Aquatic Plant Forum banner
621 - 640 of 645 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Please do not use kitty litter! It is for cats, not aquariums. It quickly turns to mud and reacts with the soil to generate aluminum toxicity. It also forms a dense, thick, gooey mass. I don't think mineralizing will help. One hobbyist (maico996) has already described a disaster using a kitty litter soil mix. He had to tear the tank down and start over.
Don't use cat litter. Keep it simple...dirt and gravel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 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
·
12 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
·
15 Posts
What's up everybody awesome discussion I have been reading a lot about this and was very disappointed that there was no more Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix at home depot. It has helped me a lot as I am new at aquariums in general. Have a biology degree and am naturally drawn to the ecosystem aquariums versus "regular" aquariums. I ordered a bunch of plants yesterday but needed some soil to plant them in. I was thinking of doing the 50:50 mix of topsoil and STS. I just went to the store and bought the cheapest bag of topsoil I could find that said organic on it. Shouldn't have any fertilizers or inorganics. Was wondering if you guys had any knowledge on this topsoil or if it is the right move? There are only instructions for different areas of a garden on the back so here's the description from Home Depot's website. 1.5 cu. ft. Pro Top Soil-ProTS - The Home Depot
Font Publication Gas Drink Advertising


Also is this the STS I'm suppose to get? Amazon.com: E P Minerals 7941 Safe-T-Sorb, 40 lb : Arts, Crafts & Sewing
Green Drink Ingredient Packaging and labeling Liquid
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,953 Posts
Discussion Starter · #626 ·
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?
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.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,953 Posts
Discussion Starter · #627 ·
What's up everybody awesome discussion I have been reading a lot about this and was very disappointed that there was no more Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix at home depot. It has helped me a lot as I am new at aquariums in general. Have a biology degree and am naturally drawn to the ecosystem aquariums versus "regular" aquariums. I ordered a bunch of plants yesterday but needed some soil to plant them in. I was thinking of doing the 50:50 mix of topsoil and STS. I just went to the store and bought the cheapest bag of topsoil I could find that said organic on it. Shouldn't have any fertilizers or inorganics. Was wondering if you guys had any knowledge on this topsoil or if it is the right move? There are only instructions for different areas of a garden on the back so here's the description from Home Depot's website. 1.5 cu. ft. Pro Top Soil-ProTS - The Home Depot

Also is this the STS I'm suppose to get? Amazon.com: E P Minerals 7941 Safe-T-Sorb, 40 lb : Arts, Crafts & Sewing
Welcome to APC!

Both products are what you need. Miracle Grow changed the names of all its products a few years ago, such are the evils of marketing. The soil you found does not have manure or other fertilizers, which are the ingredients that most often cause problems. Personal opinion: it is better than the Miracle Grow you couldn't find.

Good luck and show us photos!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 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.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,953 Posts
Discussion Starter · #629 ·
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.
That is exactly what appealed to me, plus the low maintenance and technological simplicity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Ok everyone I drove about 20 minutes away to grab some Safe-T-Sorb (STS) at the "local" Tractor Supply Co and I just got done stirring my bucket full of soil. When I opened the bag of topsoil though I was sad to see perlite was added to the soil. I'm hoping that over 3 days or so of stirring and draining and skimming that all of it will come out of the soil, there wasn't a whole lot just barely noticeable.
Has anyone else had perlite in the soil, if so how did you deal with it? I also already ordered my plants yesterday so I won't be doing the full drying and mineralizing of the soil. I got a little bit ahead of myself and jumped the gun. Plants will be in with the pictures I got a bunch of them.
Also, my tank is in the basement do you think my lighting is enough? I have an 18", full T8 spectrum, 15 watt light. Should I raise the light of the tank, I don't know what a good starting place would be?
I will also include the tank as it is set up right now with its measly three plants and bright blue gravel. My betta died in this tank due to fungus and ich, I ordered some fungus and ich treatments and I'm breaking down the whole tank and washing it out with water. Any advice on not bringing ich or fungus to the new tank would be appreciated.

Sorry lots of questions as usual :)
 

Attachments

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,955 Posts
Perlite is no big deal; it's just glass balls popped out like popcorn to provide aeration for houseplants. You can skim them off from water surface after tank setup.

The ich swarmers from the sick fish will die out in about 4 days (75F) without a fish host. Fungus is endemic and a secondary infection; it can be ignored.

Slow the bubbling down on that corner filter; you don't want to drive off all CO2.

Plants: Java fern should be attached to a small rock that rests on bottom glass. Don't bury rhizomes of Java ferns and Anubias in the substrate; often they will rot. The stem plants in the middle look like Hornwort? If so, it has no roots and does not need to be planted. It's a good water purifier but it will do nothing to purify soil substrate, nor take advantage of soil substrate. You need rooted plants--Val, Crypt, Sag, some robust stem plants (Rotalia sp, Bacopa caroliniana)--if you want to use soil substrate.

That said, the Water Sprite (your frilly fern like plant) will take advantage of a soil substrate if it likes your tank's conditions. I would put it in the tank middle to get the most light and let its roots spread out.

A soil layer of less than 1 inch made up of half soil, half STS should work well for rooted plants, BUT you have a deficiency of rooted plants so you might want to either get some rooted plants or make the soil layer thinner than 1 inch. Or just hope that your Water Sprite takes off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Ok awesome woke up this morning to pour out my soaking soil and a lot of the perlite came out so that’s awesome! Glad to hear it’s not an issue, thank you.

The tank has been running for about a week without fish so that should be good, the ich should be gone. Thank you for verifying all of that!

I’m also very happy to hear that I can reuse these plants after I break down the tank for the soil. The Java fern is not doing super great probably because I buried the rhizomes the leaves are black and melting. The other two plants are doing pretty well the hornwort loves the tank so far. I got 3 Vallisneria and a Helanthium and dwarf hair grass so that should be enough for rooting. Then hopefully the Java fern, Anubius, Christmas moss, and micranthimum will do ok without as much rooting.
I was going for a 1 inch of 50:50 soil/STS and then 1-1.5” cap of coarse sand.

I just ordered a new light as well the Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light which should do well for all the plants I ordered and leave room for adjustability. If anyone has any advice on this light it would be very much appreciated as my plants are in the basement and won’t be getting sun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
356 Posts
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.
Be aware that in one crucial sense, lotuses may not be the conventional choice to start a Walstad tank. And, that is because for at least the first month of their existence - if you are growing them from a bulb - they aren't really great water purifiers. Until they reach maturity most of their nutrients come from the bulb itself. To achieve that steady state balance between fish waste and plants, you will need to supplement the lotuses with some other purifiers. Think floaters. Think lucky bamboo. Plants that won't directly compete with a lotus once they get fully grown.

Of course, you can always purchase a fully grown lotus. But, they're way more expensive than the bulbs.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,955 Posts
Ok awesome woke up this morning to pour out my soaking soil and a lot of the perlite came out so that’s awesome! Glad to hear it’s not an issue, thank you.

The tank has been running for about a week without fish so that should be good, the ich should be gone. Thank you for verifying all of that!

I’m also very happy to hear that I can reuse these plants after I break down the tank for the soil. The Java fern is not doing super great probably because I buried the rhizomes the leaves are black and melting. The other two plants are doing pretty well the hornwort loves the tank so far. I got 3 Vallisneria and a Helanthium and dwarf hair grass so that should be enough for rooting. Then hopefully the Java fern, Anubius, Christmas moss, and micranthimum will do ok without as much rooting.
I was going for a 1 inch of 50:50 soil/STS and then 1-1.5” cap of coarse sand.

I just ordered a new light as well the Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light which should do well for all the plants I ordered and leave room for adjustability. If anyone has any advice on this light it would be very much appreciated as my plants are in the basement and won’t be getting sun.
Sounds promising. Glad to see you got some Val and other rooted species. I admire this effort.

Try to keep the soil cap at less than 1 inch.

Dry STS is light and will float, so rinse it once with water and then let the damp STS sit at least overnight. That way the STS won't float to surface during planting or disrupt the soil layer. Remember that when you use STS, you want the smaller particles that cause cloudiness, so don't go rinsing STS endlessly like a lot of people do. Just once or twice is enough.

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Sounds promising. Glad to see you got some Val and other rooted species. I admire this effort.

Try to keep the soil cap at less than 1 inch.

Dry STS is light and will float, so rinse it once with water and then let the damp STS sit at least overnight. That way the STS won't float to surface during planting or disrupt the soil layer. Remember that when you use STS, you want the smaller particles that cause cloudiness, so don't go rinsing STS endlessly like a lot of people do. Just once or twice is enough.

Good luck!
.

Awesome thank you so much! I'm trying my best to get a good variety that can all fill their own niche within the tank. I was curious how to slow down the bubbles in my filter? Or if I should take it out altogether?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,955 Posts
I use an gang valve to regulate air flow from my air pumps. Air valves are cheap and readily available. Otherwise, unnecessary, uncontrolled bubbling will degas out badly needed CO2. You could also try pin-pricking a tiny hole in the plastic tubing to leak out air and decrease the air flow. (This is the fun stuff that long-time hobbyists do to pass the time of day. :) )

You can also try running the filter just for a few hours, preferably at night when oxygen levels are the lowest. For this sort of thing, I use $7 mechanical timers from hardware stores. You could hook up your air-pump to a timer or just unplug the air pump during the day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Ok, awesome! I will look at getting a little air valve from the store, and I have a timer until then. (y)

I have been using the bucket method to prepare my soil for the past 3 days and usually skim and pour and then refill and stir the water every morning and night. When I went to look at my soil there seemed to be some larger bits of wood still visible at the top of the soil. My question is if there ends up being a little amount of wood is that ok? I'm going to investigate further to see if that wood is consistent throughout the bucket or just settling at the top.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,953 Posts
Discussion Starter · #639 ·
A small amount of wood chips in the soil is OK, as long as they sink. If they float, they can make a minor mess in the tank when you plant.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,955 Posts
Ok, awesome! I will look at getting a little air valve from the store, and I have a timer until then. (y)

I have been using the bucket method to prepare my soil for the past 3 days and usually skim and pour and then refill and stir the water every morning and night. When I went to look at my soil there seemed to be some larger bits of wood still visible at the top of the soil. My question is if there ends up being a little amount of wood is that ok? I'm going to investigate further to see if that wood is consistent throughout the bucket or just settling at the top.
There's no need to remove small wood pieces. The gravel cover should hold them down. Even if they float, you can skim small pieces out with a fish net.
 
621 - 640 of 645 Posts
Top