is dirt really the answer? - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-25-2020, 12:03 AM
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I am 5 years into my dirt bottom (Miracle grow organic) gravel capped tank and my plants show absolutely no signs of slowing down in the least! 5 years and never any CO2 or ferts! I have no plans of replacing the soil, I see absolutely no need to.

I do believe that dirt takes longer to settle down than store bought substrate (a few months) but once it does and the bacterial colonies in the dirt are established and come to a balance my plants love the environment!
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-25-2020, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rzn7z7 View Post
Can you gravel-vac Stratum, else, how do you pickup all the detritus that builds up in substrates?
In my opinion, absolutely not.

I had a tank going with Stratum and its soooooo light, that if you get close enough with the vac to pull up waste... you pull up Stratum too. Depending on your vac, that usually means it clogs and the whole process becomes a frustrating mess.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-25-2020, 05:09 PM
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Nice looking tank!


Can you gravel-vac Stratum, else, how do you pickup all the detritus that builds up in substrates?
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Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
In my opinion, absolutely not.

I had a tank going with Stratum and its soooooo light, that if you get close enough with the vac to pull up waste... you pull up Stratum too. Depending on your vac, that usually means it clogs and the whole process becomes a frustrating mess.
you squirt and suck.

I can't say how light stratum is, but when I started using some landen aquasoil, I noticed it was lighter than my mr. aqua and I had to resort to this.

https://www.2hraquarist.com/blogs/su...te-maintenance

they siphon with a tube, but I siphon with a gravel vac for an even extra level of protection against accidentally sucking up the granules.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-25-2020, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
In my opinion, absolutely not.

I had a tank going with Stratum and its soooooo light, that if you get close enough with the vac to pull up waste... you pull up Stratum too. Depending on your vac, that usually means it clogs and the whole process becomes a frustrating mess.

I vacuum my tanks using Stratum and ADA and Dennerle aqua soil. It's tricky until you get the hang of it, but I'm breeding bee shrimp in these tanks and try for the cleanest environment I can. When water changing my rack, I use cold water at full water force on the tanks with heavy substrates (Flourite & EC) and then turn it down to about 50% before moving on to the light stuff. Even then, I'll kink the hose as I work to let substrate (and any baby shrimp) fall back down. Once in a while I can even uproot a plant and cover it right back perfectly, but I try to stay away from plants with shallow roots like Blyxa and such. Any upsides regarding these soils being easy to plant in, I feel are negated by them being easy to uproot when/if you vacuum. And I've become a big advocate of keeping everything clean. After years of keeping planted tanks the other direction, I'm finally seeing for myself that algae of all kinds thrive best when water/substrate/filter pads/etc are dirty.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-26-2020, 01:41 PM
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I personally don't care for dirt. Never tried it, but all the upkeep and mess that it creates out of the gate that I have heard about just turn me off to it. It might work great for those who use it and don't mind that part of it.
Personally, I use caribsea sunset gold sand with seachem root tabs and supplement with liquid ferts a few times a week. Does the trick for my tank.

I also never cared for Fluval Stratum either. But that's just me. I tried using it once and it just turned into a big, muddy mess.
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post #21 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-29-2020, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Oughtsix View Post
I am 5 years into my dirt bottom (Miracle grow organic) gravel capped tank and my plants show absolutely no signs of slowing down in the least! 5 years and never any CO2 or ferts! I have no plans of replacing the soil, I see absolutely no need to.

I do believe that dirt takes longer to settle down than store bought substrate (a few months) but once it does and the bacterial colonies in the dirt are established and come to a balance my plants love the environment!
I have same experience. I do have some problem with my dirt (I'm using organic compost soil) tank but the plants grow beautifully & faster too compare to my other low tech tank (ista aquasoil).
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post #22 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-17-2020, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback guys. Im all set to start assembly tomorrow.

Rimless 14g

Miracle grow organic potting soil
black flourite cap
GLA ei pack ferts +iron, premixed and then dosed thru a Jabao DP-4 dosing pump
10lbs Dragon stone

Odyssea surface skimmer loaded with ceramic tubes and sponge
kessil a180we with gooseneck mount
Eheim Jaeger heater
Inkbird temp controller setup for failsafe with audible high/low alarm and electric cutout

harris dual stage low pressure co2 regulator
10lb (?? 3 foot tall ??) co2 tank

excited for my new tank!
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