I've read that undergravel filters are a no-no when it comes to planted tanks, especially dirted ones. The UGF pulls things through the soil substrate and then bubbles it up into the air which can lead to depletion of the nutrients somehow.
The UGF also ends up being a huge pain in the butt when the roots grow into it.
This may be silly, but -- can you use an under-gravel filter with soil capped by sand as mentioned by this sticky?
You generally don't want to use UGF for rooted plants at all-due to the plant roots can impede the proper function of the UGF-as well as hinder nutrients to the plants-In other words-UGF would be worthless in planted tanks with or without dirt.
adding dirt/cap into my 10g tank, and ive been wondering how much water you put in after you put the dirt down. You already said just enough to cover the dirt (someone else told me this is called a 'slurry'), but Im not entirely sure what that means. I thought it meant enough so that the dirt is soaked (so no air pockets) and a very thin layer of water is over the dirt. So i put in at least 10 cups of water to get this slurry effect (which i suspect might be too much). Problem is, when I went to add in my petco sand, it seemed to have sank into the slurry, not cap it. My petco sand is not as fine as play/filter sand, and it is also wet from me rinsing it, so it has a little weight on it. I stopped trying to add it once a little of it sank and left it to try overnight, just wondering if I should start over and not waste this sand since it might all just get swallowed in the slurry, or if that is normal and once I add it itll cap it
A slurry basically has the consistency of a thick milkshake, or concrete. When I put my dirt in, I had very little water sitting on top of it -- Basically just enough water that I could poke my finger in it and make holes, but not so much that it filled up all the way with water.
Whenever I added too much water, I just threw more dirt on it to thicken it up. Unfortunately, that meant I had soil that was more than 1" in places, but hopefully that won't cause me any problems in the long run.
I put in just enough to cover the dirt. first time I mis read OFL post and didn't put enough sand... made a mucky mess when I added the water. threw it all out, and started over. About an inch or so of soil, barely cover with water, then use PETCO black sand about a half inch or maybe a wee bit more. Pour in water very slowly, wait about 5 then siphon . I did this three times. clear water, thene added plants and livestock.
Sagat - I thought the purpose was to prevent air pockets, so doesn't that mean that your dirt should all be wet? As in, put enough water so that the dirt is filled and nothing dry. I may have put a little too much...
Acadia - I also have the petco black sand. Did you rinse yours? I did and it seems to be a bit heavy/clumpy when wet, which might be causing the sinking issue.
I guess my issue is I don't really understand when you guys says "just enough to cover the soil". Does that (1) mean just enough (like a few cups) to get the top part of the soil moist?
Or does that (2) mean put enough so that the soil is totally soaked, and there is a tiny layer of water on top of the soil
I didn't rinse mine, because OFL said she didn't ! ha ! so I wet mine totally. I poured very slowly water in till it JUST covered the soil . I kinda stuck my finger in it in different places to make sure it was wet. I am doing a 5 gallon. so I used one of the bags of black sand they have. AFTER i'd done it I read the instructions (dud ) and saw it said to rinse. I wish I had because there was some fine stuff that just floats. I pretty much netted it out. I do have a bunch of floaters, silvina and maybe frogbit . I didn't get the mystery snails because I don't really want a whole bunch in my tank. However, the chopstick stuff is getting old ... the sand looks really cool , and i have a white crown tail. I'm still up if you have any questions.