The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m in the midst of setting up a 110g low tech community aquarium. I have the soil picked and my question is about height. Should it be 1-2 inches before getting wet/putting sand/gravel on top or after? Soil can compact a lot but I don’t want to have too much as I know there’s issues with that.
Also, would it be worthwhile to leave soil out of my larger hardscape items to avoid issue with soil compaction? I have a couple of larger rocks that will be in the 20-30 lb range. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
You're going to want to turn it into mud and make sure there's no air trapped in it about an inch and a half is all you need, then cap it with an inch and a half to 2 inches of whatever you're using for a cap. When you scape make sure that it's exactly the way you want it so you don't move anything around once it's set and risk poisoning your livestock. Hope that helps you. You can also look up the walstad method, lots of great dirted tank info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,912 Posts
I’m in the midst of setting up a 110g low tech community aquarium. I have the soil picked and my question is about height. Should it be 1-2 inches before getting wet/putting sand/gravel on top or after? Soil can compact a lot but I don’t want to have too much as I know there’s issues with that.
Also, would it be worthwhile to leave soil out of my larger hardscape items to avoid issue with soil compaction? I have a couple of larger rocks that will be in the 20-30 lb range. Thanks!
When you say soil do you mean dirt? If so, go with 1/4 inch of dirt. If aquasoil then 1/2 to as much as you want.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You're going to want to turn it into mud and make sure there's no air trapped in it about an inch and a half is all you need, then cap it with an inch and a half to 2 inches of whatever you're using for a cap. When you scape make sure that it's exactly the way you want it so you don't move anything around once it's set and risk poisoning your livestock. Hope that helps you. You can also look up the walstad method, lots of great dirted tank info.
Yes! I was planning on doing Walstad style. I didn’t remember reading anything about compaction or not though. Was debating of putting some rock/gravel base under the largest elements before putting the dirt in. If it going to bed put in as mud/slurry then definitely want the main hardscape pieces set first. Thanks for the advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
I've done quite a few walstad style tanks in my lifetime and they are the least maintenane/ biggest bang for your buck style planted tank you can get when they go right. It reminds me of setting up larger enclosed reef aquariums, very similar concept. There's many different suggestions for amount of dirt to use, but I know there's a thread about ntp out there where Ms. Walstad chimed in about the amount of soil needed for her ecosystem vases and at it's thickest it should be no more than an inch and a half. Considering the size of your tank I'd go for the inch and a half. Put the mud in first, then hardscape then set with the cap and plant from there. That's just how I'd do it.

* if you're using actual dirt and sifting you can use a lot less dirt with the same effect. I've always used deep substrates, but they can lead to gases being trapped if not done right. Like I said, there can't be any air in the mud and the cap needs to be tight and remain undisturbed. If not done right it's kind of a nightmare. If done right you have a tank that you just top off and maybe do a water change 3 times a year. Good luck!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
400 Posts
Don't use literal dirt as in garden. What happens is all the organic matter "loam" will simply dissolve away and you will be left with clay. Clay that won't let roots grow as it becomes dense,heavy,and won't let roots penetrate.
Think of the local cow pond made by man in a field...what do you see? A slick heavy clay that only the most weedy aquatic plants cant take hold in. Its why they sell bentonite to line dirt ponds- it's a waterproof or so, clay.
I've read where Waldstadt says "organic potting soils"..Not dirt now if she ever did recommend dirt before.
Look at all the vids on youtube...the best aquatic gardens are clear streams,not ponds where clay just stays there. Streams where sands and gravels that get seasonal floods of nutrients.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
If you have the patience to read through this Ms. Walstad makes reference to using dirt from your yard. She and Tom Barr make contributions/ moderate to this thread and I have taken notes right from here throughout a lot of my time of consultation/ breeding/ cultivating.
Link no good, searching again for the right one, it's in aquatic central's forums, though, under the El natural section. Ms. Walstad is the moderator of that section.

There's a good description of the way a soil should feel when it's wet. It should have give but spring back. If it holds it's shape too well there's too much clay, if it falls apart there's too much sand. This is NOT something I suggest doing unless you're being advised by an expert. I am not an expert, just someone that practices a lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
400 Posts
They might have meant some garden "loam" mixed with sands and gravels- then a cap of nice looking ornamental sands or gravels. But,if you use pure garden soil under sand or gravel? It will become potters clay for sure. Nothing can root in that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,395 Posts
They might have meant some garden "loam" mixed with sands and gravels- then a cap of nice looking ornamental sands or gravels. But,if you use pure garden soil under sand or gravel? It will become potters clay for sure. Nothing can root in that.
Doesn't it depend on where you live? I can tell you honestly that I have almost zero clay in my dirt... it's almost all sand and rock. I think that's what @Plinkploop is saying... There's a way to determine if there's too much clay in your soil. Not everyone has a clay based soil in their yard / garden, just like not everyone has as much sand as me. You can't really make an absolute statement like "all soil turns to potters clay", because it's simply not true.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top