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Old 05-14-2012, 01:13 PM   #1 
thebetta4144
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soil as a substrate?

I am wondering if i can use soil as a substrate i bought a organic soil but i have no clue if it's safe for my Betta.Also wanting to know if i can only use soil as my substrate and not top it with a layer of sand or gravel just soil.. help!
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:32 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Soil is a great substrate if you plan to mass plant the tank with lot of stem plants...otherwise, without a lot of stem plants to help keep the water safe- the soil can make the water toxic pretty fast...

The cap on the soil is to help keep the soil in place.....without it you may end up with muddy/hazy water...I have never tried a soil based in the house or in a glass tank without a cap-but the ones I have outside with just dirt and floating plants- always seem to have a hazy look to them.
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:16 PM   #3 
thebetta4144
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thanks for the reply i tested some soil in water and cleaned it out a lot and the results were amazing the water was clear and the soil stayed on the bottom but i want to know if my betta will be safe with the soil and if the plants i plants in the soil will they float or stay dug under the soil?
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:45 PM   #4 
Olympia
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Like OFL said, you NEED plants in a soil tank. Tons. Otherwise toxins from the soil can build up rapidly. OFL has some lovely examples in her profile albums. I would not put a fish in an unplanted/lightly planted tank.
Also if the soil has manure it's no good for fish tanks.
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:06 PM   #5 
thebetta4144
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i have amazon swords, peacock fern, white and gold ribbon plants,umbrella plant, marimo moss, java moss and dwarf hair grass (trying to grow a carpet) is that enough plants ?
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:36 PM   #6 
Oldfishlady
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What size tank, what kind of lights, age of bulbs, kelvin, watts and photoperiod...

Sadly-most of your plants are not aquatic and will slowly rot, die and pollute the tank....the peacock fern, ribbon plant and umbrella plant.....

With soil based tanks you need lots and lots of stem plants and you don't list any.....stem plant are usually sold in bunches of 5-12 stems without roots all tied together-
Depending on the tank size-you need at least 2-4 different species of stem plants as well as some floating plants like water lettuce, frogbit or duckweed.

Without the right number and species of plants as well as the proper lights....a soil based tank may crash......

A bit more to setting up a soil based system-I strongly recommend that you DO NOT add any livestock.......

Read through this thread to help give you more info on soil based systems-also more info and pic in my album
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=84915

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 05-14-2012 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:03 PM   #7 
thebetta4144
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im glad you told me they were not aquatic plants (you learn from your mistakes) i have a 20 gallon tank and not sure how many species of aquatic plants should i have and one last question if i have tons of stems plants and my betta eats the soil will it kill my betta? if it does what is the best substrate to top the soil or can i just leave it with only soil?:D
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Old 05-15-2012, 10:02 AM   #8 
Oldfishlady
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If you want to setup a soil based NPT.....I would cap the soil with either playsand, pool filter sand or small diameter gravel

Stem plants-I would get 3-4 bunches of 3-4 different species of stem plants-you want about 75% of the floor planted with stems in the beginning along with some floating plants....

I have never had a Betta get sick and/or die due to soil or sand-I have seen them pick through it-spit it out, blow it through their gills...etc.....fish usually have instinct to not eat things that will do them harm-not that it has never happened.....I am sure it has...but it would be rare IMO/E....

When I first started with plants...I bought the non-aquatic too....we live and learn then move on with more knowledge.....
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Old 05-15-2012, 10:42 AM   #9 
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I set up a tank with dirt, had some problems but learned as I went along.

My tank had high ammonia for a month with a bunch of plants. Don't add any live stock until it tests negative for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

You need stem plants as OFL said, they will be the ones keeping the soil healthy as they grow fast. Make sure your plants are indeed aquatic.

To be honest, for you I wouldn't do it. It seems you aren't very familiar with plants which will be a huge problem. I suggest researching plants and their needs first as some need more light or fertilizers then others.
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