Messed up soil setup - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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Messed up soil setup

Hey y’all— last night, I tried my hand at setting up a Walstad-style aquarium with potting soil, Eco-complete, and capping with blasting sand.

However, I didn’t realize that I shouldn’t have had any water at all in the tank when I put in the soil layer. I left about an inch or so of mulmy water in the bottom, in order to save the nutrients there. This led to a very soupy situation with the soil. The Eco-complete basically fell right under the soil, and so did a little bit of the sand.

I was able to cap the soil/EC/sandy soup with the rest of my blasting sand. But the soil layer is definitely uneven.

Will this be a problem? Or should I just wait it out and see what happens? I’m not sure how to go about redoing this, without buying new soil and EC, which I’d like to avoid given the costs. Does anyone have experience separating soil from Eco-complete, if it comes to that?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 11:54 AM
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I would imagine that if you have a good cap it should be fine. If the cap is thin in places you may need to add more cap, or pull everything and redo it. if it was me, i would want to leave it in place if i could.

If you did need to separate the soil from eco complete, you could use some hardware cloth or other course screen. I think 1/8 inch hardware cloth/screen could at least separate the large pieces. The smaller "sand" like particles in the eco complete would be difficult to separate i think.

20g high and 10g planted low tech tanks.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-28-2018, 07:49 AM
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I just had to redo a soil and sand tank. Messy! But... most parts of dirt float in water, even if only for a very short time. So I put it in a bucket, stirred, and poured the water out, after giving the sand three Mississippis to sink, and it's like pouring out liquid dirt. However, regarding weight/ density/ mass/ whatever of EC and it's ability to sink, I have zero experience with it as I can't afford the stuff, so I don't know how this will work for you. It worked for me because sand is the part of dirt that sinks first (then clay, then silt I believe), although it did still take about a dozen gallons of dechlorinated water to get the sand clean clean.
Not just clean d=')
I used dechlorinated water to save any beneficial whatever because I reused it when I set the tank back up. Of course there is no saving it all, some of the sand will just get mixed in to the dirt, which will hopefully be used for another tank (if I don't continue to fail like I have been with the plants).

By the way... I felt the need to redo because my betta was acting sickly outta no where and I was worried about the fact that despite stirring the cap/poking it everyday for the month or so it was going, the bubbles would not stop. Granted, I don't have any MTS (yet), and I've lost about half the plants I started with so it's nothing close to heavily planted... but I also forgot to sift and had started some very woody stuff, I was worried about gas pockets. I will NEVER not sift again!!!

Hope this helps if you do decide to start over.
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