Mineralized Soil Substrate
So I found out today, that the guy that was going to buy my 125 gallon tank, is no longer going to buy it, so I decided to set it up as a planted tank... I'm thinking I should use mineralized soil in order to save a few bucks... I'm going to have to set up an all new lighting system too... But I'm having problems finding the additives. Can I use Potassium chloride pellets rather than the potash? I'm not sure where to look for the dolomite. I called the one lfs that I thought may have it, but all they had were actual dolomite rocks instead... I think I can find the clay at one of the many craft shops, but I'm at a loss for the rest...
Hi Laura, I think this is the first of your threads to which I have posted, so welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
How "high-tech" are you intending to go with this setup? My tanks are all low-tech (photos under "Aquariums" below my name on the left) and there is a series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of this section. If you want to "save a lot of bucks" and not just a few, you may want to check out this method.
Thanks Byron, I'd like to keep down the cost as much as possible, but I also want to make this the "centerpiece" to my living room... I am not opposed to using co2 if I need to... I'm just not sure what all I will need to do to this tank. I'm going to go out and buy the soil today to start mineralizing it. I do LOVE the look of your gorgeous tanks though! What lighting do you suggest? I've got 80 watts running over it right now, and I'm quite sure I will need more for that.
I've looked into mineralized soil... It's perfect for a medium to high tech tank, since it has next to no organics...
I prefer potting soil.. It's decomposition will produce CO2 (along with the fish) and there's no need to dose liquid ferts for at least a year or two.
Diana Walstad- the expert on the method, has set up one tank with soil that ran for 16 years without any additional fertilizers.
Check out my signature... I have a how to on these forums.
those are actually the posts I was looking at, but I was going to use the top soil mixed with 5-10% of clay added. I'm not sure how much soil and laterite I will need for this big of a tank though.
My 125 is 6 foot long. I'm not sure what the temperature of the lights I hav is now. I really don't have much figured out with this outside of how to do the soil... I just know that I have 2 36" lights with 40 watt T8's in it...
I am also running a Rena XP4 that currently has some bio and chemical filtration, but I'm going to change the setup to mechanical only once I get the tank started.
I sat down and tested my water out of my tap tonight. Here is what I am working with:
pH - 7.8
Ammonia - 4.0 ppm
Nitrite - 0 ppm
Nitrate - 5 ppm
I also did a search online for my bulbs, and they are 4400k
is this tank even feasible with these paramaters? I haven't had a chance to pick up gh/kh tests yet, but will next week. What would I need to do to get the parameters to where they should be?
Those bulbs will have to be replaced... You need 6500k or a combination of 6500k and full spectrum.
As for the soil, my next tank will be set up with red pottery clay... Probably less than 10 percent though, since clay expands significantly when submerged.
Of course you can run a tank with those parameters.
Personally, I would add some peat moss to the substrate or the filter in your case. It will lower the ph a bit... We won't know how much until we know the Kh.
You definately don't need any dolomite with a ph and (I imagine kh) that high. As for soil...
You will need (I think) 38 quarts of substrate material, not including gravel/sand. (You want about 2 inches worth, with possibly a little more in the back.)
I would probably go the route of 16 qts of Organic Choice potting soil, 16 qt bag of cheap topsoil (or soil from your yard), and 6-8 quarts of peat.
You shouldn't need more than a pound of red clay, since it's really only needed under heavy feeders... (swords mostly.) plus clay is often in yard anyway, so you could just leave it out.
Wonderful! Thank you so much for the help. I will see if I can find the OC and peat anywhere this time of year (christmas decorations have taken over the stores :)
If you can afford it, you should really buy the peat (or peat "granules") at a pet store...
If not, make sure you find 100% Peat moss or 100% Sphaghum Peat Moss (NOT Spaghum moss!) with no surfactants or fertilisers...
Before you worry about the peat, decide on your fish.
Danios and livebearers would love the ph as is.
Tetras and acid-loving fish would prefer softer peat-filtered water.
Another tip- if you can, set the tank up for a couple weeks before you add fish... No need to worry about cycling, but that way you can try to figure out where your ph is going.
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