Going with dirt! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Going with dirt!

Hey guys. After fighting with plain pfs as my substrate for the last 3 years, I'm ready to move to dirt with a pfs cap.

I have a 125 with mostly low tech plants:
Swords
Java fern
Anubius
Water sprite and wisteria
Tiger Val
Crypts

Any cheap organic potting mix you guys recommend? We have home depot, Walmart, and Atwoods locally.

I planned on doing 2 in or so and adding my old pfs on top at 2".

Really hope this helps my plants and I'm really looking forward to making the switch. I was going to go back to eco complete but potting mix seems better. How long can I expect this to last also? Does replanting plants or adding new ones cause much mess? Very new at this process.

Do I still need to lightly dose thrive?

After watching a few YouTube videos, it seems fairly easy. Thanks!

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 11:02 PM
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Why not go for a good aqua soil? Expensive but so worth it IMO.

To save money I just use small lava chunks on the bottom and top off with some aqua soil (just enough for the plants that will go on that spot)
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aparker2005 View Post
I planned on doing 2 in or so and adding my old pfs on top at 2".
I would not recommend 2" of soil.
Maybe 3/4"-1" and then a cap of 1.25" to 1.5"

Learned my lesson here, plants grew well but had to wait to introduce shrimp.


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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How many bags would I need you guys think if I do the soil route?

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 11:33 PM
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What is the footprint of a 125G?


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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72 long, 18 wide. 21 tall

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 11:38 PM
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1 cu.ft. and you'll have some extra if 1" thick.

Bump: Some advise for a soil tank!

Sift all bark, mulch and rocks from the soil.
Soak in small portions and use a fine brine shrimp net to remove all floating debris.
This is were you lose about 1/4" of what you bought.

Line the front and sides of tank with 1"x1" strips of Styrofoam while putting in the soil.
Remove this before added sand and you won't see a visible dirt line when complete.

Just my thoughts here, hope it helps!


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 11:57 PM
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6-7 9L bags of Aquasoil should do the trick. I used 6 on my 120 gallon (4' x 2') which is only slightly smaller in base area. Well worth it in my opinion. I have made back the price many times over by selling plants. MTS can grow plants but is just so messy to work with, both in the setup and in tank maintenance. Very hard to maintain an aquascape where you need to move things around, uproot, etc.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Trying to avoid spending a ton with aqua soil but I'm not 100% opposed. Christmas is coming soon

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 01:23 AM
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100ís of dollars, if not thousands, in equipment, fish and plants and you want to save a few bucks on the dirt?


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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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100ís of dollars, if not thousands, in equipment, fish and plants and you want to save a few bucks on the dirt?


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Very true. I guess I didn't realize ever how beneficial a true aqua soil would be

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Well after reading yesterday and today I think I've changed my mind to go with Activ-Flora. Had eco complete before, I like to change my scape too much for dirt, so this substrate seems to be the best for me

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 02:37 AM
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I'd highly recommend going with the tried and true aquasoils as well. I spent about more than a thousand dollars on my 75 gallon tank, and used two bags of tropica (100$). I would have saved maybe 80 bucks if I didnt use aquasoils, but i also would not have been this successful without aquasoil. It's a small price to pay to have a huge advantage. Pay about 5-8% more money for the ease and advantage of aquasoil.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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Activ flora or eco complete were what I was really thinking. Can't find activ flora anywhere though other than 2 at Amazon

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 03:59 PM
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Activ flora and eco complete aren't really useful. They are largely inert rock that will maybe have some trace nutrients. Nowhere near as nutritious or beneficial as aqua soils. Personally I wouldn't waste my money. And a good quality aquasoil like ADA tolerates well moving things around, uprooting, replanting.

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