After sorting it through a colander, I got a ton of clay balls that wouldn't go through. I was going to toss this out, but one of the moderators told me to let it dry and sift it--that this was the good stuff.
I let the clay balls dry a bit, crumbled them up, and let them dry out completely on a sheet of black plastic out in the sun. After sifting it through a colander again, I got enough to give me about an inch on the bottom of the 20-gallon long tank I bought today.
I had a big bag of pea gravel around (the kind you get for $4 at home-improvement stores), so I sorted through it to find some white stones. I have this notion that maybe I can arrange them in a pretty, winding fashion to help delineate different areas of planting.
I have a water softener and have to bring half the water I need up from the basement, pre-softened. So after hauling up a few five-gallon buckets, I proceeded to pour the water with a two-cup measuring cup slowly through the same $2 colander I used to sift the clay. It took a while! But I didn't end up with much silt.
Unfortunately, after I got all the water in, I decided some of the plants needed to be moved, and that generated some silt and led me to believe that I don't have enough cap in some places. However, I went ahead and hooked up the light and took some pics. This gives an idea how the tank is progressing.
I added two teaspoons of dissolved aquarium salt to the water, as per the instructions from the Taiwan exporter for my sorority. Since the bettas arrive tomorrow or the next day, I'm also supposed to put some Tetracycline in the tank. I know that will turn the water tea-colored, but I'm going to do it anyway.
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