gave me the really high readings.

My filter was already cycled. The tank had been running for about a year before I added the dirt, but it is only 2.5 gallons, and a small internal power filter. That did not help my tank at all, I am sure.

Ah ok, yeah I use the brown bag plus my filters is rated for up to 50gallons. I also have a small bag of ammonia remover just to take the edge off. So far ammonia has been at 0ppm since day 1. Keeping my fingers crossed that the spikes stay below the danger danger zone.
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