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Old 08-22-2013, 11:22 PM   #1 
Blue Fish
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: East Tennessee
Soil for NPT's with few plants?

I have several 20g's, all of which currently are either divided between two males, or my 7 girl sorority. I would like to transfer them over, a bit at a time, to all NPT's. It's too expensive to do all at once for six tanks of that size, hence the timeline. I'll supplement with silk plants in the meantime.
And, I've got a massive pond snail a bit at a time everyone is going into QT for a few days while I drain the tanks, KILL all the pond snails (they're eating all the new growth on my plants...), and reset everything back up. I hate to lose my cycles, but I'll keep other tanks running in the meantime to seed the cleaned out ones as I go along, so shouldn't be too bad.

But, I have read that the best option, really, for NPT's is to use the organic soil as a substrate, topped with a small quantity of gravel. I think this will also help with my problem of the plants not wanting to STAY PLANTED. ;)

So, my question is...can I go on ahead and set up the tanks to start with, with the soil under the gravel...and just a few plants, or will this cause some sort of problem?

I couldn't really think of anything that it would bother...but I wanted to make sure as well. :) I've had some luck so far with the easy-grow low-light plants, and I know that they'll be so much nicer for my fish once I convert over to all NPT's. But, I want to make sure that I'm doing it right first off. :)

Oh, and one more question...I was only able to find organic's not potting soil-specific, and says on the bag that it's not for use in potting. I have no idea why though. It's all organic, sphagnum moss, peat moss, "natural fertilizers", etc. Will this work? I want to be sure before I start this project.

Last edited by Blue Fish; 08-22-2013 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:00 PM   #2 
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You need plenty of fast growing stem plants and floaters to have a successful NPT... The soil releases lots of ammonia and nutrients which can harm fish if they are not controlled. Read OFL's sticky... It'll give you a great idea of what you need to do to be successful.
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:04 PM   #3 
Blue Fish
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Thanks for the information!

I tried setting up a small soil tank as an experiment before I went all out...and it was a disaster, lol! Despite a cap of small caliber gravel, the water was horribly black, wouldn't filter out or settle, and I decided that the experiment was OVER. ;) I'll just continue with a thick layer of small gravel, root tabs, flourish, and fishy waste. I still do regular vacuuming and water changes, and the plants are all pretty hardy and this has worked thus far...Much better than my awful attempt at soil. :)

I have a whole new respect for you guys who make it work! :)
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