Dirt Capped With Eco-Complete? (Updated Post #18, Page 2) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Dirt Capped With Eco-Complete? (Updated Post #18, Page 2)

I just went to look at Flourite and the cost hit me...for a 65G I am not sure I want to drop that much.

I am looking for something of a darker colored substrate. I am somewhat new to this, so dosing and all these chemicals are still kinda foreign. I am fine with using root tabs.

I am looking at carpeting the bottom, Jungle val heavy, and 2 moss trees, moss on DW and Rocks. Other than that I MAY have a crypt or two...

What would you suggest? Dirt? Potting Soil? Cap the top...Arrrgggghhh I am so confused. ANy help would be great.


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Last edited by Realistik84; 12-27-2011 at 02:32 PM.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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what is the trick to responses here? I also see a lot of view but no responses LOL.

Not mad or anything, just curious if my threads suck haha.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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When they say MGOPM - is this what is meant?
http://www.lowes.com/pd_78595-446-72...&storeId=10151

How many bags for a 65G, and what would I use to "Cap it" (how much?)


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 07:52 PM
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When I first set up my 55, I almost died when I realized the cost of substrate... so I did a layered thing with sand, soil, and capped it with gravel. It's worked well, the plants grow nicely, but.... it's so messy!! Every time you go to move a plant or plant something, a bunch of dirt poofs up and settles on top...

Since most of my tanks are small, I've switched over to using the Fluval substrate and really love it :P The shrimp one over the plant, just for the size (it's the same stuff!)

Sorry I'm not really much help :P
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 08:55 PM
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oil dri @ walmart 25lbs for like $ 3 and change

dark in color looks almost like flourite...alot of rinsing involved but works as a good cap for MGOCPM...
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-21-2011, 09:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistik84 View Post
When they say MGOPM - is this what is meant?
Yes. Before you do that take a look at some threads.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...k-diamond.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...-deciding.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...pros-cons.html

There are plenty of other threads re: black/dark substrate. Good luck.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
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what is the trick to responses here? I also see a lot of view but no responses LOL.

Not mad or anything, just curious if my threads suck haha.
There is an tremendous knowledge base on this site!

There is also a lot of threads that ask the same thing. Do some reading of the old threads, then comeback with specific questions. I think you'll find there are a lot of helpful people here.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 02:23 PM
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I did a 40 gallon tank with a partial large bag of MGOCPM like you linked. Then I used the smallest grain pea gravel (sorry i don't know the grain size) but PetsMart had three sizes and I used the smallest. I got the dark variety of pea gravel. Check out my 40 gallon journal for how it looks.

As far as basic pros-cons of dirt tanks....pros = less need for chemicals and dosing of fertilzers and its cheap cheap cons = not good if you plan to move plants around or like to rearrange things, have to be careful filling the tank and pouring water during water changes.

If you go dirt have a good plan for your plantings and be sure to think about how things will look long term. short plants up front etc.

Personally I'd save some cash and go dirt with black sand or dark pea gravel cap.


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response.

One of the primary questions I have is the best way to get dirt. When people say "use dirt" is that saying use the Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix. Also, there are different "flavors" of Miracle Gro, so is there a specific one to look for?


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 04:10 PM
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 05:00 PM
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^^^^ That stuff.

If you are still trying to save a buck you can cap it with Black Diamond Blasting Sand. You want the 20/40 grit, it's sand for sandblasting but it's dirt cheap. $8.00 for 50 lbs. Looks like black sand...
Attachment 39139


I have a few pounds of black gravel in mine as well, so it's not as sandy looking. Nice thing is I think I'm at maybe $40 at worst for all my substrate in this 90 gallon. But you can use gravel, pool sand, sand sand, or some of the more expensive stuff as well for a cap.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help.

Next questions:

- What is the ratio of MGOPM and "cap"
- MGOPM says "feeds for 2 months". Is there a limitation on how long nutrients last in an aquarium?
- Is there a requirement to still use root tabs, Excel, or any other "dosing"
- Where exactly do you find "Black Diamond Blasting Sand"


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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistik84 View Post
Thanks for the help.

Next questions:

- What is the ratio of MGOPM and "cap"
- MGOPM says "feeds for 2 months". Is there a limitation on how long nutrients last in an aquarium?
- Is there a requirement to still use root tabs, Excel, or any other "dosing"
- Where exactly do you find "Black Diamond Blasting Sand"
What is the ratio of MGOPM and "cap"

I like a 1 to 1. So, assuming dry MGOPS I do about an 1 & 1/2 of it (it will compact a bit to probably about an inch when capped). Or you can get muddy with wet MGOPS....at which time I like 1 inch. Then I cap with roughly 1 & 1/2 of cap. Don't get crazy making hills and stuff...doesn't work well with dirt tanks.

MGOPM says "feeds for 2 months". Is there a limitation on how long nutrients last in an aquarium?

I have no clue...that's marketing stuff for land lovers. Most agree a normal dirt tank to be good for a couple years. Some much longer. Even if it does start to lose some of it's umph you could always supplement with root tabs...but that time most of your plants will have needed to be trimmed or pulled many times over. My plants mostly growing at a rate of about 1-3 inches a month...some much more than that. What I'm trying to say is most people have the problem of too much growth long before the lack thereof.

Is there a requirement to still use root tabs, Excel, or any other "dosing"
This topic is still debated some. You do not have to. That said, they certainly don't hurt in most cases. Water column dosing can still be beneficial. This question is more based on the type of plants. For instance, a moss isn't going to benefit from a dirt tanks...an amazon sword most certainly will.

Where exactly do you find "Black Diamond Blasting Sand"

Orschlens, Tractor Supply, some Home Depots, some Lowes...places that sell industrial supplies. The black diamond is just a suggestion. I'm in love with the stuff personally, but it certainly ins't your only option. Somewhere around here there is a thread showing off how it looks in a bunch of tanks.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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What is the ratio of MGOPM and "cap"

I like a 1 to 1. So, assuming dry MGOPS I do about an 1 & 1/2 of it (it will compact a bit to probably about an inch when capped). Or you can get muddy with wet MGOPS....at which time I like 1 inch. Then I cap with roughly 1 & 1/2 of cap. Don't get crazy making hills and stuff...doesn't work well with dirt tanks.

MGOPM says "feeds for 2 months". Is there a limitation on how long nutrients last in an aquarium?

I have no clue...that's marketing stuff for land lovers. Most agree a normal dirt tank to be good for a couple years. Some much longer. Even if it does start to lose some of it's umph you could always supplement with root tabs...but that time most of your plants will have needed to be trimmed or pulled many times over. My plants mostly growing at a rate of about 1-3 inches a month...some much more than that. What I'm trying to say is most people have the problem of too much growth long before the lack thereof.

Is there a requirement to still use root tabs, Excel, or any other "dosing"
This topic is still debated some. You do not have to. That said, they certainly don't hurt in most cases. Water column dosing can still be beneficial. This question is more based on the type of plants. For instance, a moss isn't going to benefit from a dirt tanks...an amazon sword most certainly will.

Where exactly do you find "Black Diamond Blasting Sand"

Orschlens, Tractor Supply, some Home Depots, some Lowes...places that sell industrial supplies. The black diamond is just a suggestion. I'm in love with the stuff personally, but it certainly ins't your only option. Somewhere around here there is a thread showing off how it looks in a bunch of tanks.

Dude this is a great help!
The above makes a lot of sense!

Another question - some claim a con and potential issue with dirt is anaerobic air pockets? What does this mean, and how can they be prevented.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-22-2011, 09:36 PM
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Dude this is a great help!
The above makes a lot of sense!

Another question - some claim a con and potential issue with dirt is anaerobic air pockets? What does this mean, and how can they be prevented.
I have heard of such...and seen some gas bubbles rise in my tank from time to time. I tested my water one day after a big one came to the surface...I couldn't detect anything. A lot of Co2 is created through the breakdown of the soil in the first few months...I think this is what spooks most people.

However, it can happen if the substrate is too deep. Using my "formula" (which I got from people here) I haven't had the issue. I am heavily planted though...it seems like most people who have issues with dirt don't plant heavy enough in my opinion.

Another thing I do once in a while is poke through the substrate every few inches randomly with a chopstick. I have no clue if this helps...just something I do.

Here is a pretty neat thread to follow...this was actually one of the threads that got me into dirt tanks...https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...-soil-sub.html

One other thing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistik84 View Post
I am looking at carpeting the bottom, Jungle val heavy, and 2 moss trees, moss on DW and Rocks. Other than that I MAY have a crypt or two...
Carpeting the bottom of a 65 gallon can be daunting. Those really pretty carpeted tanks are usually one of two things...small shallow tanks, and/or high tech heavily Co2 injected tanks. It takes more than dirt. High light is needed for most carpeting plants. Really high light for deep tanks like ours.

It can be done...don't get me wrong, and the dirt will help. I'm just letting you know dirt is not the end all to be all for a carpeted tank...they take work and patience.

Now, your Jungle Vals, Crips...etc will go crazy. Moss, as I posted earlier depends more on water column dosing...or lots of fish poo.

I don't know enough about your other plans to really help. Dirt rocks, but it doesn't guarantee good carpeting.
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