Good dirty fun. First dirt tank. 56k Warning!!! New Pics 2/1 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Good dirty fun. First dirt tank. 56k Warning!!! New Pics 2/1

Ok, so I have this 2 gallon hexagon tank sitting around, and thought I would try to plant it and have a betta in it. It is one of those PetCo kit tanks with everything in it. It came with an under gravel filter that I am not going to use. I will be putting a Hagen Elite Mini in it. It also has a 5 watt incandescent light that I am going to keep on it. The substrate is going to be potting soil with a black gravel cap. Not sure on plants yet, but I will be looking around. This is what I have so far. I painted 3 of the panels black to act as a background.



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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech


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post #2 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-14-2011, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Ok. So, I decided on a different light fixture. I had one of those reptile clamp lamps lying and a 13 watt CFL bulb lying around. Can you see where I am going with this? I think I am going to use that instead along with the soil and gravel cap. The soil is Ferti-Lome Ultimate potting soil and the gravel is just regular black fish tank gravel. I put about an inch of the potting soil and I will cap that with the gravel. Here is what it looks like without the soil.



Here it is with the dirt.



Do I need more? Maybe less? Let me know. And I also need to come up with a plant list. I think I want to use some Glosso as a carpet plant, but I have no idea on anything else at the moment. Give me some feedback. Thanks guys.


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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech


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post #3 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-14-2011, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Got a plant list, here it is.

Hygrophila difformis - Water Wisteria - Background
Glossostigma elatinoides - Glosso - Carpet
Taxiphyllum barbieri - Java Moss

Let me know what you think.


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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech


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post #4 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-14-2011, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Got the potting soil in with the gravel cap. Now I just need a filter and plants.


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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech


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post #5 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-15-2011, 08:55 PM
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Looks like it'll be pretty cool buddy. I think you need to add a big red low-lying plant in there too. Like some kind of smaller crypt or something, that'll look real nice. Don't know that you need any wood or rocks, unless you wanted to add rocks here and there and make the substrate slope back or something. IDK, just some thoughts and you know how they go in this hobby Heck, I redid my scape 6 times before I finally got pretty close to what I wanted. Good luck, should be pretty cool.


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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech.
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post #6 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-15-2011, 09:17 PM
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Looks like it'll be pretty cool buddy. I think you need to add a big red low-lying plant in there too. Like some kind of smaller crypt or something, that'll look real nice. Don't know that you need any wood or rocks, unless you wanted to add rocks here and there and make the substrate slope back or something. IDK, just some thoughts and you know how they go in this hobby Heck, I redid my scape 6 times before I finally got pretty close to what I wanted. Good luck, should be pretty cool.
What I wish existed is a red form of the anubias plant (regular, nana, and petite). It's exactly the plant that I would love to have in my tank and what I think would look amazing in this tank :P

Come on genetic engineering!

What kind of dirt did you use in your substrate? Please make sure it is organic dirt. If it has artificial fertilizers they will dissolve into the watercolumn and literally fry anything you put in there; plants, animals, fungi...anything! I used Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix (as well has many of my friends) and so far it has done amazing! You won't regret dirting a tank especially since you'll be putting a lot of light above it.
You will also want to consider c02 injection. I'm not sure if you have any experience with it but DIY is really easy. I'm pretty new in the hobby and have picked it all up pretty quickly. You seem to know what you're doing so if you don't have any experience with it you'll definitely pick it up quick.

This tank is going to look fantastic.


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post #7 of 74 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Looks like it'll be pretty cool buddy. I think you need to add a big red low-lying plant in there too. Like some kind of smaller crypt or something, that'll look real nice. Don't know that you need any wood or rocks, unless you wanted to add rocks here and there and make the substrate slope back or something. IDK, just some thoughts and you know how they go in this hobby Heck, I redid my scape 6 times before I finally got pretty close to what I wanted. Good luck, should be pretty cool.
Thanks man. I finally have water in it today. I was just looking at plants in one of my books, And I did not see any that I liked that were red. I agree with it though. It needs some red right in the middle. I think I am going to do some sticks leaning against the sides covered in moss. Not planning on rocks and all that. I am planning on putting some shrimp in here, so I think the stick will be good for them. I am going to keep looking for some type of red plant though as well.

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What I wish existed is a red form of the anubias plant (regular, nana, and petite). It's exactly the plant that I would love to have in my tank and what I think would look amazing in this tank :P

Come on genetic engineering!

What kind of dirt did you use in your substrate? Please make sure it is organic dirt. If it has artificial fertilizers they will dissolve into the watercolumn and literally fry anything you put in there; plants, animals, fungi...anything! I used Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix (as well has many of my friends) and so far it has done amazing! You won't regret dirting a tank especially since you'll be putting a lot of light above it.
You will also want to consider c02 injection. I'm not sure if you have any experience with it but DIY is really easy. I'm pretty new in the hobby and have picked it all up pretty quickly. You seem to know what you're doing so if you don't have any experience with it you'll definitely pick it up quick.

This tank is going to look fantastic.
I hear ya on the genetic engineering thing. Those plants would look perfect if they were red. As far as I know, it is organic potting soil, but I will check again to make sure. If it is not, I empty it and start again. As far as CO2, I will be dosing Excel just like my other tanks and see how that goes. If it does not work, I will take the DIY route for sure. I am planning on putting a paintball setup on my 10 gallon in the near future, so I am thinking the yeast reactor would work well on this one.

Thank you both for the kind words. I am going next week as soon as I get paid to find some plants and get the filter for this tank. It is going to be a Hagen Elite Mini, and I think I changed things up on the plants a little bit. Here is my revised, will added-to, list:

Hygropholia difformis - Water Wisteria
Hygropholia polysperma - Dwarf Hygropholia (?)
Glossostigma elatinoides - Glsso
Vesicularia dubayana - Java Moss
Ceratopteris thaliictroides - Water Sprite (?)

The ones with the ? I am still undecided on. Any feedback would be great. And thank you for the kind words.


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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech


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post #8 of 74 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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Ok. An update. The tank has been empty for a while as I did not like the dirt I had in it. I went and got some different stuff today.



Want to know if this will work or if I need to get something different.


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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech


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post #9 of 74 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 11:07 PM
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You need organic soil!
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post #10 of 74 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 12:46 AM
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Yes the organic part is crucial. From what I can tell, it looks like the soil you had there before had fertilizer in it (the white stuff), so it's a good thing you decided to change

The bag says "miracle gro continuous release plant food." You don't want this, as it can poison your tank.
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post #11 of 74 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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You need organic soil!
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Yes the organic part is crucial. From what I can tell, it looks like the soil you had there before had fertilizer in it (the white stuff), so it's a good thing you decided to change

The bag says "miracle gro continuous release plant food." You don't want this, as it can poison your tank.
Crap. That is what I thought. I may try this and see what it does to water parameters with no livestock in it. I am kind of curious now.


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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech


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post #12 of 74 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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So. After a long absence, I finally got some stuff to get this tank back up and running (sorta). I got some different dirt and a new bulb the is a 15watt 6500K spiral fluorescent. I like the look of the light much better. The other one was not right and I think this one will make plants explode. This tank was empty for far too long, but not anymore.


Same soil as in my emersed set-up.


Just dirt.


Here it is in all its glory. Only a little bit of water at the moment. I am going to rinse it later, but I am letting the dirt soak up some of the water first to make sure it is good and water logged before I add plants and things. Hopefully that will happen tomorrow and sat. Progress, finally!


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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech


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post #13 of 74 (permalink) Old 09-16-2011, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, first I want to say, thanks to Bahugo for hookin me up the other day. He gave me tons of plants for a good deal. That being said, here is what I got yesterday.


$25 worth of plants from Golden Aquarium.


$40 worth of plants from Bahugo.

Does anyone see the problem here, lol.

I got some HC, moneywort, 2 types of crypts, and some red stem plant I already forgot the name of. That was all from Golden Aquarium.

I got Java Moss, Flame Moss, Guppy Grass, Glosso, and a bunch of stem plants from Bahugo.

Now that my goodie list is up. On to the good stuff.


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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech


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post #14 of 74 (permalink) Old 09-16-2011, 02:12 PM
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didn't you get the same type of soil? you need organic potting soil...you might run into problems with that.




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post #15 of 74 (permalink) Old 09-16-2011, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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didn't you get the same type of soil? you need organic potting soil...you might run into problems with that.
That soil does not have anything in it. It is as basic as I could find. If I run into problems then I will ditch it, and start over. It is working well in my emersed set-up though.


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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech


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