46 Gallon Bowfront

Discussion in 'Members Fish Tanks' started by hobo, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. hobo

    hoboValued MemberMember

    All about the dirt

    Well last night was substrate night we decided to go dirt on this one, we have been thinking about this for some time now so we decided to go for it on this tank. Allot of research was done beforehand so I was well prepared.

    Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix was used, one bag was enough for 46 gallon at 1 ½” deep. I placed the soil in a bucket without straining it or anything adding water slowly and stirring it , I wanted to saturate the soil but not water logged just enough water that you can pack the dirt into a snowball or in this case a dirt ball. Once soaked in the bucket the dirt should have sheen of water on it when slapped with your hand but no puddles .Then I let the water laden soil sit for five days. This will allow all the little wood pieces and detritus time to become inundated with water preventing them from trying to float to the surface when I fill the aquarium.

    After the five day soak I placed the soil in the bottom of the aquarium to a thickness of 1 ½” patting it down with my hand putting it little thicker in the back making a gradual slope from back to front and sloping a little to the sides. I didn’t want to see any dirt layers from the front or sides when viewing so I kept the dirt away from the glass about a finger thickness.


    Clay is going to be used in little ½” pieces at the very bottom of the aquarium. I weighed the clay using a kitchen scale 1 pound for every 20 gallons so that’s 2 ¼ pounds for a 46 gallon. I used amaco all natural terracotta clay that I got from Wallac's art and drafting supply. After cutting the clay into small pieces I made holes in the dirt with my finger about 1 ½” apart and forced the clay down to the bottom of the holes all the way to the glass, I did this for the entire aquarium. After that I used a little more soil from the bucket to cap in all the clay making sure the clay stayed at the bottom. Some more patting down and a final clean up around the sides of the glass with my finger and a paper towel to remove and dirt that got on the glass and I was ready to add the gravel cap.


    The gravel she picket out was a light color from Estes Shallow Creek, I wanted the same thickness of gravel as I had dirt about 1 ½ “so I got two 20 pound bags. This was washed then laid down on top of the dirt and sloped from back to front. Then I took a plate and cup from the kitchen to put the hose into so I wouldn’t disturb the gravel when filling the tank. Also I ran the water very slowly just let it trickle in. I stared filling the tank, I had a whisper filter that wasn’t doing anything so I filled it with quilt batting and let it run.


    That was it for the evening, to tired for anything else
  2. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Too tired to take the sticker off ;) It's looking good!
  3. Thunder_o_b

    Thunder_o_bFishlore VIPMember

    I will be following this with great interest.
  4. Ziabis

    ZiabisWell Known MemberMember

    What is the Clay used for?
  5. OP

    hoboValued MemberMember


    Had some time on the December 29th to prune allot of the overgrowth on the 29gallon and plant the cuttings in the Bow front, lots of Sunset Hygrophila and Wisteria along with Roseafolia, Water Primrose and Brazilian Pennywort. The Driftwood was soaking since December 25th so everything was ready to go.

    Started planting from back to front placing the driftwood as I went along hygrophila Wisteria and Brazilian pennywort in the very back , Roseafoila ahead of those and finaly the Water Primrose upfront . I also pulled up all the Bacopa I had and put that in the middle in front of the Wisteria along with the three Marimo balls. I have a fully cycled Aquatech 5-15 that I use in emergencies for my Quarantine tank so I put it in the 46g along with an Emperor 280 that I got for a dollar as a promo when I purchased the tank. I have always used Aqua Clears for my main filtration and never had a bio-wheel before so I thought I would give it a whirl.

    Started cycling the tank by dosing ammonia right away I won’t be adding any fish until things settle down since the Tiger Barbs are safe and sound in the 29gallon, so I added 6ml of pure ammonia on the 30th which brought the level to 2ppm I’m in no rush so I decided to gradually increase the dosage depending on the results I get.

    January 6 2013 Well It took one hole week to get rid of the 6mls of ammonia I added I also detected a little bit of nitrite barely above 0 and 5ppm nitrates so I dosed 7mls ammonia this time and that was gone 24hrs later .during this waiting period I have been poking the gravel with a wooden dowel I got to rid the substrate of those nasty methane bubbles that form in newly submerged dirt .I decided to put co2 in this tank as well , I’m not sure I will keep we will see what kind of growth get if it’s too much I will remove it .

    January 8 ammonia was gone again so I dosed 8mls more. I have not added any ferts in this tank in fear of some algae bloom , I usually dose phosphates since none are present in my well water but high ammonia +lots of nutrients from the soil + phosphates usually = green water so no ferts for now.

    Today I tested all three ammonia .50 nitrite off the chart nitrates 10 good things are happening. Dosed another 8mil ammonia here is a pic of what I’ve done


    Attached Files:

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  6. Ziabis

    ZiabisWell Known MemberMember

    Hi Hobo, I bought some Amaco red clay, but you said you used terracotta clay. Please see pic. I don't think I got the right stuff. Well this was the only stuff I could find. So if any one knows if this is exactly the same and will work the same. Please let me know...

    Attached Files:

  7. AmazonPassion

    AmazonPassionModeratorModerator Member

    That clays works. I used that one before in my dirted tank.