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Old 05-27-2015, 03:33 PM   #1 
FinnDublynn
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Contemplating Switch to Soil?? Pros, Cons, Advice?

Ok. Finding out that my favorite, sword-types, are heavy root feeders, I've been contemplating the switch to soil-based tanks. I read the sticky on natural planted tanks with the soil base, and I'm feeling like this might be what I want to do.

However. I would like pros and cons from people who use the soil base. What soil is best? What should I avoid? I'll be taking Russelltheshihtzu's advice on fert caps that she used, the red clay for iron, to potash caps and the general fert caps with the osmocote.

If I'll be using those suppements, is there any extra benefit in switching to soil?

Should I stick with my sand? Should I switch over? I don't wanna just dive into it and then find out that I didn't need to and that the sand was better, etc etc. So! I need any and every bit of information that you soil based tank owners can give me!!

Thanks y'all!!!
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:15 PM   #2 
RussellTheShihTzu
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I think it's a matter of personal preference. I don't think you need root tabs, etc., in an NPT but since I've never had a soil-based tank I can't really say.

Have fun researching! Not being sarcastic; research is one of my favorite things to do.
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:25 PM   #3 
FinnDublynn
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I just was thinking that soil would be more beneficial to the plants than the sand... That was my thought process, anyways, but if it really has no added benefit I might stick with sand then.. its easy to maintain and I'll just have to get those caps for my poor starving sword plants...

I still have soooo much to learn and I want this to be a long time passion. I guess I'm mostly just trying to gather information so i know what works best overall, what works best for me, what I do and don't wanna do...

My OCD tho makes it hard sometimes to get into new things like this because I can't stop wondering if I'm doing it right if I'm doing it wrong if I should do something different... and sometimes I get juuuust a smidgen of an idea to go different and suddenly its all I can do.

So far having these tanks have actually HELPED my OCD in a way, along with my depression and anxiety too. Tho they've given me a whole new world of things to be worried and anxious about, I've noticed in general, my OCD is down, my anxiety is down, and they make me so happy so even my depression is down. Between my AMAZING BF, my kitties, and my fishies, I feel more like myself now than I have in years and years and years and years... and it just makes me wanna do more and be better at it :)
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:43 PM   #4 
Aqua Aurora
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In a soil based tank it depends on what you grow-you may need say an iron root tab supplement in the soil if you grow a lot of the sword species, or potassium if you have say dwarf lilys. My 2-3g bubble bowl is soil based, the pygmy chain sword has gone wild in there! I also have micro and mini micro sword in the 'center' area.
Soil based tanks work best for root feeder plants-crypts, swords, lily/lotus. I've read but not tested to prove that stems do better with ferts added to the water column to feed rather than through roots(in soil). Anubias, mosses, and ferns would not get nutrients from a soil based tank unless the rhizome based plants had long enough roots to be buried in the soil, but they're mainly water column feeders as well.

If you've not yet, thoroughly research the "Walsted method" is substitutes a filter with large amounts of fast growing plants in a soil based tank-good way to find good soil loving plants. I'd love to try my soil based tanks (have a 2nd-crypt tank still going through "the melt" so can't say if it will be a success yet) without sponge filters.. I'm sure the bubble bowl is established enough that I could take out the sponge filter and it would do fine.


added: forgot to mention: if you set up soil based and don't do massive planting right off the bat you'll have ammonia leeching-remember decomposing organics=ammonia in water. If you do a huge enough plant mass and proper lighting you can get away with stocking the tank immediately. For both of my soil based tanks I waited/am waiting 2 months before fish adding. If you choose to use a filter on a soil based tank and do get ammonia leeching look at it as a free easy cycle for your filter.

I used black diamond blasting 'sand' (coal slag) to cap my soil based tanks.

Last edited by Aqua Aurora; 05-27-2015 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:47 PM   #5 
FinnDublynn
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That is some AMAZING information... Thank you!
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:57 AM   #6 
artemis35
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Welllllllll,
since you now have so many lovely tanks to play with, the only solution is to try dirting one of them and see how you like it

But, I might be biased, since all of my tanks are dirt capped with sand...
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Old 05-28-2015, 01:05 AM   #7 
FinnDublynn
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LOL... you make a good point, Artemis...

MAN... this Forum really IS a bad influence... LOL
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Old 05-28-2015, 01:06 AM   #8 
FinnDublynn
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I DID want to do a planted only tank... no fish, just a plant nursery... that'd be the perfect one to do soil with
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Old 05-28-2015, 01:21 AM   #9 
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it didnt work for me, but I didnt like the tannis, and I didnt know practically anything when I attempted it. so i kinda have that feeling that I would have a completely different experience trying it now
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