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189 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am starting a another tank 29G and I am doing the DIY substate. Here is what I have in the tank from the bottom layer to the top

-peat (2in)
-sand (lightly covering the peat)
-topsoil (1in)
-litter (1in - might be scented)
-topsoil (.5in)

I filler the tank up last night, extremely cloudy. There is no filter. Just substrate and water. So I know it will not clear up until I get the filtration setup. But I am worried about the litter. So this morning I bought a penquin filter and some UNscented litter. I am willing to redo the whole thing tonight with the right litter.

My question is regarding the TOPSOIL. Is it bad to have this mix ontop? Will the tank be to hard to scape in the future if I do not add a heavier layer ontop?

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645 Posts
Its a good idea to cover the topsoil with at least 1-2 inches of inert gravel. The peat isn't two inches thick is it? THat cannot be good most people sprinkle it on the bottom.

· Registered
540 Posts
Whoa! Slow sown

Peat moss: probably about a half cup sprinkled on the bottom for flourite or gravel/laterite type substrates.

You are asking for lots of trouble with the substrate combo you have.

You need to read all of Plantbrain's (Tom Barr's) posts on this list before you add any substrate component.

It is hard to simplify substrates but there are two basic categories:
1) one inch max top soil under gravel, low light (2 W/G), no CO2 or ferts.
2) 3 W/G+, Flourite or gravel/laterite type substrates, CO2, and heavy water column fertilization.

The litter will turn into a clay mud which will never clear. The top soil should have enough clay in it to suffice.

But you need to read T.B's posts and perhaps read "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by Diana Walstad, before you proceed with a custom substrate. Otherwise you will face too many problems and because of the frustration be out of the hobby fast.


Steve Pituch
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