Re-trying a planted aquarium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Re-trying a planted aquarium

Hi everyone,

I think I have the approach I want to take for my 60 gallon aquarium that I'll stock with goldfish but want to see what people's thoughts are. I previously had tried one with eco-complete, but could never get the tank to cycle, get the ammonia levels down, or get floating plants to grow. No idea why. Had no issues with my prior planted tank, so with this tank, trying a similar approach to my first tank.

First, I think I'll buy this soil from Home Depot: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Miracle-...9630/206667301. I'll soak the soil in 5 gallon buckets, but will not mineralize it.

Second, I think I'll mix the soil with some flourite black, to add the clay, but am wondering if just mixing red clay in there would work just as well? Either way, thoughts on what the ratio of it should be to the soil?

Third, I'll put a cap of Carib Sea ACS00832 Peace River Gravel for Aquarium.

Thanks for any input!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by agrant77 View Post
First, I think I'll buy this soil from Home Depot: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Miracle-...9630/206667301. I'll soak the soil in 5 gallon buckets, but will not mineralize it.

Second, I think I'll mix the soil with some flourite black, to add the clay, but am wondering if just mixing red clay in there would work just as well? Either way, thoughts on what the ratio of it should be to the soil?

Third, I'll put a cap of Carib Sea ACS00832 Peace River Gravel for Aquarium.
First:
Will you sift all wood chips out and remove all floating material during soaking.
A cap breach just makes a mess if not.

Second:
What is the need for basically inert flourite black?

Third:
A very loose caps leeches soil compounds to the water column rather quickly.

What type of tank are you setting up?


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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1 - Yes, I'll do that. That's my purpose behind soaking the soil.

2. I thought that the clay was needed to provide additional nutrients for the plants? Or did I misunderstand? (likely - chemistry was never my strong suit)

3. I was going for a loose cap because I'm getting goldfish, and figured that the slightly larger cap would be less likely to be disturbed by them than sand...but can certainly be convinced that just a sand cap would be best.

And re: tank, planted aquarium, with an Eheim canister filter, and stocked with goldfish and generally goldfish-friendly plants...
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 01:56 AM
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Just be sure to wash the flourite like its toxic waste otherwise it will dirty the water more then the soil will.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Great, thanks for that! Do you think mixing flourite with the potting mix is an okay approach? or not necessary?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 02:42 AM
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Great, thanks for that! Do you think mixing flourite with the potting mix is an okay approach? or not necessary?
Probably not necessary to mix in Flourite. When you pull up plants, the larger pieces of flourite will come up with the roots and pull up lots of dirt with it. Replanting is already going to be a challenge with just dirt under your cap. The cap should probably be something finer than gravel though as gravel will not really form a cap. will sink down into the dirt quite easily and you will just have a mess on your hands. I think Pool sand or BDBS would be a better choice, If you want a particular color (other than black or some shade of white), then the Carib Sea sands work pretty well also.

I may come across as a know-it-all. In reality, I have no idea.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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Great, thanks, that's super helpful! When you say that replanting will be a challenge with just dirt under the cap, do you recommend something in addition to (or in lieu of) dirt that would make replanting less of a challenge? Or is it just always a challenge with a planted tank?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 03:48 AM
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What are the goldfish friendly plants you want to use? Imho, I think the goldfish are very likely to stir up a lot of mud and mess. They'll easily root through your substrate cap, exposing the soil layers underneath. I think it might be a good idea to to consider some different fish (if possible.)
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 04:15 AM
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Great, thanks, that's super helpful! When you say that replanting will be a challenge with just dirt under the cap, do you recommend something in addition to (or in lieu of) dirt that would make replanting less of a challenge? Or is it just always a challenge with a planted tank?
Personally, I prefer a completely inert substrate and dose the water column with ferts. It is much easier IMO. When you try to pull plants out of a capped dirt tank you will pull up dirt with the roots and it creates a mess. Some have great results with capped dirt tanks, and I will probably try it myself at some point, but I do believe that inert substrates are cleaner and easier. I have read a lot of horror stories about replanting in capped dirt tanks that make me hesitant to take the plunge.

I may come across as a know-it-all. In reality, I have no idea.

Last edited by AguaScape; 04-19-2019 at 04:29 AM. Reason: edit
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! going to give dirt a try but if too messy, may go the inert route

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What are the goldfish friendly plants you want to use? Imho, I think the goldfish are very likely to stir up a lot of mud and mess. They'll easily root through your substrate cap, exposing the soil layers underneath. I think it might be a good idea to to consider some different fish (if possible.)
Various swords, anubias, and plants of that nature. Some duckweed to float, maybe anachris. Have had good luck with goldfish and plants in the past (goldfish themselves all developed health problems :-( - but they didn't eat the hardy plants)
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