240 Gallon Dirted Planted Tank has no more nutrients? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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240 Gallon Dirted Planted Tank has no more nutrients?

So, I have had my planted tank up for 1 year. I am having issues with the dirt. I believe that all the nutrients are gone. The gravel bubbles anytime i agitate it. I started out great, but now the plants are all dying. I have tried EI dosing for the last month and it only slowed down the plant deaths.

Yesterday, I put some fertiziler tablets in the soil. I really don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?

I am VERY afraid that I have to start over? I thought that a dirted tank would last for years, but I guess I overplanted.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 04:01 PM
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A properly mineralised substrate may last a year or two, you'd be lucky to get 6 months out of the average dirt.
Just like ordinary fertiliser, root tabs take a while to dissolve and start working., so don't expect an immediate turnaround.

Good luck with the redo, it doesn't have to be a trainsmash, though you certainly have your job cut out for you.
I'd start by planning where I'd want to move the existing plants, any hardscape moves etc.

Get your new substrate ready. Save some water to buckets/tubs/bathtub and move livestock there.... drain water till you hit the substrate, it would be unreasonable to expect to be able to keep half of the water considering the volume of the tank... but a bathtub could take almost 50 gal, you just need a pump and some pipes to transport the eater through the house.
Once you hit the substrate, dig a hole till you reach the glass... stick wet/dry vacuum cleaner nozzle in the hole and suck out the last water from the substrate, it will gradually let it drain into the hole. Pull and store plants. Go check on livestock. Now get the old dirt out and new dirt in. Replace hardscape and replant. Fill, heat and bring back the livestock... try to keep the glass moist, but that is probably not realistic due to the time the work will take just emptying and filling such a large tank, so you better keep the filter running in some old tank water to keep it "alive". I'd say it could be done in the coarse of a morning/maybe half a day.

And it is fun after all. Clean slates are very liberating.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-11-2016, 09:41 PM
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the bubbles are a sign of gasses building up in the substrate. Poking around a bit with a chopstick every couple of days (from the beginning) can help as will malaysian trumpet snails as they'll burrow around in the substrate. The gas pockets are not necessarily an indication of there being no nutrients left in the substrate though. These anerobic gas pockets can be problematic and can rot plant roots.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 09:55 PM
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I don't think you have a lack of nutrients problem at all.

As said above it anaerobic bacteria. It's rotting your plants roots and killing them. You need to keep the substrate healthy

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