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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Dirting a tank

So I've heard a lot that dirting a tank can give crazy growth to plants and it's the best way to go. I'm currently using eco complete and thinking about converting to dirt.

Is it worth it in the long run? And also what kind of process is this? If I'm correct you add the soil to the tank, soak it for awhile, cap it with gravel or sand, and drain and fill the tank a couple times to remove the tannins and that's it?
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 02:15 AM
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There are different schools of thought on this topic. Whether it's the best or not depends on whom you talk to. But my tanks are all dirt tanks

My first dirt tank was my 75 gal. Also the biggest tank I ever had lol.
I threw in the dirt, caped it with play sand, added some water just to get everyting wet. i.e. water level just as high layer of substrate.
Then I planted.
finally filled it up.

It was that simple. I lost fishes at first as I did not wait long enough for nitrites to read 0.

The tank is just short of a year old.

I think it's a must try


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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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I'm really considering it I also really love the idea of being able to use natural gravel. What kind of dirt is the best to use? And is it really messy and easy to stir up the dirt?

Also if I did go this route, I have a lot of left over Seachem Flourish tabs. Could I add them in as well or is that not necessary?

Last edited by Blackheart; 07-01-2015 at 02:45 AM. Reason: the Incredible Hulk
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 02:59 AM
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Lots of people will say miracle grow organic choice potting mix is the best, but really any organic soil with no added fertilizers or anything is good.

The only time I have found it messy is when I'm pulling up plants. Other than that I haven't found much difference in regards to mess between soil and just gravel/other substrate.

If you have really heavy root feeding plants you could put the tabs under those plants to give them a boost. Other than that, they are not really needed IMO.

If you choose to dirt, I hope you enjoy it! I tried it on a 10g, I'm now dirting a 29g
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 03:37 AM
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My main soil tank a few months ago


Same tank about five weeks ago

Stock lightly and carry a big filter. - I don't have aquariums. I have ecosystems in a glass box. - Hygrophilaholic and hoarder of Anubias.
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmpjx View Post
Lots of people will say miracle grow organic choice potting mix is the best, but really any organic soil with no added fertilizers or anything is good.

The only time I have found it messy is when I'm pulling up plants. Other than that I haven't found much difference in regards to mess between soil and just gravel/other substrate.

If you have really heavy root feeding plants you could put the tabs under those plants to give them a boost. Other than that, they are not really needed IMO.

If you choose to dirt, I hope you enjoy it! I tried it on a 10g, I'm now dirting a 29g

I have to agree with this completely. I've being doing "dirted" tanks only for the past 4 years and I've had no problem. I think they just take more patience at the beginning, you have to really wait to add fish.
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 01:39 PM
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How long before fish can be added? What is the best measure of when they can be added?
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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 02:51 PM
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After the tank cycles and water stabilizes.
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 03:12 PM
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How long before fish can be added? What is the best measure of when they can be added?
Make sure nitrites goes back down to 0 after it spikes. As I said above, I did not and it did cost me a few dead fishes.


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Last edited by Mariostg; 07-01-2015 at 03:26 PM. Reason: clarified statement
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 03:37 PM
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Normally when I set up a new tank I use a seeded filter, partial water, rocks & wood from a cycled tank. Will this make a difference and help with lessening the nitrite spikes?
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post #11 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 04:07 PM
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In my experience the biggest mistake in soil based tanks besides a lack of patience is not planting HEAVY from the get go. Also, too high of lighting. I find that planting heavy, giving the plants about a week to get settled and then upping the lighting a smidge really helps things to get going. Siesta lighting schedule really helps in a soil based tank as well.

Stock lightly and carry a big filter. - I don't have aquariums. I have ecosystems in a glass box. - Hygrophilaholic and hoarder of Anubias.
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post #12 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 04:10 PM
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Adding seeded media, gravel, etc. could help a little, but the soil has some changes and its own little thing to do when going from dry or moist to being completely submerged. I found it took a couple extra weeks compared to my previous non-dirted aquariums for all numbers to be good.

This is just my experience though.
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post #13 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 08:44 PM
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not to hijack this thread but im planning on tearing down my low tech 55g that has black diamond blasting sand and useing dirt to. ill put soil first then cap it with the black diamond. can anybody tell me how much organic miracle grow potting soil to buy?
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post #14 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 08:49 PM
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not to hijack this thread but im planning on tearing down my low tech 55g that has black diamond blasting sand and useing dirt to. ill put soil first then cap it with the black diamond. can anybody tell me how much organic miracle grow potting soil to buy?
Roughly an inch. that's what I do.


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post #15 of 51 (permalink) Old 07-01-2015, 08:51 PM
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Roughly an inch. that's what I do.
how many bags would that take?

and does this mean i dont need to use root tabs anymore?

also how many inches of sand should i put on top of the dirt?

Last edited by gmb225; 07-01-2015 at 10:15 PM. Reason: adding a question
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