Potting soil - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-19-2013, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Potting soil

Hello, I'm wondering if I could use plain potting soil as a substrate in my tank. It will be purely plants with no fish, snails, or shrimp. If yes- How many inches of soil do you recomened?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-19-2013, 12:49 PM
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I use it all the time. Just plain old top soil from HD or Lowes.
I've got 3" +/-
And I've got fish in it.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-19-2013, 01:30 PM
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Yes, you can. I recommend 2" of dirt with a 1" sand cap.

If the potting soil has a lot of organic material in it, I advise a very heavy initial planting, weekly 25% water changes, and use a filter with aged media.

If you look at my "Toxic Ten" journal (link in sig line) you will see I have what may be the tank with the highest level of organic matter in the substrate on this forum and I did not experience an anaerobic apocalypse.

I would suggest you put the dirt into a bucket add water, stir it up and pour off all floating stick/twigs and foam, anything that doesn't settle after 1 min. There is no need to soak dirt for days, once it's saturated it's done. Drain down the water until the dirt is a think mud. I find that easier to work with vs. a thinner slurry.

Last edited by DogFish; 04-19-2013 at 10:27 PM. Reason: sp
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-19-2013, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
Yes, you can. I recommend 2" of dirt with a 1" sand cap.

If the potting soil has a lot of organic material in it, I advise a very heavy initial planting, weekly 25% water changes, and use a filter weigh aged media.

If you look art my "Toxic Ten" journal (link in sig line) you will see I have what may be the tank with the highest level of organic matter in the substrate on this forum and I did not experience an anaerobic apocalypse.

I would suggest you put the flirt into a bucket add water, stir it up and pour off all floating stick/twigs and foam. Anything that doesn't after 1 min. There is no need to soak dirt for days, once it's saturated it's none. Drain down the water until the dirt is a think mud. I find that easier to work with vs. a thinner slurry.
Hey DF, that's way too much work. Dump the TS into the tank, plant it and sloooowwwly fill her up. Then whatever floats up skim off the top. I didn't use a cap

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-19-2013, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome! Thanks guys.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 12:13 PM
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With no livestock it is not a problem, but some potting soil has fertilizers added that become available to the plants when the soil is wet. For house plants that is just occasionally, and the fertilizer releases slowly over several months.
In an aquarium the fertilizer is constantly wet, and may dissolve into the water very quickly. Perhaps even too much for the plants. Certainly WAY too much for any livestock.

I think I would use a cap over a potting soil that has fertilizer. This will slow the release of the fertilizer into the water column.

As for how much to use, if it is a smaller tank, and you are planting smaller plants you could get by with as little as 1" of soil.
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