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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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topsoil...?

So i've read through the MTS thread, and to be honest i don't want to go through the aggravation of making that . Plus, i was looking for a nice white sandy substrate... rather than pool filter sand, i was going to use ADA's Forrest Sand -- this stuff here.. http://www.adgshop.com/ADA_Forest_Sa..._p/104-074.htm

only a few issues/questions here... that stuff is pretty expensive for inert sand... I have a 120 gallon tank, so it would be real expensive to fill it with that stuff... so my question was whether or not it's feasible to use just simple topsoil, and then cap it with a few bags of this stuff?

I was thinking topsoil, root tabs mixed in, then a top layer or "cap" of this ADA Forrest sand. I'm hoping this will work, as i've been searching for the right substrate for weeks now...
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 06:04 PM
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In my opinion, if your not gonna pick up the ADA plant substrate, and just that forest sand for looks, then I would find some comparable stuff from a local hardware store and be done. In terms of the dirt, I've used backyard dirt no problem without adding extras (just emmersed thus far though). I would figure you are looking to buy a bag of topsoil though? Make sure you aren't buying cow pies or anything with % cow pies, as that isn't desirable. A few inches of sand should cap the dirt, just don't go digging after the tank is established.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, buying a bag of just pure topsoil.. as far as the sand I really like the look and grain size of that ada sand, and I've not been able to find anything quite like it, which is why I asked if I could just cap topsoil with it..
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 06:32 PM
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got me some scott's topsoil today from home depot... $2.10 with tax. should be enough for my 55 gallon, going to top with sand.

from what i've read, and what others are saying this is suitable for tanks. as long as you don't introduce the dirt directly to the water column in the future. i suppose this means you'd also have to be weary about purchasing any fish that dig a lot
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 06:33 PM
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If your really thinking of doing this, some members have found my dirt thread helpful on what to expect. I don't mind testing water parameters and posted those as the tank settled in.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...-soil-sub.html
HTH


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, maybe I should rephrase... what would be the best inert substrate for me top use underneath this ada sand? Don't want them to mix.., and don't want issues down the road with anaerobic spots either..?
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 07:29 PM
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I'm not familiar with that sand, but a few inches of sand should be enough. I see it has a varying granular size, the small granules will slowly progress to above the dirt and below the larger granules. They themselves should keep the dirt locked in, you don't need much dirt keep in mind (not more than an inch). To keep anaerobic spots down, get those snails that burrow in sand (the name escapes me). They shouldn't be a problem with the dirt, but if that worries you then just use a vac on the sand every few weeks.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel A View Post
Ok, maybe I should rephrase... what would be the best inert substrate for me top use underneath this ada sand? Don't want them to mix.., and don't want issues down the road with anaerobic spots either..?
If you reviewed the thread I linked then posted this reply then you read something into it that wasn't there. At no time has anything fallen into an anaerobic state in that tank.

Everything layered in a tank mixes with time or so I've been told.


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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I read most of the thread and it seemed you had a good experience, correct? You just kept noting on how everything was fine after it "settled in" that was all that worried me... not sure what you meant by that? I wasn't set on topsoil for any reason, it was just the first thing that popped into my head.. really all i was looking for was an inert substrate that I could put a layer of that ada sand on top of... so basically im just looking for something inert I can lay a base layer of, and then just cover it with that sand for the look of it...

So should I just go with topsoil? Or are there better alternatives?
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 09:08 PM
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Enriched substrate is of benefit to a planted tank in many way's. It's making a choice, cost or effort as nothing is free. With an inert sub your dosing the water column all the time based on how much light is driving the system. Ultimately it seems everyone adds root tabs because they help so much with plant growth. Doing the math root tabs cost quite a bit with multiple tanks. I can easily spent $200 a year on tabs. (and do)
That soil tank has had nothing added except CSM+B since the first couple of weeks. It's almost two years wet and growth is still good for well under $50 including the cap material. (easy math for me)

Cycling a tank or cycling and monitoring until the soil transitions into a submerged state of decay. Cost vs ease of maintenance. It's all choices and the calendar wasn't really all that long before the tank was fully stocked.

There is one beautiful thing above all else with planted aquariums,,, no way is a wrong way as long as everything doesn't die


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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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If I went with such a substrate how long does it take until it decays and becomes stable? It seems you stocked very quickly after setting up the tank, but had to do some large water changes to keep the fish happy.. I don't mind waiting a little bit and then stocking... just curious as to how long it would take until I wouldn't have to worry about the soil underneath?
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 09:58 PM
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I would have to go back and check the thread for the details but based on the spreadsheet
(I use excel to track my tanks)
4-30-09 flooded the tank.
5-13-09 last positive test for ammonia or nitrite so the tank cycled in 13 days. (safe for fish)
6-21-09 I recorded 4 angels and 5 otto's in the tank
I did have problems with some stem plants, snails and shrimp early on but that's covered in the thread.

The depth of the soil and cap, type of soil, floaters and plants in the sub all make a difference I'm sure. I researched and bought Walstad's book. Posted a sister thread over on APC while setting up this tank.
It works and it's easy and it's cheap. IF you follow through and set it up right. (just like anything else)


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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Where could you go wrong and not set up or follow through right? Im just putting a layer of sand on top of a.layer of top soil, right?
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 11:51 PM
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Correct it's just sand on topsoil *but* the smaller particles will work there way downward over time which is the reason I go with SMS/Turface over smaller grained sand for a cap. Even that will mix a little bit but will stand up over time better.

It's all about grain size.

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 11:58 PM
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topsoil?

Joel,for my two cents worth i would rethink the soil thing.soilmaster would be a much better move. it is inexspencive and no vairables.i think soil substrates should ,if at all be used for very small tanks.small disaster,small fix.using the correct substrate in a planted tank is a very important part of the setup.good luck. cornhusker
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