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Discussion Starter #1
Posted in other but more suited here...

So Im getting ready to do a new venture. Im going to attempt my hand at a Dutch tank. 55g, possibly 75g. I have been doing a lot of searching and looking and have come to the conlusion that I think I want to do a dirted substrate. Looking for some feedback from the community as to the ideas/ pros and cons of what everyone thinks. My plan is about 1-1/2" - 2" of "dirt" and aprox the same about of sand for the appearance factor. I plan to mix the soil with a very small amount of sand and 1 bag of ADA Power Sand special to add a little better O2 level as to avoid it becoming anaerobic. The ADA soil is already cycled and ready to use. Hoping to get this this off the ground in the next month or so.

Current Specs for Setup: 55/75g tank, Fox Farm Ocean forest soil mixed with ADA Power Sand Special (M 6-liter), raw terracotta clay balls (about 1 every sq/ft or so), osmocote DIY fert tabs (1 w/ every terracotta ball), ADA substrate additives, pressurized CO2, 330 gph canister filter, 1 Aqueon 500gph circulation pump. Lighting - DIY light (pictures to come) Nat. Geo Delux Programable led light with 2 32W T8 Starcoat ECO 6500k florecent tubes on either side. Once complete this will look a lot like either an ADA pendant or Vitrea rear mounted bridge design.

Open to all inputs. Thanks

Poll for
1) dirted with the options listed
2) other
 

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Discussion Starter #2
really looking for help here. see that a lot of people have looked but no interest. wish someone, even just one, would provide some input....:(
 

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Ive got 2 mineralized top soil tanks and have had good luck out of them.One is high light with CO2 the other is low light low tech.I wouldn't do more than 1" of soil then cap it with your choice of sand or whatever you decide to use.The big drawback to a dirt tank is if you like changing it all the time you may have a mess on your hands.If you want to make changes just lift plants up a little and cut the roots that way theres very little mess.Good luck and have fun.
 

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Be sure to check out the Library. There is a good recommendation on "How to mineralize soil" . If not done right, you will leave a lot of organics in the soil causing slime, algae etc.
 

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Be sure to check out the Library. There is a good recommendation on "How to mineralize soil" . If not done right, you will leave a lot of organics in the soil causing slime, algae etc.
Lots of great info but I feel I am safe to assume in 12 degree weather that mineralizing soil right now probably isnt an option...any ideas how i could without letting it "rest" outside and becoming permafrost mud balls:mad:
 

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Looks like you may have to wait till warmer weather. Why not start up a tank with just gravel and then change over to a soil tank later. But you will need another tank to place your fish and plants while you remove the gravel and set up the soil tank. You will not need the same size tank. When I replaced my gravel in my 75 gallon tank, I placed the fish and plants in a 30 gallon tank.
 

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I wouldn't make the soil layer so deep. 1/2"-1" is plenty.

Doing a Dutch style scape might be tricky with a soil substrate. A properly maintained dutch scape requires frequent uprooting and that could prove quite messy.
 

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I wouldn't make the soil layer so deep. 1/2"-1" is plenty.

Doing a Dutch style scape might be tricky with a soil substrate. A properly maintained dutch scape requires frequent uprooting and that could prove quite messy.
 

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Niko posted some GREAT Dutch stuff back in April:
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...h-aquatic-plant-club/92490-dutch-yo-face.html

My notes on your setup:
  1. Most important... 75g. The 55 will only frustrate the heck out of you. 12 inches of space is nothing. You want the 18 of a 75..... you really want the 24 of a 120. But in no world is a 55 going to make you happy.
  2. Repeat of what others have said about depth. Inch and a half MAX on the soil and cap.
  3. I'm not familiar with ADA Power Sand, but from 5 minutes of google, it sounds like it's just ground pumice. I'd rather use Safe-T-Sorb and get the added CEC and iron. It's plenty porous and a LOT less expensive. Plus, it serves the same role as the terracotta.
  4. Your lights description threw me off without more details. There are a ton of options here, especially if you're going to DIY it, but in no world would I buy a PetSmart branded light (nat geo). Even for an African Cichlid tank that doesn't have plants and needs less power.
In general, I see what you're going for, but I feel you're overcomplicating it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Niko posted some GREAT Dutch stuff back in April:
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...h-aquatic-plant-club/92490-dutch-yo-face.html

My notes on your setup:
  1. Most important... 75g. The 55 will only frustrate the heck out of you. 12 inches of space is nothing. You want the 18 of a 75..... you really want the 24 of a 120. But in no world is a 55 going to make you happy.
  2. Repeat of what others have said about depth. Inch and a half MAX on the soil and cap.
  3. I'm not familiar with ADA Power Sand, but from 5 minutes of google, it sounds like it's just ground pumice. I'd rather use Safe-T-Sorb and get the added CEC and iron. It's plenty porous and a LOT less expensive. Plus, it serves the same role as the terracotta.
  4. Your lights description threw me off without more details. There are a ton of options here, especially if you're going to DIY it, but in no world would I buy a PetSmart branded light (nat geo). Even for an African Cichlid tank that doesn't have plants and needs less power.
In general, I see what you're going for, but I feel you're overcomplicating it.
Tugg, I really appreciate your honesty here.

*In retrospect I may be getting rid of the 55 and getting a 125. If I dont get the 125 then I intend to make a tank that has a 24x36 footprint and likely 24" tall if not 18". This is only because of the footprint desired as you stated and the limited space that of a single man.

*The ADA power sand is only because I had it available from a prior purchase. Its in use now so the STS is likely the route I will go and cap it with Flourite only for aesthetics.

*The light - I have the LED light only becasue it was a gift. If you dont mind elaborating on what details you mean. And possibly on the cons of such mentioned fixture.
 

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For the LED light... and almost any other LED save a select few... They don't have the PAR (Photosyntheticly Active Radiation) level needed to grow plants in an aquatic environment. Most fixture are made for the purposes of making the aquarium visible. Any more, and in a non-planted tank they will grow lots of algae. Over a 75 gallon aquarium, that fixture and only 2 T8s wouldn't have much hope.

I was having a hard time trying to picture what you've described for a complete fixture. Was it 4 T8s, 2 on each side? Was it 2 T8s, with one bulb on each side? Extra details would include reflectors, spacing, how high it's above the water, etc.

Lighting can easily be a whole new thread on it's own. Budget plays a HUGE factor on this one. For example, I was able to get some dirt cheap power compact bulbs and fixtures during a closeout sale. I'll be using those for a while even though everyone else has T5s or LEDs. Even then, I may just cram a ton of T8 on top. The bulbs are cheaply mass produced, and available at home depot. :D

The important factors for lights are:
PAR - get your plants the light they need
Total cost of ownership:
-purchase, the price of the fixture
-operation, electricity to run it
-maintenance, bulb replacements over the fixture's usable life.
Aesthetics - does it look good on the tank
 

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i went dirted on my 125 gallon with a flourite sand cap. 1inch dirt with 2 inches flourite sand. one of my plecos found a nice spot under some driftwood to call home and when he fanned his tail to make his home you could see the plumes of dirt coming out. water was cloudy for a week .besides that its not really that bad but dont move your plants around too much and itll be fine. also if your dosing dont dose too much because youll have too much nutrients in water column...start dosing maybe a couple months after setup or if you see a particular deficiency. the only defificiency i saw a month in was potassium.
 

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First of all, Dirt rules, you're making the right choice. Gotta stay on the water changes though.

Soil has outperformed every substrate i've tried for heavy rooting plants. swords, thicker stem plants, and crypts will go nuts. I currently have (2) 33 long dirted high techs, and have run dozens of other dirted tanks in the past.

+1 on thickness. you'll only need <1" i use 0.5" with a 1.5" cap
+1 on not moving things around, just plan your dutch well.
+1 on gravel not sand as a cap, especially with any diggers.

Disagree with the anti LED statements. I run planted plus' and they're more than enough for a dutch.

As for soil additives, you don't need anything but pea size bits of red modeling clay. I'd also recommend using Black Gold brand organic soil instead of the usual miracle grow. MG has big chunks of wood that get annoying, BG is really fine, and works great.

You don't really need to mineralize if you can handle running it without fish for a while. I go right from the bag into the aquarium, measure it to correct thickness while wet, cap it, and plant the heck out of it. and do 4 successive total water changes, then a 50% every 2 days for a week. then stay on a 50% every week, forever. You'll get a bit of algae for a month or so, but then it'll disappear and you're go for adding fish.

Pure walstad tanks say you can go for 6 months without a water change, but lets be honest that's asking for algae.


hope it helps.
 

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Original. The above one looks nice though. So few people there to explore the world of Dutch aqua scapes anymore and whenever I stumble across a thread I'm interested to see results


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You can certainly aquascape with soil tanks. I think there's definitely more lush growth and better overall plant appeareance when using soil...

BUT you have to CAREFULLY plan the heavy root feeders... Echinodorus, Lotus and Crypts because once they take off they become almost hardscape. Agree with the guy above... root feeder plants explode, it's a whole different level of growth. Sort of like the same level of change you get from nonCO2 to CO2 on stem plants.....

The stem plants you can prune, uproot, replant, etc with relative ease. Still have to be careful, but definitely doable.

That's for the sake of conversation... hehee

Now... What did the OP end up doing? how did it go and how is the tank doing now? I'm looking fwd to the results
 
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