Garden Soil As Substrate.

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by guilz, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. guilz

    guilzNew MemberMember

    hello guys, i dont have money but i want to make a new tank with substrate, im asking if i can use garden soil as substrate? and if i can, what should i do to my garden soil before i put it in my tank. thanks
  2. EternalDancer

    EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    I think this is not okay, everywhere I see people talk about soil, it seems to be a special kind, but someone with more knowledge will likely be along soon enough.
  3. BeanFish

    BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    You can, there are a lot of pages on it, but I would not recommend it if you are starting out. Soil creates ammonia, and you will have to be patient and do many water changes to get excess nutrients out... even then you can easily mess up and kill your fish in one go.
    All my tanks have plain sand as a substrate, I dose liquid ferts and have a good light and my plants grow well, you dont need substrate, at least for normal plants.
    In my 10 gal my Ludwigia Palustris is growing like a weed, my Java Moss is also expanding, and my MonteCarlos have been destroyed by my Corydoras Paleatus, but they are still growing.
    My 36 is the same, altough I am facing some algae problems my Amazon Swords are doing good for the most part and my Ludwigia Repens is starting to grow now that I got a decent light.
  4. Chaory

    ChaoryValued MemberMember

  5. Yves

    YvesValued MemberMember

    When I researched planted tanks, I got a lot of info from Dustin Fish Tanks on YouTube, he has several video using dirt tank.
  6. purslanegarden

    purslanegardenWell Known MemberMember

    Dustin is also more experienced about what he does, as well as why specifiically, he may want a dirt tank. When cleaning a dirt tank, even with a siphon, you will create a lot of dust clouds in the water. I would definitely suggest that pebbles from hardware store or pool filter sand, which are cheaper alternatives to bags of aquarium rocks, could be used. I also found that Wal mart has good prices on aquarium rocks, compared to LFS, if you decide to use that.

    You could also have a bare bottom tank.
  7. DuaneV

    DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    I grew up using regular old dirt in all my tanks. My grandfather was a huge aquarium hobbyist....., and an old school farmer. He always said if dirt's good enough for the lakes and rivers, its good enough for a fish tank. I remember many times going on "scavenger hunts" with 5 gallon buckets, shovels and classifiers. We always got dirt and wood from the river or lake, boiled it when we got home then rinsed it. I'm NOT talking about dirt under my lawn mind you, although I'm sure that would work, but I have tried the potting soil method. That's much messier than the small gravel/dirt I use from the rivers/lakes but I bet it would work well for a heavily planted tank when no or very little substrate is visible.
  8. Lindsay83

    Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    I sympathise with having no money, because I'm in a similar situation. I get things as and when I have the money to get them, but if you can't even afford play sand, perhaps it would be better to wait until you have more disposable income with which to set the tank up. Bearing in mind that the substrate can be one of the cheapest things in the tank - I don't know where you're from, but I picked up 2, 10ltr bags of play sand for £5 (sterling).

    I have a layer of organic compost (which I already had) under a deeper layer of play sand in my tank.
  9. purslanegarden

    purslanegardenWell Known MemberMember

    DuaneV is right, too. Garden soil (ie soil from your backyard) will be different from soil near a river, lake. Or even across town, they may have different quality soil (such as more clay). I am sure that it's not legally recommended, but I do know some aquarium hobbyists that got their sand substrate from those sandy sections at nearby lakes. Some people also pick up their river rocks or substrate rocks like that, too.
  10. Yves

    YvesValued MemberMember

    I found the following statement in another forum "I recommend mircale grow organic dirt. I'm using it in my current tank and there are lots of articles about using it online. Just make sure to let it soak for a few days before filling the rest of the tank up. It is also important to cap it with gravel you can also use sand if you don't mind mts to get rid of gas pockets" Hope this helps.
  11. DuaneV

    DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    A GREAT point. Check with state and local laws. I actually asked one of our Game Wardens here (the are the animal police in Maine) about it and he said as long as I dug BELOW the water line and was only taking a little at a time every once in a while I was good. We can legally mine for gold here (we do this a couple dozen times a year) and the law states you have to dig below the high water line and we are allowed to bring the dirt with us. So, as long as Im not at a state park snagging sand off the beach, digging up some mucky gravel isn't frowned upon.