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how long to soak soil? How thick soil and sand cap? About to start my build !


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I hope to seal my glass "ponds" inplace and then 48+hours later, start adding soil cap with sand. and start planting and hardscaping.

@Streetwise, @Pepere, @Jawjagrrl, @Patrick_G and all you other Nerms who use soil in you tanks: How long should I soak my organic potting soil before I put it in the tank?

My tank is 48 inch left to right and 13.5 front to back. How  deep should the soil be? How deep should the sand cap be?

I wanted to slope the substrate surface low in front high in back. but in my other sand tank, the loach keep digging and flattening my slope. 

So I might let them win and skip the slope to begin with. What do you think?

Thanks so much for your help.

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I have mostly used organic topsoil from a local composter. I hand-sift to remove the larger pieces of wood, which might float. While I have sand layers in some of my older tanks, I prefer tumbled gravel. My current recipe is about 1.5” of soil and about 1” of gravel.

I don’t bother soaking. I lay down the soil, even it out, and then lay down the gravel. I poke the gravel bag full of holes, lay it out over the substrate, and slowly pour in the water. You could even temporarily put in all your wood to break up the flow.

I encourage you to use a lot of wood, tons of plants, and don’t remove any mulm after your setup phase.

Have fun!

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OH, I am not a glass cleaner. I have loads of snails. I move extras to the yoyo loach tank often for snacking. I have flagfish on the way and am working on a scud colony. I may try shrimp, if the loaches are not apt to eat them. I have seen the adult corys dig in their sand up to their eyes, so I think I will need a scud colony to supply the tank. I want to start a daphnia colony soon to help if I get bacteria blooms, as well as for feeding. Remember, I hire the fish in the lake to control my seaweed around my dock. I like having nature do  the work, so I can enjoy nature.

If I could only find something that ate the cat fur that the cats shed all over the place. I have a mug that says "Cat hair is not only a fashion accessory, it is also a condiment." 

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@Streetwise Most of the plants I have from the lake are in a form like hornwort and will drop leaves here and there if a fish sneezes. I plan on slowly replacing them with non-shedding plants as the other plants get bigger.  Given the amount of mess they make, I am apt to need to do a bit of tidying up as the tank comes up to speed.

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