Changing Substrate from sand & gravel to soil under sand - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Changing Substrate from sand & gravel to soil under sand


I've been watching the thread about Corydoras performance on sand versus gravel. https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfis...l-myth.273423/ I got a lot of information from that thread. Busting The Sand Cory Barbel Myth. I've also not sustained consistent plant growth and I am considering removing all the local river gravel sand combination used since I started this tank a year ago and adding soil beneath a layer of sand so our Pepper Corys might have an easier time working the substrate for food.
Also have a new Java Moss coming.

Water tests today. pH 7 hr-pH 7.6 ammonia 0ppm nitrie 0ppm nitrate 20ppm temperature 74F
30% water exchange glass cleaning vacuum general tank maintenance
I also removed most of the inch size gravel leaving local river sand trimmed plants.
June-3rd-2017-Today-50-gallon-aquarium-left-side.jpg
What type of soil should I use?
what would be a good quantity of soil to add to a 48 inch by 12 inch footprint tank.
I'm certain there a many things I haven't considered. Please let me know what is important.
Thank you,
Brian and Nell Rodgers

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 03:51 AM
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Hello Brian:

My most recent tank was just started with capped soil.
Many here recommend Miracle-Gro organic potting soil(orange bag).
No where near me was the orange bag for sale.

I mixed Scott's Premium Topsoil with the green bag of Miracle-Gro.
Sifted all mulch and wood chips from both products.
Half of Miracle-Gro went to the trash because of this sifting.
Didn't want tannin from the wood chips discoloring the tank.

Capped with BDBS since it is black didn't want to deal with PFS being discolored.

Used 1" of mixed soil and capped with 1.25" of BDBS.


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 02:43 PM
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Personally I'm a fan of silica (pool filter) sand (although play sand works too) with a complement of Malaysian Trumpet Snails. I don't think a mere 1" of "soil" down under brings much to the party (ask any farmer what he could grow in 1" of soil?) and it makes moving plants around difficult at best. I would suggest a larger plant mass.

But good luck with whatever you do.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-05-2017, 04:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ;Maryland Guppy wrote
Hello Brian:

My most recent tank was just started with capped soil.
Many here recommend Miracle-Gro organic potting soil(orange bag).
No where near me was the orange bag for sale.

I mixed Scott's Premium Topsoil with the green bag of Miracle-Gro.
Sifted all mulch and wood chips from both products.
Half of Miracle-Gro went to the trash because of this sifting.
Didn't want tannin from the wood chips discoloring the tank.

Capped with BDBS since it is black didn't want to deal with PFS being discolored.

Used 1" of mixed soil and capped with 1.25" of BDBS.
It does sound like a lot of work for questionable results. I'm sure glad I asked, because now I'm getting a better understanding of what is involved and what I can expect from different options.

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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Personally I'm a fan of silica (pool filter) sand (although play sand works too) with a complement of Malaysian Trumpet Snails. I don't think a mere 1" of "soil" down under brings much to the party (ask any farmer what he could grow in 1" of soil?) and it makes moving plants around difficult at best. I would suggest a larger plant mass.

But good luck with whatever you do.
Indeed I was hoping to bring more to the party. Thank you,
Brian

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-05-2017, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Personally I'm a fan of silica (pool filter) sand (although play sand works too) with a complement of Malaysian Trumpet Snails. I don't think a mere 1" of "soil" down under brings much to the party (ask any farmer what he could grow in 1" of soil?) and it makes moving plants around difficult at best. I would suggest a larger plant mass.

But good luck with whatever you do.
One question which came to my mind while reading the busting the sand myth thread is how sharp each particular sand is in relation to cory cats sifting through. For example, BDBS is specially created to remove very hard enamel from metal suggesting to me it is about as sharp edges as sand can get. Oh I see this topic has been discussed fairly often previously eg. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/29...lter-sand.html
Apparently pool filter sand is also quite sharp edges as well. I'll just see what I can find in little Las Vegas NM and go from there. We have a TCS and a BigR. I think either could be a prospect

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-05-2017, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Okay BDBS is in hand. Now if you all think I'm okay to move forward I'll start figuring out if I can separate an area in the center of the tank with some kind of plastic border disturbing the tank as little as possible making a Cory Cat sand box in the center.
As soon as the weather gives us a break.
hailioclastic flow right outside my windowAll changes saved.
[youtube]D8KQyBabXTQ[/youtube] Not certain what is wrong with the bbcode let's try [youtube]https://youtu.be/D8KQyBabXTQ[/youtube]
or maybe https://youtu.be/D8KQyBabXTQ
Okay so I made up a word, nevertheless hail and rain got to moving and the top layer of gravel in the driveway moves right along with it

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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I decided to remove everything including fish. I scrubbed the glass used a wet vacuum to remove every last speck of gravel. The Black diamond blasting sand seems clean, but I still have four more water changes to do.

Jun-5th-2017-substrate-change-in-progress-first-fill.jpg
I won't put anything back in until I get back from town for another doctor visit for my wife. I'll buy some stress coat then and treat the tank after a few more water changes.

Jun-5th-2017-substrate-change-in-progress-looking-at-murk.jpg
Yep it's kind of nasty after this first fill.

Jun-5th-2017-substrate-change-in-progress-hail-outside.jpg
Meanwhile we got our third hail and downpour of rain. Someone forgot to tell God this is the semi arid southwest.

Jun-5th-2017-substrate-change-in-progress-fish-safe-and-sound-in-5-gallon-tank.jpg
The fish look freaked out but otherwise safe and sound in the overnight setup. Do you suggest I not put them back in until I look for ammonia and or nitrate spikes? I think they will be okay in the five gallon tank for a few days perhaps more if the chemistry does not go haywire, right?

Jun-5th-2017-substrate-change-in-progress-fish-safe-and-sound-in-5-gallon-tank-1024.jpg
I put a few smaller plants in with them to give them cover if they want it. That's 11 black Skirts, 1 dwarf Gourami, 5 Pepper Cory cats, 2 Otos, 2 Bolivian Rams. The Fluval 306 has too much current for this little tank, but it is what it is.
I am open to suggestions and appreciate the advice I've got to get me here. Thank you so much.
Sincerely,
Brian and Nell Rodgers

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-06-2017, 03:33 PM
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Why not just use sand with root tabs? I've started using them In my pfs under some crypts although it's too early for any signs of growth
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2017, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a shot of the driftwood and Java Moss as well as the Java Fern on Mopany driftwood.

It keep getting better I believe

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2017, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Rodgers View Post
Here is a shot of the driftwood and Java Moss as well as the Java Fern on Mopany driftwood.

It keep getting better I believe
it does look way better than the first pic...might I suggest a background? I really like black,makes the colors pop.

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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New smart(ish)phones mine: Samsung J7 Nell's LG Stylo 3+ Both together cost the same as one of the horrid HTC M9. Checking quality of camera with mine which is capable of 12 million pixels. I turned it down to the lowest like 6 thousand pixels setting.I didn't want to overload my PC when I move files. Maybe a mistake, I don't know, don't really care after the long day I had; moving the van off the mountain, cutting and fitting furring strips to level concrete blocks and 2X6 wall above it. Got them all done and fixed a few things around the picture window, things I so nonchalantly dismissed back when I want building walls. How's it go, "drywallers will fix that?" Meet the drywaller; Brian Rodgers, sheesh! Then an hour on the phone with T-Mobile tech support activating both phones... Oh that's right I woke up with that epiphany at 3:30 this morning and could not go back to sleep. I am quite happy with the results of the fine day.

June-7th-2017-new-smartphone-aquarium.jpg
Camera seems better
Look how much color our Bolivian Ram picked up in the rearranged aquarium...

June-7th-2017-new-smartphone-aquarium-Bolivian-Ram.jpg

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Personally I'm a fan of silica (pool filter) sand (although play sand works too) with a complement of Malaysian Trumpet Snails. I don't think a mere 1" of "soil" down under brings much to the party (ask any farmer what he could grow in 1" of soil?) and it makes moving plants around difficult at best. I would suggest a larger plant mass.

But good luck with whatever you do.
Having used both play sand and PFS, I strongly recommend the PFS. The play sand is so fine its impossible to avoid sucking it up during water changes.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2017, 11:58 AM
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So you're not using the dirt now, right? Anyone else reading this and thinking they might add potting soil should consider that the soil often releases a good 1ppm+ of ammonia when first added to a tank. I wouldn't personally switch out the substrate to soil if it was gonna be a remove fish, switch substrate, replace fish kinda deal. I'd want at least a few days to let things settle.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-28-2017, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by geisterwald View Post
So you're not using the dirt now, right? Anyone else reading this and thinking they might add potting soil should consider that the soil often releases a good 1ppm+ of ammonia when first added to a tank. I wouldn't personally switch out the substrate to soil if it was gonna be a remove fish, switch substrate, replace fish kinda deal. I'd want at least a few days to let things settle.
That is correct no soil beneath the BDBS. Good to know by doing the substrate this way I avoided the ammonia spike issue. I'm glad I was advised to do it with just sand. Fish and plants are doing well.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 10:13 PM
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I use non clumping, non scented kitty litter. Then place pool filter sand over.
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