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Old 06-23-2013, 05:04 PM   #1
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Dirting a tank?

Hey, I have a few questions about using dirt in your fishtank. I was looking it up, and this one guy did it with plain potting soil and said he had wonderful results. However, I didn't get to actually see the tank, and I was a little dubious. Wouldn't the fertilizers in the soil hurt the fish? And would it make for a dirty tank? Thanks for any input.

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Old 06-23-2013, 05:36 PM   #2
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I don't know anybody who had much success with a dirt tank. A few of my friends tried it and quickly went back to sand.

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Old 06-23-2013, 05:41 PM   #3
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To my knowledge. The water clouds up a bit. But your supposed put layer of dirt then cap it with Eco complete, gravel or even kitty litter. If you use any sort of potting soil I've heard that all organic potting soil works fine. You have to make sure that it's just basic potting soil with no other purpose.
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:08 PM   #4
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Some people like dirt others don't. I know some people that have had success with it to! Now personally I have tried dirt in about 4 tanks at the same time with varied results. I used Miracle Grow Organic choice dirt. The first one was a 5 gallon and it was my first planted tank. I used to much dirt and probably to much clay as well. I also used a bigger type of black gravel to cap it off. Now the plants in the tank seemed to do fairly well, especially the bannana plants and the rotalla indica. Here is a video of the tank...5 Gallon Planted Dirt Betta Tank (December 8th) (Updated) - YouTube

So it went alright, but I think due to the use of to much dirt and the large size of gravel, the dirt started to get everywhere and get all messy. It also started to smell very bad and it may have been a rotting plant or something, but I wound up re-doing it after that and then eventually taking it down and setting it up for shell dwellers .

My other 2 tanks went okay, they didn't really smell or maybe a little but not as bad as the 5 gallon. One of them was a 6 gallon and it didn't have very good lighting so lots of stuff died. Also the other one was a 5 gallon hex and dwarf sag went really well in there, but some of the other stuff didn't really grow that great.

My most successful dirted tank was probably my 1.5 gallon aquarium. I know it was really small, but I used Pool Filter Sand and the dirt wasn't as big of a problem. Here it is...1.5 Gallon Nano Tank Update: March 17, 2012 - YouTube

Now it has been taken down also, not really due to dirt problems, I actually forget why to be honest; may have been a space issue! Anyways I only have 1 planted tank right now and it is a 10 gallon which I am using flourite black sand in. I think with the addition of CO2 the tank will really rock! The plants do decent with just the flourite and no ferts, but once I get CO2 the plants should do better.

In conclusion, dirt is good for some people and not for others. If you are a person who is very specific about having clean tanks it may not be the best choice. Also if you do lots of rescapes and moving plants in your tanks then it may also not be the best choice, but could still be done. I think it is good if you are on a budget and if you are dedicated to keeping the dirt under control. I think that you could probably just use a very small amount of dirt to and that would reduce the possibility of a big mess. I also recommend trying to have a plan of a scape so that when you do plant, you won't be constantly pulling them out, releasing dirt, and making a mess!

I hope I helped and good luck with the tank!

If you got any more questions feel free to ask

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Old 06-23-2013, 07:18 PM   #5
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I agree with Brandon, it has varied results. I have had 3 dirted aquariums.

My first was a 2.5g. It turned out okay, but I ended up taking it down (more due to the fact I upgraded then the planting).

I have a 10g and a 55g dirt planted. I will tell you it is not something you want if you want perfect sand. I personally don't care. On my 55 I use just sand and it works wonderfully. My plants love it and they grow quite quickly (my root feeders). I like the dirted better than my just sand set up. Here's a picture:

This was taken a while ago, and the plants have really grown. (Not so much now as my fish ate them when I went on vacation...).

If you're even thinking about it, I'd say to try it out. I like the way mine turned out, but you may not. You'll never really know until you try

Good luck!
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:28 PM   #6
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I've done dirted tanks for years and I prefer them. My largest 220g tank is dirted with a cap of Eco Complete and is 100% planted. I run very high lighting, CO2, and dose dry ferts PPS-Pro and have 2/3 or so of the tank planted with non green stem plants. A dirted tank can be great. They require a little extra work in the beginning but IMO it's worth the effort.

You have to use Organic Potting Soil. Many use Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil/Mix but I've used a product called Just Natural Organic Potting Soil that I buy at Lowes for many years with great results.

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tan, tank

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