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Old 03-07-2013, 08:55 PM   #11 
Aurie
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2 suggestions on using soil.. ok 3

1. use an old plastic strainer (spagetti style) and strain the soil. (look at my thread below, for a picture as to why in the first post) Twigs can release a LOT of tannin
2. Don't use ANY soil with Pearlite (spelling?) the little white balls that keep it light and fluffy..
3. Have a clue as to where you want your plants. Research your plants ahead of time. I put dwarf sag in my NPT and they have huge roots (almost as bad as swords) and they spread, like wild fire and I still have them poping up. When you go to move plants you will disturb the soil. I removed mine because they were EVERYWHERE.

Ok a 4th tip - Use sand as a cap. I recommend pool filter sand. It's heavier than play sand and needs almost NO rinsing. But with a NPT you can't do what I do with new tanks (add sand, add water, drain water, add water, drain water, add and done) .. Little to no dust. I'd recommend rinsing in a 5 gallon bucket.. put in your amt of sand (maybe place in aquarium first to know the amt?) and then dump into a bucket and give a quick rinse.. Play sand can take up to hours to rinse. It's very dusty and plain light brown (tan) and pool filter sand has dark specks and looks more natural. Play sand usually runs $4-8/50lbs (lowes and home depot) and pool filter sand runs about $12/50lbs and is available at Spa/Pool supply stores. If you get the pool filter sand the bag might have small slits in it. Bring a bucket for transport or it'll get all over your car

Here is my 5.5 journal.. btw the dwarf sag is planted on the left in the first couple tank pictures

http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=127007
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:40 PM   #12 
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Crap a 5th tip came to mind after edit time was up:

If using sand and a walstad tank (soil/sand) get trumpet snails. Yeah they're livebearers but they breed slowly. Easy to remove (they are slow and love veggies so easy to bait) and they will stir the sand and make all the bubbles pop. These bubbles if left to themselves can kill fish and make the soil go anaerobic and you'll have to start over
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:51 PM   #13 
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Oooh, thanks much for the tips!

I would get trumpets, but I've already got a mystery, and she can't stay in her little 1gal or 1 1/2 gal forever. Would banded loaches stir the sand enough in place of the trumpets? I've heard they love to root around in sand.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:56 PM   #14 
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IMO They dig, and dig deep. I've seen videos of small loaches that made nice 3 inch deep substrate into a bare bottom tank in a 30 gallon.. If you can't do snails then what you'll want to do is get something long and pokey (I use bamboo skewers) and gently poke at the sand yourself. I don't know mystery snails all that well. You'll want a snail that is good at eating dead plant matter and algae
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:05 PM   #15 
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Eek, correction to that, banded/striped kuhli loach. I'm used to referring to them simply as loaches even though I've got what I want in my siggy. Do you know if they tend to do this as well? =\
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:09 PM   #16 
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yeap they dig. It's the reason I didn't dirt my 20 or 46 gallon. How big is the tank you're dirting?
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:28 PM   #17 
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It's an Aqueon 10. Woulda gotten a 20 but we didn't have quite that much when the sale was going on (but barely managed to get the 10). From what I figure for planting it, about 2" for the mix then maybe about 1" in sand. Or is that too much in total for the substrate?
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:48 PM   #18 
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Seems perfectly fine to me.. I would suggest 1.5 and 1.5 myself

You should be ok if it's just the betta putting the snail and a couple MTS in there. The MTS would be hidden during the day mostly.. and if you think there's too many drop a blanched pea or a piece of lettuce at lights out.. if you're up late before bed, flick on the light and there should be a bunch. Put them in the trash with the leaf. I did this and got 5 out of my 6 adults since they had some babies :) I had 6 to start and I've only seen maybe 6 babies since I set up my tank like 2 months ago
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