Newbie Question about filling the tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2014, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie Question about filling the tank

I've got the potting soil and the 1.25" small gravel cap in place in my 15G. I know when I plant and then put the water in that it will be very cloudy, lots of debris etc. so I'm wondering - what would be the problem if I put the water in first, did an 80-100% water change to get rid of the bebris and then planted and add a 2nd batch of water. Aren't the fine particles that initially come up be a pain, stick to the plants, cause problems, etc anyway. So why not wait to plant - or is it that it will create a mess when I go to plant and the substrate is so wet.

Just curious.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2014, 03:38 PM
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Did you do anything to the potting soil first? Or did you just put it into the tank?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2014, 03:50 PM
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You should soak the soil so it's 'muddy' before capping it. As long as it's capped well and you fill it up slowly while using and object to break the water flow you should not have debris or very little of it. You'll need to do a few massive water changes the following days after dirting. You can plant right away and I just plant the roots in the cap (I don't need to make sure they go all the way to the dirt) because the roots will find they're way to the dirt naturally.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2014, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, and no to BruceF, you're probably refering to mineralizing the soil first but I balked at that idea. I've seen/heard it done both ways though.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2014, 10:25 PM
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I've had really good luck by putting everything in moist/wet, and then heavily misting it with a spray bottle before/during/after planting, and filling slowly into/on a sponge.

I've done this quite a few times, and had crystal clear water immediately. I think the spraying is washing the fines down to the lower levels, so they stay out of the water column, but I can't say for certain.

I don't even bother to wash my substrate most of the time (I'm currently washing flourite now, but that's just because it was previously used in a dirted tank, and I'm trying to separate the flourite from the dirt)
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 05:33 AM
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Dampen the soil pretty well.
Make hills and valleys, add rock, driftwood.
Put cap in places you will not be planting. OK to pile it up in several places.
Plant, misting the plants. Fill in the cap around the plants as you go. ( I have a hard time plating through a cap, but if it works for you, that is OK, too)

Put a plate or plastic bag over the substrate/cap and fill very slowly, allowing the water to seep in over the edge of the plastic or plate. When the water is high enough turn on the equipment. Make sure any jets of water (filter outlet, power head) are not disturbing the substrate.

This will generate the least cloudiness. Usually whatever haze there is will clear in about 24-48 hours, and is not so bad that it would cause problems for any fish. If it is too cloudy (cannot see the back of the tank) then yes, you could fill and drain.

I do something like that, sometimes.

Put damp substrate in tank. (I don't want to breathe the dust)
Pour in the water, deliberately making as much mess as I can. Jet the water in. Stir the substrate.
Drain, but move some substrate out of the way and REALLY make sure to drain 99.99% of this muddy water, all the way to the bottom of the glass.
With some substrates I will do this twice. These substrates are not filled with fertilizer.
Do not have to totally fill the tank. Half or less is fine with tall tanks, smaller tanks might need more water.

This is rinsing the substrate in place.

After all that (it really goes quickly) follow the instructions about planting BEFORE adding water.

The last tank I did that way (88 gallons, Safe-T-Sorb) I used the empty bag the substrate came in to ease the water into the tank.
I could see through the water from the minute it was filled, though I could see some haze. 24 hours later it was much clearer, had to look through an end, through the full length of the tank to see any haze, and that was gone the next day.
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