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Old 12-18-2022, 12:57 AM   #1
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Help setting up dirted tank

So I'm planning on setting up a semi Walstad method tank. Can I use 2 inch sand or more on top of the soil? I'm still planning on using a sponge filter, I'm just learning about the Walstad method and incorporating it to my tank to help me with filtration and plants and stuff. I'm adding a thick layer of sand in the back section cause I have a scape in mind that I'm planning to do. It's a 5 gallon cube and I'm only planning to use it for shrimp. Also is there any common mistakes I need to avoid?

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Old 12-18-2022, 06:06 AM   #2
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Yes 2 inch sand is fine although the raised sand at the back will try to level out across the tank over time so you will need some kind barrier to stop the sand falling forwards.

The soil will release a lot of ammonia and drain oxygen for a few weeks so you will need to monitor ammonia and avoid putting the shrimp in until
That is stable. You can mineralise the soil before hand to avoid ammonia issues but itís a lot of effort, time consuming and this time of year is not the best time to do it.

Other than that have fun with it. The sponge filter is a good call as it will at least help with gas exchange. As the organic matter in the soil is broken down by microbes they will use a lot of oxygen. The water will also probably go tea coloured as the soil will leech tannins in to the water. Just keep up with water changes. Iím about to do a dirtied shrimp bowl myself.

You will probably get a lot of bubbles coming up from the substrate too but these are nothing to worry about.
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Old 12-18-2022, 06:10 AM   #3
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Help setting up dirted tank

Also a brand new tank doesnít contain hardly any food for shrimp so make sure they are fed well for at least 6 months before they can transition in to what the tank has to offer. Then you can feed more sparingly. After about 12 months with a good amount of plant mass. Thats when you can start dialling down on water changes and let the plants and microbes do the work.
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Old 12-18-2022, 10:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
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So I'm planning on setting up a semi Walstad method tank. Can I use 2 inch sand or more on top of the soil? I'm still planning on using a sponge filter, I'm just learning about the Walstad method and incorporating it to my tank to help me with filtration and plants and stuff. I'm adding a thick layer of sand in the back section cause I have a scape in mind that I'm planning to do. It's a 5 gallon cube and I'm only planning to use it for shrimp. Also is there any common mistakes I need to avoid?
Don't do it

set up a plain old boring tank with plants and do that instead
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Old 12-18-2022, 09:22 PM   #5
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Thanks. I'm setting up rocks in the back ground to hold all the sand steady. I've actually done it a few weeks ago but I just now thought of using dirt for the 1st layer so I'm gonna tear it down and redo it later. I'm wrapping the driftwood in a lot of java moss so I hope that keeps the shrimp satisfied.
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Old 12-18-2022, 09:28 PM   #6
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Oh, why? Anything I need to watch out for? I've actually done one and I'm just wondering if the soil can actually help with filtration even when it's capped with a thick layer of sand. I'm using filters for all of them.
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Old 12-18-2022, 09:54 PM   #7
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This is the 1st one. Everything looks steady. No problems. No tannins, no smell, no bubbling and plants growing fine. Thinking of increasing the watts of the lighting cause the parrot feather is having a hard time growing leaves. There's a red sessilis in the background that a local shop told me was aquatic. Waiting for it to either grow long enough to break through the surface or if it'll die and I'll just have to remove it. Right now it's doing good and just keeps growing. There's 1 panda platty in there to avoid getting mosquito's. Originally this was supposed to be for the shrimp cause I thought it'd be nice to see the golden backs with a green background contrast. But I'm planning on grading them so it's gonna be hard to take them out of this one. So now this is gonna be for some Panda guppies that I'm getting.
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Old 12-22-2022, 09:45 AM   #8
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Any tip for planting on sand? I encounter this problem from time to time when I'm sticking stem plants into the sand. The lower submerged part starts to melt.
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Old 12-22-2022, 05:56 PM   #9
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Help setting up dirted tank

The plants are adjusting to life with significantly less co2 availability. Look for new roots about the melting parts of the stem. Cut just below the next roots and replant
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Old 01-19-2023, 08:06 AM   #10
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Sorry if this was asked before but I need help with my plants. Do shrimp kill them? Before I added them everything was great and looking healthy for a month. After I added them they slowly started melting. Leaves started falling from the plants at the back (I forgot what they're called), they slowly started destroying the java moss only leaving the stems and the dwarf amazon sword is trying to hold on by growing new leaves but the older leaves keep turning pale. I think they can't do anything to the bacopa cause it's pretty tough for them to chew on. Any advice?
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Old 01-19-2023, 02:46 PM   #11
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Have you tried a fertiliser such as Thrive?
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Old 01-19-2023, 11:25 PM   #12
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I have the micro and macro liquid fertilizer and it has soil underneath. They gave me too much dwarf amazon so I had some just floating in a plain water container and it actually grew runners. Idk what's going on with the one in the tank except that I can see the shrimp nibbling on it from time to time. If fertilizer is the only problem then I'll go buy some root tabs altho I'm gonna have to figure out how I'll be able to stick it underneath those pebbles without disturbing the whole thing.
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Old 01-20-2023, 05:27 AM   #13
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No then. Fertiliser wonít be an issue. What soil is it? Garden soil, top soil or a commercial plant soil?

The shrimp will only nibble on unhealthy plants.
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Old 01-20-2023, 06:35 AM   #14
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I bought non fertilized garden soil. The leaves have little holes on them. It keeps growing new ones but after it gets bigger the cycle repeats. The Sagittaria looks great tho. 1st time I've tried it. Do you have any suggestions for low light plants? So far I've found Bacopa, guppy grass and now sagittaria able to tolerate almost no lighting. I'm having a hard time with java moss even if it's getting direct sunlight and I was told it can tolerate low light. I ask cause the bottom tank on my shelf is going to mainly rely on sunlight from a window.
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Old 01-20-2023, 09:20 AM   #15
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How long has the tank been set up?

Perhaps try some cryptocorynes
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Old 01-20-2023, 11:12 AM   #16
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About a month before I added the shrimp and almost 2 months now. I know I've tried cryptocorynes in shrimp tank and they melted :\
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Old 01-20-2023, 12:17 PM   #17
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About a month before I added the shrimp and almost 2 months now. I know I've tried cryptocorynes in shrimp tank and they melted :\

Where do you get your water from? Tap, well? Is your tap water hard or soft. Crypts can melt with a sudden change in parameters but they grow back if you allow them time.
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Old 01-20-2023, 10:33 PM   #18
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Tap, it's a little bit hard. I don't think that's the issue cause the one's that I just left out in a plain container is doing fine. This one has soil and fertz. I think the problem with my crypt was weak lighting. I just had it in a tank on the other side of the room in front of a window. It would probably do better on one of my main tanks.
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Old 01-21-2023, 03:01 AM   #19
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Help setting up dirted tank

I genuinely think you need to give the tank more time. This tank really is still a baby in terms of maturity and stability. It might even be worth planting more plants. As many as you like the look of. Different species from this list.

Swords, various Crypts, Cabomba, Bacopa, Ludwigia, Ambulia, Najas, Nymphaea, Spatterdock, Anubias, Fontinalis, Blyxa, Vallis, Sagittaria, Hygrophila, Alternanthera, Water Wisteria, Samolus, Pistia, Japanese Rush, Hairgrass, Lagenandra (not meeboldi red), Hornwort, Didiplis, Bolbitis, Indian Fern, Myriophyllum, Utricularia, Marsilea, Aponogetons.

Some will be happy in your water and others wont. The tank decides.
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Old 01-22-2023, 07:35 AM   #20
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Ahh I see I see. So it might still be acclimating or it might not like my water. I've wanted to try some crypts and anubias but they're a bit expensive here and I don't wanna waste it on experimenting whether they'll survive in my tank. I'm trying to make my pothos grow longer so I can hang the leaves near the window and have the roots stick to a driftwood I'm making.
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