First attempt at dirted! Diary of a 55G - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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First attempt at dirted! Diary of a 55G

So I have had gravel, Eco-Complete, and just plain old rocks in the past. I have always heard of people having crazy plant growth going the dirt route so it's time for me to try. The main goal I want to accomplish here is to have scale, and most importantly of them all, my TV, I don't watch TV much so I'll stare at this with bliss. To start off, I got this 55G tank from Craigslist three years ago, I haven't had the time to set it up, so I finally did. I'm not going to have CO2, and I'm going through with DSM, also first time.

October 21, 2017 -- To start it off, I had to get the 55G out of the carport, and test it for any leakage if there are any, luckily, there weren't any, left it setting for 4-5 hours.

November 4, 2017 -- Since I need the space for the extra things, I needed to tear down my 10G, RIP, it only had four guppies and a single white cloud mountain minnow.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 03:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raith View Post
So I have had gravel, Eco-Complete, and just plain old rocks in the past. I have always heard of people having crazy plant growth going the dirt route so it's time for me to try. The main goal I want to accomplish here is to have scale, and most importantly of them all, my TV, I don't watch TV much so I'll stare at this with bliss. To start off, I got this 55G tank from Craigslist three years ago, I haven't had the time to set it up, so I finally did. I'm not going to have CO2, and I'm going through with DSM, also first time.

October 21, 2017 -- To start it off, I had to get the 55G out of the carport, and test it for any leakage if there are any, luckily, there weren't any, left it setting for 4-5 hours.

November 4, 2017 -- Since I need the space for the extra things, I needed to tear down my 10G, RIP, it only had four guppies and a single white cloud mountain minnow.
Can't wait to see how it will turn out!

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 09:39 AM
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First attempt at dirted! Diary of a 55G

If you havenít already and itís not too late, I would ask, what plants to steer clear of when using dirt and remember, once you plant, you should avoid moving and replanting or adding a lot of plants in my opinion. I think my experience with Miracle grow may have been a lot less smellier and a lot less algae if I were to have planted and not had my planting tweezers in the dirt so much essentially impaling the cap. Also took a while for the water to clear up because my cap was not thick enough and I kept poking holes in it. Steer clear of plants like Vals or your days will be numbered. Try and use rocks in your scape. Thatís just me though.

Looking forward to seeing the tank, 55 is a nice size. Just curious if the tank is an Aqueon?

The DSM (dry start method) is fun in my opinion, you will have a cleaner tank in the long run if you are able to establish a nice thick carpet based on my experience. Essentially keeping the cap solid using the plant roots to keep cap in place firm and preventing the dirt from leeching into the water column.

Cheers,
DD


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Recipe for a quarantine tank: 5-15gal aquarium, no substrate, a heater that can heat the tank to 86F, "lights should be turned off", one - two mesh bags of biological medium, two small sponge filters, an air pump running into the tank powering the sponge filter. Lid is optional but you should be able to cover most of the tank to prevent fish from jumping out.
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Medicine for ich, fungus, bacteria and parasites next to your ...quarantine - hospital thank.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigityDog70 View Post
If you havenít already and itís not too late, I would ask, what plants to steer clear of when using dirt and remember, once you plant, you should avoid moving and replanting or adding a lot of plants in my opinion. I think my experience with Miracle grow may have been a lot less smellier and a lot less algae if I were to have planted and not had my planting tweezers in the dirt so much essentially impaling the cap. Also took a while for the water to clear up because my cap was not thick enough and I kept poking holes in it. Steer clear of plants like Vals or your days will be numbered. Try and use rocks in your scape. Thatís just me though.

Looking forward to seeing the tank, 55 is a nice size. Just curious if the tank is an Aqueon?

The DSM (dry start method) is fun in my opinion, you will have a cleaner tank in the long run if you are able to establish a nice thick carpet based on my experience. Essentially keeping the cap solid using the plant roots to keep cap in place firm and preventing the dirt from leeching into the water column.

Cheers,
DD
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Hey there, the tank isn't an Aqueon, not sure what brand it is. I'm not keeping Vals, maybe it is just me but I don't like the look of it, I'm doing a hybrid Iwagumi style tank.

November 13, 2017 -- Here's the stand that my dad built, and the 55G in place.
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Last edited by Raith; 11-16-2017 at 04:51 PM. Reason: Update.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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November 14, 2017 -- ah, my birthday. I took a week off to do this! So this series of pictures depicts a list of items getting gathered, I overcompensated, better to have more than less right? So it's a heavy duty sort of day,
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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November 15, 2017 -- super busy today, found some sandstone (?) in my backyard, been sitting in rainwater, etc for years, so I'm going to suspect that it's inert. Researched this a lot before I took the plunge, some places deemed it a no, other places okay. There weren't any redness other than clay to them, so no excess of iron. I won't know this until I flood the tank later. Boiled, and washed them. Bought a bunch of dwarf hairgrass as well.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 09:22 PM
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Cant wait to see it planted. Dirt produces some amazing results.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 09:24 PM
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This is going to be great!

Random thoughts:

Vals aren't that bad in soil. They spread like crazy, but the root balls are pretty small so they are easy to remove from dirt without upsetting the soil. However, when I get a chance I'm going to build some walls in the substrate to contain the vals. They did poke up through my small section of MC ruining it.

Put vinegar or some kind of acid on those rocks. I had some leftover Muriatic Acid which I tried on rocks collected from the yard, and the tan ones fizzed and bubbled, the grey ones did not.

Please filter the MGOC soil. I didn't, thats my only regret. Half of that bag will give you a 1" soil base in a 55g.

One bag of the HTH PFS will give you a 1" sand cap in a 55g.

IMO, plant slow growing plants if you don't want to be trimming always. And leave more space between groups than you think you will need.

You mentioned scale, and Iwagumi, I suspect you are planting mostly dwarf varieties and carpet?

There will be tannins from the MG soil. Purigen effectively eliminated them in under a week.

With an inch of sand cap, the MG soil never altered the water quality in any measurable way.

The best way to clean the PFS substrate is with a smallish vinyl hose. Stir above the sub, and it will pick up waste, not the sand. I learned to pinch the hose to stop flow so I can move it around without sucking up plants, or to release anything it picked up that is blocking flow.

Looking forward to more updates.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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November 15, 2017 (cont.) -- you're probably wondering what I am doing with the cut-out water bottles, and inside the tank (last picture attached), an empty milk bottle; well, this used to be a Starbucks Frap bottle, but since I am planning on getting Apistos later once everything is setup, I want to create a little cave. Whipped that Finnex Planted+, I am not sure if that is enough PAR for my tank. So far, I have an idea of what I want:
  • 12 dwarf corydoras (haven't picked what I want yet)
  • 4-6 Amano shrimps (more the merrier)
  • A pair of apistogrammas (maybe cacatuoides?)
  • x number of schooling fish, not sure which I want but I want smaller ones that get to 1.5" in size.
  • MTS will be transferred from my 20G so the sand will be sifted.
  • ?? otos (they're cute!)

A little dirt don't hurt.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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November 15, 2017 (cont.) -- layered with sand, and adding in my hairgrass, and some crypts to DSM. I need to ind some nylon, want to put a couple of smaller anubias in the back, and maybe some java fern.

Day 1 of DSM begins.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 10:18 PM
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Hey Raith,

that's some great progress you made.
It looks okay right now, I don't know if this is all the hardscape you want,
but if I were you i would go with some waaay bigger rocks as these will be drowned out by your plants in no time I reckon.
keep us updated though


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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giwan View Post
Hey Raith,

that's some great progress you made.
It looks okay right now, I don't know if this is all the hardscape you want,
but if I were you i would go with some waaay bigger rocks as these will be drowned out by your plants in no time I reckon.
keep us updated though
I might switch it out before I flood, priority first though!! Gotta get that carpet going.


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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-17-2017, 07:22 PM
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Good looking tank! If it were me I would go with a trio of the Apistos.

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-17-2017, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Good looking tank! If it were me I would go with a trio of the Apistos.
Good suggestion, I'm definitely open to more recommendations, I've never kept them before. I should probably get a GH/KH test kit when I flood it, too.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-18-2017, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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November 17, 2017 -- got my s. repens today, and I wanted to add more rocks to create a layered effect. I didn't want to add huge rocks, so it'll be just this so far, had to add additional sand. My old hardscape glue kind of, well, dried out, so I'm getting new ones so I can glue the anubias into the rocks instead of trying to have it sit on the rocks and hope for the best. Added a single rotala indica near the crypts because why not?

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisX View Post
This is going to be great!

Random thoughts:

Vals aren't that bad in soil. They spread like crazy, but the root balls are pretty small so they are easy to remove from dirt without upsetting the soil. However, when I get a chance I'm going to build some walls in the substrate to contain the vals. They did poke up through my small section of MC ruining it.

Put vinegar or some kind of acid on those rocks. I had some leftover Muriatic Acid which I tried on rocks collected from the yard, and the tan ones fizzed and bubbled, the grey ones did not.

Please filter the MGOC soil. I didn't, thats my only regret. Half of that bag will give you a 1" soil base in a 55g.

One bag of the HTH PFS will give you a 1" sand cap in a 55g.

IMO, plant slow growing plants if you don't want to be trimming always. And leave more space between groups than you think you will need.

You mentioned scale, and Iwagumi, I suspect you are planting mostly dwarf varieties and carpet?

There will be tannins from the MG soil. Purigen effectively eliminated them in under a week.

With an inch of sand cap, the MG soil never altered the water quality in any measurable way.

The best way to clean the PFS substrate is with a smallish vinyl hose. Stir above the sub, and it will pick up waste, not the sand. I learned to pinch the hose to stop flow so I can move it around without sucking up plants, or to release anything it picked up that is blocking flow.

Looking forward to more updates.
Hey, I missed this! Yeah I'm just trying to cover the entire thing with DHG, and have S. Repens near the rocks, so when they get taller, I'll keep trimming. I'm considering some kind of wall... I'm wanting a hybrid Iwagumi style. Do you think any vinegar would do, or just Muriatic Acid? I haven't bought any yet, have you ever had issues with the sand becoming aerobic?
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