just dirt...no cap? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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just dirt...no cap?

I was curious if I could use only dirt as the substrate. I know most of you recommend a cap of some kind... but in nature, most bodies of water are only dirt on the bottom. I am in the process of mineralizing my top soil. I understand sand makes a bad cap due to the pressure of the water making it to dense for plants to grow in and it looking messy as well. someone give me a reason why I should not do this. In my head it seems like it should work. Thanks. Griffin
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 11:26 AM
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I just put together an MTS tank, attempted no cap. The water will take a really long time to clear up, and you then have to deal with very cloudy water anytime you plant/uproot. Capping with gravel/sand reduces the amount of silt kicked up.

I have another MTS tank on the go...only put in 1/2" or so of gravel to cap it, so we'll see how that goes.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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so my thought was to do a immersed carpet of dwarf baby tears first... letting it fully developed before I even put water into the tank am I wrong to think that they root system of the baby tears will hold it down?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 05:32 PM
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If you do DSM for quite some time and really let things root well, it might work out. I did DSM with capped dirt and things are very well rooted now after 6+ months of being flooded. I break the cap when im doing water changes sometimes, and it doesn't kick up too much silt. It seems pretty well broken down.

That being said, I don't see why it would hurt to use a cheap capping material, even if inert like black blasting sand. The dirt doesn't really look that good, and it will be pretty messy to work with initially. Capping it makes it a bit more forgiving in that respect.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 09:56 PM
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Even a very thin cap is better than no cap.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 12:00 AM
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It sounds like more headache than it's worth. Even a thin cap will do.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 12:19 AM
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I wouldn't even walk too close to a tank with no cap, fish wouldn't work out either. The mess of a cloud that would always be the tank...why not just fill a plastic cup with some dirt and add water? It needs a cap or what's the point in it? These things don't scale down to a glass tank that easily.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 12:37 AM
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I will be attempting a no cap dirt tank. But its going to be my plant growout tank only. In your case, you will more than likely regret not using a cap down the road. But of coarse its your call.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 12:40 AM
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I have two tanks that have dirt only.
One is a tank with no filter system, and no livestock. The bottom looks pretty cool, very natural.
The other has an HOB filter (aqueon 20 in a 29 gallon tank) and a couple shrimp that I haven't been able to catch and that tank looks awful. I get a layer of fine dirt over everything. When I do a top up to quiet the filter things get very messy. Regardless how careful I am, the dirt blows all around.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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So need a cap I may use fluorite... problem is is that would like to use the black sand but it seems pretty expensive to cap a 90 gallon tank. if anyone has any experience... how many bags do you think I'm going to need to do about a one inch cap...maybe even less
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 03:39 PM
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No cap = unstable water, murky tanned water, mushy mud mess, plants uproot, nightmare to plant!

From my personal experience.

Look in to black diamond sand blast. Comes in different sizes

Patience once drove a man insane

Thanks for your time
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-14-2013, 01:39 AM
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You need cap. I just flooded my 20g tank with dirt. Capped with an inch of fine gravel. Just your typical cloudiness from a new tank setup. No mess, no floating dirt... It was a fun process and I thought things will get messy.


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