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Hey everyone,

I have a new 20 gallon that I really want to put dirt in. I want to try the Walstad method where I use Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil and cap it with a gravel substrate. I have seen many videos about ways to prepare the dirt but is it really necessary to do all of these steps? Like removing twigs (which I plan to do) or soaking the dirt and letting it dry? I will have MTS to help aerate the soil when I start it, and I plan to plant the crap out of it with Amazon swords, water wisteria, dwarf hair grass, green crypts, and maybe some moss. Any ideas or experiences? Thanks so much!
 

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For me when I set up my dirted tanks, all I did was soak the dirt in a bucket, stir it occasionally to get all the stuff that would float out of it would and the stuff that would get waterlogged and sink would sink. I usually did this in a bucket half full of dirt and full of water for a day or 2, then I would skim the floating stuff off (I set it aside for house plants, but you could dispose of it otherwise), drain the bucket most of the way and scoop out what was on the bottom into the new tank. If you need more than a buckets worth you can use multiple buckets or fill the tank with enough water to keep the dirt wet while you make more. After you have enough dirt, cover with sand/gravel/colored stones/etc and plant in your desired style (either dry tank or filled) run a filter and cycle as normal. You'll likely have small flecks of debris floating around for a while and every time you uproot the plants you'll have some floating around, but it's minor and either comes out with a filter or settles out. I would recommend using something other than white sand, since the debris stands out, but thats just a personal choice
 
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