Today I decided to try my hands at a mud tank. Yep mud. Soo I went to Walmart to get the cheapest topsoil I could find. Eco earth was the brand name I got. It cost like $1.25 +tax for a 40lb bag. So I got it home and opened the bag and the dirt is made up of clay, dirt, and some sticks/bark (not much but some.) Its also wet!! Which makes it nearly impossible to sift. Soo I decide to bake it. Yep thats right bake it. So I put some on an old baking sheet.
Sorry this pic is a little blurry but you get the idea.
I actually used two pans of dirt and baked them for an hour at 450°. Now just a word of caution. It tends to stink. I personally didn't think so but my wife had to leave and come back later. Soo I wouldn't necessarily do this unless you are prepared for the smell. After the hour is up I took the pans outside to the front porch.
Now that the dirt is dried and cooled off I use a strainer to sift the dirt to get all the sticks and rocks out of the dirt. Too my surprise there isn't that much in there. I sifted it into a bowl at first. From there I put it into my tank. I am doing this on a small scale and using a 5.5 gallon tank.
I did this to one pan full. That amount in the pic isn't from one whole pan. I got a couple bowls out of it. After that I got what I thought was enough just from one pan.
So I started to fill the tank slowly outside to rinse the dirt out some.
Yeah it makes a muddy mess for sure!! I also got a lot of particular floating. Soo I fill it up and let it overflow for a min. Then I dump it and realize that my mud is too fluffy soo to speak. Soo I add the other pan of dirt but this time I don't sift it. I do pick out what big pieces I can see but that's it. Then I start the rinsing process again. I rinse and dump then rinse and dump one more time. This time the mixture is a lil heavier and sticker. Soo I think its good to go.
After this pic was taken I dumped it and took the tank inside and fill it again next to sink. Except this time I might have filled it a lil too fast and got a bunch of floating debris again. That was obviously my fault for not using a bowl or plate to slow the water. Yeah that won't happen again. So after 30 mins of scooping out the debris I ended up with something like this.
Yep I know it doesn't look pretty! LoL I got a crazy look from my wife who said "You destroyed my tank for that!!).LoL that was her lil snail tank (well really mine but apparently she claimed it and I didn't know it till today.). I let the tank run like that for about 3-4 hours. Then I siphoned 98% of the water out. I added a different type of sponge filter and Frogbit from my dirt tubs that are outside. This time I used a small bowl to help stop the water from hitting the mud.
The Frogbit has some awesome long roots as you can see. Plus all those long roots work to my benefit as each root has small fine hair like shots on them that snag particulars and debris. They work just as good if not better then any filter at collecting them.
The water has already cleared up some since that last pic but I am going to let the tank run all night and then in the morning I will see what it looks like. I will probably do another big water change on it also. I will be taken pics along the way and updating this thread as much as possible. This tank will probably be just a grow out tank for some plant and might house the snails again. Probably no fish for it in the future unless the parameters settle and are fine through it probably still won't house fish.