I was wondering all of your opinions on having a dirted, planted tank. Is it bad for parameters? Too messy? It’s pretty cheap and im kind of on a budget. Any other suggestions are welcome😊. (55 gal)
I've kept a dirted tank for a year and have mixed feelings.
I didnt filter out the wood chips so that has been an issue. As plants grow, they push up soil from below. Even if the soil is free of larger debris, you will sometimes see soil deposits.
A bigger problem is in rescaping. If a plant has roots, and you aren't careful, the whole tank could turn into a dark mess if you pull up the wrong plant. Will need a 100% water change if this happens.
I find that soil keeps me from experimenting with aquascaping.
When vaccing the sand, you have to be careful to replace or you could get thin areas of sand where soil is exposed.
Because soil is pushed up and moved around by roots, I find there are many areas of my tank that do not appear to have any soil beneath the sand. Its probably not realistic to think a dirted substrate in a CO2 tank will last longer than 18 months.
Plants get most ferts from the water column, so its not clear how much help the soil is. There are probably plants to which it is a huge benefit. The choice to use soil depends on other considerations. How do you plan to dose ferts? What kinds of plants, etc..
If you have CO2 and plan to dose EI, its not clear how much advantage soil brings to the tank.