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Old 01-13-2019, 06:51 PM   #1
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Does dirt substrate need sand cover?

I'm new to aquariums. I have a dirt substrate planted brackish tank. The water is tinted brown, which is fine, because I used, as my source water, water taken from an area full of mangroves. Tea colored water is ok with me. At first it was more like muck though. Then it seemed to settle down / get filtered out.

My question is - do I have to cap the soil with sand or gravel to avoid the water motion churning up the dirt and making it harder to see? I'm trying to make the environment as close to a natural mangrove swamp as I can, so I'd rather not go with the sterilized white sand or gravel on top. Is this likely to work or do I need to succumb to custom?

The tank will have Florida pink shrimp, aka penaeus durorarum. I think they'll do ok in the brackish mangrove water, and I'll use a drip over to the bucket I buy them in before moving them to the tank, so that the adjustment is not abrupt. Right now I have not put any shrimp in yet. The tank is cycling and I just put in a plant.
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:25 PM   #2
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You donít have to, however, the particles that become unsettled may prematurely clog the filter. You could try a not so light colored, well rinsed play sand. Mixing sand with tan, irregular sized gravel and pea gravel will give a more natural appearance.
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