75 Gallon Tank Dirt, yay or nay?? Things I should know?

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SomyaValecha

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I am really unhappy with the gravel in our 75-gallon. Here’s a picture below, yeah it explains itself. Now I can’t pick out all the white gravel out of it and since I didn’t find any efficient way to make it better, I’ve decided to scrap it all together. Now I’m currently looking at this picture for inspiration. I want it to look like a mini-River. Keep in mind that I don’t have a whole load of plants so my aquarium wouldn’t look like the pictures below (some cheap fast-growing plant suggestions would be appreciated).I don’t really need the soil for nutrients although it is a plus, and I really don’t want to spend more money on gravel. So I’m planning on using some leftover pool filter sand and some potting soil we have for our garden. Is there anything I should know before going ahead with this? Do I need a cap over the dirt? Since I really don’t want one. Is there an alternate dark colored substrate I could use (that’s cheap)?
1601220069585.jpeg
 
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Archangel8

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I wouldn't use the dirt at all. Just the sand. Most plants will be fine
 
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SomyaValecha

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Is there a reason why?
Courtney carlisle said:
I wouldn't use the dirt at all. Just the sand. Most plants will be fine
 
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SomyaValecha

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SomyaValecha said:
I am really unhappy with the gravel in our 75-gallon. Here’s a picture below, yeah it explains itself. Now I can’t pick out all the white gravel out of it and since I didn’t find any efficient way to make it better, I’ve decided to scrap it all together. Now I’m currently looking at this picture for inspiration. I want it to look like a mini-River. Keep in mind that I don’t have a whole load of plants so my aquarium wouldn’t look like the pictures below (some cheap fast-growing plant suggestions would be appreciated).I don’t really need the soil for nutrients although it is a plus, and I really don’t want to spend more money on gravel. So I’m planning on using some leftover pool filter sand and some potting soil we have for our garden. Is there anything I should know before going ahead with this? Do I need a cap over the dirt? Since I really don’t want one. Is there an alternate dark colored substrate I could use (that’s cheap)?
1601220069585.jpeg
This is what I want to do to my tank substrate wise:
 
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Archangel8

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That's really nice!
 
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LeviS

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SomyaValecha said:
Is there a reason why?
I used dirt(organic soil) on a 37 gallon. The amazon sword loved it as it eventually grew to the top of the tank. You have to cap it with gravel or sand, i used pea gravel. If you ever intend to move a plant it will release dirt into the water column. Sometimes when planting it can release dirt into the water. It needs to be a thick cap that helps. Eventually maybe after 1 year if I put in a plant or had to disturb it the dirt would go to water column but pretty much immediately settled but it was terrible at the start. You will have to work to balance the aquarium and plant very heavy from the start as there will be tons of minerals causing an algae outbreak of various kinds such as green water/green spot/green hair algae. Its definitely not a set up and fish go in the same day kinda thing( if using same filter and have your BB media). The dirt will also cause ammonia spikes. Research all you can, sand cap may be better than gravel at holding the dirt down. Just be prepared its a job for sure.
 
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I just transitioned from dirted tanks to sand and root tabs. Dirt works really well for some explosive plant growth but I eventually found it to be just a pain. I had a lot of algae from the excess nutrients on and off and recently after tearing down my first dirted tank my choice to move away from it was really solidified.

However that being said if you are set on doing it I can provide some abbreviated steps I took when I set mine up. Feel free to ask questions or criticize my techniques but it was what worked best for me after quite a bit of trial and error.

- I would recommend a good organic potting soil try for one that doesn't have added fertilizer.
-Sifting the dirt with a mesh strainer to remove any mulch and big lumps so you are just left with about an inch of fine dust
-spray the dirt so it is JUST wet enough to kind of mix around with a chop stick to get any air bubbles out of there because they can spell trouble later. If the dirt is too wet it will just become displaced by the sand cap you're about to add.
-I highly recommend a sand cap of about an inch and half - gravel is often not tight enough to keep down the soil. Also worth mentioning that the sand shouldn't be too fine because it will cause problems for plant roots as well as building up gasses and causing anaerobic pockets. I also recommend getting Malaysian Trumpet snails as they will move around the substrate and keep it aerated which is good to stop the gas pockets and make sure it doesn't compact your plant roots.
-when you fill the aquarium for the first time or anytime after a big water change you're going to way to move a tea saucer or something like that at the bottom so the sand cap doesn't come off the dirt causing a big mess in the water.
-Plant the aquarium with about an inch or two of water in the aquarium to avoid the aforementioned dirt implosion in your clean water.
 
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SomyaValecha

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catphish said:
I just transitioned from dirted tanks to sand and root tabs. Dirt works really well for some explosive plant growth but I eventually found it to be just a pain. I had a lot of algae from the excess nutrients on and off and recently after tearing down my first dirted tank my choice to move away from it was really solidified.

However that being said if you are set on doing it I can provide some abbreviated steps I took when I set mine up. Feel free to ask questions or criticize my techniques but it was what worked best for me after quite a bit of trial and error.

- I would recommend a good organic potting soil try for one that doesn't have added fertilizer.
-Sifting the dirt with a mesh strainer to remove any mulch and big lumps so you are just left with about an inch of fine dust
-spray the dirt so it is JUST wet enough to kind of mix around with a chop stick to get any air bubbles out of there because they can spell trouble later. If the dirt is too wet it will just become displaced by the sand cap you're about to add.
-I highly recommend a sand cap of about an inch and half - gravel is often not tight enough to keep down the soil. Also worth mentioning that the sand shouldn't be too fine because it will cause problems for plant roots as well as building up gasses and causing anaerobic pockets. I also recommend getting Malaysian Trumpet snails as they will move around the substrate and keep it aerated which is good to stop the gas pockets and make sure it doesn't compact your plant roots.
-when you fill the aquarium for the first time or anytime after a big water change you're going to way to move a tea saucer or something like that at the bottom so the sand cap doesn't come off the dirt causing a big mess in the water.
-Plant the aquarium with about an inch or two of water in the aquarium to avoid the aforementioned dirt implosion in your clean water.
Wow I didn’t know it was such a struggle to use! I'll definitely not be using it then, I don't have a lot of plants anyway. Do you know any other cheap blackish gravel? I really want to achieve the affect in that article.
 
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catphish

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I live in Canada and am not able to buy it here, and it's also a debated topic with some but black diamond blasting sand is often used as black aquarium substrate.

Alternatively petco has a brand (it has a blue fish on it I don't remember the name) of a cheap inert black sand that is like 30 bucks for 20 pounds (I think) and the white path part could be carib sand which is also not super pricy in the world of substrate or just play sand.
 
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