40 Gal MTS Planted set up
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:13 AM   #1
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40 Gal MTS Planted set up

I set up my 40 gal, Mineralized Top Soil Tanks last night.

I am starting this thread to log my procedure, so I can get help if needed and so others can learn if they choose to emulate me. I am going to try and post an update weekly.

What I did before 7/19/13

The tank

I have a 40 gal breeder (dimentions are 36" wide, 17" Tall, 18" Deep) that has been set up for several years. Earlier this year I broke it down and installed a DIY natural stone background. see this thread for more info

The tank has an old Fluval 205, it is drilled for inflow and out flow. I also have a drip system that replaces approximately 12-15 gal of water per week.

My city water is very soft, KH less than 1, GH is 4. They use gassed chlorine (i remove this with a charcoal filter).

Making the MTS

About 5-6 weeks ago I went and dug up about a 5 gal bucket of top soil from behind my office. The soil was very rich/black looking. My 9 year old and I sifted the soil to remove rocks, wood, grass, seeds, acorn casings, you name it.

After the sifting I ended up with about 3/4 of a 5 gal bucket full of black soil. I flooded it with a hose, several inches over the soil. The next day I poured the water off and dried it out on a tarp in the sun.

I repeated the wetting and drying process every sunny day for about 5-6 weeks. The soil had very organic almost fecal type smell at first, and the wet dirt was very smooth and muddy. It began to loose its smell and the dirt developed a very course gritty texture after about 4-5 wet/dry cycles. After sitting up in a bucket of water overnight it would become very firm, and it held clumps very well.

I purchased some modeling clay from Michaels craft store. I shaved half of it down with a cheese slicer (it looked like potato chips) and let it dry in the sun. I then pulverized it with a wood mallet.

I added 7% clay by weight to the MTS when dry.

I ordered my plants and they came in this Friday.
Plant List:

Sagittaria, Dwarf Subulata (Sagittaria subulata) 20
Sagittaria, Chilensis (Wideleaf)(Sagittaria platyphylla) 10
Vallisneria, Corkscrew (Vallisneria americana var. biwaensis) 20
Amazon swords 2
Ocelot Sword 1
aponogeton bulb 1

Last Night

I drained the tank (it's resident is now sharing space in the 75 gal)

I mixed water into the MTS (with clay) until it had a peanut butter consistency. I dusted the bottom of the tank with crushed coral, and about a tea spoon of Epsom Salt. I also added a dusting of Murate of Potash (0-0-60) to the bottom glass.

I scooped up the wet MTS and started to spread it across the tank bottom. An even coat was 5/8" - 3/4" thick and it covered about 85% of the tank bottom. I then capped it with 1" of sand

I placed the plants and filled the tank.

here is a picture of the tank a few minutes after it was filled

Here it is after the water settled out.

Ill post in about a week or so with an update
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:39 AM   #2
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What kind of light? And how high off te top of the tank is it? Looks great!! Love the back ground
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Old 07-21-2013, 02:17 AM   #3
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I have a 28" long, dual fixture.

it is a:

Coralife T5 dual - 1 lamp is ACTINIC, 1 is 10,000k

I will be replacing the bulbs in the near future with 6500k or 6700k bulbs.

the light fixture is about 3.5" above the surface
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:36 AM   #4
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I moved this to Tank Journals (where is should have been all along)

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