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Old 08-22-2013, 12:59 AM   #1 
bettacrazygirl86
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Planning on starting a NPT!

I have two 10 gallon tanks, one with live plants, and the other without. I already bought a bag of organic potting soil and aquarium sand for the cap, and I have a few plants already and driftwood.

I also just bought frogbit and some MTS off of Aquabid (first purchase there too). I plan on getting some shrimp at some point, but I don't know when. All that will be living in the tank is one betta, the shrimp, and the snails. What else do I need? I've been trying to go by OFL's how to guide.

One thing I can't decide on is which tank to set up as my NPT. I have two. One will be remaining at home with me, and the other will be coming to college with me. The one that will be staying home will stay up and running all the time, until I relocate it to my room in the basement, once it's built. My step dad is currently in the process of renovating our unfinished basement. The other tank that will be coming to college with me will have to be taken down and moved almost every two months. I'd like to be able to have the NPT with me, but if that isn't possible, I can simply set it up at home. Once my frogbit and snails get here, I'll set it up.

I currently have 2 bunches of java fern, 2 bunches of anubias, mondo grass, quite a few stems of pennywort, and three moss balls. The anubias are quite happy in my tank, so they're growing quite a bit. I plan on buying a couple more plants from my LFS soon, whenever I can get out to the store.

I had a question, though. Is the cap necessary? How do you stop the soil and the cap from mixing when attempting to bury plants? If the cap isn't necessary, I would rather just return the sand and not use it at all.
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:51 AM   #2 
rickey
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Originally Posted by bettacrazygirl86 View Post
I had a question, though. Is the cap necessary? How do you stop the soil and the cap from mixing when attempting to bury plants? If the cap isn't necessary, I would rather just return the sand and not use it at all.
You generally want to aquarscape a NTP and leave plant location alone. The cap is to keep fines and floaters in the substrate out of the waater column. How EZ will it be to move? don't know.


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Old 08-22-2013, 10:52 PM   #3 
bettacrazygirl86
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Is the cap necessary, though? Is it dangerous not to use a cap? Would I be able to use gravel instead of sand?
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:24 PM   #4 
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I believe I've read that you can use gravel as a cap...but don't quote me on that. I'm new to this as well. :)
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:27 PM   #5 
MattsBettas
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Needs to be sand or small diameter gravel... And without a cap the soil would probable just drift around the tank.
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:30 AM   #6 
bettacrazygirl86
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So the normal gravel you would find in a bag at the fish store isn't small enough?

If I stick with the sand I already bought, what do I do if the sand and soil get mixed together at all? I plan on adding in the water a certain way, so it won't disturb the soil, but I can't speak for my fish, shrimp or snails, digging around. It won't hurt it to get mixed a little, would it?
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:05 AM   #7 
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The sand or small diameter gravel you cap the dirt with will help keep the dirt in place until it become water logged. Once the dirt is water logged it stays in place. The snails are needed to help prevent anaerobic soil until your plants start growing. My trumpet snails have never mixed the soil with the sand in my tank, but if you get dirt on top of your sand you can just cover it with a little more sand.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:26 AM   #8 
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For the first few months the soil will be prone to floating up above the sand if you move plants around alot but after the soil gets aged a bit and has time to get stuck together with mulm and bacteria it won't be as much of an issue at all.

You want to cap it with some type of fine sand just to keep it in place, then you can put gravel or whatever you prefer to look at on top. Black Diamond blasting sand is really pretty and super cheap, can get it at any hardware store or tractor supply.

If you do get soil on top, you can just use airline tubing to spot clean and suck it right out to keep it nice and tidy.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:07 PM   #9 
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Okay, thanks guys. :) I'll use the sand for now, until the soil is weighted enough not to float away. I plan on setting up the NPT once I get my plants in the mail. I'll keep you guys updated and post pictures once I finish!
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