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  1. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    checking out that right now talldutchie . Thanks
    ask ?'s and change some water pair of JD's and loving it.

  2. #12


    0 Not allowed!

    If the idea appeals to you a shrimp bowl is a relatively simple and cheap way to do a test run.

  3. #13


    0 Not allowed!
    Byron the substrate is layer of the Just Natural brand of natural compost cow manure , with a lite dusting of Miracle-Grow bone meal , and this is topped off with a layer of playsand.
    This I would not do. You do not want these substances in a closed fish tank. This is only asking for trouble.

    You can use clean soil as outlined in Diana's article that was linked, or just sand.


  4. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Can you explain ?
    ask ?'s and change some water pair of JD's and loving it.

  5. #15


    1 Not allowed!
    Cow manure is still active and would pollute the water even if kept under the sand. You would either get poor water quality or dead pockets (areas completely without oxygen) in the substrate. This is extremely simplified. But you want to avoid active materials in your setup to avoid the reactions they cause. (chemical or biological)
    Do as I say. Not as I do.

  6. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    There's too many Different ideas about the type of "soil" to use , some say potting soil , some say compost , some say neither just sand , others say this or that so I guess I'll go with what you recommend as the best "substance" to use for the substrate. If I go with just sand , how deep should it be . I'm going to try to find the article you're talking about , I've been searching the net for info on this and all I can find are articles other people have written about "THE Walstad Method"
    ask ?'s and change some water pair of JD's and loving it.

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I just reread post and got the answer 1in. clean soil capped with 1in. sand. Would you reccommend potting soil as CLEAN SOIL ? Or does that need to be washed too? I guess I need to go to the library .LOL
    ask ?'s and change some water pair of JD's and loving it.

  8. #18


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by eltylT View Post
    I just reread post and got the answer 1in. clean soil capped with 1in. sand. Would you reccommend potting soil as CLEAN SOIL ? Or does that need to be washed too? I guess I need to go to the library .LOL
    Not everyone will agree with me here, but that's fine. I have some cautions on soil.

    First, read the article that talldutchie posted the link too a few posts back. In it, Diana outlines the soil to use. IF--and I say, if--you are going to use soil, follow that.

    I personally cannot see any significant long-term benefit to soil, but there are certainly initial detriments. In that linked article Diana mentions wet and dry methods. Some sources only advocate dry start. Many will suggest you have the tank running for 6 months before daring to add fish. The reason is the possible issues that can occur with "live" organic soil. Ammonia can be sky high. Nitrite and nitrate can be issues beyond normal. Algae may be uncontrollable. Diana admits all of these exist. Fish cannot survive some of these issues.

    The only real benefit I have ever found with soil is an initial CO2 rise. In one of her articles, I think it was on her website, Diana even admitted that this was the prime benefit, and that any substrate after one year would be comparable to the soil method. My plain sand and gravel substrates work just fine.

    Planting in a soil substrate is very messy. You need to plant everything first, then add the sand cap and do not dig into the soil again. If you do, it will simply make a real mess. Substrate-digging fish have to be either avoided or very carefully selected; I can just see my Hypancistrus furunculus pleco doing his normal excavation down to the glass tank bottom with soil..., or my Botia kubotai loaches that love to dig tunnels under wood and rock... .

    So, think very carefully before going with soil.


  9. Default

    1 Not allowed!
    Thanks again for the advice. i'll just go with sand and use the compost on the Begonias .
    ask ?'s and change some water pair of JD's and loving it.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Glen Arm. MD

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    2 Not allowed!
    Do not forget that one can use an external plant setup (semi-aquatic plants) and one pumps the tank water through that planter, and allows the water to flow back into the aquarium. Another natural 'filterless' method is to use the standard algae filter (waterfalls or 'bubbler' types). These algae based units are a bad idea to use with plants unless you have a heavy stocked tank (to provide enough nutrients for the plants.) These natural filters use plants but just very tiny ones - algae. These will work in a bare bottom or gravel or sand and require their own light source so tank lighting is unimportant. They are great at preventing algae from growing elsewhere in the tank.

    In a natural aquarium the sand will quickly 'fill up' with organic waste so adding more is often pointless. Just track the nitrates in the water. This type of tank needs a sand substrate thick enough to allow nitrating bacteria that need very little (but not none) oxygen. If too thin, the nitrates can get dangerous for the fish in time.

    As always, water changes are still required.

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