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Discussion Starter #1
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It's warming up so I'm finally able to make the plunge. Ordered some mts, a few more plants and this dirt but now I'm not so sure it's ok. Also I can't decide what I want for my cap. I have natural colored gravel in large diameter and small diameter and I've always loved the way it looks but now that I forget the fancy word but fish poop is accumulating it is irking my soul to just leave it. But my only experience with sand was pool filter sand and I didn't like it. But that was a whole water siphon sucking the sand up issue but my worry this time is if I get black sand what if it mixes with the black dirt and I can't tell?


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It should be O.K., but check if it has perlite in it. If it does be prepared for the perlite to drive you crazy floating around the top of the tank every time you move plants. I've also learned the hard way to get as much of the wood pieces out of the soil as is humanly possible. If it's not removed it will stain the water a weak tea color (not a problem if you don't mind that the tannins are good for the betta) and it contributes to the gas pockets formed in the soil.

Personally when I did a NPT I found that the gravel just wanted to sink under the soil when I was poking the substrate, or moving plants. I liked it better when I finally got rid of as much of the gravel as possible and switched to sand. As far as fish waste goes, you don't want to over clean a NPT, the bacteria in the tank converts the waste into nutrients for the plants. If you have everything in proper balance all you'll really want to clean is the top of the plants. If you like a neat and tidy tank then skip an NPT, the mulm and stuff that it'll develop in the beginning will drive you crazy. If you want cory cats then they will really appreciate a sand substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It should be O.K., but check if it has perlite in it. If it does be prepared for the perlite to drive you crazy floating around the top of the tank every time you move plants. I've also learned the hard way to get as much of the wood pieces out of the soil as is humanly possible. If it's not removed it will stain the water a weak tea color (not a problem if you don't mind that the tannins are good for the betta) and it contributes to the gas pockets formed in the soil.

Personally when I did a NPT I found that the gravel just wanted to sink under the soil when I was poking the substrate, or moving plants. I liked it better when I finally got rid of as much of the gravel as possible and switched to sand. As far as fish waste goes, you don't want to over clean a NPT, the bacteria in the tank converts the waste into nutrients for the plants. If you have everything in proper balance all you'll really want to clean is the top of the plants. If you like a neat and tidy tank then skip an NPT, the mulm and stuff that it'll develop in the beginning will drive you crazy. If you want cory cats then they will really appreciate a sand substrate.




This is the ingredient list and from talking to some other people they said it's largely fine but there was a couple problem ingredients (off the top of my head I think it was the alfalfa, limestone and shrimp or kelp? Maybe?) they said I could make the soil useable by basically wetting it and letting dry Over and over again for like a couple weeks. Do you agree with that? I was thinking of just buying miracle grow organic potting mix so I can just throw it in and call it a day. I have a 10g so no Cory cats :/

Thank you so much for the detailed reply!! I had been wondering if the gravel would just sink. I think I will go with sand. I have always enjoyed a very pristine tank but I got into live plants a few months ago and love that so much more than silk plants. However my live plants are not doing so well now and I'm fairly certain it's because I 1 don't have soil and 2 the sight of the fish poop ends up bothering me so much after about a month i suck most of it up. I tried root tabs and it hasn't helped. My lighting is good and left on for 12 hours. So I suppose my new strategy will be to buy black sand cause if I can't see the poop it's like it's not even there LOL


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Discussion Starter #6
Is yours a dirted tank? If not, are you using fertilizers in the substrate and water column?


No I'm about to dirt it. I'm looking for a good dirt. I have root tabs in the gravel and I have liquid ferts but sometimes forget to add it tbh that's probably not helping lol


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Is yours a dirted tank? If not, are you using fertilizers in the substrate and water column?


Do you think the dirt above is ok to use? This is the ingredient list



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