Capping Dirt - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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Capping Dirt

I need to find a good substrate to use to cap MGOPM because I'm dirting my tank later this week I am struggling a little bit to find the right stuff to cap it off with because I have seen mixed opinions.

I like the look of sand and the fact that I can have cories with it. I like the look of black diamond sand and how cheap it is at like $9 for 50lb, but is sand a problem with capping dirt? Does sand let debris work its way down to feed the dirt? (Because i don't wanna do root tabs) Or should i opt for a small gravel(suggestions?) to cap the miracle grow.
Any help would be appreciated and if any of you have dirt tanks you can show pictures of success you have had with capping dirt.

Thanks
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 03:25 AM
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Hi. I used black diamond blasting sand from tractor supply co. Just did the swap today.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 03:33 AM
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What ever you decided, understand the finest grains/powder will eventually sink to the bottom. That includes fish waste and little clouds of dirt that may come up during planting.

Uniform grain sand like Black Diamond or PFS will look the same month after month. Const. grade sand like I use will eventually be tiny pebbles on the surface and the fine sand will be in a layer just above the dirt.

I just did the opposite of what devon6209, I just replaced my Black Diamond with Sakerete all purpose cont. sand. The Black sand was too dark with the dark leaved plants I have.

You're over thinking this, pick the color sand you want and go buy a bag. If you really don't like it you can use a syphon hose and suck it right out.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
What ever you decided, understand the finest grains/powder will eventually sink to the bottom. That includes fish waste and little clouds of dirt that may come up during planting.

Uniform grain sand like Black Diamond or PFS will look the same month after month. Const. grade sand like I use will eventually be tiny pebbles on the surface and the fine sand will be in a layer just above the dirt.

I just did the opposite of what devon6209, I just replaced my Black Diamond with Sakerete all purpose cont. sand. The Black sand was too dark with the dark leaved plants I have.

You're over thinking this, pick the color sand you want and go buy a bag. If you really don't like it you can use a syphon hose and suck it right out.
Thanks dogfish, so should i not gravel vac in a heavily planted tank to let the stuff fall to the dirt? But overall I am pretty much decided on black diamond unless someone convinces me of something different, the 20/40 grade should be a little bigger as well so stuff should go through eventually.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 04:05 AM
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Gravel vac really depends on you & the bio-load in your tank. The "stuff" will eventually settle, that is what your filter doesn't get. I keep a light bio-load in my tanks so just a non-issue for me.

If it makes you crazy to look at, vac it out. I'm working with the premise you aren't keeping Koi or something that leaves baseball sized Poop.


Black Diamond is nice, just wasn't the look I wanted in that tank. I didn't rinse mine and I only had a teaspoon of floaters after I put it in.

Last edited by DogFish; 07-10-2012 at 12:47 PM. Reason: content
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 09:57 AM
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SAF T SORB cheap...and high cec
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 08:03 PM
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I do not believe sand will allow much to get through to the dirt. I do not remember the grain sizes or anything but I had 3M Colorquartz sand previously. My pearl gourami loves to poop in the corner of a tank and it went nowhere unless I vacuumed it. It's part of the reason I'm trying other substrates.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 08:26 PM
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In my tanks I do not face the MTS with sand front or sides of the tank. You can see the layers of MTS and sand. You can see the fine particulate matter that settles on the sand work it's way into the substrate.

So yes, it will allow passage of fine matter.

Sold fish waste will desolve over a few days just as it does in nature and be reclaimed into the substrate.

It's up to the individual to decide how offense a pc of fish poop is to view for a day or so.

Last edited by DogFish; 07-10-2012 at 09:14 PM. Reason: Fat Fingers = Typos
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 09:05 PM
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I capped with small grain pea gravel in my large tank. I have a couple bowls I used pool filter sand. My preference is the pea gravel.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 04:16 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kamikazi View Post
I capped with small grain pea gravel in my large tank. I have a couple bowls I used pool filter sand. My preference is the pea gravel.
What brand of pea gravel did you use? I was having trouble finding a small grained pea gravel when I was looking for it a couple weeks back.

Thanks
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 12:33 PM
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How small of a grain are you looking for? Pea gravel is PEA sized?

Const. grade sands grains vary from what most people consider sand grain size like salt we use on food to the size of cracked or unground plank pepper.

When you use const. grade sand those fine grains will settle to the bottom of the cap and sit in a layer above the MTS. Your Const. grade sand cap will be very fine pebbles on top.

I've had luck planting DHG in this type substrate as the roots grab that fine layer rather quickly. I also think the weight of the small surface pebbles helps hold the young plants Maybe? a bit better than the uniform small grains of the Black Diamond I've used.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchfish9 View Post
What brand of pea gravel did you use? I was having trouble finding a small grained pea gravel when I was looking for it a couple weeks back.

Thanks
I got it at my local fish store. THIS is what i was going to get but they didn't have it in stock at the time. So I went to the small mom and pop store and got basically the same thing but in bit darker color.

The grain size was one step down from the regular pea gravel they sale.


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
How small of a grain are you looking for? Pea gravel is PEA sized?

Const. grade sands grains vary from what most people consider sand grain size like salt we use on food to the size of cracked or unground plank pepper.

When you use const. grade sand those fine grains will settle to the bottom of the cap and sit in a layer above the MTS. Your Const. grade sand cap will be very fine pebbles on top.

I've had luck planting DHG in this type substrate as the roots grab that fine layer rather quickly. I also think the weight of the small surface pebbles helps hold the young plants Maybe? a bit better than the uniform small grains of the Black Diamond I've used.
What I used there were only a few pebbles that were pea size, most were around the size of an apple seed.

So you prefer construction sand over pool filter sand? Does construction sand have sharp edges or is it smoother like pool filter sand?


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