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Old 12-30-2012, 12:20 AM   #161 
acadialover
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Thanks Sagat. I am in the 4 water change. first one I didn't put enough sand over the soil and I DID have mud. Emptied all that out, and started over. Now doing 4 one and water is just about clear. Plants next..... IT is time consuming at first but will be worth it I know.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:56 AM   #162 
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Depending on what the compost base is to start with...sometimes they use pine needles and that can sometimes get toxic-the worm casting can sometimes leach into the water column and cause algae issue-personally, I would try it myself since I like to experiment with different things. As for the white things-that might be perilite or vermiculit or however you spell that and generally it is not a problem per se'. I have a couple of tank that have it and the only problem I have had is....its ugly and it floats when disturbed every time I pull a plant-easy to take care of with a net. One tank that has it is going on 5 years old and doing fine.

You don't want or need to clean the substrate on a regular bases-with the soil based systems, it is important to allow some of this mulm to buildup and breakdown so the plants can use it for food. Once the tank is stable-you also don't want to make too many water changes and upset the balance either.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:57 PM   #163 
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when would the tank be considered stable?
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:11 PM   #164 
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That is hard to say since they can all be different, however, one of the ways I judge mine-is by plant growth and how often and how many trims I need to make.
Usually it will take about 3 months more or less for the soil to mature and start its life underwater to contain/create all the needed bacteria/pathogens/nematodes...etc...Its all that awesome bacteria that break down everything so the plants can use it and once the plants are thriving-they become the filter/bio-filter.

I don't always go by the numbers-since the active plant growth will take care of a lot of stuff in the system-usually it will take a long time if every to see a nitrate reading anyway due to the plants. Your pH can vary based on decomp of organic matter and vary at different times of the day due to photosynthesis. You should never see ammonia or nitrite unless it is related to skewed results from additives, pH, KH/GH-unless the tank is overstocked or plants are not doing well or even too large/many water changes that upset the balance. Too many factors that can vary test results and sometimes the best way to know is by the behavior of the livestock and plants....
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:15 PM   #165 
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Lets say you purchased everything; you have the sand, soil, plants and possibly some driftwood/smooth stones as your decor. Once you place everything in/fill the tank, is it safe to add the fish right then and there? Or should your tank run for a certain amount of time?
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:16 PM   #166 
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thanks Ofl!
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:43 PM   #167 
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I set mine up and add all my livestock the same day-Fish, shrimp and snails are standard for me to add to all my NPT's. As long as you set it up correctly and started with enough of the right species of plants and have the correct lights to support good plant growth-its usually safe....I have never lost any livestock..
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:27 PM   #168 
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Thanks OFL.
I am really excited about my new soil tanks. If I can figure out how to upload a photo rom my galaxy phone, I will !! Thanks for all your help This thread is wonderful and has set me off on anew adventure , after only having regular planted tanks for years.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:01 AM   #169 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acadialover View Post
Thanks OFL.
I am really excited about my new soil tanks. If I can figure out how to upload a photo rom my galaxy phone, I will !! Thanks for all your help This thread is wonderful and has set me off on anew adventure , after only having regular planted tanks for years.
I use photobucket on my galaxy s 3. All my photos auto upload there and i can use the image code in here.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:48 PM   #170 
JAGalletta
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This may be silly, but -- can you use an under-gravel filter with soil capped by sand as mentioned by this sticky?
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