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Old 11-15-2012, 06:47 PM   #61 
ao
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Originally Posted by ringo3632 View Post
Great thread! is there any other kind of livestock that you recommend to aerate the soil? the snails are small and easy, i just don't like cleaning them out of my tanks all the time. Or maybe using some kinda of other live stock that feeds on the snails?
asassin snails also burrow and wil eat other snails... expensive to get a large population though...

you can really just manually poke the soil to aerate
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:06 AM   #62 
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That is correct....also, once the stem plants start to grow well-the roots will pull oxygen into the soil to help prevent anaerobic problems and so poking is just needed temporary.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:10 PM   #63 
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As a cap...you say can use small gravel. Reg aquarium gravel is too big? My gf wants to set up either a tank or a tub for water garden. I suppose it's about the same? In Hawaii it's hard to get play sand lol. They sell coral sand everywhere. I'm thinking the coral sand won't work. I'll need to get aquarium sand if reg gravel is too big.
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:09 PM   #64 
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Question some questions

Hi OFL!

I'm a newbie here and new to aquariums... I did have a Betta many, many years ago that I kept in a large brandy snifter on my coffee table. That was back in the day that I could walk to the LFS and buy a bag of live brine shrimp that I kept in the fridge. Well, now that I've been reading this forum I want to do a bit better. Last night I bought a 5.5 gal aquarium and after reading your posts I want to do a NPT, but I do have a few questions...

I was going to buy dirt last night, but was not sure b/c everything organic that I found had fertilizer in it or some kind of advanced moisture control in it. Didn't think that was right. They did have just plain old top soil... is that what I should get?

Regarding the MTS (took me a while to figure out what that meant)... you say you scoop out hundreds! Do they multiply that quickly? I did see some on Ebay... How many should I start out with?

I saw a lot of plants (many of which you suggested) on ebay, snails also. Is that a good place to get them? The LFS's around here don't have much and from what I've read I have to have all of the plants, snails, and at least some fish ready to go. Am I correct on this info?

Also... can I use colored aquarium sand as a cap or is that too light? I saw a black and white mix that I really liked.

I am so excited and you have been such an inspiration! I was telling the lady at Lowe's about it and she looked at me like I was nuts. She has several aquariums and had never heard of it. I told her I would print out and bring her the info... by the end of our conversation she was very interested!

Thanks so much for any information you can help me with! ~Marcia
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:05 PM   #65 
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marktrc-you can also use pool filter sand or anything that is inert and small in diameter. Sometimes you can find a good cap at your home supply type stores in the pool or garden section. The crushed coral/coral sand-might cause water chemistry problems, however, if you have really soft water-it might be fine to use.

Marcia-top soil will work fine and like with any dirt-sift it or pick as much of the larger pieces of organic matter out that you can.
MTS or trumpet snails are livebearers and multiply pretty fast...lol....like most of the common snails. I would start out with 2-3 for a 5gal tank....Once the stem plants start to grow well-they also will help prevent anaerobic issues since the stem plant roots bring oxygen into the soil.
I have never bought anything live off ebay, however, I have heard good things.
Yes, it is very important to start out a soil based tank with enough of the right species of plants, otherwise, it can crash on you. And just as important as starting off with enough of the right species of plants.....Active plant growth-the active plant growth is what helps to keep the water safe for the livestock.
I always add my livestock the same day I set one up and have never had any problems. Matter of fact....I am setting a new 10gal up today...lol.....

Colored aquarium sand-I have never used it-but the black and white mix sounds pretty and it might be natural colored and not dyed. So it might be fine to use-I don't have any personal experience with it-but I have used both natural black sand without problems and the pool filter sand I use is closer to white in color than tan like the playsand. I will say that dark substrate is better for the fish color and will help make their color pop-since fish in general will change color naturally to blend into their environment.

It took me awhile to warm up to the dirt in the tank idea too....lol......You would think...water+dirt=mud or muddy mess...but it doesn't as oddly as it seems...lol.....Plants grow great in nutrient rich soil/dirt as long as they have proper color temp light and photoperiod. The soil based tanks are great systems IMO/E....As close to a complete ecosystem that can be created in a glass box/closed system.....
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:51 PM   #66 
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Thanks so much, OFL! I see quite a few ppl here that use Miracle Grow Organic and that's what I saw, but I'm sure it had ferts in it... guess I still go with just "dirt".

Another thing I thought of when you say "livestock" I'm just doing a Betta in the 5 gal and I also have a 2.5 gal... so just the one fish, a few MTS, and lots of plants are OK? BTW... that brings up another question... I've seen several plants that you've mentioned listed as "bunch" plants. I think that means that they don't have any roots yet... are those OK to get?

I did buy a light today, but now I'm wondering if it's correct... it's not a strip it's a bulb, from the aquarium dept. Says "Super Daylight" 10 watt 6500K. I bought a reptile light hood for it to screw into. Is that going to be OK?

I am so sorry for all the questions, just want to be sure... hope you don't get tired of them. Thanks for all your help! ~Marcia
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:26 AM   #67 
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Hi everyone!I've decided to start a npt in a 38 gallon and can't wait!I had a question about the soil though.I looked at Lowes and found Garden Pro top soil,but I'm not sure about it.It said it was enhanced with orgainic compost so I thought it might be safe.What do you guys think?
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:26 AM   #68 
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That light should be fine.

I add common snails, pond, ramshorn and trumpet as well as red cherry shrimp to all my soil based tanks. In the 10gal and larger tanks-I will add a BN pleco, however, in the 10gal-I do swap them out every 2-4 months as they out grow the tank (I always have plenty of BN fry since I raise them too) Then usually Bettas or guppies and soon angelfish-once they pair off and spawn.

Bunching plants-are usually sold bare rooted stems-about 6-12 per bunch. These are fine to use and how they are normally sold and propagated-This is how I use them too. I pinch the top and replant on a regular basis.
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:33 AM   #69 
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Originally Posted by paris38 View Post
Hi everyone!I've decided to start a npt in a 38 gallon and can't wait!I had a question about the soil though.I looked at Lowes and found Garden Pro top soil,but I'm not sure about it.It said it was enhanced with orgainic compost so I thought it might be safe.What do you guys think?
It might be okay since it is organic compost-you want to avoid any added ferts-like Osmocoat (spelling)

I just setup a new soil based last night and used a potting soil I have never used before and it has natural ferts listed on the label-not sure what that means....lol.....

Usually what you will see with too much ferts in the water column is algae problems, however, some can also become toxic to livestock.

Plain top soil is also a good choice.
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:47 AM   #70 
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Thanks OFL!
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