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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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tell me about dirt tanks

How do you plant a dirt tank? Do you fill it up then plant it? when do you put the cap on it? before or after planting? how do you prevent floating dirt? and last how do you stop the cap from mixing with the soil during planting? thanks for any advice you can give me
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 04:05 AM
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You can plant before capping if you want to, I would do it if you have plants with large root systems to prevent breaking them. Some dirt will float which is no problem just scoop it up with the net. If you plant before capping then you dont have to worry.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 04:37 AM
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Read the mineralized top soil thread to make sure you know how to make your dirt. I did what most do which is pour in the inch of mud (not dry dirt, mud which can't float) then pour the inch of sand cap on top (they don't mix as long as your mud is pretty thick like brownie batter)then gently fill the tank 3/4 then plant and top off the water (I had no plants with huge root systems though). It seems weird but works fine. when you plant or uproot the sand cap flows around your fingers and fills the hole before the mud can get into the water column. They stay separate because of the tendency for finer particles to migrate down and larger ones to migrate up. I will try to take a pic with my crappy cell... hang on...


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 04:49 AM
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The top black layer is Fluorite Black Sand, which I would not recommend you add on top. Beneath that is sand, and beneath that is the mud. It is hard to see the mud layer since most of it is behind the silicone bead and bottom plastic frame of the tank. They just stay separate. I plant and uproot all the time (I moved twenty or more stems today) and never get a trace of mud in the water. If you had plants with huge root systems you could have trouble relocating them though.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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I tried to start a dirt tank today. i put in dry dirt and the cap then added water. didnt work out. now i seem to have a mess. i think it would be aweful to try to plant in it. soil goes everywhere. i need a different substrate. something heavier. Can you make a suggestion for a newbie? please
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 05:29 AM
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Make the dirt into mud first. Also do not forgo boiling or otherwise demineralizing it.


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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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my tank is empty again and the sand mgo mixture is in a stove pot. i am pry not gonna boil it though. lol i had no clue you had to boil dirt. im gonna have to go with another option. im sad about the sand though it was pretty. but again likely to light for my choice.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 06:23 AM Thread Starter
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Read the mts thread so yeah i gues adding clay would make the soil heavier. good to know. thanks. pry gonna avoid this altogether. its more work than i wanna attempt
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 01:30 PM
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I didn't boil my dirt at all and it worked out. I also capped it before adding water and nothing happened. If you feel it slowly then everything will be ok.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 02:27 PM
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I used OMGM with a pool sand top.. Works great. I planted before adding the sand top but have added a few plants aferwards with no problems. The potting soid just needs to be moist but not soggy.. Just enough so the sand stays on top of it...
Works great. Of course this is a nano tank of only 4 gal. .... Slowly add water or you will have a mess again.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 02:49 PM
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It's not any harder than making a batch of cookies.

But, you do need to follow the directions. When you put your dirt in, did you mash it down to compact it? Did you use a 1" sand cap?

After I do that I slowly add a little water until the dirt starts to get wet. To see this better, in one corner, scoop the sand off the dirt. I'd tell you to to get just enough water that the sand is only damp.

Now, just move a little sand were you want you plants and add them. Then fill in around the plants with sand. Once your planted put in just enough water to cover the full height of the plants. Now, if you planted anything too deep(buried the crown) gently pull that plant up a bit.

At this point I won't fill the tank yet. I'll keep the water level low and let the plants get a lot more light by being in shallow water for a few days. Also, If I made some errors in planting I'll just take the water level back down and fix.

Remember plants will grow an spread, leave them space.

I think the biggest mistake is going too fast.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
It's not any harder than making a batch of cookies.

But, you do need to follow the directions. When you put your dirt in, did you mash it down to compact it? Did you use a 1" sand cap?

After I do that I slowly add a little water until the dirt starts to get wet. To see this better, in one corner, scoop the sand off the dirt. I'd tell you to to get just enough water that the sand is only damp.

Now, just move a little sand were you want you plants and add them. Then fill in around the plants with sand. Once your planted put in just enough water to cover the full height of the plants. Now, if you planted anything too deep(buried the crown) gently pull that plant up a bit.

At this point I won't fill the tank yet. I'll keep the water level low and let the plants get a lot more light by being in shallow water for a few days. Also, If I made some errors in planting I'll just take the water level back down and fix.

Remember plants will grow an spread, leave them space.

I think the biggest mistake is going too fast.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Patriot100% View Post
I didn't boil my dirt at all and it worked out. I also capped it before adding water and nothing happened. If you feel it slowly then everything will be ok.
Exactly I had no clue it needed boiled and all that stuff done, I put in the dirt (dry dirt at that) capped it with sand and then filled ever so slowly (I did put a straw down through the cap so that the air could vent as it filled with water) Long live doing things the wrong way LOL
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 04:46 PM
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Do people use regualr soil from the backyard or do you usually buy it?
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Msouza91 View Post
Do people use regualr soil from the backyard or do you usually buy it?
Most just go buy some variety of "organic" potting mix. Miracle Grow Organic being the most preferred, but I'm sure anything organic would work.

To comment on the rest of the thread, I don't do anything special. I didn't boil, I didn't sift, I didn't age. When I set mine up I did it somewhat similarly to what Dogfish did.

I added about 1-1&1/2 inches of MGOPS, I wet it down. Not enough water to float it, just enough to turn it to "mud". Then I added my cap (dry) on top. I used an 1-1&1/2. I set a plate in the tank and filled up up 1/2 way. I planted the majority of my plants and finished filling it up. I let it turn over for about 48 hours then added some fish and more plants. I did 25% water changes every other day for about a week. Then 50% once a week for two weeks.

Mine is working great. I haven't lost any fish aside from a sickly neon.
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