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Real soil
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CORY-DAWG
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Joined: 03 Apr 2005
Location: Elizabeth, NJ

PostPosted: 2005.04.28(Thu)12:38    Post subject: Real soil Reply with quote

I was wondering if it is safe to use some type of dirt underneath the gravel or substrate? I know someone who has a 55 gallon freshwater tank and bought "top soil" at the home depot and used a whole bag or two in his aquarium. Putting the top soi down first then putting the substrate on top. His then placed his plants and arranged his aquarium. It's been running for almost 2 years now without any problems. Is it safe to do that. His plants grew like there was no tomorrow. His pruning skills have built up quite a bit.....He has clear water at all times....????
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Concept87
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Joined: 24 Dec 2003
Location: Pennsylvania

PostPosted: 2005.04.28(Thu)14:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have used soil (dirt) in my substrates for all of my planted tanks.

The initial filling of the tank will, of course, cloud the water. This initial cloudiness should settle and/or become filtered and leave you with clear water.

Personally, I tend to veer far away from bagged, commercial potting soils, as they tend to sometimes be 'enriched' with artificial fertilizers and chemicals. I usually just find a relatively undisturbed forest and find a nice spot of rich, blackish soil, dig it into a bucket, and then remove any debris before introducing it to my tank(s).

I know others that have used bagged potting soils in their plented tanks with great success. Its really up to personal opinion and outlook over what kind of soil you should use. However, soil is a good idea for a planted tank. Just be sure to do alkalinity/acidity tests on the soil of your choice to avoid any Radical or unpredictable shifts in water chemistry in the 'final product' Aquarium, for the sake of the animal inhabitants.
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number6
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Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2005.04.28(Thu)15:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

most commercial soils are pre treated with ammonia. Please bear that in mind when considering the use of soil in a planted tank.
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violentray
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Joined: 25 Jan 2005
Location: Macomb, IL

PostPosted: 2005.04.28(Thu)21:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

how would one do such a test???

would you place a small hand full of dirt in a small bucket with a gallon of water and run water tests?

how long should I do something like this before I know what my tank is going to do?

if the soil does change my water parameters how would I go about correcting them, especially amonia besides water changes?
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Rex Grigg
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Joined: 26 Feb 2005

PostPosted: 2005.04.29(Fri)6:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are really interested in running a soil based tank then you MUST get the book Ecology of the Planted Aquarium and read it first. Also you should check out the Aquabotanic forums as the author of the book moderates a forum there.
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violentray
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Joined: 25 Jan 2005
Location: Macomb, IL

PostPosted: 2005.04.29(Fri)23:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would not have a total soil tank. I would use the soil for about onlt 1-2 inches in the rear of the tank as a bottom substrate. on top of that I would use Onyx sand, and use a standard play sand in the front of the tank.

that is something similar to what amano does in his tanks. there is a great article in the newest TFH magazine about Amano and how to set up a tank like he does.
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