Shallow Dirt Layer? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-10-2017, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Shallow Dirt Layer?

Most of what I've read about using dirt says you should make a .5-1" layer of dirt, then cap it with 1.5-3" of sand or gravel. My 5.5g is only 10" tall, so I want the substrate to be as short as possible. What would happen if I made a less than .5" dirt layer and capped it with only 1" of pool filter sand?

I can easily add more sand later if need be, but it would be very difficult to add more dirt. What happens if there is not enough dirt? (I'm using earthworm castings as dirt, if that matters.)
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 07:48 PM
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imo, pretty much any amount of dirt is better than no dirt at all. you could use root tabs or add ferts to the water column to supplement the soil.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-11-2017, 08:34 PM
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I find planting difficult in anything less than 2" of substrate. You could omit the dirt near the front glass and taper the substrate up towards the back.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-12-2017, 12:44 PM
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I tried a shallow dirt layer in part of my 20 gallon nursery as an experiment. I agree with d33pVI, whose username is particularly relevant here: I have difficulty planting in such thin substrate. Monte Carlo didn't seem to mind it, but of course it doesn't have roots that are deep enough to care. Stem plants, in particular my rotala, seem to suffer: they have grown scraggly in this shallow area.
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