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Old 01-03-2013, 06:36 AM   #1 
Hopelessaddict101's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
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A question about soil? Among other things?


I was thinking of (once I have sterilised my tank etc) rescaping it. This time instead of gravel etc I was thinking of having a soil or silica based tank - with much more plants. There is a person online who sells around 60 plants for $20 which is CHEAP and I am thinking of buying them once I have the time.

So, some questions:

- Could silica sand replace the soil?
- Do I NEED shrimp? (They aren't easy to get here)
- What sort of snails? Does it matter?
- Will having lots of plants in the tank help the cycle?
- Could I have my filter running, it is a top, baffled one?

Thank you :) x (P.s. sorry for all of the questions!)
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:53 AM   #2 
Sena Hansler
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CANADA
If you get sand, get the snail that burrows underneath the sand. The name escapes me right now ^_^ You don't "need" shrimp.

Sand is fine... That is sometimes the substitute. There are plant care stuff you can add to the tank to ensure they can live. I am not an expert on that however!!!

To cycle a tank a filter is needed anyways... So yes, filter. I use mine in my community with tons of live plants. A baffled filter is even better!

Lots of plants help keep ammonia down. If you would be willing, do a fish in cycle to ensure you have ammonia present. Otherwise the other methods are like... fish food, or shrimp (raw) in a panty hose (which can both be messy) or straight ammonia.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:02 AM   #3 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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It really depends on what you want. Regular inert gravel or sand will work, however, since it is inert you will need to add/use plant ferts. With nutrient rich soil you usually don't need any added ferts unless the plants look like they need it. I don't add them in my soil based tanks-not needed. Once the soil is mature-plants thriving the system will create it own nutrients.

With heavy planted tanks you will do the silent cycle-the plants will take care of the water-provided that you are not overstocked and the plants are growing/thriving.

You don't have to have either shrimp or snails with inert substrate or even in soil based, however, with soil based the shrimp and snails complete the little ecosystem you created. My shrimp and snails all have jobs in my soil based systems to help help break things down so they decomp faster so the plants can use the nutrients for food. Both trumpet snails and assassin snails burrow and can help in the beginning to prevent anaerobic soil until the stem plants start growing well enough to do it-but you can also poke the soil until then.

Filter is fine-HOB work well and if you do the NPT-be sure and place the overflow so it hits an object so not to kick up too much sand.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:42 PM   #4 
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Thank you both very much. So is silica sand OK to use? I could use it as the gap.. I am really interested in doing my next tank as a planted one but had no idea where to start... so thank you :)

Is there something else I could get to replace the shrimp??
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