What IS dirt, and why don't we use it? - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2015, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: California for school, Arkansas for home
Posts: 767
What IS dirt, and why don't we use it?

This^. Once we filter out the large organic particles like wood chips, then what really is dirt? It's a compilation of something, and it's super good for plants. So why don't we us it as is? Okay, maybe not in a nature aquarium where the water's supposed to be crystal clear, but why not in a blackwater tank where the water's supposed to be dark. Unless all rivers in the world have majority sand and gravel in their beds, wouldn't this be a better option? Obviously you could never vacuum it, but a thin layer that wouldn't go anaerobic with the help of burrowing fish like Corydoras or loaches, wouldn't that be good?

So many fish to keep, not enough aquaria.
ichthyogeek is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2015, 12:41 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Centennial,Co
Posts: 1,836
Lots of people use dirt.
BruceF is offline  
post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2015, 12:53 AM
Qwe
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Qwe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 762
Indeed, it's becoming more and more popular for people to use dirt in planted tanks. You should check out Diana Walstad's Ecology of the Planted Aquarium if you're interested in the concept.
Qwe is offline  
 
post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2015, 12:59 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Gatineau, Canada
Posts: 824
I am one of those people that use dirt. In addition to the Walstad book, I would suggest the The Alternative Aquarium brought up by Hoppy here https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...833&highlight=.
I bought the kindle version and I find it an intersting read. It gives me some ideas to think about for my 20Gal long that's is waiting to be setup.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Mariostg is offline  
post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2015, 01:48 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Xiaozhuang's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: South east asia
Posts: 1,223
Quote:
Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
This^. Once we filter out the large organic particles like wood chips, then what really is dirt? It's a compilation of something, and it's super good for plants. So why don't we us it as is? Okay, maybe not in a nature aquarium where the water's supposed to be crystal clear, but why not in a blackwater tank where the water's supposed to be dark. Unless all rivers in the world have majority sand and gravel in their beds, wouldn't this be a better option? Obviously you could never vacuum it, but a thin layer that wouldn't go anaerobic with the help of burrowing fish like Corydoras or loaches, wouldn't that be good?
I use dirt, and my tanks are super clear. In addition, plants keep the substrate aerobic by channeling O2 down to the root zone, so you don't need burrowing snails or fish. You can also vacuum the surface regularly to remove detritus

Regards, Dennis
47g Journal of sorts
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Xiaozhuang is online now  
post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-26-2015, 03:30 PM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: South FL
Posts: 23
im planning on using dirt in my next build(2nd tank). im just using plan old Organic Top Soil which i got from home depot for $2.20 per bag. (using aqua soil cost $17.50 per bag, which is only 1/6 of the soil i bought for $2.20. i also got a bag of red lava rocks which i will break up a little, or not at all and then mix it with the soil. and a bag of pool sand. all this substrate costed less then $20. from what i read online and video's i watched on youtube. these option are perfectly fine.
mr.BIG is offline  
post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-26-2015, 03:39 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Veritas's Avatar
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 835
OP - do you mean ONLY dirt? or dirt capped by sand (what a large number of us around here do)?

-120g-
- Praecox Dwarf Rainbowfish, Glowlight Danio, Rummynose Tetra, Leopard Danio, Ember Tetra, Scarlet Badis, Anchor Catfish, Red Cherry Shrimp, Assassin Snail, Neirite Snail
-20G L -
- Celestial Pearl Danio, Dwarf Emerald Rasbora
Tank Journal (120):

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Veritas is offline  
post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-26-2015, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: California for school, Arkansas for home
Posts: 767
Only dirt, not sand capped dirt.

So many fish to keep, not enough aquaria.
ichthyogeek is offline  
post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-26-2015, 05:03 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Gatineau, Canada
Posts: 824
Quote:
Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
Only dirt, not sand capped dirt.
Some people do that. Many people say it's messy. I will see by myself, I am in the process of setting up a tank in this fashion.

Barebone journal just started here https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...7434&highlight=


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Mariostg is offline  
post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-26-2015, 05:32 PM
Pixel Prestidigitator
 
GraphicGr8s's Avatar
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: West coast of the east coast of the USA.
Posts: 4,298
I've got a tank or 2 with top soil. Unstrained. Opened the bag and dumped it into the tank. No cap of any kind. No problems either.

I will say though as of late I am still using dirt but am putting it into terra cotta pots because I am constantly moving things around. I take the pot out of one tank and just put it in another as needs may be.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
GraphicGr8s is offline  
post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 01:58 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
perhaps it would be helpful to point out the difference between two kinds of "topsoil". Some use dirt. Like, go in your back yard, pull out some carrots and onions for dinner, then scoop up some of the garden into a bucket, and toss it in the tank for your sub. (search youtube for "dustin dirt tank" you'll find a very avid fan of that method)
Some use "top soil" meaning stuff in bags from homedepot, lowes, etc. which can contain a myriad of things. Some of which are more desirable than others. Using a top soil that has lots of chicken manure mixed in, may not be so good for your tank right at setup (ammonia much?)

Regardless of which you mean, people use both, with and without caps. The caps are mostly for cleanliness.

If you buy from the store READ THE INGREDIENTS and do your research on them. Some contain peat, not a big deal if you dont mind the ph change, and tannins in the water. Some contain animal manure, which will at the very least contribute quite a bit of ammonia. And others contain virmiculite, those tiny white rock things. At the very least they are annoying when they collect at the top of your tank (they float). Also be aware of inorganic fertilizers which may not be good for your choice of fauna.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 02:10 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Gatineau, Canada
Posts: 824
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacktetra View Post
perhaps it would be helpful to point out the difference between two kinds of "topsoil". Some use dirt. Like, go in your back yard, pull out some carrots and onions for dinner, then scoop up some of the garden into a bucket, and toss it in the tank for your sub. (search youtube for "dustin dirt tank" you'll find a very avid fan of that method)
Some use "top soil" meaning stuff in bags from homedepot, lowes, etc. which can contain a myriad of things. Some of which are more desirable than others. Using a top soil that has lots of chicken manure mixed in, may not be so good for your tank right at setup (ammonia much?)

Regardless of which you mean, people use both, with and without caps. The caps are mostly for cleanliness.

If you buy from the store READ THE INGREDIENTS and do your research on them. Some contain peat, not a big deal if you dont mind the ph change, and tannins in the water. Some contain animal manure, which will at the very least contribute quite a bit of ammonia. And others contain virmiculite, those tiny white rock things. At the very least they are annoying when they collect at the top of your tank (they float). Also be aware of inorganic fertilizers which may not be good for your choice of fauna.
Intrestingly enough, few days ago I dug almost 2 feet down in my backyeard to go get the superb clay which will be layed at the bottom of my next "dirt" tank. Then I will add some "soil". Haven't really decided yet what it's gonna be. Maybe pond soil.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Mariostg is offline  
post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 03:44 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
be careful with the clay. It is great for some plants, no so much for others. It can be difficult for roots to penetrate, and dense enough that it will get anaerobic. Any ponds/rivers/lakes I've been in with clay and mud bottoms are regularly bubbling up gas. Not so sure which kind.

It's dense in minerals and other good things though, so it may work well for some plants.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 07:14 AM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Arizona, United States
Posts: 112
I think that not everyone has access to dirt in their backyard that is already nutrient rich, while others will have it all over the place (example is Arizona where the only dirt is just clay and settled down brown dust in reality). Even those that buy the bags in store can have some issues which another user already mentioned above.

Although dirt only tanks are becoming more popular they still have a long way to go, since dirt floats, not that many people want a dirt only substrate (either isn't appealing to the eyes, too messy when fish burrow in it, or that they like to move things around the dirt will pick up slightly easy). If anything we will see more and more dirted tanks that are capped with various types of substrate (plan sand, fluorite, aqua soil sand, etc.).
KnownSyntax is offline  
post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 07:38 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
roadmaster's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Missouri united states
Posts: 5,576
I routinely mix clay/peat with plain topsoil from Lowes and or Miracle grow organic choice (+ chicken manure) and cap it all with sand/gravel.
My substrates are often four or five inches deep to accommodate large root system's of plant's I use like Sword's/crypt's.
The clay(cat litter) and peat (pure sphagnum) I mix with the soil's, help hold nutrient's a fair bit longer than soil alone which may become exhausted from nutrient standpoint after eight month's to a year, depending on plant uptake and organic input.
I also add maybe 1/3 EI dosing of the dry mineral salt's once a week or two depending on what the plant's may be saying.
Most who have trouble with soil tank's are those who don't make substrate (soil) deep enough(soil peter's out too quickly),and or those who move plant's around frequently in my view.
The plant's do not respond well to being uprooted frequently, and disturbing the soil makes more of a mess than they anticipated on.
roadmaster is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome