Help with choosing a soil for aquarium please - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-21-2013, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Help with choosing a soil for aquarium please

For my new setup im thinking of using soil, but cant decide what type would be suitable for it.

It would go on the base of the tank with a small pea gravel on top and then sand on top of that.

Iv used a complete substrate mix before on another tank and the results werent fantastic compared to the cost of it so i thought id try something different

I have looked at a moss peat without anything added to it, another was a pre fertilised mix, then there was potting soil

So confiusing making the right call!!

Any advice would be great!

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post #2 of 8 Old 05-21-2013, 11:47 AM
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I've heard most people with soil tanks use Miracle Grow Organic Potting Miix, although I don't know if that's available in the UK?

Diane Walstad (she wrote Ecology of the Planted Aquarium) uses John Innes #3 compost, which is a UK brand.

May I ask why you want to cap with pea gravel ad then sand? It would be just as effective to only use sand as a cap over the soil. With putting sand over pea gravel you run the risk of the sand settling through all the gaps in the gravel and pushing it to the top.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-21-2013, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately iv got a naughty plec that doesn't stop digging! The pea gravel would act as a barrier between the sand and soil and stop it getting mixed up and looking ugly.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-21-2013, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jentralala View Post
I've heard most people with soil tanks use Miracle Grow Organic Potting Miix, although I don't know if that's available in the UK?

Diane Walstad (she wrote Ecology of the Planted Aquarium) uses John Innes #3 compost, which is a UK brand.

May I ask why you want to cap with pea gravel ad then sand? It would be just as effective to only use sand as a cap over the soil. With putting sand over pea gravel you run the risk of the sand settling through all the gaps in the gravel and pushing it to the top.

Thanks for your help, iv found some of what you suggested and ordered it

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post #5 of 8 Old 05-31-2013, 08:14 AM
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Remember that you only need 1.5-2" (you'll have to mm though) of soil. Cap that with 1-1.5" to hold down the soil. Once you get over these ranges you may get into problems. Not much of a big deal if you have heavy root feeder planted in deeper areas.

Both sand and gravel may get you into trouble though. Generally its one or the other or relocated the pleco to another tank if you can.
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-31-2013, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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In one of my current set ups i already have a similar layering going on. At the bottom tyho is a large gravel, this was mainly for bulking out purposes as it reduced the cost for other materials. On top of the pre mentioned gravel was an aqua soil then capped with sand, not had an issue with it.
Im willing to try new things, a case of trial and error, If the gravel between soil and sand became and issue it would be easy to solve using a strainer. Thank you for your input and it has been taken on board

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post #7 of 8 Old 05-31-2013, 12:15 PM
I don't have a 'dirt' tank but if I did, I think I'd go with mineralized top soil as the process burns off much of the organics that often cause start-up problems in dirt tanks. I'd prolly cap it with pool filter sand.
Justin of Fish Tank TV swears by miracle grow organic top soil.
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-31-2013, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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well luckily thats pretty much what iv bought for mine! really enjoy his ivds

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