To dirt? Or not to Dirt?

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To dirt? Or not to Dirt?

Post  Nick_87 on 2014-04-01, 01:49

So my 75g planted tank has been just thrown together with random plants stuck everywhere and no real aqua scape because I have been planning on doing a complete tank overhaul and have finally got everything I need except the time to do it. I was planning on doing this over a month ago now and time has just got away from me as it all ways does during Lacrosse season as I coach a high school team and its a 7 day a week commitment. Anyways I bought a bunch of Safe-T-Sorb (STS) that I have all sifted and rinsed ready to go to replace my aquarium gravel which has been my plan but now I cant decide to use just STS or go for some dirt capped with STS. This darn thing has been siting for so long my mind is going crazy with ideas. Any thoughts? Got my co2 up and running now with 300W+ of lighting, I have plenty of root tabs and ferts so what your guys' opinions.
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Re: To dirt? Or not to Dirt?

Post  Guest on 2014-04-01, 10:41

I would go dirted with STS cap. Mineralized the dirt first before you start. This link is how to mineralized dirt.  http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/library/52554-how-mineralized-soil-substrate-aaron-talbot.html

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Re: To dirt? Or not to Dirt?

Post  anderson_p_r on 2014-04-01, 11:55

Dirt.
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Re: To dirt? Or not to Dirt?

Post  fishNAbowl on 2014-04-01, 13:02

Nice Nick_87, got a new project in the mix and everything ready to go. I have 3 heavily planted tanks and contemplated the 'Walstad' method AKA dirted. I think the only thing that holds me back from actually doing it is the fact I have a tendency to move and switch plants around periodically. Also the thought of having that much deteriorating organic waste bothers me. At some point in my mind you'll have to deal with the removal of muck the substrate will turn into.
So, I deal with just a good planted tank substrate and soil amendments. Last weekend I just overhauled my 140 gallon planted tank. And did the same with a 30 gallon. Switching plants, moving plants and decor around. I couldn't imagine doing that with a dirted substrate.
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Re: To dirt? Or not to Dirt?

Post  Guest on 2014-04-01, 14:34

Chad. My 36gal bowfront walstad planted.  I re-scape that every time I get new plants or when I get bored.  Every time I pull out plants some dirt comes up with roots but I siphon out the cloudy water after re-scaping.  The tank get clear in a day.  As for the organic waste would be less if you mineralized the dirt first.

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Post  fishNAbowl on 2014-04-01, 17:08

SiRWesDragon wrote:Chad. My 36gal bowfront walstad planted.  I re-scape that every time I get new plants or when I get bored.  Every time I pull out plants some dirt comes up with roots but I siphon out the cloudy water after re-scaping.  The tank get clear in a day.  As for the organic waste would be less if you mineralized the dirt first.
So it's not as bad as I make it out to be, as per being messy? How does mineralizing the substrate effect organic waste?
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Re: To dirt? Or not to Dirt?

Post  Guest on 2014-04-01, 17:20

fishNAbowl wrote:So it's not as bad as I make it out to be, as per being messy? How does mineralizing the substrate effect organic waste?

"Mineralizing the soil beforehand helps to speed the breakdown of organic materials in the soil. In turn the mineralized soil will help shorten the initial algae outbreak period that many aquarists experience when using a soil substrate. Soil mineralization occurs from exposing bacteria, enzymes and other soil microbes to oxygen in a moist environment. The microbes break down the organic materials in the soil into bio-available minerals. As an added bonus these new bio-available forms of nutrients are generally only available to plants and not to algae."
From http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/library/52554-how-mineralized-soil-substrate-aaron-talbot.html

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Re: To dirt? Or not to Dirt?

Post  fishNAbowl on 2014-04-01, 17:45

This is crazy. It's Nick_87's post yet I am starting to re-think this dirted planted tank approach  scratch
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Re: To dirt? Or not to Dirt?

Post  anderson_p_r on 2014-04-01, 19:53

I had just added my mineralzied soil with sand cap to my 45g when I found out it was leaking. The way I process my soil and the amendments I add make the soil dense and chunky. When I went to pull it all to reseal the tank all I had to do was scrape the sand off the top of the dirt and then lift out the dirt in pieces. Took about 20 mins in all and the dirt and the sand stayed almost completely separate, very little mixing.

I'll echo Wes, if/when I pull plants I do it slowly and controlled and get minimal dirt escaping the sand cap, settles in a few minutes. When I have encountered large roots that start to pull up the surround substrate I just cut them flush. All I do for fertilizing is Osmocote+ capsules every 2-3 months.

I've been extremely happy with the results and have now set up many tanks for myself and friends in the same fashion. Excellent results every time.
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Re: To dirt? Or not to Dirt?

Post  Nick_87 on 2014-04-01, 23:46

Thanks all for the good points and info. Decisions, decisions. scratch 
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Re: To dirt? Or not to Dirt?

Post  Guest on 2014-04-02, 01:16

Go go dirt. Do it do it. Dirt it up.

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