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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am starting up an empty 40g that has sat in my room for probably 2 years.... I have never worked with a capped planted tank before so what I did first was (I live on a farm) go out to the field where the livestock corrals are cleaned out and left to mature to spread on the next years crops or the garden and I grabbed myself about a full 5g pail full of nice moist matured soil made from broken down manure, feed, and bedding and lay a nice 3" thick bed in the bottom of the tank




Now that I have a good thick base layer down I went outside and had a bag and a half left over play sand from my 130g prepared the sand and made a nice even cap on top of the soil and packed it down a little bit




Now I have a fluval G3 settling the tank and 2 50w heaters it's all running and we will see how well the water clears as it looks like watered down chocolate milk right now I plan on moving my diy paintball co2 system to the 40g after I get a 10lb bottle for my main tank. For right now all I have is a 30" power glo 25w t8... Which will be changed out for a 36" 54wx2 t5 HO AQUATIC LIFE fixture... As for plants I want a crazy carpet something with deep roots as I have aprox 2.5" of play sand cap... Want to maybe try to make a crazy scene from skyrim
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Tank is still extremely cloudy and settling... Have my fluval G3 running on it and I'm cleaning the mechanical every day, dirt I used hasn't seemed to leech into the water so that's a bonus!!! Trying to source a 36" light to be able to grow a crazy carpet
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Picked up some Malasian trumpet snails to help with the gasses in my sand today!!! Bought some ottos for my main and got the snails for free! THANKS LFS
 

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I'd use caution with adding live things for a while in this tank.
There likely will be a good supply of ammonia from the dirt for a while. This should be enough to cycle the tank for you.
Too much sand. Can still work out. Just that lots of carpet plants have rather short
roots compared to other plants. My DHG seems to have roots about 1.5-1.75" long.
Using E.I. ferts or a reduced level of it will prolong the life of the sub.
Some who have read an article somewhere might say that plants get 70% of their
nutrients from the roots. I might ask for a scientific source of this info but rather
than sound as though I'm ready to entertain a debate I'd rather just ask why not
provide the plants with the most opportunity to gather nutrients that you can.
If you want to avoid much algae I'd get the CO2 going first before I added two
T5 bulbs to that tank. Later if you think it can take it you can always add a single
bulb fixture from a horticulture source. It's not the intensity but rather the spread
of the fixture in a tank 18" that may need tweeking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'd use caution with adding live things for a while in this tank.
There likely will be a good supply of ammonia from the dirt for a while. This should be enough to cycle the tank for you.
Too much sand. Can still work out. Just that lots of carpet plants have rather short
roots compared to other plants. My DHG seems to have roots about 1.5-1.75" long.
Using E.I. ferts or a reduced level of it will prolong the life of the sub.
Some who have read an article somewhere might say that plants get 70% of their
nutrients from the roots. I might ask for a scientific source of this info but rather
than sound as though I'm ready to entertain a debate I'd rather just ask why not
provide the plants with the most opportunity to gather nutrients that you can.
If you want to avoid much algae I'd get the CO2 going first before I added two
T5 bulbs to that tank. Later if you think it can take it you can always add a single
bulb fixture from a horticulture source. It's not the intensity but rather the spread
of the fixture in a tank 18" that may need tweeking.
I just didn't want any chance of the dirt being disturbed under that sand.... Think I may have over done it though.... I don't plan on any fish that will dig.... Kinda wanted to try some shrimp.... Maybe some Rams, sword tails, ottos, don't know what else..... For plants I was thinking Monte Carlo, maybe some crypts and my sag out of my main since it's not doing so well
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I ended up purchasing a finnex planted plus 24/7 36" led light for this tank, since I have t5HO on my main I wanted to try LEDs can't wait until it gets here and I get it on the tank
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Can you guys positively I'd these snails if they are actually Malaysian trumpets??




And my tank is almost clear now!!!! Woo

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I placed some random driftwood and a few plants from my main into this tank mostly hygrophila difformis clippings(they were getting taller then I would like in my main tank), one little sag plant and an Amazon sword that wasn't doing so well in my main...







 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
got my new finnex planted+ 24/7 in the mail today and have it set up on my tank.. looks amazing and i really like the 24/7 feature does anyone actually use the 24/7
 

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got my new finnex planted+ 24/7 in the mail today and have it set up on my tank.. looks amazing and i really like the 24/7 feature does anyone actually use the 24/7
I have one on a low tech dirted 55 and I feel my plants grow better using the 24/7 mode. When I got it I set it to max and plants grew fine. A few months ago I switched to the 24/7 mode and things are definitely better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
think im gonna be moving my sag from my main tank into this 40
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·


Finnex is now on the tank and I moved my sag!!



need some ideas for some taller plants in the back corrners and maybe some other carpet plant that will grow between the sag
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
added some clippings from my main tank!!



what is the proper way to clip and replant Hygrophila difformis (wisteria)
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Little update added some alternanthera reineckii 'pink' and ludwigia 'rubin' for some colors



Plants have seen some very good growth.... Can't seem to get my Amazon swords to grow very well in either tank but I put a baby crypt from my main in as well and it's sprouting new leaves daily
 
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Your tank is coming together nicely! Have you started co2 yet or Excel in the meantime? I use Excel myself and I'm happy with the results. Swords can take a while to bounce back after being moved, like Crypts. You could put some root tabs in to help the sword out. Osmocote plus, stuffed in OO gel capsules is the best way to go. Either that or Flourish Tabs. If you use the latter, don't go crazy with them. I have heard that if you don't have enough roots established to use up the tabs, the unused ferts get into the water column. I'm glad to see that you have MTS in there. I got mine for free at one of my LFS too. Your dirt is deep and they will be your friends in preventing anaerobic pockets. I would plant some heavy root feeding plants in there so the extensive root systems will add o2 into the substrate. The lack of o2 is what leads to problems with hydrogen sulfide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Your tank is coming together nicely! Have you started co2 yet or Excel in the meantime? I use Excel myself and I'm happy with the results. Swords can take a while to bounce back after being moved, like Crypts. You could put some root tabs in to help the sword out. Osmocote plus, stuffed in OO gel capsules is the best way to go. Either that or Flourish Tabs. If you use the latter, don't go crazy with them. I have heard that if you don't have enough roots established to use up the tabs, the unused ferts get into the water column. I'm glad to see that you have MTS in there. I got mine for free at one of my LFS too. Your dirt is deep and they will be your friends in preventing anaerobic pockets. I would plant some heavy root feeding plants in there so the extensive root systems will add o2 into the substrate. The lack of o2 is what leads to problems with hydrogen sulfide.
Any suggestions on some other heavy root feeders??? Yes I do have flourish tabs in the tank, not using co2 yet I have to wait for about 2 more pay cheques and get another co2 regulator and pick up another 5lb bottle so I can have one full to switch out either tank... I was thinking about moving all of my plants from my 130 into my 40 and waiting until I get a bunch of money to change the substrate in my 130 so the plants do better... My 40 is doing way better then my 130... I think it's mainly plant mass and substrate (possibly lighting... 130 has dual t5 ho at 54wx2 and 40 has finnex planted plus 24/7 on 24/7 mode).... That's the only differences in the tanks and the 130 even has co2... I also went to a pond on my land and scooped out some floater and they are taking off like crazy

Bump:

I don't know what they are but they are growing and the roots are getting longer!!! Also you can see in this picture the submerged plants have a tinge of yellow on the far outside of the older growth.... Is it co2 deficiency?
 

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Any suggestions on some other heavy root feeders??? Yes I do have flourish tabs in the tank, not using co2 yet I have to wait for about 2 more pay cheques and get another co2 regulator and pick up another 5lb bottle so I can have one full to switch out either tank... I was thinking about moving all of my plants from my 130 into my 40 and waiting until I get a bunch of money to change the substrate in my 130 so the plants do better... My 40 is doing way better then my 130... I think it's mainly plant mass and substrate (possibly lighting... 130 has dual t5 ho at 54wx2 and 40 has finnex planted plus 24/7 on 24/7 mode).... That's the only differences in the tanks and the 130 even has co2... I also went to a pond on my land and scooped out some floater and they are taking off like crazy

Bump:

I don't know what they are but they are growing and the roots are getting longer!!! Also you can see in this picture the submerged plants have a tinge of yellow on the far outside of the older growth.... Is it co2 deficiency?

Bump:

I don't know what they are but they are growing and the roots are getting longer!!! Also you can see in this picture the submerged plants have a tinge of yellow on the far outside of the older growth.... Is it co2 deficiency?
I don't think the yellow is from lack of co2. I have low-tech soil tanks and my knowledge on co2 is lacking but I would guess that it is a nutrient deficiency rather. As far as root feeders @SCMurphy gave me great advice when I was going through some problems with the first attempt setting up my 75 gallon that would apply to your setup:

"If you want to start a tank without mineralizing the soil the best method is to get as many heavy rooters into the tank as you can. Sword plants, Sagittaria, Vals, the really easy Crypts, Aponogetons, Criniums, anything that grows a big root mass. Those plants push a lot of O2 in to their roots and help oxygenate some of the soil to allow the natural processes to run. ..."
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I don't think the yellow is from lack of co2. I have low-tech soil tanks and my knowledge on co2 is lacking but I would guess that it is a nutrient deficiency rather. As far as root feeders @SCMurphy gave me great advice when I was going through some problems with the first attempt setting up my 75 gallon that would apply to your setup:

"If you want to start a tank without mineralizing the soil the best method is to get as many heavy rooters into the tank as you can. Sword plants, Sagittaria, Vals, the really easy Crypts, Aponogetons, Criniums, anything that grows a big root mass. Those plants push a lot of O2 in to their roots and help oxygenate some of the soil to allow the natural processes to run. ..."
i am using root tabs.... but i would assume mineralizing my soil would have had to be done when i started the tank and added compounds to the dirt... as for my yellowing tips i think its a potassium deficency.... sooner or later im going to have to buy all my ferts seperatly and dose like that instead of my all in one package i have now....
 

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Yes mineralizing would have had to be done beforehand but I didn't either. I was having trouble getting it dried outside do to constant rain. Every time I would get ready to dry it out, rain clouds would appear. My mix included red clay, cat litter soaked in lime and root tabs. I don't dose any ferts other than what's already in the soil other than Flourish tabs. Natural planted tanks often don't have mineralized soil. The organics are continuously breaking down and feeding your plants as well as producing co2 to some degree. As long as you are getting o2 into your soil, hence the heavy rooting plants and Malaysian trumpet snails (they burrow into substrate), you don't have to worry about it. If you don't get enough o2 into your soil, anaerobic bacteria start going to work and begin to produce hydrogen sulfide which stinks and is toxic to plants and fish. Usually you would want to stay away from injected co2 in the beginning because of the amount that you are getting from the organics breaking down is variable. You could end up with too much co2, gassed fish and pH swings.
 
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