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Old 03-20-2014, 01:50 PM   #21 
givemethatfish
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Oh man I just spend $120 on plants! But that should fill my 55 gallon pretty well, yay! Now I just have to decide on substrate ASAP!
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Old 03-20-2014, 02:14 PM   #22 
lilnaugrim
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Yeah >.< I just got my 110 dollars worth of plants in today too! So worth it though lol
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:23 PM   #23 
Blue Fish
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LOL! I tend to purchase them in spurts...so that I don't look at the bottom line order and freak myself out, lol!
I'm just not patient enough to wait for things to grow in...I get caught up in wanting it to look good...right now...today...actually, yesterday, lol! :)

Plus doing it in five tanks doesn't make it any better...never realized how LONG a 20g long tank was until I started putting plants in it, lol! :D

But, so totally worth it when you go in after a couple of days and realize that it's all growing...and that just feels awesome. :)
I have ONE pair of jeans and I buy my work scrubs off the clearance racks...I figure I can spend some money on my horses, dogs, and fish, lol! :)

Post pictures of your tank when you get it all set up!! I LOVE looking at the planted tanks! :D
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:27 PM   #24 
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I have spent today talking myself out of doing dirt. I still can't decide. I'm filling up this tank TOMORROW, y'all. WHY can't I make a choice??
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:23 AM   #25 
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Okay, if it helps, I just did dirt for the first time last night. First note, do NOT start this project at 11pm if you have to be at work at 7am...and you plan to sleep. Of course, this is probably a "duh" moment for most people...but apparently I'm just not that bright, lol! :)

So, I watched some youtube videos, and the steps that ended up working fairly well for me:
Put down about an inch of dirt. Take out the large chunks and any wood peices, and smooth it out.
Dampen the dirt with a shower of water, not enough to splash or displace the dirt, just a gentle shower to get it started.
Put down a hefty layer of gravel, like at least an inch.
(other's have rec'd to me to put down a thin layer of sand at this point between dirt and gravel, I will definitely try this next time)
Using either a python or a tube and pond filter pump, slowly, SLOWLY allow the water to go into the tank. The goal is to avoid stirring anything up or moving the gravel around.
It's going to be cloudy. In the video, it was nice and clear...I was not that lucky. ;)
I filled the tank to about halfway full, put in my plants (which made it really cloudy, but there were several crypts so they needed fairly large holes in order to be sunk into the substrate which probably had quite a bit to do with it), and then drain.
I ended up having to half-fill, and then drain, three times before I got to clear water. The fourth time I filled the tank there was just the slightest bit of cloudiness in the first few minutes, but then that was good to go after filling the rest of the tank. :)

Overall, it wasn't too bad. I freaked out after the second water change because I was afraid I'd be changing water for hours, but after that third go-round it was good, so it wasn't too bad. :) Just plan to devote a few hours to doing it, have a movie on or something. :)

I used gravel because I tried sand once before and was very, very sorry. It would not ever clear up for me...but I know other people don't have any issues at all, particularly if they use the paper towel mothod (lay down paper towels as the tank fills to prevent cloudiness), so I'm just one person who had an issue. :)

I hope that helps!! :D
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:53 AM   #26 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Fish View Post
I used gravel because I tried sand once before and was very, very sorry. It would not ever clear up for me...but I know other people don't have any issues at all, particularly if they use the paper towel mothod (lay down paper towels as the tank fills to prevent cloudiness), so I'm just one person who had an issue. :)
Hmmm I wonder why your sand made it cloudy. Did you rinse it out beforehand? Was it random play sand or pool filter/aquarium sand? I used black aquarium sand and it only started getting cloudy later because of tannins and a bacterial bloom. Oh also, did the gravel keep the soil down fairly well? I don't have experience with it but it seems like the soil could creep up because gravel can't compact as much as sand.

To givemethatfish: I think next time I do a tank I'm not going to use dirt. It's just too messy even with sand. I tried getting all the big chips out but there's still some coming up. And the soil I used came with little seed hulls that keep coming to the surface. Plus I think without a layer of dirt the substrate will be less thick and I won't have to poke it every week and worry about anaerobic bacteria gas pockets. I mean it looks fine but meh. I'm still experimenting with all this though and my tank has only been set up for a little over a month, so maybe in the long run I'll find dirt is better, who knows.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:55 AM   #27 
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I decided not to do dirt in the 54 gallon. I bought a new bag of organic soil for my little 5.5 gallon to experiment on that one.

I ended up doing about an inch of Floramax topped with 2 inches of black diamond blasting sand. The sand looks really nice, and it was easy to put down in an even layer. And it was cleaner than I thought it would be. The floramax actually took more rinsing than the sand. Since the tank has a pretty small footprint, I ended up using just a full bag of floramax and about 2/3 of the 50lb bag of sand. Not bad. Now I just have to wait for my plants to arrive!!

Work in progress. Background is in, substrate is in. I just need to hook the heater to the filter, get my plants and driftwood in, and fill it up! Not the best picture because I can't find my real camera, and my 3 year old smeared hand lotion all over the front of the tank right before I took the picture. Thanks, kid.

I really want to paint the stand and the tank trim a nice glossy black, but that's a project for another time.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:25 AM   #28 
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Floramax is actually an inert substrate so it really won't provide nutrients to your plants but it will support a larger root system because of the lava rocks in it. I have it in my two 13's and my 29 and yeah, that stuff is nasty dirty! My PetCo sand didn't even need to be washed it was so clean!
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:28 AM   #29 
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I love floramax. It's relatively inexpensive and looks really nice. I have it in one of my 10g tanks, and the amazon swords REALLY take root in that stuff. I have root tabs and liquid ferts, so I'm not that worried about the nutrients. In fact, I spent about 2 hours on Saturday night making root tabs and clay tabs. I live a wild life.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:32 AM   #30 
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Haha, that's fantastic! Yeah, even my water wisteria roots extremely well in that stuff! It's unfortunate it doesn't have the regular nutrients that the plants need though but yeah, as long as you dose tabs and liquid the plants should grow just fine ^_^
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