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"Dirted" Tank

This is a discussion on "Dirted" Tank within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Steve sorry I haven't replied till now I have been haven problems and they just keep getting worse (non fish related btw). It looks ...

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Old 01-26-2012, 09:16 PM   #21
 
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Steve sorry I haven't replied till now I have been haven problems and they just keep getting worse (non fish related btw). It looks like you are getting the info you were wanting. I will just throw this little bit in.
When I first did my soil substrate and went with MGOCPM I was told to start off the tank planted and ready to go for fish. Let it run for 2 weeks or so testing the water every other day. By day 10 if there was going to be a problem you would see it then usually but not alway. After letting it run for 2 weeks I never saw a spike in Ammonia or nitrites. Nitrate went up but stayed at 10 ppm. Its still holding there.
Also I found out that I am still having to use root tablets and Flourish comprehensive (1x week for that)
If you decide to go this way that's the best info I can give you.
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:14 AM   #22
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
A quick comment on AD's mention of substrates in the natural habitats. The majority of streams in Amazonia have a sand substrate. There are some with gravel and rock, and some with solid rock. Few contain any aquatic plants. But even those that do, such as the Rio Negro, is sand, which can be replicated with playsand.

The plants we use in our aquaria that I refer to as substrate-rooted are often amphibious bog plants. These grow emersed half the year on the forest floor, which I understand is often thick clay or sand or a mix. I believe soil or dirt as we are using it here does not occur in any appreciable quantity, if at all. The organics are very prevalent from decaying plant and animal life, and in that environment breaks down rapidly and provides the nutrients to sustain the entire forest. The crypts in SE Asia grow in iron-rich clay. Vallisneria is a true aquatic plant, and it grows abundantly in the sand substrate in Lake Malawi.

Trying too closely to replicate a natural habitat with respect to substrate can be more trouble than good. Sometimes we have to make compromises to preserve the biological stability.
Clay + sand + silt ~ humus = soil. Although 'soil' is not found in fast moving streams (I understand the Amazon pumps tons into the ocean) it is found in nearly all ponds, lakes, ditches and such. Bogs especially most often have a soil base with a lot of decaying organic muck.

It goes without saying that planted aquariums, given amounts of fertilizer additives can be done with a substrate of gravel or sand, just as we can do hydroponics...and perhaps this more sterile environment makes tank management easier. On the other hand, we can't discount the more organic biotope systems that use a soil base.
In your last statement:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Trying too closely to replicate a natural habitat with respect to substrate can be more trouble than good. Sometimes we have to make compromises to preserve the biological stability.
If we would not also apply this statement to living plants and water chemistry (which we often do not) we probably should not apply it to substrate. I think it's at least possible that a soil like substrate may support a more diverse ecosystem resulting in an even enhanced bio-stability. I think that's what Diana Walstad was saying.
But it's all food for thought and again, as with many things, there are potential pitfalls if not done properly.
So maybe it's not something a new comer to the hobby should attempt right away.

AD
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:59 AM   #23
 
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I agree, which is why I caution others on the use of soil; I've no idea as to the experience level of most members, so must assume from the questions that it is likely minimal. Mikaila can have great success with her soil tank, as the photos clearly show she has, but she has the experience to recognize issues and deal with them. A beginning hobbyist does not have this. Like the adages: crawl before you walk; and you need to get your feet wet before you can swim.

On my last sentence about replicating the ecosystem. There is no way we can completely do this. The immense size of nature alone cannot be contained within any aquarium, and the effects of all aspects of nature are far-reaching in the environment. We can replicate the processes in controlled situations, but the control is vital to preserving the stability. The same principle applies in a much smaller way when we say that larger tanks are easier to manage than smaller.
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:05 PM   #24
 
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OK so I've pretty much decided to rule out the soil dirted tank idea for now. I think I may just set up a 5 or 10g tank as an experimental play time just for kicks and grins.

So with that being said - gravel vs sand! I plan on using live plants so I want to make sure I understand this correctly, with sand, I will NOT be doing any substrate vacuuming like I do my gravel tanks now? You know, no sticking the tube down into the substrate to stir up the silt/junk to be sucked up while being siphoned like I do my gravel?

And if I go gravel with live plants do I still do the ordinary gravel type cleaning as described above?

I'm going with sand or gravel subs, just trying to determine which right now. If this is not explained right on my part please ask away to clarify so I can get this stuff in my head once and for all! LOL

Steve (55G w-a-i-t-i-n-g on me! )
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:38 PM   #25
 
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Steve in planted tank be it with whatever substrate you have it is not recommend to do "normal" gravel vacuuming. Most ppl don't even touch the substrate in planted tanks. Reason being (simply put) is the organics you normally want to get out of the tank gets broke down and becomes plant food. Now if you are heavily feeding your fish you might discover that you may need to do a slight gravel vaccuum if your water parameters are not where they need to be.
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:42 PM   #26
 
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aaaah Boredomb! I get it now, the fish waste etc is actually a "fertilizer" of sorts! OK thanks so much for all the responses to the post! :)

Steve
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:09 AM   #27
 
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Agree with Boredomb.

Now its your decision, as either sand or non-rough fine gravel will work fine. The darker the better. At any rate, not white.
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:32 PM   #28
 
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OK thanks Byron and to all who helped me better understand this!

Steve
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