My 20G Long Dirted Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-18-2018, 05:33 AM Thread Starter
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Post My 20G Long Dirted Tank

Welcome to my first tank journal! I have been a long time lurker and I guess it's about time to actually start contributing a little! This will be my 4th tank setup, 3rd time dirting and I have been enjoying it very much! I have a 20G long that I am tearing down and remodeling and decided to share with you all my new set up. So here we go!

I went out today and retrieved some wood around the house. After placing in the tank, I decided to go with an arch of sorts weaving the wood together. I tied the wood together in less visible areas with fishing line to make the pieces act as one and make it a little bit more structurally sound. I will be tying the arches to rocks on either side as well just to ensure they don't try and float too much. I placed in some fake plants to get an idea of what it would look like with some green in it and I am very pleased with the look thus far.

See pictures below, first is of my original setup with mainly Jungle Val and Dwarf Sag. Second is of the new tank progress with fake plants for looks.

Next up will be to get the dirt ready! I will be capping with Black Diamond Blasting Sand. Other details to follow.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 03:02 AM
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Subscribed. I'll be interested to see how this develops.

2x20-longs, one heavily planted. Platy rancher. They. Won't. Stop. Breeding.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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Dirted, Capped, and Half Planted

Quite a bit of progress has been made and as of tonight I am halfway through planting. You'll have to forgive me on not knowing exactly what I have planted as I am still in the learning phase of all the proper names of the plants. I'm usually saying "oh this one looks nice" or "I like the big leafy one in the back!"

Anyway, I am trying out some of the Miracle Gro Natures Care (green bag) potting mix for the substrate. In my first setup I used the MGOCPM (orange bag) with some red potting clay mixed in. I could not find any of the orange bag around town so after doing quite a bit of research on the Natures Care, I decided to give it a shot. Yes, it does have perlite in it; however, I believe the cap layer will hold it down sufficiently to not cause to much of a mess. If not, I'll redo it!

I decided to place dirt on either side of the tank as I wanted to leave the center under the arch fairly open. I ended up with about 1/2" towards the front and middle with maybe 3/4" of dirt towards the back. I had about 1/2" in my first set up and it went well. This tank will be more heavily planted so I increased dirt thickness slightly and I hope it will work out.

After getting the dirt mixed with water to what felt like the right consistency, I capped it with Black Diamond Blasting Sand (BDSD) of equal thickness of the dirt below. Once the dirt layer was capped, I placed in the wood and rocks, and then slowly filled the tank using bubble wrap placed on the bottom so as not to disturb the substrate. It was about this time I realized I forgot to mix in some clay into my substrate at which I was at the point of no return. So I continued on and will hope for the best! Shouldn't be a major issue, but it was something I planned on doing.

With a few inches of water in, I began planting my "little" plants.

With that being said, I was generously given several plants from a friend for this tank as well as ordering some plants which should arrive in the next few days. As previously mentioned, I am still learning here, but I am making an attempt to do better about learning the varieties of plants out there. This is what I believe I have in my tank at the present moment:

A few Amazon Sword
Several Narrow Leaf Elodea
1 Anubias Nana
Some Java Moss
1 Jungle Val (Couldn't resist not putting one in from my previous set up)
Several foreground stem plants of which I haven't determined species yet.

I am waiting on the following:

Water Wisteria
Compact Corymbosa
Bacopa Caroliniana

After getting the plants in, I put in enough water to keep all the greenery just under the surface. This ended up being about half filled at this point. I then installed the heater and set it at 78 degrees F. I also put in an air bubbler for now to get some surface agitation. I hope to finish planting over the weekend, get the filter running, and begin cycling. Oh boy is it getting exciting! I love getting a new tank set up!

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Last edited by twistedaviator; 06-29-2018 at 04:21 AM. Reason: Formatting
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-29-2018, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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Well, progress has been made! The tank is now full of water and I have done a "jump start" cycle using an established filter from another tank. I have been adding ammonia to keep the bacteria up for the last few days. Several of the plants have shown signs of melting which I expected, but hopefully they will turn around and get established. Tested my ph for the first time and it was right around 8.

I'll hope to be adding fish this weekend and will have more on that when the time comes.

On the flip side, I have already noticed some algae growing in the tank. I have dropped my lights down to only 3 hours and will leave it that way for a week or so. The tank is in a room which gets more natural sunlight than normal which is also a contributing factor, especially during this time of the year.

Having issues getting pictures together, but I will post when I get a chance.


Last edited by twistedaviator; 06-30-2018 at 03:05 AM. Reason: more formatting
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Tried to clean up the melting plants a little this evening and added my fish! I have put it some Red Fire Dwarf Gouramis and some Julii Cory Cats for clean up crew. Not sure how they will do with the BDBS but will keep an eye on them and see.

I believe the algae issue is just related to new tank setup, so I'm just planning on letting the tank go for a bit until everything stables out and see what happens. I'm not necessarily against algae as it is natural, but I would like my plants to take hold first!

Still can't get pictures loaded for some reason yet, but will get them posted when I can.

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20 gal long, 20 gallon, black diamond, dirt

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