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First dirted tank

1041 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  thumper_65590
I am wanting to do a dirted tank with my established 44 Gal Octagon Oceanic. This tank is well established and cycled with fish in it. The tank has been up continuously for 5 years, and the filter that is on it has been in it for 2 years. I use straight well water. It is fairly "Hard" water with alot of calcium and minerals in it.( South Missouri well). My question is about 3 parts. I am planning on using pulverized topsoil that has been tested and is showing no signs of any chemicals in it. I want to cap it with pea gravel. Anyway, how much dirt should I put down, then how much cap over it. Also, if I use my water in the tank now, along with a 40% water change, alsong with my current filter and all, will I be able to restock my tank after putting the new substrate in it, or will I have to cycle it again? Thank you. Here is a picture of it, and the blue gravel in it is going to be coming out when I change the substrate.


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The general idea is about 1" soil and 1" cap. You need to make sure you have good flow to avoid dead spots.

If you don't let your filter dry out and safe water is used then you shouldn't lose the BB in your filter. Having said that, I still feel that the soil will leech ammonia into your system, especially if you don't have a lot of plants to absorb it for you. I would stock with caution and test your water.
sorry for taking so long to reply. Should I wait to change the substrate till I get my plants then? Just do it all at the same time? Thanks
sorry for taking so long to reply. Should I wait to change the substrate till I get my plants then? Just do it all at the same time? Thanks
I'd recommend waiting until plants arrive and just spend the day carefully redoing your set up
~move fish to tempt tank/bucket with exissiting tank water, same for filter and heater
~remove everything
~add soil
~add cap
~add plants (maybe add tiny bit more cap to hold down plants)
~fill carefully to avoid disturbing cap
~siphon or net out any floating bits of soil
~and add back heater/filter/fish.

Then monitor closely for several days at least if not a week or two, test ammonia and nitrite levels, if there are any spikes (goes above 0 ppm) do water changes.

I have a new tank but need lights, plants, and substrate so for now I am cycling it (tank filter ad heater here). I will do a MGOPM with sand cap after the plants arrive. The plants help absorb ammonia leeched by the soil, and their roots deliver oxygen to the soil and prevent pockets of gas building that can be deadly. I won't be adding fish until the plants settled in to ensure no chance of ammonia spikes killing anything (and after its cycled of course).
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sounds like a plan. I am going to try to get plants this weekend, and if so, I hope to have the tank planted by Sunday afternoon. Hopefully it all works out, if not I will be waiting another week or so. Should I be ok on my lighting that I have now, or look at getting a stronger light? As I said, I get good natural light now (Good enough to grow algae anyway, lol)
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