Lets See Your Dirted Tanks!

  • #1
Lets see everyone’s dirted tank! I need ideas for my upcoming tank.
  • #2
I’m no help. I’ve literally got five different sands and three gravels. Pulling my hair out daily! I know some that do I think. 75 gallon Discus Tank david1978 scarface what y’all thinking of dirt tanks?
  • #3
Following, I've been wanting to do a walstad bowl
  • #4
Lets see everyone’s dirted tank! I need ideas for my upcoming tank.
It's been a little over a year now that I have set mine up. It was so much work to do the soil. I did it in April which living in the northeastern part of New York can have not the best drying weather to do this. I was under the impression I would not have to fertilize it again. Sadly mistaken. Nutrients in soil did not last very long. Plants have not done that well. Have ordered plants about three times so far for it. I have to say it was the first time to grow live plants so I have to give credit for the errors I might have done in trying to grow them. It is still running and I'm trying to make it work. Good luck if you go this way.
75g Discus Tank
  • #5
I used some mud meant for lily pads in my planted tanks.

There are a lot of nutrients and a lot goes to the water column when used with gravel.

It’s really good for heavy root feeders and column feeders.

I grow my anacharis in that substrate Andy I have to trim about 2 feet worth of plants weekly.
  • #6
I used pond mud uncapped once. Dont know the name of the plants since they came from the pond aswell. It wasn't up real long since I never could get the water to clear.
  • #7
Forgot to post a picture of it. Dealing with diatoms since it's near a window and a little bit of some form of black algae.


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Jocelyn Adelman
  • #8
Looked for pics, can’t seem to find them for you sorry.
I much prefer the aquasoils over dirted tanks. My dirted attempts (2 of them) were always a mess... let’s say you cave a crypt, or dwarf sag, something similar that spread too far, you need to pull some out... makes a total mess. Even in my aquasoils I don’t get nearly as much of a mess as I did with dirted tanks.
Dirted was popular before aquasoils came out. Some still use due to $$ though. I’m my experience the lower cost did not outweigh the additional headaches
  • #9
I almost put dirt in my 5 gallon but after spending 1 hour looking at different stores for the "right" soil I couldn't find anything organic that didn't have ferts,pearlite or some kind of "bonus! moisture retention shamala"ead:
  • #10
I guess I'll throw in my 2 cents.
I have a dirted tank and as others have said nowadays it's a bit silly as aquasoil does it all and more without the mess. That being said, I like to learn the hard way so I made my own 'dirt' and capped it with black flourite.
My dirt is mostly a blend of worm castings, clay, peat, and sand with close to 50% of it being the clay and the remainder a mix of the others. I also added osmocote and activated carbon to the mix.
I'm happy with the outcome but close to a year now, I am starting to show deficiencies in some plants when I don't water column dose for an extended period.
Anywho, all of that info aside I did something in my layering that could be helpful to others that insist on doing things the hard way; dirt, protective barrier, then cap.
I was looking at seedling trays that come in fabric pouches and noticed that in those that were not opened up enough, the seedlings seemed to have no issue with growing through the thin papery cloth. A trip to the fabric store later and I had my answer: the thin breathable fabric they use on the underside of cushions. I got the thinnest easiest to poke through one I could find and it went over the dirt before I capped it.
I can assure you through personal experience that the plants have no issue sending roots through this stuff. When I want to move a plant the bottom most roots tear but the dirt stays put where it should be, under the sand. The only way I get a mud fountain is if I work a hole in it with my finger and push on the sand on either side of it. Replanting is easy too, just get the roots as close to the fabric as possible and pinch the sand around the base of the plant to keep it in place.
If you are thinking of doing dirt and want to avoid a bit of the mess, this may work for you as well. The only thing I wish I had done different is my dirt blend. (Real soil may have worked better)
  • #11
I had a nice 3 gallon Walstad bowl for a couple of months. However, the placement of the bowl as well as the shape made maintenance a huge pain, and my shrimp would always stay in the back where I could never see them. I finally caved and broke it down, which is a shame because most of my plants were growing really well.

I'll try a Walstad again in the future, but in a bigger tank with more space for maintenance.

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