Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
I run two 10 gallon tanks and I have had some great successes using regular miracle grow potting soil ( I did not mineralize). A small bit of osmocote ,and a cap of about 1-2 inches of fluorite sand or regular sand. I have budget hygger lights and do not inject Co2. I do have aquaclear HOB filters on both. The tanks are over one year old. I can see through the underside of the tanks and I'm pretty sure the soil has nearly fully decomposed to humus. The tank capped with fluorite has all of my red plants in it and they are spectacular. I do have some deeply rooted plants in both tanks along with a small army of Malaysian trumpets so anaerobic areas have never been an issue in either tank. I just also recently started a 6 gallon long using the same method. The shorter height tank has had explosive results. I am also using a fluval 3.0 on the 6 gallon so the better light helps. The tank has been active for about 2 months now. I dont think theres to much need to overcomplicate the substrate preparation process.

View attachment 73858 View attachment 73860 View attachment 73861
I have some Miracle Grow Natures Care Garden Soil in a 10 gallon capped and soaking for a few weeks with weekly water changes under blackout with no lights. My first go round with this soil produced very cloudy water for a while so I’m giving it a chance to break down a little and leach some tannins and stuff before planting. However…I gotta ask how many individual tiger lotus plants you have in this tank. Is it just two? I’m planning on filling in alot of the tanks area with Tiger lotus the way you have. Wondering how many bulbs to get.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Red tiger lotus grows quite large! A single plant could outgrow a 10 gallon tank by itself.
So let me ask you…is this ten gallon with the tiger lotus and Kleiner Bar a nifty photo that looked really nice at this moment in time but is not really workable for any length of time because those plants would overgrow the tank? And just to relate it back to soil…those are heavy root feeders. Would an organic potting soil like was used hold up for long in this tank planted the way it is?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
You can manage their growth by trimming them back periodically. Do expect them to crowd the entire tank with foliage, which is OK if that is what you want, or don't mind the maintenance to keep them in check.

Organic soils do provide a lot of natural CO2 at first, which fuels explosive plant growth in the first 6 months or so. Then soil CO2 production tapers off, and is partially replaced by respiration from animals and the plants themselves. This should still be enough for swords and water lilies (a.k.a. lotus). And water lilies can absorb CO2 from the air if you allow them to grow floating leaves. Other nutrients released from soil taper off too, but are replaced by fish food and fish waste. After the tank reaches this stable "steady state", you can use root tabs to give the plants a boost if they need it. Red tiger lotus in my 10 year old Walstad tank get a few root tabs every few months.

I don't mean to discourage you--go for it! It will be beautiful, interesting, and you will learn a lot. A 10 gallon tank is small enough to easily maintain and start over if you want.
Thanks for the articulate response! The appeal of such big plants in a small tank is that with relatively few plants you can have a full well planted tank that doesn’t break the bank and looks fantastic! I don’t mind clipping a few big leaves here and there. That kind of attention sounds less demanding than trimming giant hedges of pearl weed or hornwort actually. The whole idea of a tank achieving a balance point where for the most part the fish and plants prop up their little ecosystem is the cool part of El Natural that got me hooked. I don’t mind adding a little here and there to keep it going…that happens in nature when leaves blow into streams and ponds and insects land on the surface and get eaten. As an aquarium keeper though I am the rain, and the wind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
I set up a 10 gallon 2 weeks ago with an inch of Miracle Grow Natures Care Garden Soil and capped it with an inch and a half of 2-3mm gravel. I air dried the soil first and sifted it through a window screen before wetting, capping, and filling the tank. I have kept a heater and air stone running and covered the whole thing with black plastic to block light. No stirring…just soaking the soil and doing a weekly water change. This is the second water change so far. Lots of tannins!!! I’m thinking a couple more weeks before I add plants.
Tableware Drinkware Tea Dishware Liquid
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Thank you. I really appreciate this forum and your tireless answering of questions. I've been lucky to pick up a collection of Metaframe aquariums and have decided to use the 5 gallon as a first trial, before embarking on my 20 gallons, as it will be inexpensive and easy to tear down if I make mistakes.
I did a 5 gallon for my first NPT and learned a few things that I really wouldn’t have wanted to on a larger one. Scaled up to a 10 for my next tank and with what I learned have a tank I’m happy with. There are lots of variables from how a soil is going to behave to the way light reaches different areas of the tank that I didn’t consider when I set up the 5. I’m feeling confident enough now though that I’m seeing maybe a 40 or 50 in the future.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top