Guide to setting up a Soil substrate planted tank - Page 8
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Guide to setting up a Soil substrate planted tank

This is a discussion on Guide to setting up a Soil substrate planted tank within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I am going to set up a 10 gallon hopefully tomorrow with Miracle Grow for just a shrimp tank I was going to do ...

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Guide to setting up a Soil substrate planted tank
Old 10-07-2010, 05:52 PM   #71
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I am going to set up a 10 gallon hopefully tomorrow with Miracle Grow for just a shrimp tank I was going to do a 2.5 gallon for shrimp and the 10 gallon for dwarf puffers but have now decided to do the 10 just for shrimo and snails, and a 20 for dwarf puffers. How much soil do I need for a 10 gallon? Also here is a list of plants that I am going to have to go in it should I use all of these or will it be to much?
1. Java Moss – golf ball size portion
2. Spiral Val – 3 individual plants
3. Water lettuce – 3 plants
4. 2 Wisteria – one 10 inch bushy stem
5. Stargrass – 5 stems
6. ludwigia brevipes – 5 stems
7. Ambulia – 5 stems
8. Rotala rotundafolia – 5 stems
If its to much which ones should I use and which sould I put into other tanks I have.
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:59 PM   #72
not much,im going to guess i used like 3 cups or so for a 1 inch layer,its less than you would think
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:05 AM   #73
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If you want to slope the substrate (many people do) then just use an average of 1 inch. Remember, once you add the sand it'll compress the soil a little bit, but that's ok.

My only complaint on the plants is the spiral val... It gets several feet tall and will shade out everything.
Perhaps try Echinodorus var Vesuvius? It's much smaller, staying under 12-14 inches... Bit more expensive though... SweetAquatics has them on sale for $6 each.

Make sure you have enough light... My soil tanks (Okay, I hate to use this...) have 2 watts of CFLs per gallon if they don't get sunlight... Soil tanks need a fair bit of light- not quite double what the normal low tech method uses, but more nonetheless... I've run soil tanks with the 'normal' amount of light, but when I raised the light there was a bit less algae and faster growth.

I like placing mine where they can get filtered sunlight, but you can't put a background on it that way.
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:18 AM   #74
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Ok so the Vals I would be better of putting in my 44 gallon which is a very tall tank. Do I have to use sand or can I put the miracle grow then a thin layer of small gravel? I don't think the lighting will be a problem were I plan on putting it there are a few hours each day of indirect sunlight as well as the tank lights which are 2 compact flouresent bulbs. It will be a few weeks before I can get the MTS but I can just poke the substrate with something until they come right? This is what I plan on diong tell me if its right. I plan on setting the tank up with lots of plants and some pond snails then I am going to order the shrimp in a week or so and add them in. I was also thinking would it be possiable to keep some male fancy tail guppys in with them or will they eat the shrimp?
One more question do you know which plants should I use for what part of the tank? I am not sure which ones should be in the back, middle and front.
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:56 AM   #75
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Oh no, sand is not required. Gravel is actually easier and safer.

Black gravel works best though. :)

Only reason I mention sand is because I'm going to use sand, and record it step by step.
If you use gravel, you can use a wider variety of bottom-feeders.

Last edited by redchigh; 10-08-2010 at 11:01 AM..
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Old 10-08-2010, 11:07 AM   #76
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Ok so is my plan on setting it up the way I need to do it? I plan on haveing some type of shrimp besides ghost shrimp do you think I could use male fancy tail guppys with say the red cherry shrimp? Or do you think the guppys will eat the shrimp?
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Old 10-08-2010, 11:28 AM   #77
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I've used OC potting soil and placed fish in it immediately... The only problem is that the ingrediants change depending on what part of the country you are in.

I would set the tank up, let it run a day, and then add the shrimp or a guppy or two.

Guppies will likely eat the babies, but should leave the adults alone.
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:57 PM   #78
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Ok it will probably be more like a week or so that it will be set up and running before I add the shrimp. Aunt Kimmie is a wonderful person and she is going to send me some shrimp and some MTS then it will be a bit longer before I add any fish. Instead of guppys I am going to check into getting some celestial pearl danios they would be small enough not to be a danger to the shrimps. ; ).
I ran to Walmart a few minutes ago and got a bag of the Miracle Grow Organic and a small bag of black gravel. Should I put the soil then the plants and then carefully put the gravel as a top layer around the plants? Is that right? Thank you so much for all your help.

Last edited by Calmwaters; 10-08-2010 at 01:00 PM..
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:11 PM   #79
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Ok I set it up and it is really dirty right now but I am hopeing that is normal and it will settle and be clear soon. Its been about 30 minutes and it is a little better I can at least make out the form of the plants now were I couldn't before. LOL I went ahead and put the val in there because it is really small right now when it grows I will move it into the bigger tank. I also put a red cryptocoryne wendtii that was already in the tank and another plant that was already in there but I can not remember the name of it right now. Maybe once it clears up I can get a picture and you guys can tell me what it is. There is a layer of soil stuff floating on top of the water should I scoop it off with a net or should I just let it be and let is sink down. My mom and dad came over for dinner and my dad was nice enough to pour the water in for me since I can't since my back is hurt and he poured it in a little faster than I would have but I think it will be ok. I will get pictures when its clear so everyone can see it.
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Old 10-09-2010, 10:15 AM   #80
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They usually cloud up on me when I first set them up. (I keep a little HOB filter on standby so I can clear them up faster.)

I did mention to pour the water on your hand so it doesn't disturb the gravel bed, right? :P

I'm setting mine up tuesday or wednesday. Trying to plan out where I want everything...And have to buy the sand.
(It's sometimes a pain to pull plants up. Not as bad as you'd think, but some plants make larger messes than others. Vals and sags usually are clean though.)

I set up a new tank yesterday- A super mega nano. It holds less than 1/8th of a cup of water... (Maybe 3 ounces?) It's only occupant is a single ramshorn snail. :P
I'll post pics when I can.

One of the great things about OC potting soil is that it will not leach ammonia into the water, it stays light (doesn't compact), and (I'm pretty sure..) has dolomite in it to stabilise ph around 7.0.
I'm just not sure how mineral-rich it is. That's the only reason I'm using mineralised soil... In a small tank, and it's your first time, go ahead and use OC only.

I also decided to take an additional safeguard: I had some sand left over from my asian tank, so I powdered up the mineralised soil (which was a pain...) and mixed it with sand- about half and half.

Last edited by redchigh; 10-09-2010 at 10:34 AM..
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