mesh between the dirt and cap? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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mesh between the dirt and cap?

It was briefly mentioned in the long MTS thread that somebody had put nylon mesh between their dirt and sand cap to prevent the soil from being disturbed. it was also said that the roots still suck up the nutrients from the soil.

was wondering if anybody else has tried this or atleast your thoughts on it.


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 12:01 AM
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The roots can probably grow throug the mesh
That being said. You can get window screen or something with a bigger hole size to accomplish the same thing

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 12:04 AM
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I haven't tried this nor have I even done a dirt tank, but my first thought is how in the heck will you plant the plants? Will you have to poke holes in the mesh every time you want to put a stem in? And what will happen when it's time to pull a stem out? The roots will grow larger than the hole. Will it cause the entire mesh to pull up, messing up the entire tank?

Personally, it sounds like a nightmare waiting to happen. Dirt tanks are hard enough to manage as it is without having to deal with an obstacle in the way every time you need to plant something or pull something up. Uprooting and replanting is such an integral part of maintaining a planted tank, I would think a mesh would make the whole process incredibly frustrating, if not darn near impossible.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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see the way i figured it was that the roots would not grow under the mesh so the uprooting and planting would just be done on the cap. you can get pretty fine mesh at fabric stores or even if you used window screen size mesh you could always do a double layer.

like 1 inch of mts. a mesh layer. and then 2 inches of a cap.

would the roots still soak up nutrients from the soil?


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 12:27 AM
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I've done a few soil based tanks and can tell you it creates a mess.
The roots will penetrate mesh, screen, cotton cloth (pick a material).
Just as the roots worked through and tangled in old style UG filters.

Used mesh here trying to hold a slope once.
Used UG filters once upon a time. Dirt, cap, plants is simply better. (imo)


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 12:32 AM
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If you don't grow the roots in the soil, then what's the point of having the soil?

The mesh idea reminds me of weed blocker mesh used in gardening. You put the mesh over the soil and then cover it with mulch. The difference is you don't pull up and replant your trees and bushes like you do in a planted tank.

I see what you're saying with your description. The soil would act as a fertilizer that would seep up through the mesh into the cap where the roots are. The problem is the roots won't behave so nicely. Roots are naturally driven to grow where the food is. And considering that they start out very thin, they can get through a mesh hole big enough for a hair to pass through. Once they get through the mesh, they just continue growing to the point of becoming entangled in the mesh. Now when you want to uproot the plant, you will have to figure out a way to cut the roots out of the mesh. Again, that's a disaster just begging to happen.

To prevent the roots from being able to penetrate the mesh, you'd have to use something that's not only solid, but strong enough that it won't rot over time. That's the only way to stop the roots from poking through the mesh. But if you use such a solid mesh, then the nutrients from the soil won't be able to migrate upward. So it's a catch-22. Anything that can stop the roots from passing through will also stop the nutrients from passing through, completely negating the whole point.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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haha catch 22

i was a little skeptical when i heard this idea which is why i brought this topic up before i set up my tank next week. glad i did because i wont be trying this now.

i wonder if the guy who did do this hates himself because of it lol


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 12:59 AM
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There are a lot of wonderful benefits to using dirt as a substrate for a planted tank, but there are some pretty bad drawbacks that come along with it, as well. People are trying to find a way to benefit from the advantages while minimizing the problems. It's good for people to do this because eventually someone may very well come up with an idea that really works. That means people have to be willing to screw up in order to try something new. It's the only way for progress to be made.

So maybe the guy found his idea to not work so well, but I hope he doesn't hate himself for trying. At least he's churning the neurons in his brain and willing to give it a try. For that, I applaud him. Maybe his next idea will be the one that works.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 02:37 AM
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Aqua soil is as close as it gets to soil. The main difference really, is that aquasoil doesnt release c02 like soil does. Soil is still decaying and will release c02 because of this. Its fundamental to the walstad method

Who knows. Maybe someone will figure that one out too

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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ideas are why the DIY section is my favorite


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