Dirted / soil tank pros vs cons. Worth it? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Dirted / soil tank pros vs cons. Worth it?

I’ve had inert substrate and recently been more involved with the planted side of aquariums rather than the fish side. This is my first post on the plantedtank website. My question is, I have been doing trial and error with many different types of plants, some grow and some die. The more I know about how to have a heavily planted tank, which is my goal, the more I am leaning towards trying the dirt / organic soil substrate capped with sand. I have yet to read the Diana Walstad book for a better understanding, but want to know by people that have done both. Is it worth it? Worth waiting for all levels to level, the mess of cleaning out the tank after all nutrients have been used and starting again? Or just go the regular route with repeat root tabs and water column ferts. What is everyone’s thoughts?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 07:52 PM
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Blasting / pool filter sand as substrate, no dirt. You'll need an inert substrate to cap the dirt anyway.

With he money you would spend on dirt, spend it on dry fertilizers to fertilize the water column.

Done. Plants will grow, root tabs are nice but are completely not needed if you dose the water.


Dirt - Will run out of nutrients, super messy, problematic at the start (sometimes). Tank life is limited (assuming you are relying on dirt only for nutrients).

That's my opinion anyway. Less "headache" if going inert vs going with messy dirt.

BUT. I still want to do a dirted tank, it's on my bucket list. Just to try it out anyway... I'm curious and would love to give it a shot / try something new. If you want to set the tank up, perform some big and frequent water changes, plant it and watch the plants grow, dirt could be a good option.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Jehorton View Post
The more I know about how to have a heavily planted tank, which is my goal, the more I am leaning towards trying the dirt / organic soil substrate capped with sand.
Screen all of the soil to remove wood chips and debris.

Soak it all and remove anything that floats.

When pulling plants take care, go slow, a quick vacuum of the substrate and all should be good.
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Growing is not that difficult.
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