Dirt is pretty much the best plant substrate you can possibly use and the results of it are second to none. Dirt does come with some downfalls but overall, once you balance out your tank, the results will be freaking fantastic. You may be wondering what to use when setting up a dirted aquarium.

What I used:

1.miracle-gro organic choice potting mix

2.amaco brand red clay(rule of thumb-1 lb for every 20 gallons)

3.iron ore from a local distributor

4.laterite clay

5.carribean live sand

6.peat moss

Not everything that I have listed above has to be used for dirting an aquarium except for the dirt itself. one of the ingredients that you want to extremely consider is the red clay. The red clay really brings red out in plants such as the red tiger lotus, ludwigia sp, rotala sp, indian red swords, and kleiner bar swords just to name a few . You may also be looking at the other ingredients and be wondering what the heck is he doing with iron ore, reef sand, and peat moss so let me give you the rundown on these ingredients. Iron is pretty much one of the most used elements in a planted tank therefore if you are able to find some, you want to put it in your dirt concoction to make it more potent plant wise. Same calls for the laterite clay as it is rich in iron. The carribean live reef sand buffers your water to a high ph and kh and used in conjuction with peat moss which lowers ph and kh will balance out your water to equilibrium for most tropical fish. Anyway peat moss and reef sand are both good for growing plants.

What to expect when dirting a tank:

1.For the first few weeks your dirt might leach up tannins but this is normal and with regular water changes, it will go away.

2.Depending on how you did your dirt, your plants might melt but trust me, they will come back.

3.Your dirt will have anaerobic gas no matter how you do it and it will lighten up after a while.

4.You will have ferocious plant growth so have that in mind.

5.You do not need high light or co2 if you are running dirt, if you do, your plants will literaly grow insane.

The items listed above are just a general rundown on what to expect when dirting your aquarium.

How to setup your dirted aquarium:

1. Put your empty aquarium on a level surface

2. Let your dirt soak for about a day or two but make sure the dirt is moist the whole time, not like a pond or something.

3. Put about an inch to inch and a half in the aquarium.

4. Place what ever additives you want on top of the dirt and mix it in with the dirt very evenly.

5. Cap the dirt with to about a 1:1 ratio i.e. if you used an inch of dirt, use an inch of gravel.

6. Place whatever rocks,decorations, or driftwood into the tank.

7. A good idea is to tie whatever rhizome plants you have onto the rocks or driftwood  before you begin filling up the tank.

8. Fill the tank up about halfway making sure not to disturb the substrate.

9. Plant what ever plants you have.

10. Fill the rest of the tank upmaking sure not to unearth any plants and/or gravel.

11. Install your lights.

12. Prime your filter and watch your plants grow!

I hope that if you are a beginner fish keeper that this how to will help you on your journey to setting up a beautiful planted aquarium in which plants and fish do well in. 

Please checkout my youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/greatoutdoorsman2009?feature=mhee and hit me up if you have any further questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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hmm..never seen anyone use iron ore

 

"The carribean live reef sand buffers your water to a high ph and kh and used in conjuction with peat moss which lowers ph and kh will balance out your water to equilibrium for most tropical fish. Anyway peat moss and reef sand are both good for growing plants."

 

So this mean your ph is consistently going up and down?

no it means they both in conjunction balance out to a ph of about 7.0-7.2

Over time peat moss will eventually lose it's acidic properties.  I wouldn't put reef sand in a tank unless it was for high ph specific fish, tanganyika cichlids etc.

it will be fine any way dustin uses it and it is just fine for his rainbows

Are you mixing in some small iron ore rocks in with the dirt or how are you using it?  I am very interested in this method because I have access to literally tons of that stuff.

yes mix it with the dirt but use only about 10 paintball size rocks for every 20 gallons

     Where do you get the iron ore?

                Thanks, Rod.

2. Let your dirt soak for about a day or two but make sure the dirt is moist the whole time, not like a pond or something

so i could soak the dirt on a bucket or rubber maid container fro a few days before doing the whole thing to the main tank????????? or does it have to be done on the main tank. also if we do this in advance can we avoid the tannins or atleast reduce them when we do this to the main tank??? and will this help with the extra nutrients so we can put the fish back with out any harm???

yea soak it in a bucket thats what i do

cool thanks im gonna do that, thats donna save water and time thanks!!!!

im here to help

 

also that will help the tank water so it dont get cloudy that much right?????

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