Needing help with a Soil Planted Aquarium

ooosparkeyooo

I have a 20 pound bag of Miracle Grow Organic and am wanting to do a 3 gallon soil planted tank and have a few micro fish, shrimp, or a Betta in it. I do not plan on using, air, filter, heater, etc. unless You think its necessary. My question- how do I clean the soil for the aquarium and prepare it so it doesn't float/ cloud my tank, can I use aquarium gravel to cap it or is sand necessary? (If I remember right the weight of the gravel will sink it below the mud.) Will the plants provide enough biological/mechanical support for the tank to allow it to be self sustaining?

I tried to make a 10 gallon last night soiled but the attempt was soiled . I had about enough soul for 1.5" along the whole bottom in a container full of water to rinse it and boy did I make a mess trying to separate it and I got frustrated at how messy it was I tried to just add it still watery-ish and I capped it with about 1/4" of aquarium gravel... needless to say my 10 gallon right now is a bare bottom tank.. :/

If there is a link to a great thread that describes this set up or another website please share. I know we have quite a bit of members on this site with soil tanks.
 

TayJay76

I just recently setup my first dirt tank. I put about 1-2 inches of scotts miracle gro organic potting mix and capped it with a 0.5-1 inch of fluorite. That worked pretty well. Plants consume the by product of your nitrogen cycle, that of course being nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the essential macro nutrients that plants require to grow and thrive. However, they do not consume ammonia and or nitrite; the beneficial bacteria convert those into nitrates which then turns into nitrogen, which is vastly consumed by plants.

The gravel cap would provide some surface area for the beneficial bacteria along with the plants, but this is minimal, therefore a filter would be needed. With small inverts or betta, you wouldn't need anything huge, a small under water filter. It also depends on the amount of gravel and plants, but I would recommend a filter of some sort.
 

Treefork

I planted a 55 gallon with MGro Organic, I capped it with gravel/sand mix. I had to drain and refill 2x to get the muddy clouds out. I do use filtration on the tank as I have a decent amount of livestock in there. It's been going strong since July.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1362401448.058458.jpg
 

ooosparkeyooo

Haha Tay I know how the cycle works, thanks though. Pretty tank tree. Reminds be of my old 100g.
 

TayJay76

Lol I wasn't implying that you didn't know, just explaining how plants fit into that
 

iRun

I wanted to experiment with a dirt substrate so I decided to start with a container. I found one that is a little under a gallon (round, 8" diameter x 8" tall) I just sieved out the bigger chunks of the miracle grow organic soil. I put about 1.5" in the bottom and capped it with .25" black gravel. I planted it with the soil dry.

The technique that worked really awesome was to use a chopstick. Put the chopstick right next to the roots/stems of the plants you are planting, then gently wiggle/stir the soil with the chopstick as you are pushing the plant down into the soil. It goes right in. I then filled slowly and carefully and there was barely any material at all that floated up and no cloudiness whatsoever.

I did start to get a cloudy growth around the bottom of the container. I just used a turkey baster to suck it up and replace the water. If it seems to be stable, I'm going to try a shrimp. I've been doing a lot of experimenting with shrimp in small planted containers (I've started a thread).
 

cichlidmac

I wanted to experiment with a dirt substrate so I decided to start with a container. I found one that is a little under a gallon (round, 8" diameter x 8" tall) I just sieved out the bigger chunks of the miracle grow organic soil. I put about 1.5" in the bottom and capped it with .25" black gravel. I planted it with the soil dry.

The technique that worked really awesome was to use a chopstick. Put the chopstick right next to the roots/stems of the plants you are planting, then gently wiggle/stir the soil with the chopstick as you are pushing the plant down into the soil. It goes right in. I then filled slowly and carefully and there was barely any material at all that floated up and no cloudiness whatsoever.

I did start to get a cloudy growth around the bottom of the container. I just used a turkey baster to suck it up and replace the water. If it seems to be stable, I'm going to try a shrimp. I've been doing a lot of experimenting with shrimp in small planted containers (I've started a thread).

I use chopsticks for my planting as well.
 

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