Dirt tank question (different substrate depths)

geektom

Junior Poster
Dec 16, 2012
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Hey geniuses- as I have been hinting around, I have a big tank project I want to do next year.

I started my 20g "sanity tank" to keep my sleeves wet, and get some practice with EI dosing, stem plants, and using organic potting soil.

For larger tanks, if the overall depth of the substrate is different from area to area, do you still only have the soil on the bottom-most layer? Or, do you keep the same depth of soil across the whole tank- regardless of the thickness of inert substrate on top?

Or should I layer? For instance: 1" soil + 1" inert in the front, but in the back, do 2" inert + 1" soil + 1" inert?

I am using very basic examples, but I think you can understand what I am asking.

Here is an illustration if it helps for discussion. Not my planned layout- just an example.

6393fecb98710bcad6c0b0f852c800cf.jpg


Thanks!
 

geektom

Junior Poster
Dec 16, 2012
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I think putting 1" of dirt under 1" of gravel is asking for trouble. I prefer 1" dirt and at least 2" of gravel. Less chance of mud flying about that way.

Keep soil all the way at the bottom.

Thanks so much for responding.

So, even if I have say 4” of gravel in the back- soil is still 1” on the very bottom?


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Pikez

Rotala Killer!
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May 12, 2013
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Thanks so much for responding.

So, even if I have say 4” of gravel in the back- soil is still 1” on the very bottom?


Yes, I can compact all the nutrients the plants need into half or 1 inch of dirt. If you're not planning on moving plants around, pull them out etc., then you have more wiggle room. Otherwise, keep the dirt at the bottom and not near the surface.
 
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ForTheHalibut

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Oct 12, 2017
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I've been messing around a little with cliffs and dirt this year. I have been getting good results using a false bottom to elevate the dirt+sand cap. The sand cap and soil depth is the same throughout the tank, and elevation is achieved by adding bulk underneath the dirt (egg crate, large rocks, etc). I started doing this because most of the cuttings I receive/generate aren't long enough to plant through a sand cap, and my water column is typically pretty inert because of my low bio-load.
 
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