I have an epic day today...converting to dirt. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-23-2013, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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I have an epic day today...converting to dirt.

I have just converted my 40g tank into a dirt tank using Miracle Grow Organic garden soil. The mixing of the dirt was easy. I had it done 2 days before the actual conversion, today. The part involving removing the fish and plants and old substrate....is really epic.... The fish would be living in this 15g plastic storage box for 3 days before putting them back to the main tank. Currently, the main tank is cycling using established bio media.


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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-23-2013, 01:26 AM
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Any pics? How's those staurogyne repens doing?
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-23-2013, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Any pics? How's those staurogyne repens doing?

Not good. I failed. I have only 4 tinny stems left and they are in my 20g dirt low tech tank. They seem to be doing fine now, with excel and high light. Give me a 5 days or so. I would get some pictures once the water is clear.


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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-23-2013, 02:18 AM
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did you cap the dirt with anything?
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-23-2013, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
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did you cap the dirt with anything?

Hahahaha..no? Just kidding. LOL I reused my substrates to cap the dirt. They are very fine. Gravels are too big. Sand is too fine. Just cloudy now. After 2 major WC, the water should be clear. One annoyance is that I have been using Osmocate gels. So, now, my substrates has all these little Osmocate balls on top. Hopefully, I can siphon them all out during the WC.

I didn't convert my main tank before doing a trial run on my 20g low tech first.



The water cleared up within 3 days, after 3 consecutive 70% WC. Using a bag of Purigen. And using a sizable established bio media.


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 05:36 AM
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Hahahaha..no? Just kidding. LOL I reused my substrates to cap the dirt. They are very fine. Gravels are too big. Sand is too fine. Just cloudy now. After 2 major WC, the water should be clear. One annoyance is that I have been using Osmocate gels. So, now, my substrates has all these little Osmocate balls on top. Hopefully, I can siphon them all out during the WC.
I was just wondering because I thought there was a way to use dirt without capping it. I could swear I saw a tank like that.
Anyways, it looks really nice!
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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I was just wondering because I thought there was a way to use dirt without capping it. I could swear I saw a tank like that.
Anyways, it looks really nice!

Is not possible, without all the dirt flowing up. The cap, the finer the better, the less likely the dirt particles would cloud up the water. Some may use black sand or black fine gravels and so they are harder to tell.


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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 05:56 PM
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I was just wondering because I thought there was a way to use dirt without capping it. I could swear I saw a tank like that.
There are a couple threads on here about capless soil tanks but you wouldn't use a material high in compound organics to set one of those up.
Two come to mind that don't even have a circulation pump on them, the ultimate in low tech.

OP, be careful not to starve your cycle bio by holding the fish out for to long. Having a cycled filter and the old substrate as a cap you probably won't see any cycle swings resetting the tank.


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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My tank is finally beginning to clear up, up to 90% clarity, within 4 days. Fish were added back to the tank 2 days ago. Everything is fine. The Blyxa are growing with new red leaves and roots. Only planted them on Wednesday. The crypts aren't so great since these were all transplanted from my old setup to the dirt one. They are going through some melts.



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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-03-2013, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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The tank is completed. It has been running for 2 weeks now. The DHG in the front have been in the tank for 11 days. Runners are showing up. I can see 2 to 5 blades of new grass coming out from the bunches.




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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-03-2013, 03:34 PM
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beautiful
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-03-2013, 03:36 PM
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sweet

Honestly, I find dirt to be the best substrate (unless you are doing shrimp, then you will hate yourself lol)

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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So, 5 weeks later...



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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 05:40 PM
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one word: beautiful.
Dirt really does seem to be the best substrate for plants. I'm convinced. I will dirt my new tank.

EDIT: could you list the plants that you used?
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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one word: beautiful.
Dirt really does seem to be the best substrate for plants. I'm convinced. I will dirt my new tank.

EDIT: could you list the plants that you used?

Thanks...obviously, the dwarf hairgrass at the front. The taller ones surrounding it is the Blyxa Japonica. Then, I have a large driftwood with a lot of java ferns growing on it. You can also see 3 hygro compact temple plants by the bottom of the large driftwood on the left. All the way to the right, those are Pogostemon yatabeanus. Under high light, the underside of the leaves would turn purple. The leave surface would turn golden. However, the bottom parts of the plants aren't doing too well. I will continue to trim the top and to replant it and hopefully the plants would recover. Those bamboo looking plants by the HOB? They are Floscopa Scandens. I think these are a bit rare for most online vendors. I bought them from the message board. And I have few crypts on the left, darker side of the tank. Next to the Floscopa scandens, you see I have few stems of hygro Brown. Well, they are turning more yellow green under high light and high CO2. They aren't brown anymore but they are growing fast.


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