help-logistics on setting up a 5ft dirt tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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help-logistics on setting up a 5ft dirt tank

I recently aquired a tank 5ft by width 18" and height 15". I am looking to keep south american dwarfs and maybe angel fish. The look i want is the cheaters biotope, with lots of wood and some plants (really so I can save on lighting and c02). However, I am aware of how amazing the water quality is in a dirt tank (walstad). The problem I have is the height of the tank only being 15", I guess that I would give up at least 4" in a dirt setup leaving very little room. Is it viable to dirt one inch then gravel 1 inch or is it better you think to dirt the back half of the tank and slope it down and have sand at the front for the swimming space? any other ways/ratios that i could use to save vertical space? I would have to move the tank in 1 year so saving on weight is also an issue.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 12:24 AM
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You could keep most of the small to mid sized plants (appropriate for a 15" tall tank) in as little as 1" of dirt. I think I would try for 1" at the front, then use rocks and driftwood to make a retaining wall, and see if you could get it 2" deep in the back. Some of the larger plants will do better with a bit more dirt.
But 1" is plenty for the smaller plants that you could use in the front.

If you want to split the substrate between sand and dirt use a solid retaining wall, such as rock or driftwood with expanding foam filler (black, used for ponds) to really keep the sand and soil separate.

No much you can do about saving weight with the set up you are envisioning.

Here is a way, though not pretty:
Bare bottom, plants in pots.
Much easier to move when the time comes.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-23-2013, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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thanks diana,i might just stick to the 1inch all over. I dont have plans for adding c02 because of the size of the tank, I cant afford it. I will try only Dwarf Sagittaria and hygrophila corymbosa siamensis, anubias, frogbit and mosses which i will spot fertilise. These plants will be fine in the set up I think.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-23-2013, 06:18 PM
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I took old 'knee high' women's stockings, and filled them with clean lava rock. I used these rock sausages to create elevation at the back of my very narrow 37 gallon tall tank. Links to pics in my sig, below.

Five feet, only 18" tall?? You could grow spaghetti in there! :-D


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Link to my first planted tank, 37 gallon tall, topsoil, sand, Eco Complete
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