Best Dirt Cap - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-20-2015, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Best Dirt Cap

I am planning/hoping to set up a new 20L dirted tank in the near future. I am wondering what would be the best cap for the dirt would be. I am trying to decide between sand, gravel, or a planted substrate such as eco complete. I think a sand such as Black Diamond Blasting Sand (BDBS) would look nice, but I worry about it sealing off the dirt, preventing air from escaping and also preventing organic material from getting down into the dirt to be broken down. In Walstad's book, she recommends fine gravel, as it allows thing like fish food and fish mulm to get down into the soil, where it can be broken down and used as fertilizer. My problem with gravel is I can't seem to find much that is a fine grain and nice looking other than Carib Sea Super Naturals, but that costs more than Eco Complete on amazon. The final option would be EcoComplete or a similar substrate, which from what I understand is a good substrate because it is good at breaking organic stuff down into nutrients for plants. Also, how much of anything would I need for a cap of around 1" of the dirt in a 20L? Would 20lbs be enough or would I need more.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-20-2015, 11:04 PM
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Look in the Yellow pages for a sand blasting yard. This is in 40# bags for about $15.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/al...ictureid=52570

A few of the mom & pop type pet shops carry it in smaller bags.
This may be an alternative, but not cheap. But I mainly gave it because it has a substrate calculator on it once you clic on any particular sub material.
http://www.substratesource.com/?p=products&c=s

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-21-2015, 06:08 AM
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People have good results with all the materials you've listed as a cap. I will say, if you choose sand do not get a light colored sand, definitely get black like you've mentioned. Find something that will hide the "mess" so you aren't cleaning everyday. (i have tan sand in half my aquarium, not as a cap, it's a pain)

I quite like National Geographics substrates. They have a small sized gravel that I quite like as a cap. Petsmart sells it if you're interested in checking it out.

Personally, I prefer gravel as a substrate and cap due to mulm being able to settle into it and not sit on top. Although if I set up a new aquarium with better flow at the substrate I might choose sand, then more gunk would get sucked into the filter and out of the tank.

It's about what you want, many different ways are successful. Good luck!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-21-2015, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
Look in the Yellow pages for a sand blasting yard. This is in 40# bags for about $15.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/al...ictureid=52570

A few of the mom & pop type pet shops carry it in smaller bags.
This may be an alternative, but not cheap. But I mainly gave it because it has a substrate calculator on it once you clic on any particular sub material.
http://www.substratesource.com/?p=products&c=s
The link didn't work for me (its probably just cause I'm on my phone), but if this is Black Diamond Blasting Sand I know I can get some at a supply store near me for about the same price.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-21-2015, 07:03 PM
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I use Safe T Sorb oil absorbent a 40lb bag from Tractor Supply is like $6 or so.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pro...p-65-compliant

A 40lb bag will do a 40b tank.


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 04:29 PM
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I have some red fluorite gravel. Would that make a decent cap? Should provide extra nutrients, while also allowing wastes to sift down, correct? Of course it looks awful, but I can deal with that.
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