Water not getting through the sand to the dirt.... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Water not getting through the sand to the dirt....

I have small air bubbles trapped in the sand around the edges of the tank. just looked at them closer and the water is not penetrating the sand through to the dirt. I have approx 1" of very fine sand.

Is this normal with dirt/sand tanks and from what I have read the water needs to be able to get to the dirt I think?

Last edited by dannylc; 07-22-2012 at 04:07 PM. Reason: correction
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:17 PM
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I would remove the 'very fine' sand and go with a coarser product, perhaps pool filter sand (it is usually about 30 mesh)
The finer material will keep on blocking the water movement, and that is not good.
Water flowing through the substrate will provide gas exchange, and bring the fertilizers from the water column to the roots. If you are already seeing problems, it will not get any better. Fix it now.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Damn I was just sitting here hoping that would not be the case lol Thanks
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:22 PM
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And you thought you could relax this weekend, just sit back and watch the tank stabilize!
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Tell me about it, just sitting here thinking how nicely it is clearing lol Oh dear looks like time to mess it all up again lol
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:31 PM
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Fertilizers don't need to flow from the water column to the roots on a soil based tank.
This would be better posted in the journal (imo) so what is involved is more clearly viewed.
Slight circulation is needed but excess flow and the parameters will spike in the tank. Gas generated by bacteria the first 10 months or so is completely normal with high organic content which this tank has.

Use planting tweezers or anything you like to poke through the cap if you see any mounding start to happen but small gas bubbles are completely normal.
Bubbles from the substrate rise too quickly and have too little surface area to sufficiently contaminate even a small tank even if some may contain sulphates. It’s more likely that dissolved gases from organic decay and bacteria activity will release without harm into the water column when they are disturbed. Bubbles percolating up through the sand leave it harmlessly and the cap closes up behind them.


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I have some sand sitting here in a glass to check the water absorption into it and it is almost none so I guess there will be no circulation at all which I presume is totally useless and will cause the dirt to just turn Anaerobic and at some point cause a total tank melt down?
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:38 PM
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Hard to say for certain without seeing it but it would have to be really powder fine to block all movement.


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Give me 5 mins and I will have a super macro shot for you to look at lol
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:42 PM
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this tank?
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=184494


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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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That's the one, you can see all the air trapped in the sand which happened when I filled it last night.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:50 PM
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LOL days down the road you will still be seeing some bubbles if everything was added dry.
Using flourite original even after rinsing so it's been wet in a bucket before being tanked I'll see bubbles rise for several days.
Sand needs to be of a grit size you can feel and not a dust like powder consistency but even pool filter sand won't completely saturate overnight.

your journal is going to contain some awesome pics based on that shot you have a very nice camera.


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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you that was just a quick shot

So then do you think I am just worrying about nothing then and this sand will be ok? It is rough enough to feel between your hands lol Maybe like fine beach sand.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2012, 04:57 PM
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I would be concerned about soil being trapped in a layer under large hard scape pieces as that will stop water movement completely in a large area. Plant heavily with a large number of root feeding plants and hopefully enjoy the tank. edit: I think it will be fine. Using enriched substrates the first 3 months need to be closely monitored than things become very stable is my experience using capped soil subs.


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