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  1. Hello, so I'm attempting my first planted tank and I'd like to do a combination of dirt with a coarse silica sand or maybe a bonsai lava grit cap over it. The tank I'm using is a 36-gal Topfin bowfront 30.7 in L x 15.7 in W x 22.2 in H (77.9 x 39.8 x 56.3 cm). My question is how much of each substrate should I use? I know the 1 Lb to 1 gal rule, as well as adding an extra inch for planted tanks but because I'm mixing 2 substrates, I was hoping to get a more precise ratio. Any advice from someone who has done something similar or just has more knowledge in general about this would be greatly appreciated.
  2. What soil to use for planting a tank? I see many on the forum here use miracle grow performance organics. I have a bag however its mostly pieces of wood, more like dirty mulch than soil. I can order from Home Depot, Lowes or Tractor Supply but I don't want to get another bag of sticks.
  3. Hi everyone, I spontaneously put together this no tech bowl last night because a friend of mine brought home some discounted aquarium plants that needed some TLC. II found this bowl at a thrift store for $3 and have been holding onto it for just this! I added some plants and snails from my other setups as well. I am assuming the volume of the water is ~2gal. I should have measured before filling the bowl >< My plan is to keep this bowl strictly to rams horn snails (and maybe some shrimp once the bowl is more established, maybe a dwarf african frog??), but I'm worried about tank temperature. I live in New England, and I fear the water will reach temperatures in the high 50s-low 60s this coming winter. We try to minimally use our central heat because of gas costs in the winter here, so my room is usually around 58. I did install plastic window covers this year, so hopefully that helps! Does this forum think a tank heater is 100% necessary in this set up? I would hate to add tech to this bowl if I can avoid it. I did order one on amazon today assuming the answer is yes, but I can always return it 😉 I do plan on adding some more stem plants since I did make it a dirted bottom, and any other suggestions/comments are welcome!! Thanks! heater: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Y9WNCJJ/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  4. I think it would be fun to start 3 similar aquariums at the same time, but try 3 different strategies for the substrate and fertilizer. First a Walstad type dirted substrate - in this case dirt from my yard Second, CaribSea's Eco-Complete And third, a 'normal' tank with CaribSea's Peace Rive substrate supplemented with Aquarium Co-Op's Easy Root Tabs and Easy Green liquid fertilizer. For this experiment (okay, this is definitely not an experiment as I do not have a hypothesis, any controls, or replicants) I will use three 40 gallon breeder aquariums that will likely have sponge filters, heaters, and Finnex lights. It should take me about a week or two to gather all the resources for this experiment (again, definitely not an experiment as my N on each tank will be 1, but my fun quotient ought to be greater than 1 because this will also be an attempt to setup 3 aquariums that are some more than green water fry tanks or mulm factories).
  5. Edit 9/30/21: I decided to turn this into a general journal. Will hopefully give an update on the 55 SAP tank as well as introduce my other tanks and projects! A fellow forum member very kindly suggested that I could start a journal about this tank and my efforts to address constant glass surfing by my juvenile South American Puffers. Here is the other post/thread, if anyone is interested: (I admit, the title is a bit melodramatic). Basically, they glass surf constantly and - without getting into any conflict about the ethics or morals about what that means or whether we should keep wild-caught animals in captivity - I personally just do not find it enjoyable to watch animals do this. So I was considering giving them up, but decided to take the other good advice I received on that thread (really I am so grateful to this community) and will try to adjust the environment to see if I can reduce this behavior. Attached is a picture of the tank as it currently stands. It is a 55 gallon with half sand, half gravel substrate; planted with jungle val, java fern, java moss,subwassertang, and frogbit across the top; pH is a bit high (8, sometimes up to 8.4); nitrates are always pretty low in the tank (5-10 ppm at most). I change out 15 gallons about once a week - mostly trying to clean up the substrate. There are 6 south american puffers - at first I intended to only keep 3, but there was one in particular that was much more stressed than the others and avoiding food, and I know they prefer to be in groups so I got 3 more. The biggest group I felt I could manage in a tank this size. They are still young (about 1"-1.5"). I got them in Dec-Jan. They get 1 cube frozen blood worms once a day (I do occaisionally skip a few days when I see a lot of planaria in the tank), and 10-30 snails that I toss in throughout the day. I tend to drop the snails into the plants, so that the puffers have to find them. I tried live blackworms early on, but had a parasite scare (happy to elaborate later if anyone asks), so I've been gun shy on using those since even though the puffers loved them. I thought the blackworms were from California Black Worms, though I bought them through a local fish store (I live in Northern California), so I'll have to look into a direct source since I hear that company is a trusted brand. Here are some links to videos of the behavior I'm seeing: https://photos.app.goo.gl/u9p2Mno1Dhmp88Vk9 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fxbzbvVGKcgPPkCoRJWi7ESHf7WQF6JI/view?usp=sharing
  6. I have a dirted 29 gallon live bearer tank. The plants are taking over the tank. They grow exponentially. I trim them twice a month. From a half dozen aquarium co-op plants I’ve planted a 55 and 75 gallon tanks. I started out with 3 each of platties, swordtails and guppies. A year later there are close to 40, parents and babies. I want to move some of the babies but the plants are like a jungle. Makes it hard to net them out. So my question is what technique do I use to remove the plants without, making a muddy mess. Or do I trim down the stem plants to a couple inches from the bottom, so I can net out some of the young fish. Also another question, since I have limited aquariums, can I put neo-caradina shrimp in with the fish ? I also have 3 amano shrimp in there. This picture is two weeks after trimming, and they need trimming again.
  7. So I began to set up a dirted tank, but I don’t know if I have enough. In the pictures you can see there’s around an inch and a quarter (there’s some space beneath the black space) of organic seed starter- https://images.app.goo.gl/tD9k5GbNHix5uKM98 I assume it’s different from your standard miracle gro- and about the same amount made up in pool filter sand, pea pebbles (not pea gravel!) and a small bag of Caribsea gravel. I have a unsettling feeling that it won’t be enough though…so should I buy more substrate? I just don’t want it to be too expensive, and I ran out of all my sand and pebbles. Also I’ve heard sand isn’t great since it suffocates the dirt and everything. In the pictures included you can also see all the gravel pictures, measurements, a little diagram I drew and my ammonia (~.50) level after filling and draining my tank (once yesterday- the day I set it up) and again today. So…thoughts? Also I’m kinda nervous because the substrate seems to be mixing and pouring water on the substrate from a certain height seems to somehow bring out a little bit of dirt.
  8. I’ve heard a range of differing opinions on dirted tanks. Some say they’re plant crack, and some say basic rot tabs do the exact same thing with the same results. What are your guys’ thoughts on them? Have you had success? Failure? Longevity? Brands? And would it be good for a beginner who just wants to provide the best for their plants?
  9. Hello everyone! This journal is going to be for my 10 gallon aquarium and 5 gallon aquarium. I will start off by saying I built these aquariums to get my girlfriend interested in the hobby. I think everyone here can agree that the hobby is better when you are able to share it with those that you love. What I ended up doing was showing her different style aquariums online and she chose some that she liked. She also chose the fish and shrimp she liked for these aquariums. I will start with the 10 gallon aquarium. This aquarium was started October 2019. The initial tank setup is as follows: Lighting: 20” Finnex Stingray Filter: Aquaclear Substrate: Organic soil capped with gravel Plants: Vallisneria ordered from Aquarium Co-op & Dwarf Sag Decor: 2 small Seiryu stones, Top Fin Resting Buddha ornament & some river rocks I superglued together As you can see, I started off with very little as I know just how fast these plants can grow from my prior experience. 2.5 Month Old Aquarium At this point I decided to have some fun with carbon dioxide just to see how fast these plants can really grow with a soil substrate. 3 Month Old Aquarium: Carbon dioxide really made the plants grow and be this very beautiful bright green color. 4 Month Old Aquarium 6 Month Old Aquarium At this point I removed the carbon dioxide system as I no longer needed that much plant growth. 8 Month Old Aquarium Yes, the aquarium is 8 months old but still does not have any fish in it. To be fair, these were unprecedented times. 1 Year Old Aquarium Lucky Bamboo has been added as well as a lantern ornament. Lucky bamboo was planted with the roots into the organic soil. 1 Year 2 Months Old Aquarium The original vision of the aquarium is starting to finally take place.... still no fish. 1 Year 3 Months Old Aquarium Yes, you are seeing that correctly, there are now fish in the aquarium 😂 Neon tetras first day in the jungle. Present Day, about 1 Year 6 Months I added some background lights to compliment the scape. Lucky bamboo is starting to grow more full. The aquarium is very stable, I never clean the glass on this aquarium as it hardly grows algae. Every once in awhile I have to remove some val as it sends runners all over the place. So that is the story so far for the 10 gallon, thank you for reading! Now onto the 5 gallon....
  10. Hello. I kinda let things go and will soon be rebuilding my 20 gallon high. It's presently a dirted tank and I plan to use this method again. I plan to move my angelfish and my corydora to a 10 gallon for the rebuild. My plan is to use my existing water, split between the rebuild and the 10 gallon since it has established bacteria. I plan on getting the rebuild done in 6-8 hours. How long should I wait before moving my fish back into the 20 gallon tank?
  11. Howdy Fish Folks, I'm setting up a 75 gallon dirted tank and was toying with the idea of using CO2 since I plan to heavily plant this one. What do you CO2 users out there recommend for gear? Not looking for the DIY route. I don't want/need top of the line, but something decent that is dependable. Thanks in advance!
  12. Hello! I am thinking of adding more soil to my established aquarium but I have heard that if not done right it can cause an ammonia spike and kill the fish. Currently I have an 80 gallon heavily planted aquarium. I have an 8 liter bag of soil but was thinking of adding maybe a third or less... Any tips on how to add nutrient rich soil to an established aquarium? Would adding a little at a time work? Thanks everyone!
  13. This is my dirted 20 gallon long that I literally lost every fish in (ich outbreak). I am rebooting and need any and all advice on what to layer on top here before adding new fish. There was a sulphur/rotten egg smell in the tank that I noticed while emptying. Comments? I was planning on adding more sand (10 pound bag) on top before filling but am wondering if gravel first and then sand might be best. Advice? Can the phenomenal fish gurus here advise?
  14. Hello all, been lurking here a while and greatly enjoying the content. I thought I might contribute back to any other newbies with experiences similar to mine who don't know how big plants will get, etc. I have a 20 long pseudo-walstad I've been working on for a while. It was initially planted a few months ago: Most of the plants were purchased from the Co-op: Vallisneria, Chain sword, Water sprite, Hydrocotyle tripartita, Windelov java fern, a lily bulb, and a few Cryptocoryne wendtii brown and dwarf sagittaria I already had from another tank. Soil layer was about and inch thick with a half-inch of sand per Dr. Walstad's reccommendation in her book. The hardscape is placed on a hill made of filter bags full of Seachem flourite, to keep pressure off the dirt. I didn't originally plan to document this, so unfortunately I didn't take a picture of that stage. I had a very heavy algae and bacteria bloom for the first few weeks but it eventually resolved itself with time and pest snails. I had to remove the coconut, as it created a dead spot and had a heavy amount of bacterial growth inside. Here is a few months later: As you can see, everything is extremely overgrown. I think the lily may have been a poor choice for a tank this size, as the lily pads have to be trimmed almost bi-weekly to keep it from shading out the other plants. And the sword is filling in extremely slowly, making the right corner look a little more empty than I intended. I also added an Aquaclear 30 to the right side, so I suppose this is more of a pseudo-Walstad dirted tank than a true Walstad aquarium, but whatever. Sponge intake cover is also from the co-op. I have a few guppies and approximately 15 or so fry in the tank, all doing well. One more picture from this morning, after I added some pearlweed and Hydrocotyle leucephala courtesy of LRB Aquatics (does he have an account here? would tag him if I knew the handle): Thanks for looking 🙂
  15. Will my Flourite absorb any of the nutrients leeched from my soul. I set up a rubbermaid 50G tub to grow out some Crypts and I thought that a dirted tank would be the easiest to grow the plants and wanted to use Flourite Sand for the added iron. I have ~1"+ of soil with a top of pool filter sand x Flourite black sand 2"+ deep. I thought that some of the nutrients leeching from the soil might get caught in the Flourite (bc of the CEC) but I wanted to know if it is true at all or if it is so minimal that it would not make a difference. Thank you all in advance.
  16. In this "thread" I hope to document (with the help of as many that will) the growth and appearance of cryptocoryne Species submerged as I have not been able to find anywhere where you can see the submerged form of many crypts. So I will start with my Cryptocoryne Albida Costata. It is all green when it is emergent and is turning reddish orange with a cool pattern in my substrate with a good amount of iron. The oldest leaves slowly melt away but the newer leaves slowly can meet to submerged growth. If you wish to post your crypts please give everyone the Species and variant of you can thank you all in advance.
  17. Would it be a bad idea to use osmocoat and roots tabs in a dirted tank with eco complete as a cap? Would the extra fertilizer from the cap have a greater chance for algae production?
  18. I’m about to set up my 2nd tank. The first was a 29 . Half dirt and half pool filter sand. After 3 weeks the tank is beautiful. Now I want to set up a 75, but with dirt and eco complete as the cap. Aquarium gravel is $19 for 20 lbs, eco complete is $22 for 20 lbs. is my logic skewed for using eco complete for a cap?
  19. What's your take on the infamous Walstad method? How did you go about setting yours up? Can I use soley ecocomplete and no soil as a planted tank? Or should/could I cap the soil with ecocomplete? Or should I go the Walstad Method all the way? I want to keep this tank as low tech as possible. I'm thinking a heater and a bubbler in a 5.5 gallon. I also have plants picked out recommended by Diana Walstad ready to order. Do you gave any other advise for me?
  20. I've tried twice now to try and establish a shrimp colony in my 29g hex. The first time I had very low gh and kh and the 10 Blue Dreams I got disappeared within 2 weeks. The were also young juveniles when I got them. I did some research and thought it was the low mineral content that may have caused the problem. I bought wonder shells and ran two of them one after another until both were gone and now run crushed coral in my Hob. My second attempt was with 5 Blue Dreams, that's all my LFS had gotten in that day. They went about a week before I found one dead then a second a few days after. About a month letter one molted, then the other 2 did. The second 2 went into hiding to molt almost 2 weeks ago and I haven't seen either in a week. Any ideas why I'm having such difficulty with shrimp? Tank specs: Dirted (mineralized top soil) and heavily planted 29G Hex, aquaclear 50 w/prefilter sponge and small coop sponge filter Inhabitants: 2 male guppies, 12 neon tetras, 4 corydoras (3 peppered and 1 emerald), 5 ottocinclus and a ton of I think bladder snails Water peramiters: taken with tetra 6in1 strips nitrate 20, nitrite 0, gh 300ish maybe a little under, chlorine 0, kh 40 and pH 7ish(it's between the 2 colors) I do 20% water changes every 2 weeks and dose 1 pump of easy green 3 times a week, 1 pump easy iron a week and 1 cap of excel after water changes. I feed the bug bites for shrimp, omega one super color flake, Hikari mini algae wafers, Hikari fancy guppy, Hikari freeze dried brine shrimp, Hikari bottom feeder wafers, frozen baby brine shrimp and occasionally Sera onip tabs Picture was taken about a week ago.
  21. Hi! Relatively newbie fish nerd here. I've been following Aquarium Coop since maybe four to five months and that just opened a door to Fishtube for me. I use to have small 10 gal tanks as a kid and broke back into the hobby with a tiny betta tank. I had my female betta for 6 months to a year before she passed, long before I found the Coop. I didn't know what I do now and realize the tank was too small and that my tap water is very hard and has 1 ppm ammonia in it so I believe that was a likely cause for her death. I learned a ton from Aquarium Coop and others online and set up a 30 Gal Long guppy tank filled with live plants and now some new babies. It has cherry shrimp, mystery snails, bladder snails, guppies, and amano shrimp. Just gravel substrate, with root tabs, some dragon stone, and driftwood. It has a Fluval 3.0 plant light and just a sponge filter. I've got a 20 Long with a matten filter, lightly planted, and with some ramshorn snail hitchhikers. I plan to make it a shrimp tank when I can get a few more plants in there and some cash for the shrimp. It has a stingray light that works pretty well for such a shallow tank, eco-complete substrate, and gray elephant stone. I also have two twenty gal high dirted tanks that I'm experimenting with. I have soil capped with pool filter sand and some river rocks. Lighting is a cheap $24 shop light and no filter or air. I'm trying the Walstad method here so they are just now going through their long cycle period. I plan to put whiteclouds or maybe celestial pearl danios in these as the whiteclouds can handle lower temps. I'm currently planning a 10 gal betta tank that i'll heavily plant.
  22. Hey guys, I wanted a cheaper method to start my first tank and decided to use dirt. In hindsight I should have done much more research but very late now, I put load of dirt in, (more in the back because I wanted that slope 😕 )Not only is there lots of dirt, but my gravel cap is thin. This tank is about 4 months old, I have fish and shrimp in the tank, and also established plants. I can’t get afford more plants but my nitrates are high even after constant water changes. Any advice ? Thanks xx
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