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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-04-2014, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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New to Dirt Tanking

Hi All...Im trying my hand at planted dirt tanks. I've kept tanks for over 15yrs, but never one with dirt! So far I've layered my Organic dirt and my substrate, I've planted my plants, filled the tank and skimmed debris, siphoned off 3/4 the water, filled it and skimmed debris again...the tank has been running/filtering all night...its still a light tea color...I've read that it will take time to get the water clear....my question is how long does it normally take to clear the water? and does anyone have any pointers?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-04-2014, 06:03 PM
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Your tannins will continue to leech into the water column for several months, up to a year.

How much dirt did you put in it? How thick of a cap did you lay down?


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-04-2014, 06:12 PM
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I'm also new to dirt tanks and have had one set up for about a month. I didn't think the dirt itself would cause the tannin color in the water so I would suspect something else (likely driftwood or almond leaf etc.). With a dirt bottom (Miracle Gro Organic) and sand cap I did not get any tannins in the water at all but I also used "mature" driftwood that had previously been boiled and used in a tank for quite a while.

Are there other items in the tank that could be leeching the tannins? And to the previous question asked...how thick is your cap?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-04-2014, 06:29 PM
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You could load a filter up with carbon and/or Seachem Purigen and run it 24/7 and it should pull out much of the tannin. The tannin is coming from dried leaves, and small wood bits in the soil you used. Unless you make an effort to remove that stuff before installing it in your tank, you'll have tannin in the water. I discovered this when setting up my first 'dirt'd' tank. For my second tank I used a kitchen strainer a 5 gallon bucket, to filter out the unwanted parts of the soil. I would sit in front of the TV and just sift out the wooden bit for days on end to get enough "clean" soil for my tank.

Here's how I would do it pull the tannin from your water: Start with HOB like an AC20, get a big container of SeaChem Purigen and SeaChem "the bag" (its the only one that will work Purigen). Take out all other media in the filter (maybe leave the carbon). Place the Purigen in the filter, and let it do its magic. If you have a bigger tank or want more aggressive results, use a bigger filter and more Purigen.

Carbon will help, but will only work for a few weeks - tops. The Purigen can be recharged and reused. The more Purigen you use the better.

You'll have to keep the Purigen working until all the tannin is done leaching from the soil. Which could be a long time, as thelub said.

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Last edited by King of Hyrule; 02-04-2014 at 06:35 PM. Reason: explained where the tannin is coming from.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-04-2014, 08:39 PM
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Tannins are harmless and may be beneficial.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelub View Post
Your tannins will continue to leech into the water column for several months, up to a year.

How much dirt did you put in it? How thick of a cap did you lay down?
Not exactly....depends. I never notice any yellow tinning in my water. My tank water was crystal clear within 3 days, in my 20g low tech. And maybe 7 days in my 40g, high tech.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 02:23 AM
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How did you screen out much of the larger pieces in the dirt before capping it? What size gravel or substrate did you use to cap the dirt?


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 02:32 AM
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The water might stain if the dirt you used was high in wood chips or peat moss.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 02:50 AM
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My home tank, I like to keep crystal clear. Using Carbon and Purigen inside a quality canister filter. Its over stocked and the demands on the filter are greater than they world otherwise be.


My Chili Rasbora (office) tank is a black water set up. I boil banana leaves I source locally (one of the bonus of live on a tropical island) to get the tannin extract. The tannin tints my water and keeps the pH low and the water soft. I run only a small sponge filter. The dozen Chili Rasbora put very little strain on the system.

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Last edited by King of Hyrule; 02-05-2014 at 07:41 AM. Reason: everything needed fixed
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 03:11 AM
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Not exactly....depends. I never notice any yellow tinning in my water. My tank water was crystal clear within 3 days, in my 20g low tech. And maybe 7 days in my 40g, high tech.
Then you didn't use enough dirt


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 03:18 PM
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I think you should use something like fine sand to overlap your dirt use at least 2 inches thick of it to cover your dirt soil and prevent most of the stains from escaping out in your water column. IMHO
this is my 15 gal dirt tank. It has been crystal clear for the past 8 months i used yard soil for my lower layer and i topped it with half inch black sand.

Last edited by aristotle; 02-05-2014 at 03:55 PM. Reason: spell check
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 03:35 PM
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Then you didn't use enough dirt
How much dirt you have? 3"? Not enough dirt??? Heheheh You just need 1.5" to 2" of dirt and to cap them with another 1" to 2" substrate.


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 05:27 PM
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First dirt tank had 4-6" of dirt. Mistake. New one has max 4" total between dirt and cap. And only that deep in the back where there are amazon swords,background plants and extra depth for aesthetics sake.


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 05:34 PM
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I think you should use something like fine sand to overlap your dirt use at least 2 inches thick of it to cover your dirt soil and prevent most of the stains from escaping out in your water column. IMHO
this is my 15 gal dirt tank. It has been crystal clear for the past 8 months i used yard soil for my lower layer and i topped it with half inch black sand.
Man, oh man, that's a nice tank.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-08-2014, 03:32 PM
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thanks for the nice comment of my tank king of Hyrule at least someone appreciated it unlike my wife she hates it so much she wants my tank to be thrown outside of the window haha

Last edited by aristotle; 02-08-2014 at 03:45 PM. Reason: .
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