Planted Tank Questions?

Tropical Aquatics

Hi,
I am planning to do a decent little planted tank, low lights, but good substrate and eventually c02.
For substrate I have a dark river sand, and I was planning to put a substrate that would be good for the plants. So I would likely do gravel mixed with the soil, then the sand as the top layer. My first question is
1. Would this make a mess when gravel vacuuming? If so how can I go around this problem.

My second question was relating to a soil I wanted to use, since I already have it at home. Its an outdoor potting soil, that I wanted to mix with gravel then top off with a thick layer of sand. My next question was
2. Would this outdoor potting soil be suitable for a tank?

Here is the ingredients of the soil:
INGREDIENTS: Aged recycled forest products, aged rice hulls, composted poultry manure, perlite, peat moss, hydrolyzed feather meal, dehydrated poultry manure, dolomite & oyster shell limes (as pH adjusters), bat guano, kelp meal, worm castings

If a name for the soil is needed, here it is:
KELLOGG GARDEN ORGANICS PATIO PLUS
Premium Outdoor Potting Mix
 

Aquaphobia

It shouldn't cause a problem with vacuuming. You probably won't be able to really get in there with a lot of plants in the way but where you can reach just treat it like a straight sand substrate and swirl the intake end just above the surface to loosen any debris and loft it into the water column where the syphon can grab it.

Recycled forest products often means bark and needles and other unusable bits from processing conifers so you run the risk of exposing your fish to volatile compounds. However, being aged it may not be such a problem. BUT I would still be leery because it's got an amazing array of nitrogen sources in it including chicken and bat poop. I don't think you want to deal with that
 

Tropical Aquatics

So I COULD, but there's the risk of unusable bits of the soil. But wouldn't the nitrogen help me with my cycling?
So the unusable soil and chances of bad water parameters are there, that's what I got from what you wrote. Do you think the effects would be that severe?
In the situation of having that or no soil, what would be better?
 

Aquaphobia

I do! It amazes me how much of a spike I had in ammonia when I tried to use soil capped with sand in small pots to try my hand at growing aquatic plants in a dirted setup without a full commitment. I had a cycled tank and my ammonia and nitrites went through the roof! My soil choice wasn't nearly as nitrogen heavy as that though.
 

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