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Just asking if soil needs to be capped with sand or another substrate as I see a lot of talk of this and I am considering doing my first dirted tank.
 

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Absolutely. And just a tip for filling, wet the dirt some just not so much that it's runny at all, otherwise it will work its way over the cap.
This this this, I learned my lesson on my most recent tank. I haf dirt floaties for several days after. I used a hose and dripped it until the water was above the substrate. Wet the soil and pat it down some. Then cap and fill.
 

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Technically no...but it will take weeks for the soul to get water logged enough to make that statement true so...

the best option is to cap it and enjoy your tank quickly
 

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Just asking if soil needs to be capped with sand or another substrate as I see a lot of talk of this and I am considering doing my first dirted tank.
My other piece of advice is to try and look for soil with advertised contents. Make sure there are NO non-organic fertilizers, those white stones. Animal waste as an additive is fine. Look for those all-organic type soils, that's what I'm using right now, just got from Home Depot they are around $3 a bag.

Perlite on the other hand is perfectly fine, they two look like white stones, but will be crushed to powder between your fingers. Although it looks like fertilizer it's actually an inert super porous stone that's good for aeration.
 

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You don't need a cap but it does a few things. It keeps your tank from getting cloudy when you fill, water change, move things around. This also keeps your filter cleaner. Even though the soil will leach nutrients in the water column regardless, as the cap compacts, it's much less so which makes it easier with higher light and co2, less chance algae outbreaks, and BGA outbreaks from organics. Lastly, most think it's more attractive. IMO, it's worth doing as it makes life much easier. For myself, I tend to use way less soil than most I don't get any of the negatives of a dirted tank by using less dirt, bigger cap.
 
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