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Old 11-27-2013, 03:31 AM   #1
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Is dirting tanks worth it?

Is it? I dirted my 10g but its too early to me to see progress but how has it worked put for you guys?
I'm using Miracle-Gro Organic Potting Mix.
Post pics if you can!
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:14 AM   #2
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I have dirted a pair of 20G tanks now and i think it is worth it. I kept one 20G with pebbles and some scenery rocks for about 9 years (occasionally added plants that died) and have been planting dirted tanks for about 2 months (pretty much when i joined here). It's been very enjoyable so far. Would highly recommend it for anyone who wants to improve their aquariums. I haven't used any ferts yet but my plants are very healthy and all of them except my Dwarf Pongol and Anubias have shown great growth. The Pongol has grown a couple of new leaves but nothing significant and i've only had the Anubias for a fortnight and it's supposed to grow slowly. I'm holding off on ferts till i upgrade my lighting since things are doing well enough.

The original tank i trialed with dirt is a bit messy due to my big comet uprooting many plants and my second tank is very cloudy today after replanting a lot of trimmings yesterday. Will post some pics of the second tank when the cloudiness goes away.

After a short time with plants in my tank i can say that my fish seem to have become more healthy. Their color has improved. Although i have improved their diet a lot recently too and they are less bloated in shape. The only downside to having plants for me is that i had some algae issues for a few weeks andwas spending quite a bit of time scrubbing it off leaves. But adjusting my lighting and adding some snails seems to have reduced the algae build up. Scrubbing plant leaves was getting to be a chore.
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:14 AM   #3
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Here is my tank before I dirted it. Half of the plants are plastic in the tank.

Here is the after


So yes I think it's very worth it! I am doing another one on Friday.
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
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This is my ten gallon dirted from start to almost current. It's been running for 42 days. I've never got such wonderful coloration from plants, even in my high tech tanks. I only dose excel and the bulbs are 13 watt daylight spiral cfls.
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:49 AM   #5
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Oops. Here ya go
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Old 11-27-2013, 11:27 AM   #6
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Wow those tanks are nice how many inches if dirt should i do in a 25g?
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:00 PM   #7
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I believe 3" is standard regardless of tank size. That will give you 1.5" of dirt and 1.5" of cap
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:11 PM   #8
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Me coming from the other side of the spectrum with not dirting my tanks I would say it's not necessary. It's a fairly specialist procedure that comes with quite a few potential problems. It also isn't necessary to have a quickly growing beautiful aquarium. I use an inert sand in my 55g planted tank and root tabs to supplement; which will be necessary whether you have a dirted tank or not and have absolutely absurd growth on my plants in a low tech setup.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:46 PM   #9
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My best example right now of a dirted tank is my 220g dirted that is about 2 years old now. You can view pic's via the link below in my signature.

I have run both dirted and non dirted for years and found both methods to be successful. But in dirted tanks I have always had monstrous growth (30" tall amazon swords and crypts that grew over 15" tall and equally wide) in heavy root feeders even without using root tabs very much (I am not always the best remembering to put them in). I also have never had any crypt melt in my dirted tanks. Plus the added advantage is as the organics break down in the water it helps soften the water which for the fish I keep is great. So do you need to dirt in order to have a successful tank, no. But is it worth it, to me, absolutely.
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