Good clay dirt? (pic) - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 12 Old 05-09-2013, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Good clay dirt? (pic)

So, someone mentioned to me in another thread that you actually want clay dirt for dirted aquariums. I hadn't thought to use the dirt from the back woods here because it has so much clay in it. So I went and dug up a bucket for you guys to see. What do you think? Does it look rich enough? I may try it in an unfiltered aquarium, just to grow some plants.
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-09-2013, 04:01 PM
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So, someone mentioned to me in another thread that you actually want clay dirt for dirted aquariums. I hadn't thought to use the dirt from the back woods here because it has so much clay in it. So I went and dug up a bucket for you guys to see. What do you think? Does it look rich enough? I may try it in an unfiltered aquarium, just to grow some plants.

It would probably be fine. I would "cap" it with 1" of play sand but even without the sand I predict it would work.

I think you're right to not use filters or air stones. Just to let is all settl down.


my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-09-2013, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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After sifting/pushing 4 gallons of this dirt through a colander, I got enough thick clay soil for a 1" layer on the bottom of a 10-gallon tank....
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-09-2013, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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The rest was solid clay that molded to my hands, wouldn't go through the colander, and that I would imagine isn't usable (though correct me if I'm wrong).
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-09-2013, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Beaslbob, it's so thick that I bet you're right about not needing a cap. I'm thinking I'm going to try it without one.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-09-2013, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Beaslbob, I'm sure you're right that it's better to wait--it makes sense to me that the nutrients would then settle instead of being washed out. Unfortunately, I don't have the patience and personality to manage it. :-/

I put in water, did two water changes, and still had brown water I couldn't see through. I went ahead and drained all the water (soil didn't even move when I tipped the aquarium) and then put on whatever Fluorite Dark sand I had left (which was enough to barely cover the clay, and not enough to measure) and then put on a one-pebble layer of cheap pea gravel. I have no idea if it will work, but I can at least see through the new water I added. I'm going to give a shot to planting my excess aquarium plants in it and see if it works.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-09-2013, 07:47 PM
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I wish I had dirt like that in my backyard! Lucky :)
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-09-2013, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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I have to say: it sure is easy to plant in! I just tuck the plant in, and it stays!
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-10-2013, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the "plant overflow" tank as of this morning, on the windowsill where it's going to live. I'm going to let the water settle for a few days and see if the cloudiness dissipates before I try doing another water change. Hopefully the plants will survive and thrive!
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-10-2013, 08:43 AM
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Here's the "plant overflow" tank as of this morning, on the windowsill where it's going to live. I'm going to let the water settle for a few days and see if the cloudiness dissipates before I try doing another water change. Hopefully the plants will survive and thrive!

Looks pretty good.

If the water does not clear in the next day or at least look like it is clearing, close the drapes behind the tank. It should clear up after that.

Don't do water changes and just let the plants condition the water. The water will be perfectly acceptable for the fish and there is much less chance the water itself actually caused problems.

Per my usual instructions try adding a single fish after a week and do not add food for a week after that. Then add a few more fish as start feeding 1 flake per day. The idea is to limit the bioload and for the fish to survive off the infosoria, and snail eggs on the plants. While the plants consume the ammonia and aerobic bacteria build up.

But sure looks like you're off and running.

Keep us posted.

As usual just my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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