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Soil for non-co2 tank

Discussion in 'Non-CO2 Methods' started by GillesF, May 22, 2012.

  1. GillesF

    GillesF Member

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    Hi guys

    My father asked me to rescape his old cichlid tank into a non-co2 planted tank. I'm thinking of a triangular nature scape with spider wood from the back left towards the center. Anyway, most of the plants will be crypts, javaferns, vallisneria etc. Since my father tends to forget dosing I want to use a fertile soil. However, we'll be using plain sand since we have plenty of it left from the old scape and simply love the look of it. What would be the best and cheapest way to make the sand better? Simply add some Osmocote to it? Add some kitty litter or a thin layer of clay?

    Cheers
    Gilles
     
  2. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I'd use a bag of nutritious soil (dutch: voedingsbodem) then add a layer of gravel and on top about two inch of big grain sand. This will keep the substrate "open". Still you are planning to use plants that are entirely depending on water column dosing (ferns, vals etc.)
     
  3. GillesF

    GillesF Member

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    Keeping the substrate open is interesting, this is done to avoid clogging between the sand layer and nutritious soil? How thick should this layer be? I'll probably make him an all-in-one fertilizer to keep things simple, maybe even with a dosing pump. But wouldn't it be simpler to only add osmocote for the crypts and keep the rest inert?

    Do you think E. Acicularis will manage in a non CO2 tank?

    Lighting is 2x 36w T8 without reflectors by the way.
     
    #3 GillesF, May 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2012
  4. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I'd keep a layer of at least one inch. Plants pump O2 into the substrate so the openings could be an advantage. If you want to create a buffer against forgetting to dose, a nutritious soil will certainly help. Also the cost involved is minimal. I never used osmocote, I really don't know.

    I've seen E. acicularis do well in non CO2 tanks, but I'm not sure about the amount of light involved. Two new T8's without reflectors give around 35 mmol at 20 inch height, maybe you'll have to experiment with that.
     
  5. Rodney

    Rodney Junior Poster

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    A note about sand and dirt tanks -

    If you uproot any plant or do any moving around the dirt will rise up and settle on top of the substrate.
    It tends to be really noticable on sand.
     
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    A Regular Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp, You Will Be

    Hi Gilles,

    First the obvious question; do you like your Father-in-law?:confused:

    Assuming you like him, or are sufficiently scared of your wife:eek: and given the plants you are intending to use, I would recommend a sand substrate. I do not even see a need for Osmocote, though it would not hurt.:)

    A light dusting of Sphagnum moss a centimeter or two of kitty litter (the cheap clay kind), eight centimeters of pool sand, a little overfeeding, occasional fertz. Call him up now and then, or better yet have your wife call him and tell him to dump the fertz you have so thoughtfully portioned for him.:D

    In fact, with a little patience in adding fish, you do not even require external filtration, just a powerhead or two and/or air stones.:)

    Within a year or so, you will have a rich substrate and a low maintenance tank that really does not even require frequent water changes.

    You are a hero.:cool: In the very footsteps of Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp.:02.47-tranquillity:

    Biollante
     
  7. GillesF

    GillesF Member

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    Hi Biollante, it's not my father-in law so no worries :D

    I'll probably just use the sand and add some Osmocote where the crypts are and maybe some kitty litter. Rodney's argument against soil substrate is interesting too, I hadn't thought about that.
     
  8. GillesF

    GillesF Member

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    Any recommendations on plants by the way?
     
  9. Hallen

    Hallen Guru Class Expert

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    I'd go with sand or gravel with an open structure, something along the lines of pool sand and such. Just add some clay or osmocote near the crypts and try to get your father to do his water colum doses. I avoid using 'voedingsbodems' when setting up tanks I dont maintain myself for the small chance that I might have to move stuff around or do a complete restart.

    As for plants, crypts and ferns always work. Use a Microsorum as a filler, the windelov is quite good for that, and then add some small anubias on the branches. Some crypt's in the shade of the ferns to fill some gaps between stones/wood. Perhaps add some moss on the rocks if it looks good. I've used that setup in quite a few low light tanks and it's almost foolproof. From the base setup you can work with other plants that are less needy. The Hygrophila and some Bacopa species tend to work quite fine, heck even the good old hornworth can look awesome as a background plant. Add some floaters or even a lotus as means of controling the light so you can manage the uptake of fertz.
     
  10. GillesF

    GillesF Member

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    Hi Hallen, thanks for the tips.

    For the scape I was thinking of a "triangular" scape from back left to front right. My father has two beautiful pieces of redmoor wood lying and I was planning on using those for the hardscape together with some river stones and the sand. Then I would fill up the wood with some Java ferns and moss, add some cryptocoryne in the open spots at the front and some vallisernia or other tall growing plants behind the java fern. Then add some easy carpeting plants and crypts at the right side of the scape where the stones will be, e.g. some E. Acicularis around the stones etc. The right side will definitely be the most difficult part of the scape...

    I'm not sure about using floaters. They look nice but my setup is already low light, only 2 36w T8's without reflectors over 500 liters. Can someone advice me on that?
     
  11. GillesF

    GillesF Member

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    Any advice on the lighting please?

    2x 36w T8 without reflectors over 500 liters (132 gallons). The height is about 50cm
     
  12. GillesF

    GillesF Member

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    No one? I'll start soon
     
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