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Old 08-12-2012, 07:46 PM   #1 
aqua001
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Question starting an NPT

So, I am starting an NPT soon. (or hope to, anyway) I am a complete newbie when it comes to NPT'S so I need all the info I can get. OFL told me that once the tanks are mature(a 3 month process), I can remove the filter. Do you think I can just not use a filter at all? It will be a twenty gallon housing ten penguin tetras and 1 mystery snail (please tell me if they don't get along) and another school of tetras of some kind, though this school will only have 6 tetras. Can you cycle an NPT? All this NPT stuff is very confusing to me and I have like 5 million questions so all help is welcome. One thing I noticed with NPTs is that the only kind of decore they have is live plants. Is this another key point in NPTs?

Thanks! :)
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Old 08-12-2012, 08:05 PM   #2 
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I'm going to put in swords, water wisteria, corkscrew vallisneria and anubias (sp?). Do you think they will work well together? Should I get some ferts or will the waste from my fish be enough? Where will I get the dirt for my tank? I heard that you are supposed to put some sand on the sides and the dirt in the middle. Why?

There's a few more questions to prove my point LOL:).
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:58 AM   #3 
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You can find out a lot more about NPT's by reading through OFL's threads - I learned a LOT by stalking her!

Okay, here's how I did my own NPT which is doing great - maybe I'll answer some questions as I go. ;)

1. Got some organic potting mix and river sand. Put dirt in, covered it with sand. Ratio: two parts dirt to one part sand, ie, 1 inch dirt. 1/2 inch sand. Left the edges free of dirt so it looked pretty through the glass. Pure cosmetics.

2. Added a few inches of dechlorinated water.


3. Planted 60-70% of the tank floor with fast growing plants and a few others.

4. Added sponge filter. Filtration isn't necessary but I use it, keeps the water nice and avoids protein buildups. I choose to use it, some don't.

5. Filled tank with water, drained to get rid of cloudiness and refilled.. rinse, repeat until the water was clear.

6. Added betta. I'd make sure to keep stock at a minimum at first in case of ammonia spikes. A few small fish will help the tank cycle, too many all at once could be bad for the fish.

7. 50% water change twice a week for first few weeks to deal with ammonia leaking from the soil breakdown etc, then once a week and now a 25% change once a week. Testing the parameters regularly is a good idea.

8. Did a water change each time after replanting/uprooting things, to decrease nutrients in the water.

And that's about it. If your light is right for plants, and you take care of the tank while the dirt is maturing with water changes, etc, and also make sure to heavily plant the whole tank with stem plants then it'll probably go very smoothly.

You won't need ferts, the dirt and fish waste is enough.

You can get the dirt online or from a gardening center, just make very sure it's free of added ferts and water retaining agents.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:30 AM   #4 
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Wait... a few INCHES of water only or can I put more water in as I go? What kind of light is best for plants? Is river sand just sand from the river? I've seen some members use play sand. Is this ok? Do you just cycle an NPT like you would cycle a normal tank? thanks
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:58 AM   #5 
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Will this soil work?

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Miracle-Gr...g-Mix/16880014
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:27 AM   #6 
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I just found this sand. I think it is ok to use but I just want to make sure:

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...1#.UCkcPo7gA_s
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:27 PM   #7 
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you want organic miracle gro like this
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Miracle-Gr...g-Mix/16879733
the sand should be fine
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:46 PM   #8 
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Ok. What size should I get?
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:06 PM   #9 
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Depends on the tank size. For my 20g long I got a medium sized bag, don't remember the weight but like 2ish feet by 1.5 feet and I've done my tank twice and have enough left for a third, it was about $6
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:11 PM   #10 
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Okay. This is what I've understood in the making of an NPT. Please correct me if their are any misunderstandings.
1. Get all the supplies.
2. Put sand on the sides of the tank and dirt in the middle. Should the sand and soil be packed or just loose?
3. Add the water(dechlorinated). How do I do this without sloshing the dirt and sand together or is it ok for them to be mixed?
4. Put the plants and heater in.
5. drained and drained again to get rid of cloudiness (like Aus said) Since I will be draining the water, is it ok to use plain tap water without dechlorinater?
6. Put the fish in. Should I put all 16 fish and 1 snail inside or just put a certain number? When do I put the fish in? If I need to cycle the tank, is it just like cycling a normal tank? If it is not, how do I do it?
7.What Aus posted above. I heard that OFL only changed her NPT twice a year!!! Will this be possible with a 20 gal or will I have to get a 55 gal like hers?
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