To Dirt or Not To Dirt?
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To Dirt or Not To Dirt?

This is a discussion on To Dirt or Not To Dirt? within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> That is the question folks. I will have some extra cash to upgrade some things in my angel tank.(tax refund, yay!) These upgrades are ...

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To Dirt or Not To Dirt?
Old 02-10-2014, 05:52 PM   #1
 
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To Dirt or Not To Dirt?

That is the question folks.

I will have some extra cash to upgrade some things in my angel tank.(tax refund, yay!) These upgrades are including a new/more reliable powerhead, a new surge protector(mine is over 10 years old O.O), some new bulbs, a new versa top and some new plants! One of the things I've been considering for a long time now, is dirting my 75 gallon.

As some of you know, my 75 gallon is pretty much completely planted. To maintain happy plants, I crush 2-3 root tabs and mush em into my substrate. My lotus plant gets an entire tab to himself. But....I'd like to eliminate fussing with those root tabs. Have any of you tried crushing one? It's actually pretty difficult! I was surprised at how difficult it was.

So is it worth it to up root all my plants(the lotus is the only one with extensive root system). Take out all my sand(I've thought of a pretty easy way) and dirt my tank? Is it possible to dirt my tank with all the water in it? Or do I need to remove like 90% of my tank water?

If there's a chance to do this, I'd like to do it right now being as my tank isn't fully stocked(less fish to deal with). What kind of issues with my water params could I have? My tank is cycled right now, would my cycle be okay to deal with all the decomposing stuff?
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:54 PM   #2
 
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That is the question folks.

I will have some extra cash to upgrade some things in my angel tank.(tax refund, yay!) These upgrades are including a new/more reliable powerhead, a new surge protector(mine is over 10 years old O.O), some new bulbs, a new versa top and some new plants! One of the things I've been considering for a long time now, is dirting my 75 gallon.

As some of you know, my 75 gallon is pretty much completely planted. To maintain happy plants, I crush 2-3 root tabs and mush em into my substrate. My lotus plant gets an entire tab to himself. But....I'd like to eliminate fussing with those root tabs. Have any of you tried crushing one? It's actually pretty difficult! I was surprised at how difficult it was.

So is it worth it to up root all my plants(the lotus is the only one with extensive root system). Take out all my sand(I've thought of a pretty easy way) and dirt my tank? Is it possible to dirt my tank with all the water in it? Or do I need to remove like 90% of my tank water?

If there's a chance to do this, I'd like to do it right now being as my tank isn't fully stocked(less fish to deal with). What kind of issues with my water params could I have? My tank is cycled right now, would my cycle be okay to deal with all the decomposing stuff?


I believe that you shouldn't do a 90% water change.. save the tank water and repour it back to the tank after you've done added the dirt. What type of dirt are you using? If you are planning to use regular dirt then I can suggest you this.... If you have a regular to mid size tank and not a tall one with a power head then you shouldn't put dirt in there because dirt is a very light substrate if not the lightest. You'll probably have to ditch the power head if you want dirt because dirt will cloud around with strong flow. keep in mind that dirt takes a very very long time to settle. 10% with dirt is very calm but once you add the water back that will surely stir up dirt clouds. Get a side tank to house the fish and plants until all the dirt particles settles within your filter or the bottom. If you plan on doing a switch from sand to dirt, don't expect to have the process all done in one day with the fish in it. It could be possible but the tank wont look like what you'd expect at the end of the day lol :) hope this helps
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:20 PM   #3
 
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By all means, if I had enough buckets to save all that water I would! Besides, your cycle isn't in your water column. It is on your tank walls, plants, substrate, decor and filter media.

I will be using Miracle Gro Organic potting mix. I'm not actually going with the dirt outside. lol And the soil is going to be capped with the sand I currently have. I may find more use with my gravel by lightly covering the sand cap with it.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:36 PM   #4
 
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By all means, if I had enough buckets to save all that water I would! Besides, your cycle isn't in your water column. It is on your tank walls, plants, substrate, decor and filter media.

I will be using Miracle Gro Organic potting mix. I'm not actually going with the dirt outside. lol And the soil is going to be capped with the sand I currently have. I may find more use with my gravel by lightly covering the sand cap with it.


If you are planning to do the change with a 75 gal then you would need many buckets to hold the tap water until the chlorine fades away. "If" you are using tap because 90% is a lot of water. If you never used miracle grow XD DO NOT pour the bag into your tank. Many particles will float to the top, like 50% or more will float to the top. What I do is pour it in a bucket of water and collect what ever stays in the bottom. c(: I believe that too much chlorine can tamper with your cycle
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:17 PM   #5
 
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If you are planning to do the change with a 75 gal then you would need many buckets to hold the tap water until the chlorine fades away. "If" you are using tap because 90% is a lot of water. If you never used miracle grow XD DO NOT pour the bag into your tank. Many particles will float to the top, like 50% or more will float to the top. What I do is pour it in a bucket of water and collect what ever stays in the bottom. c(: I believe that too much chlorine can tamper with your cycle
Do you use water conditioner? Water conditioner removes chlorine and harmful metals/toxins. I use SeaChem Prime.
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:26 PM   #6
 
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Do you use water conditioner? Water conditioner removes chlorine and harmful metals/toxins. I use SeaChem Prime.


I sure do but I'm not sure if the conditioner can wear the chlorine off in a short period of time if you pour 90% of tap water. You might start a new cycle though I couldn't stand by it. Why do you think tap water even has chlorine?
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:48 PM   #7
 
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I sure do but I'm not sure if the conditioner can wear the chlorine off in a short period of time if you pour 90% of tap water. You might start a new cycle though I couldn't stand by it. Why do you think tap water even has chlorine?
Because it does. lol
I've yet to find any city tap water that doesn't have some sort of chlorine.
I feel quite confident in my conditioner. If all else fails, I have a tank FULL of plants and I work from home. So doing daily water changes isn't a problem.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:27 AM   #8
 
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With prime you could change 90% water everyday and not harm your bacteria or fish.

I think its a good idea to lightly cap the sand with a super thin layer of gravel. That's what I did in my planted tank and it holds the sand down very well without spoiling the look of the sand.
Good luck!
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:34 AM   #9
 
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With prime you could change 90% water everyday and not harm your bacteria or fish.

I think its a good idea to lightly cap the sand with a super thin layer of gravel. That's what I did in my planted tank and it holds the sand down very well without spoiling the look of the sand.
Good luck!
I do have a bunch of black gravel laying around. I've been considering changing my natural colored sand to black sand. But I now have MTS, to sift through all that for the snails....bleck. I'll just make use of the gravel a bit. lol
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