Turning Anerobic soil to Aerobic soil - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Turning Anerobic soil to Aerobic soil

Dirt Tank turned anaerobic:

1.5in Soil
1.1in Blasting sand
2 Mo. Cycle time
Hi, I have been cycling my tank for 2 months now,everyday I take my tweezers and poke the sand into the soil to release the gas. There is alot of gas even 2x a day throughout the entire tank. The only place there is relatively few bubles is by the rooted Jungle val, which is doing well. Almost all other plants that I plant rot the roots right off it.
Things that I tried:
Increasing the surface agitation (7-10 tank turnover/hr with powerheads) adding bubble wands and bubblers including sponge filters. Poking the sand 2x a day to release gas. Water changes 2x a week 25%.

So should I just wait it out?

This will take a while to decompose the organic material.

What do you all think?


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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nautal View Post
Dirt Tank turned anaerobic:

1.5in Soil
1.1in Blasting sand
2 Mo. Cycle time
Hi, I have been cycling my tank for 2 months now,everyday I take my tweezers and poke the sand into the soil to release the gas. There is alot of gas even 2x a day throughout the entire tank. The only place there is relatively few bubles is by the rooted Jungle val, which is doing well. Almost all other plants that I plant rot the roots right off it.
Things that I tried:
Increasing the surface agitation (7-10 tank turnover/hr with powerheads) adding bubble wands and bubblers including sponge filters. Poking the sand 2x a day to release gas. Water changes 2x a week 25%.

So should I just wait it out?

This will take a while to decompose the organic material.

What do you all think?
Add Malaysian trumpet snails.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 12:31 AM
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All dirt tanks will have anerobic conditions in areas with no plants. It's pretty normal. It's why it is suggested only to put soil where you are going to plant.

What plants are you having trouble with and how long did you leave them undisturbed?


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 01:22 AM
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Edit: my bad reading comprehension fail.

Going back to your journal and other previous posts...

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-aquarium.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...columning.html

Things that stick out to me are.. really think it is a combination of all 3 possibilities.

1. Compost you used is way to heavily organic and you should have pre-leached it extensively as @minorhero suggested in your sand columning thread. This would have put you months ahead on tank stabilizing. As it stands with that much excess organic content your probably looking at 6-8mo before it stabilizes.

2. Sand possibly to fine, limits amount of oxygen that can reach soil because of restricted pore size between grains. Combine that with high organic load down there and you have a recipe for hard anoxic/anaerobic conditions.

3. You should have planted heavily from day one. Letting roots aerate soil before the hard anoxic conditions started generating the methane/sulfide which is now causing root/stem rot.

Val’s really are extremely adaptable to these kind of conditions. Their strap like leaves are little super highways of gas transport into subtrate, where around root hairs during CEC process of nutrient uptake oxygen is released as byproduct of nutrient uptake. If they get tall enough so leaf tips touch water surface where they can access all CO2 they want that gas exchange will kick into high gear.

Last edited by DaveKS; 12-14-2019 at 11:27 PM. Reason: Content
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 01:53 AM
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Edit after re-reading thread.

OP: What are you using for filters and/or powerheads?

Style: Organic soil (dirt), sand, gravel, plants, moss, algae, biofilm, mulm, snails, shrimp, small fish
Tech: Fluval Plant 3.0 Nano, Top Fin MF10, Tunze 3161, Eheim Skim 350, Neptune Apex EL
Tanks:
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Last edited by Streetwise; 12-14-2019 at 03:30 AM. Reason: Edit
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 02:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nautal View Post
1.5in Soil
1.1in Blasting sand
I refrained from commenting earlier.
OP needs to clarify 1.5" or 5" of soil etc...
5" of soil would be off the hook!

3/4" to 1" of soil is more than enough for an 18 month go at it!
With @ least a 1.25" of cap.
I recommend a tight cap like a sand of some sort.


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Last edited by Maryland Guppy; 12-14-2019 at 02:10 AM. Reason: edit
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 03:17 AM
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Given how he types it's pretty clear it's 1.5 inches of soil and 1.1 inch of cap. A total of 2.6 inches of substrate and perfectly within bounds of reasonable. 5 inches of dirt is just silly. No one does that.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
I refrained from commenting earlier.
OP needs to clarify 1.5" or 5" of soil etc...
5" of soil would be off the hook!

3/4" to 1" of soil is more than enough for an 18 month go at it!
With @ least a 1.25" of cap.
I recommend a tight cap like a sand of some sort.
What do you mean 18month go of it, I am curious? I do not plan on changing out the dirt after 18mo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Streetwise View Post
Edit after re-reading thread.

OP: What are you using for filters and/or powerheads?
I have a 210gph powerhead on a dual sponge filter, a 250gph powerhead on one end and a wave pump I put in there to disturb the surface. I have also added and subtracted bubblers to see if it makes a difference * it doesn't except it cleared up the cloudyness (bacterial bloom) i had or it was just a coincidence that it was at the end of the cycle im not for sure.


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Add Malaysian trumpet snails.
I added some, but maybe not enough. I was hoping to add a seed amount of MTS and they would expand and strike a balance in population.


Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Given how he types it's pretty clear it's 1.5 inches of soil and 1.1 inch of cap. A total of 2.6 inches of substrate and perfectly within bounds of reasonable. 5 inches of dirt is just silly. No one does that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nautal View Post
Dirt Tank turned anaerobic:

1.5in Soil
1.1in Blasting sand
1.5 = 1 + one half of an inch or 3.81 cm of soil
1.1 = 1 + one Tenth of an inch or 2.74 cm of Blasting sand
So I was guessing alittle more than an inch of blasting sand.

this is a 20 gallon long aquarium with standard dimensions being 30.5 inches long by 12.5 inches wide by 12.5 inches tall.
I have no CO2, I have a fluval 3.0 plant with custom curve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
All dirt tanks will have anerobic conditions in areas with no plants. It's pretty normal. It's why it is suggested only to put soil where you are going to plant.

What plants are you having trouble with and how long did you leave them undisturbed?
I planted spike dwarf hair grass, elodea 2 types, jungle vallisteria, Myriophyllum, Bacopa Caroliniana, and Potamogeton sp. Only the Val has really rooted and expanded all others either rot and float or just stay the same or get slightly smaller.
The Bacopa rotted after 2 weeks, planted little after 1 mo being setup. Myriophylum is growing very slow, jungle val is... well jungle val and growing and filling in quite well. Elodea both types have above substrate roots that do no survive and has not produced roots below surface of substrate.
Dwarf hair grass has receeded in size of clumps and doesnt appear to be doing anything. though I was told this might take a while. Subwasssertang has disappeared, water lettuce has turned miniature, azolla has thinned to small sparse plants. All plants (except floaters) were planted at approximately the same time around 1 month post setup.
The only thing that has done well is the Ceratophyllum.


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nautal View Post
I planted spike dwarf hair grass, elodea 2 types, jungle vallisteria, Myriophyllum, Bacopa Caroliniana, and Potamogeton sp. Only the Val has really rooted and expanded all others either rot and float or just stay the same or get slightly smaller.
The Bacopa rotted after 2 weeks, planted little after 1 mo being setup. Myriophylum is growing very slow, jungle val is... well jungle val and growing and filling in quite well. Elodea both types have above substrate roots that do no survive and has not produced roots below surface of substrate.
Dwarf hair grass has receeded in size of clumps and doesnt appear to be doing anything. though I was told this might take a while. Subwasssertang has disappeared, water lettuce has turned miniature, azolla has thinned to small sparse plants. All plants (except floaters) were planted at approximately the same time around 1 month post setup.
The only thing that has done well is the Ceratophyllum.
When you say you have a custom curve on the fluval 3.0... do you reach peak brightness? If not what levels are we talking? Cause frankly dwarf hairgrass should be growing if the light is strong enough. 1 month after being planted you should be seeing at least some new growth. Possible problems to consider here is flow, see below.

When planting the stems like bacopa and elodea are you stripping away the lower leaves so only the stem is going into the substrate? I found that if I plant leaves in substrate the stems will tend to suffer and take much longer to grow. I have a species of elodea in my quarantine tank and its taking several months for it to grow very much. It just doesn't do well for me but other plants are growing much quicker so /shrug sometimes you just find out that some plants don't grow well for you.

Other things to consider is flow. It also sounds like you might have a LOT of flow in your tank. Most plants don't like a lot of flow. Your water lettuce definitely does not. Val doesn't care and in will grow great in streams in the wild with crazy flow. I'm not sure about the rest but you are looking for culprits for why your plants aren't growing. It sounds like you have something insane like 400-500 gallons per hour water disturbance in a 20 gallon tank... So you have water whipping around to the tune of 25 times per hour turn over? normal for planted tanks is 4-8..... so yea.. probably want to get rid of everything but your normal filtration, no wave makers, no power heads etc.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by nautal View Post
What do you mean 18month go of it, I am curious? I do not plan on changing out the dirt after 18mo?
I've used miracle-gro all purpose garden mix about 1" and sand cap of 1.25"
I tried to get 2 years out of it and plant growth declined around 18 month mark.
Granted it is a high light CO2 injected tank so maybe your time will double?

Soil is not forever and once depleted a change in growth is noticed.


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
I've used miracle-gro all purpose garden mix about 1" and sand cap of 1.25"

I tried to get 2 years out of it and plant growth declined around 18 month mark.

Granted it is a high light CO2 injected tank so maybe your time will double?



Soil is not forever and once depleted a change in growth is noticed.
Does soil have any sort of CEC? If so, could modified dosing be utilized to extend the usable lifespan of the soil?

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 06:06 PM
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Does soil have any sort of CEC? If so, could modified dosing be utilized to extend the usable lifespan of the soil?

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Soil has a high CEC value, like all tanks regular fertilizer is important to any kind of long term plant growth.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 06:22 PM
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CEC for soil = yes
All soils will be different and can become saturated who knows when.
When saturated what will be released over time?
Some of this is above my pay grade so I just change it when growth habits begin to degrade.


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Soil has a high CEC value, like all tanks regular fertilizer is important to any kind of long term plant growth.
That's exactly what I was getting at. IIRC, the Walstad method of dirted tanks utilizes fish waste and excess fish food to act as a compost to keep the soil viable for a long time. With soil having a high CEC value, I think it would be safe to assume that our more mainstream method of fertilization utilizing the dry salts or AIO's or what-have-you could keep the dirt going for a long period of time, providing you're not over doing it.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 09:16 PM
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Couldn't using DIY Osmocote or other root tabs also help extend the life of a depleted soil or other high CEC (SafeTsorb?) substrate?
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