will this work for my first dirt substrate tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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will this work for my first dirt substrate tank?

I'm going to start setting up my first low- tech dirt substrate planted tank tomorrow. My plan is to use peat moss, top soil, and kitty litter, and then cap it with gravel from an established tank. I think the gravel i will be topping it with is flourite or a flourite gravel mix, but i'm not positive, because I'm not the one who originally set-up the tank.

I have a bag of spagnum peat moss setting around, and I read that it can absorb and hold nutrients(HIGH CEC) as well as lower ph. I am only planning to mix a little of it into the topsoil. Maybe 25%
The top soil is just the cheap stuff from walmart. I'm a use what you have kind of guy, but if the MGOCPS is that much better I will go get some. I'm thinking 1.5" of dirt.
I picked kitty litter, because I don't know where else to get clay cheap.

I was going to soak the topsoil, and peatmoss all day tomorrow, then add a layer of kitty litter, and then cap it with the gravel the next day.

ideas?
suggestions?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 12:11 AM
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If you are using the kitty litter for clay, I'd skip it all together and go to michaels or any other craftstore, buy yourself some AMACO mexican red pottery clay (natural red, NOT dyed). Mix that in with your soil, about 1lb per 30g, making it a mud mixture. Then, simply top it with the flourite or whatever else you want to use. Just make sure you take out all the big pieces of the top soil, wood chips, etc. MGOCPS is usually suggested because its known not to have any excess fertilizers which may cause issues in the tank initially. The top soil will work, though. Also, shoot for an OVERALL depth of 2". You only want as much cap as will keep the dirt down.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Trickerie View Post
If you are using the kitty litter for clay, I'd skip it all together and go to michaels or any other craftstore, buy yourself some AMACO mexican red pottery clay (natural red, NOT dyed). Mix that in with your soil, about 1lb per 30g, making it a mud mixture. Then, simply top it with the flourite or whatever else you want to use. Just make sure you take out all the big pieces of the top soil, wood chips, etc. MGOCPS is usually suggested because its known not to have any excess fertilizers which may cause issues in the tank initially. The top soil will work, though. Also, shoot for an OVERALL depth of 2". You only want as much cap as will keep the dirt down.
what should i look for(or avoid) when buying clay. probably just avoid additives and coloring, and look for pure clay?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by polypterus491 View Post
where can I buy the clay, and what should i look for(or avoid) when buying clay. I didn't find any at lowes, or walmart.
A craft store. Like Michaels. It will be in the pottery section. I personally use this kind:

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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I'm going to heavily plant as soon as I fill the tank, but not add fish for a few Weeks, do I need to do all the repetitive water changes I hear about, our is that for the benefit of the fish

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 06:37 AM
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I would use only a very small amount of the peat, like just a handful. All you need is enough to make the soil a little acidic and increase the CEC. If you put any more than that, it will likely color your water and drop your pH substantially. A large amount of decaying peat can cause other problems as well, such as going anaerobic. Just sprinkle it across your tank and mix it with the soil.

Raw, unbaked clay turns to mud in water and is extremely messy to work with. If you are using a baked clay gravel like Flourite as the cap, why bother adding raw clay? Its just overkill. Baked clay gravel would have just as much iron as raw clay, plus other minerals, and it is so much easier to work with. Kitty littler is also baked clay gravel, just softer. I would keep things simple. No need for overkill. Pick a type of clay to use and stick with the one type.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 07:14 AM Thread Starter
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