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Old 01-07-2012, 05:18 PM   #1 
MJK87
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Want to make sure I got the right items to dirt my tank.

Hello everyone.

I am setting up a 10 gallon planted tank and my painted background is finally dry and its time to set it up. Seeing how I am a recent college grad and none of my local pet shops have the desire to get in a plant substrate, I decided to save some money and dirt my tank. I went to lowes this evening and picked up a few things and I just wanted to make sure I got the right items before I go setting it up. I picked up miracle grow organic choice potting mix and natural play sand to use as a cap. Here are some pictures of the items I bought. Can someone verify if these items will work? I know the potting mix is most likely right but I wasent sure about the play sand. It was only 4 bucks so I decided to pick it up. Thank you.
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Old 01-07-2012, 05:34 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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There is a glare on the potting soil bag so I couldn't read it....but as long as there are no additives like ferts or that water holding stuff...it should be fine...be sure and sift it and get the larger pieces of organic stuff out...like big pieces of wood....

The play sand looks good....be sure and cap the soil with half as much sand...the sand is just to help hold the soil in place.....
For 10gal tanks I like to use 2in soil to 1in sand.....

I always start dry with both soil and sand and then make water changes until clear then scape and plant-change and refill again until clear....the water should be crystal clear when you are done. You don't have to worry about the dechlorinator until the finial refill....but don't forget it....

I like to place my filter in place before I plant to make sure the overflow will hit a hard scape item so it doesn't kick up the sand or the intake is in the way of anything..same with the heater....

Be sure and start with enough of the right species of plants....it can crash on you if you don't....and don't forget the floating plants.....

And if you don't have trumpet snail to help pull oxygen into the soil until the roots of the stem plants are actively growing to do that for you...just poke the soil with a chopstick or something a couple of time a week until you have good active plant growth....

Proper lights on the correct photoperiod are important for successful planted tanks.....Daylight 6500k and start on a 10h/day PP

Look forward to seeing pics once completed.....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 01-07-2012 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 01-07-2012, 05:55 PM   #3 
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Thank you for the tips! Sounds like I might have some work ahead of me but it should be fun. I have a T8 hood with a 15w zoo med flora sun bulb in it. Is that ok to use or should I go back to my old hood with 6500k cfl bulbs? The flora sun bulb is 5000k. The box says it has peak emissions in the blue and red regions to maximize photosynthesis. I plan to set the tank up and get the water clear and then order my plants. Once my plants come I will take the water down and scape and plant them then refill. I plan to go with basic stuff to start. Anubias, javafern, val, anachris. Stuff like that. Does that sound like a good plan?
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Old 01-07-2012, 07:03 PM   #4 
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I second most of what fish lady said!


I have found that with 10 gallon tanks...that playsand will sometimes cloud the water. What I do is I layers the moisten soil in the tank. I put down a layer of playsand and then I put a small layer of Silica or coarser sand. The playsand keeps the soil down. The silica sand keeps the playsand down.

Also. If using potting soil, you will need to keep in mind, that you will need to change the soil after 6 or so months. The nutrients will be fairly used up by that point. Depending on how heavily planted your tank is..you could get away with a year. Also be careful, sometimes you can get an algae spike.

I am a huge fan of all anubias and java fern. I simply love them. You can never go wrong with them. But some anubias dislike a lot of light so you'll want to set it up so they are in more of a shadowed region of the tank, depending on your set up. Just get a nice small piece of dirftwood and hook them on.
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:12 AM   #5 
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What happens if you don't get the pieces of wood out?
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:58 AM   #6 
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It should be fine. I've never had issues with it. Just try to get something without perlite in it..that can be a pain in the butt to get out.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:58 AM   #7 
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If you guys have ever been on fishtank tv.com or found Dustin's fishtanks YouTube channel. In one of the videos he shows the dirt he uses. It's the exact same thing I picked up at lowes. He has amazing plants and gives alot of good info. I just ordered plants from him. He stresses that dirt is the most important part of a planted tank. He also has alot of good DIY vids if you guys want to check it out. I'll post a link when I get back to my computer.
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:02 AM   #8 
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I have one of my NPT running for near 6 years and the nutrient in the soil doesn't seem to get used up.....the natural decomp and ferts provided by the livestock and plant material help maintain the nutrient level...you have natural CO2 that decomp creates and the natural ferts...I have never added any ferts or injected CO2 in any of my many NPT's-they don't need it.....the biggest problem I have with mine is the massive plant growth and need for weekly trims....

The 5000k light should be fine with the species of plants you plan, however, I wouldn't recommend the dirt for those species....not needed and it may end up being more of a problem...In NPT's it is really important to start with enough of the right species of plants from the start-plan to add later may end up being a big headache and algae farm with the high nutrients and nothing to use it or use it fast enough

I wouldn't bother setting it up until you have all the plants from the start....you need at least 75% of the floor with fast growing stem plants...like naja grass, any of the hygrophilias, rotalla, ludwigia, cabomba along with some rosette like sags, vals, crypts, swords...etc....and at least 10-20% floating plants like water lettuce.

If you do add the soil-I would just cover the soil layer and let it start to water log and when you have the plants-drain as much of the water as you can and then add the sand-scape and plant-then fill, water change until clear.

I have not had any issue with play sand causing cloudy water....look at my album and you can see some pics of my NPT's if you would like....
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:35 AM   #9 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
look at my album and you can see some pics of my NPT's if you would like....
Your tanks are beautiful! I have to ask, how do you manage to keep that many male bettas together without conflict?
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:46 AM   #10 
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Thank you....this is based on an experiment and it took me several years and generations to get to this point and its not without its own set of problems...but it is pretty impressive watching a bunch of males swimming and feeding together without issues..if I do say so myself.....

I DO NOT RECOMMEND doing this without lots of research and hard work....
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