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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you, good advice
I can’t see myself right now buying enough stratum and eco complete to lasagna a 4’ 120 gallon right now.
I loved the growth I had on my 20 long when it was dirted. But you’re right, moving plans can be troublesome.
If you were doing a 120 gallon planted aquarium how would you set up the substrate ?
 

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Thank you, good advice
I can’t see myself right now buying enough stratum and eco complete to lasagna a 4’ 120 gallon right now.
I loved the growth I had on my 20 long when it was dirted. But you’re right, moving plans can be troublesome.
If you were doing a 120 gallon planted aquarium how would you set up the substrate ?
I'm setting up a 75 gallon in (hopefully) a few weeks. I bought two 8 liter bags of aquasoil (in this case its the random brand Nicolg sells) and I will likely have extra, possibly a whole bag extra. Anyway I will lay down about 1/2 inch of aquasoil and then cap it with 1 to 2 inches of sand at a minimum. Will likely be using straight pool filter sand but might mix in some cleaned play sand. To build up some areas I also bought some nylon mesh laundry bags, and bags of hardware store lava rock. I will add the lava rock to the mesh bags, and put those in areas I want to build up higher. I will use rocks I found in the 'wild' for hardscape and to make terraces/walls so my sand and aquasoil doesn't all slide down to its state of repose. Or that's the plan. I would do the same for a 120 gallon. I personally would skip the eco complete all together, its inert and other then a higher cec value (then sand) and similar color as the stratum, doesn't get you anything. If you want to mix in another substrate you could use calcined clay which is turface / safe-t-sorb (the latter sold at tractor supply stores for quite cheap) and also has a higher cec value (then sand). However, its not needed, sand is good stuff, its cheap, and its the most natural of all substrates since its whats on the bottom of virtually every stream we are trying to recreate in our tanks.

You are going to need to add ferts to your tank to keep your plants happy anyway, the aquasoil (or dirt if you end up going that way) is just there to add a little extra nutrients to roots and (once they release all their nutrients) to soak up new ferts from the water column and release it over time until the next water change. (if that makes sense)
 

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I covered my dirt with a barrier, specifically mosquito netting from joannes fabrics. But you can use soil retainers that are made for gardens to prevent erosion. It keeps the soil down so that I’d you do decided to pull something up, you won’t pull up a storm of dirt. Has worked great for me.
 

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In my 180g I use dirt topped with 5mm gravel topped with Amazonia, Amazonia powder and sand. I let the Amazonia, Amazonia powder and sand fall into the gaps between the gravel.
Amazonia - large particles relative to sand.
Amazonia powder - finer particles and a different color than Amazonia in my samples.
Sand - Finest, I use black sand. I like the way all four different size particles settle together giving a random color and random sized bottom for my tank.

P.S. I also used some Azomite in that cap mix. The Azomite I have is smaller that the gravel and larger than the Amazonia. Azomite is "supposed" to be a source of micro nutrients.
 
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