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Perchmonger 05-21-2013 12:46 AM

Suggestions about 610gal NPT; dirting this beast.
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Hi everyone I haven't been on in a while, but I've been hearing a lot about NPT and dirting tanks. I have a 610 gallon planted aquarium , but I'm ready for a new challenge, and you guys have given it to me. I'm going to start with a 40 gallon breeder tank 36"x 18"x 16" to practice for the mammoth undertaking I'm going to embark on in 8 1/2 weeks. I already have 5 large bags of Miracle Grow potting soil, 5 bags of Truface Pro League Heritage Red fired Clay gravel that I'm mixing with my old Eco-Complete substrate to cap it. I have about 60 plants, but they are not getting the same growth that they were getting 3 years ago even with substrate fertilizer, so I'm intrigued and excited to go in a somewhat new direction, NPT. I have 150 more plants on order and over 100 fish to move; god just catching them is adventure in itself. I need suggestions in abundance and none are to facetious. I will try to document my progress for everyone. Tank Size 8 feet long x 4 feet tall x 3 feet deep. Thanks :-)

Picture of my aquarium for size reference:Attachment 127249


Chesh 05-21-2013 01:25 PM

Well. . . WELCOME BACK!!! With a VENGEANCE!!!

I wish I had something to say to help you out with this, but I'm really just now learning about the wonderful world of NPT myself. Someone will be around shortly to help out, there is NO WAY that my fellow TFKians will let an opportunity to be involved with like this slip past!

Intrigued and excited. . .understatement of the year! I CAN NOT WAIT to see where you take this amazing tank!


Originally Posted by Perchmonger
I will try to document my progress for everyone.

Your word is your bond. Just sayin'

Good luck!!! And please do keep us posted!!! :-D

Boredomb 05-21-2013 01:49 PM

Hey Perchmonger ..

WoW what a tank and what a project you have lined up!
Through I have to ask is the Miracle grow soil you have the Organic mix?? If not I am not sure the regular kind is safe to use??
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Perchmonger 05-21-2013 02:48 PM

Yes it is and I'm a bit nervous about this massive undertaking, but I can't resist the challenge.

Chesh 05-21-2013 03:12 PM

I'd be nervous, too! I just can't begin to imagine. . . talk about a task!

Have you set up the 40g breeder 'practice' tank yet? Will that be your first true dirty tank?

I'm assuming that you're planning on ripping the tank apart and putting it back together all in one day? GAH! I'd be TERRIFIED!!! You have a looooot of years of experience on my one, lol - my 55 felt like a massive undertaking when I set it up! The 'bows look tiny like tetra in the scale of that huge tank. . . but they're pretty big fish, comparatively. Where are they all going to go during the transfer?

I'd love to hear more about your plans, if you're willing to share. . . I'm just looking into setting up my first dirt tank, too. This project of yours is pretty fascinating to me!

What differences could one expect to see between using regular Miracle Grow potting soil and the organic mix?

Perchmonger 05-21-2013 03:42 PM

I'm working on the 40g breeder as we speak, I'm almost finished with the stand, then I'm going to lay a thin layer of peat down first, then the Mirco-Grow and then the Truface and Eco-Complete gavel, but I'm getting ahead of myself, the stand first. I have an order plant on their way for the 40g delivery in 2 days max. Here is the list: ECHINODORUS INDIAN RED SWORD, beautiful sword plant
1 Ludwigia Glandulosa, Peruensis, COLORFUL
2 NESAEA SP RED , stunning color, MUST SEE
4 Alternanthera reineckii roseafolia, colorful plant
1 ROTALA MAGENTA (Rotala macrandra var. Narrow leaf)
3 Hygrophila corymbosa (Giant hygro, Temple plant) NITRATE BUSTER
2 ROTALA WALLICHII, lush, colorful plant
1 Dwarf Lily Plant (Nymphaea stellata)
3 Bacopa Carolina, EASY PLANT, great for beginners
1 CABOMBA PALAEFORMIS, purple Cabomba, lush plant
2 DWARF BABY TEARS, Hemianthus callitrichoides
1 Echinodorus 'Rubin' Sword Plant, Red Rubin
1 AMAZON SWORD, Echinodorus bleheri, EASY Sword plant
1 Ludwigia repens, Broadleaf, Very colorful, EASY
1 RED TIGER LOTUS, NYMPHAEA LOTUS, easy, beautiful plant

Perchmonger 05-21-2013 03:49 PM

Yes this is my first dirt tank Challenge!

redchigh 05-21-2013 04:09 PM

Wow, what a massive undertaking.

I've had bad luck with OC soil, but i cant argue with others' success. Personally, i prefer wild topsoil.
Some advice i can offer:

Sift the soil to get rid of any bark or wood.
Add a small amount of soil from your yard to introduce beneficial microorganisms. If you're against the idea of a cupful of real dirt mixed in, then gunk from rinsed filter media and a good substrate vacuuming may help. Also make sure the soil layer is soaked before capping.

Im sure you know the qualities of turface, but for the benefits of others:
It has an extremely high CEC, which means it can absorb nutrients from the water. It can also absorb calcium and magnesium, which lowers kh, and can cause a ph crash. To avoid this, before rinsing, soak it in tap water for a couple hours. Fertiliser, any fertiliser with micro and trace nutrients (even miracle grow) can be added to the substrate before soaking and rinsing.
The nature of cec is that the nutrients will not be released back into the water (instead it can be absorbed directly by plants roots). Any excess not absorbed will be washed off by the soaking and rinsing, so no worries about residue.

As for your plants, do you dose co2? Whats your lighting like?
Several need high light to thrive especially the red stems and the willissi.

Perchmonger 05-21-2013 04:48 PM

Thank you so much for the incite, I knew I had to consult you guys before I do this, I use T5 Quad 72" Timer 6500K Aquarium Light and on the 40g I have direct sunlight when needed. With every suggestion my nerves ease a bit, that is why I'm taking you guys for this ride succeed or fail.

Perchmonger 05-21-2013 04:50 PM

I also have a Deluxe Fully-Automatic CO2 System.

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