Did I use the wrong sand as a dirt cap? - The Planted Tank Forum
 1Likes
  • 1 Post By DaveKS
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Becky1980's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 2
Did I use the wrong sand as a dirt cap?

Hello, newbie here. I have had fish tanks forever, have had live plants in them, but didn’t get into it any more than just sticking some beginner/easy plants in there. I did elaborate planted terrariums for a long time for frogs. Now I recently became interested in the really fancy aqua-scaping I’ve been seeing with dense plants and low-tech. I started watching some videos and had been wanting to re-do my 15 gal long, so I followed one of the videos and took my tank apart and added organic sifted dirt on the bottom (about and inch to inch and a half) and then capped it with the sand I already had in that tank (another inch...deeper in the back) and put it all back together. Since the tank was already established, only thing new was the dirt underneath, I was able to add the fish back and they are fine two weeks later. It is not super heavily planted yet as I didn’t have money for that, so I’m just waiting for things to spread. I do still have a filter going, but the flow is blocked by a decoration cause I have a betta in there and they don’t swim well with lots of flow. I also got a much better LED light for it and the plants seem to like it. I didn’t lose any fish, they didn’t even seem bothered by the change, so assuming the tank didn’t have to cycle since I re-used everything in it. In fact they seam healthier and are now doing breeding behaviors. (Fish are 1 female betta, 7 galaxy rasboras, 5 ember tetras, tons of ramshorn snails.)

BUT I’m concerned anyway! LOL The more research I do, the more I’m seeing that the sand I used might be bad? I used Carib Sea Super Naturals tan colored sand from the pet store. I rinsed it a ton, it made the water slightly cloudy for maybe a day, but then was fine. But now I’m seeing people saying it’s too fine and roots can’t go through it and air pockets will get stuck in the dirt and become toxic, etc....I haven’t noticed an issue, but will I later? I have poked it and air bubbles came up. Plants are growing...only ones that died were dwarf hair grass, but I suspect it was because the light isn’t full strength in the very front of the tank, so I took it out and put it in another tank where it’s in the light. Other plants have grown. But now I’m concerned that the sand is too compact and is just sealing off the dirt instead of it providing for the plants like it’s supposed to. What do you guys think? Am I being paranoid since I’m not seeing issues, or is this not good for the future?
Becky1980 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 01:34 PM
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky1980 View Post
Hello, newbie here. I have had fish tanks forever, have had live plants in them, but didn’t get into it any more than just sticking some beginner/easy plants in there. I did elaborate planted terrariums for a long time for frogs. Now I recently became interested in the really fancy aqua-scaping I’ve been seeing with dense plants and low-tech. I started watching some videos and had been wanting to re-do my 15 gal long, so I followed one of the videos and took my tank apart and added organic sifted dirt on the bottom (about and inch to inch and a half) and then capped it with the sand I already had in that tank (another inch...deeper in the back) and put it all back together. Since the tank was already established, only thing new was the dirt underneath, I was able to add the fish back and they are fine two weeks later. It is not super heavily planted yet as I didn’t have money for that, so I’m just waiting for things to spread. I do still have a filter going, but the flow is blocked by a decoration cause I have a betta in there and they don’t swim well with lots of flow. I also got a much better LED light for it and the plants seem to like it. I didn’t lose any fish, they didn’t even seem bothered by the change, so assuming the tank didn’t have to cycle since I re-used everything in it. In fact they seam healthier and are now doing breeding behaviors. (Fish are 1 female betta, 7 galaxy rasboras, 5 ember tetras, tons of ramshorn snails.)

BUT I’m concerned anyway! LOL The more research I do, the more I’m seeing that the sand I used might be bad? I used Carib Sea Super Naturals tan colored sand from the pet store. I rinsed it a ton, it made the water slightly cloudy for maybe a day, but then was fine. But now I’m seeing people saying it’s too fine and roots can’t go through it and air pockets will get stuck in the dirt and become toxic, etc....I haven’t noticed an issue, but will I later? I have poked it and air bubbles came up. Plants are growing...only ones that died were dwarf hair grass, but I suspect it was because the light isn’t full strength in the very front of the tank, so I took it out and put it in another tank where it’s in the light. Other plants have grown. But now I’m concerned that the sand is too compact and is just sealing off the dirt instead of it providing for the plants like it’s supposed to. What do you guys think? Am I being paranoid since I’m not seeing issues, or is this not good for the future?
I have not used caribsea before but if it is to fine then yes it can build up pockets of gas. One way to solve this is use a poker like a chopstick, grill fork or something similar to poke your soil releasing the gas. Do this at least once a week. You can also get some Malaysian trumpet snails to keep your soil turned over. Have you noticed any bubbles coming up from the substrate? Could you post pics of the grain size of the sand?
Starwarsfan is offline  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 04:13 PM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Carolina Beach, NC
Posts: 105
Is it finer than play sand? I've used that a couple of times with absolutely no problems and it's pretty fine!

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
GadgetGirl is offline  
 
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 04:23 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
livebearerlove's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 680
I have used it multiple times... I used it just to make 'pathways' etc. I never had issues- but I never had an entire tank full of it.

Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful (as long as they cycle!)
7 Tanks and counting..... plus all these critters to feed critters
livebearerlove is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 02:25 AM
Newbie
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 4
I am using the same sand. Here are a few early observations.

I am powerless to rescaping, which I hoped a dirted tank would deter (it didn't) and I tried to pull a stem of hygro angustifolia...I could see sand pulling in all directions as the roots spread very successfully, and subsequently following there were several bubbles released. After this happening with a few more stems I tested for ammonia 30 minutes after replanting; 0.25 ppm. Nothing a proper cycled tank cant devour in short time, but depending on your livestock, I would take care not to do too much housekeeping at once.

If you have recently setup your tank as I have, you will notice Diatom will be abundant, and the sand tends to feed it with silicates which make it a real buster to get rid of.
DoubleB is online now  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 06:20 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
DaveKS's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: 67212
Posts: 1,702
About 1mm sand is fine. Plants roots actually transport gases into soil and use them to pull nutrients in at roots, one of byproducts of that process is the release of oxygen into soil bed.

Best practice is not to mow down your plants and replant them all at once removing all roots at once. Stage the pruning/pulling every two weeks or so only doing about 1/2 plants at a time. That way there’s always some roots feeding the soil bed with gases and oxygen. Some Crypt and other crown plants are good to have because you leave them for months at time and roots will spread out keeping soil layer healthy.

Ammonia is not problem with a putrid soil layer, it’s sulfide compounds, that same stuff that makes trapped sewer gas smell so bad. Pop open a layer that in your soil bed and it can wipe out your whole tanks fish population in less than a hour. Always have a water change and bag of carbon ready to go in case. But if you manage things and plant/replant properly you won’t have a problem.
DoubleB likes this.

Last edited by DaveKS; 05-28-2019 at 06:50 AM. Reason: Typo
DaveKS is online now  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Stratum cap over dirt freshtanks15 Substrate 4 01-22-2016 03:57 AM
Mega Dirt Substrate Brainstorm: Need Help! Dirt_Dude Substrate 11 10-13-2015 05:10 PM
Activ-Flora as a cap for dirt? domino Substrate 1 07-10-2014 03:46 PM
Building up dirt substrate or cap FewestKitten896 Substrate 5 07-09-2014 05:36 PM
How much floramax do I need to cap dirt? Beakman General Planted Tank Discussion 1 02-05-2013 03:33 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome