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Old 01-07-2015, 11:26 PM   #1
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A few Q's about a dirted tank I'm starting

So I'm doing a 10 gallon dirted tank so I can get my toes wet in the planted tank world. I have plants in my other tanks but have never really gotten them to grow very well and don't fully understand their needs. I have been doing a lot of research lately and have learned a lot.

First question is my lighting. I purchased a hanging fixture from Home Depot with two 18", 14 watt 6500K fluorescent T5 bulbs. Will that be enough light to grow most any plants? I'm not 100% sure what plants I'm getting yet. Good thing it is hanging because I can adjust the height if need be.

Second, I'm going to use 1/2" miracle gro organic potting soil with 2"-3" Eco complete substrate to cap it. How long do I need to let that soak before I can start planting at least?


Also, if I stock the tank very low (4-5 Cardinal tetras) will I even need to vacuum? I figure the small biomass wouldn't require a large amount of cleaning as far as removing fish waste, because the plants could use the extra nitrates from the bb (I figure).


I don't know what filter to use either because if i dose with CO2 I don't want to lose what I do put in there to surface agitation.


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Old 01-07-2015, 11:28 PM   #2
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I followed this exact page for my dirted tank and have had good success. Greater Washington Aquatic Plant Association ¬Ľ Mineralized Soil Substrate hope it helps!
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:50 PM   #3
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I'm trying to stay away from mineralizing my soil, the process for me would be a little difficult, it is below freezing outdoors and I live in a small apartment. I realize that there will be a large amount of biomaterial breaking down and some spikes in ammonia but I plan to wait a good while to add my fish. I didn't consider adding clay, I am a potter so have a fair amount of knowledge about clays and their chemical compounds.


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Old 01-08-2015, 12:06 AM   #4
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A few Q's about a dirted tank I'm starting

You could always do 2" of soil and 1" of sand as a cap. I don't think you need EcoComplete AND Dirt.

It won't hurt if you do that combo.

I don't vacuum planted tanks much at all. I do swirl a suction hose above my sand to get out detritus.

I wouldn't do Cardinals in a 10g.
Consider nano species like Celestial Pearl Danios. I have 7 in my 10g and if that was my only species I could probably have 10 easy.





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Old 01-08-2015, 12:11 AM   #5
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:57 AM   #6
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Not very fond of the look of sand. I like the look of Eco and want to use dirt regardless just to learn from it.


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Old 01-08-2015, 01:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Not very fond of the look of sand. I like the look of Eco and want to use dirt regardless just to learn from it.


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Then it will work great 👍


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Old 01-08-2015, 01:24 PM   #8
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What do you think about lighting?


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Old 01-08-2015, 02:18 PM   #9
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It sounds like decent lighting. What type of bulbs ? T8 ? T5 ?
Picture ?


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Old 01-08-2015, 03:44 PM   #10
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Dual T5 14 watt 6500K.
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Old 01-08-2015, 03:46 PM   #11
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T5 NO or HO ? I assume NO (Normal Output) ?


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Old 01-08-2015, 03:48 PM   #12
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I'd say NO... 120v


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Old 01-08-2015, 03:53 PM   #13
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Not sure how to tell really.


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Old 01-08-2015, 04:21 PM   #14
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Looks like NO. What's the length of the fixture? 24"?

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Old 01-08-2015, 04:29 PM   #15
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The bulbs are 20" fixture is 22.5"
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:04 PM   #16
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I just dirted my 10 using miracle grow Monday. I used natural stone to cap and I have two zoomed cfl 6500k lights. Next one will have play sand. Too much leaching with the porous gravel. various plants, 5 cory, 6 neon tetras
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:27 PM   #17
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A few Q's about a dirted tank I'm starting

So wait, you threw fish in without cycling, while soil is leaching out stuff ?

Have you read up on cycling ?

Or was that future stock list ??

What kind of natural stone ? Large gravel ? Pea Gravel ?

Yes, sand is often a better cap.

Do you have a test kit, so you can keep Ammonia at safe levels ?


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Old 01-09-2015, 12:51 PM   #18
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The tank is empty no soil or anything. No substrate or water either. How does sand hold up? Haven't researched sand much as far as how well plants grow in it or how easy to clean it is.


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Old 01-09-2015, 06:38 PM   #19
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The tank is empty no soil or anything. No substrate or water either. How does sand hold up? Haven't researched sand much as far as how well plants grow in it or how easy to clean it is.


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Sorry was responding to post above mine. Should have used quote.

I love sand in my planted tanks. You aren't going to vacuum much except to swirl the hose in a gentle circle above the sand to suck out detritus.

I use straight sand, with root tabs buried deep , so that my plants have nutrients for the roots. Click image for larger version

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Dirted tanks are great. I just move my plants too much and was worried about disturbing the dirt too much, and having dirt up in my water column.


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Old 01-09-2015, 10:14 PM   #20
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Well my project has been slightly delayed, I can't find MGOCPS anywhere with it being January... What do I need to look for in dirt to use other than it being organic? I found some organic stuff but there isn't any actual soil in it's composition.


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