Dirt with no cap? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Dirt with no cap?

I was wondering about making an aquarium with dirt and no cap. I think it would work, but you'd have to be especially careful planting it and moving things around. Maybe if you dry started and made a carpet it would work better? Just thinking because I have a large hexagon with only a few fish in it and it would be easy to let it sit for a while and get it to work. It also may make a really good riparium idea. I like the dark look of dirt, so maybe I could mix peat moss and potting soil to get a nice dirt and then dry start using some kind of carpeting plant to hold it all in.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 08:35 PM
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you would have to soak the soil for a month or so...and then it will be waterlogged and stay down...most people dont want to wait that long

so you cap it...and after some time, you can easily replant in a soil tank...but you just have to move slowly


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 08:40 PM
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Prepare for dark water as well.. I would advise against this idea personally from having experience with it. I had a pleco in my 20L and he decided to dig up the sand exposing the dirt underlayer. Two months now since the pleco has been removed from that tank and the mess he made leaving the dirt exposed is apparent. The water is still clouded with suspended dirt. I can do a 50% water change and within a couple of days it looks like crap again. My only recourse is to tear the tank down and recap the sand where it was dug up.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 09:08 PM
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Why didn't you just spread sand back over the area he uncovered? I don't get it.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 12:08 AM
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Bad idea. Catfish alone would consistantly keep enough silt in the water column to defeat any filter.

Gotta cap it.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 01:45 AM
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wow dirt... great susbtrate for slower moving fish and filters..
none of my current tanks have it
ill do a super low tech no fitler tank soon with it but for filters FIRED clay soils such as aquasoil are the only way to go at this point. it made me a believer

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 01:56 AM
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you would have to soak the soil for a month or so...and then it will be waterlogged and stay down..
HUH???

How does dirt get anyMORE wet over a month vs. the first 10min?
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 02:06 AM
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OP - I think you should build it If for no other reason than to show iy can be done. We we don't rgibk outside the glass box, the hobby never mores forward.

I recently syphoned off the BlackDiamond Cap top replace it with sand (didn't like the look). The MTS did not make a mess. It just sat there.

I don't think a dry start would be a must. I would wet the dirt enough to make it the consistency of mashed potatoes. I'd plant and slowly fill the tank.

I'd think shrimp would work, a beta , smaller tetras.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 04:35 AM Thread Starter
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OP - I think you should build it If for no other reason than to show iy can be done. We we don't rgibk outside the glass box, the hobby never mores forward.

I recently syphoned off the BlackDiamond Cap top replace it with sand (didn't like the look). The MTS did not make a mess. It just sat there.

I don't think a dry start would be a must. I would wet the dirt enough to make it the consistency of mashed potatoes. I'd plant and slowly fill the tank.

I'd think shrimp would work, a beta , smaller tetras.
I bolded my favorite part of what you just said. I think I might try it eventually, because the tank is just sitting there, full of algae and guppy fry. I will probably grow more carpet plants in my emersed setup beforehand though, so it doesn't take as long once I do set it up. The tank will likely just hold fry and serve as a breeding tank for various fish. Now that I'm thinking about it the more I think I should just go ahead and do it...

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
HUH???

How does dirt get anyMORE wet over a month vs. the first 10min?
simple physics young grasshopper...but yea, water doesnt move thru soil and pores in the soil instantly...so it takes about a month for the soil to brcome water logged and not move

you used dirt in you toxic 10 tank so you know its true...a day after planting..a week after llanting...you can stir up the soil...but a month or so later, it doesnt move/ float


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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optix View Post
you would have to soak the soil for a month or so...and then it will be waterlogged and stay down...most people dont want to wait that long

so you cap it...and after some time, you can easily replant in a soil tank...but you just have to move slowly
That's not been my experience at all. I've done a few with just dirt and haven't had a problem. I put in the dirt, add water to cover the dirt, add plants, fill. Fill really, really slowly. I wasn't ready to add fish on the most of them for a while though so it did cycle. Water was cloudy for less than 24 hours. Had yellow tinge but water changes remedied that.

A month?

Physics? The only reason the soil may not get wet is because of the surface tension of the water. That's easily handled though. I've had sand float on me because of it. Just touch the sand particles and you break the tension.

How do you make water wetter? Yes, you can make water "wetter". It was one of the first things you learned when running an offset press with a segregated water system.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 08:06 PM
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That's not been my experience at all. I've done a few with just dirt and haven't had a problem. I put in the dirt, add water to cover the dirt, add plants, fill. Fill really, really slowly. I wasn't ready to add fish on the most of them for a while though so it did cycle. Water was cloudy for less than 24 hours. Had yellow tinge but water changes remedied that.

A month?
I think a lot depends on w hich kind of dirt one is using.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 08:11 PM
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I think a lot depends on which kind of dirt one is using.
If the water is wet enough it is irrelevant.

Rereading his post however he says peat moss and potting soil. Peat is troublesome to get wet but again if squeezed in water or hydrated until damp isn't a problem. As far as potting soil even if it's not the organic stuff the perlite will float as will some bark and other additives but the soil itself will stay on the bottom.

Even still it won't take a month.

I used regular top soil in all of my dirt tanks.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 08:18 PM
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If the water is wet enough? Lol is that what you meant to say?

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 08:21 PM
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If the water is wet enough? Lol is that what you meant to say?

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That's exactly what I meant to say. And in post #11 I left clues as to what it means.

I will have to admit though the one thing I can't get to stay down without a cap is coir but I'd never cover an entire tank bottom with it.

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