whats the best dirt to use?
i hear miracle grow organic potting mix
Best dirty dirt to use is mineralized dirt of many types on ingredients to cover the spectrum of needs of the plants. And far less of the dirt in the tank than you think
if anyone says it needs no cap, im gonna smack him
LED, I once had a tank that became coverered with a dense thicket of Dwarf Sag. At that point I siphoned up the cap and, sure enough, experienced no dust-ups or muddy episodes. The Sags roots and leaves kept everything in place. But a cap is definitely in order if you're just starting a tank.
@ Robert Jango *smack* okay so some people have decent results with a cap. I've also had great results without a cap, but what i did not do was take out all the added sticks, shavings, twigs and added stuff that doesnt really contribute to the dirt. it acts as a tannin giver and holds the dirt together once a bio film has formed. but in general, having a cap with lots of plants to make sure the you have fauna dont get toxic lvls of nutrients.
LED, glad you answered. You're always an interesting source of information. Not removing the twigs etc actually makes sense. But I had to remove my woody stuff in the soil because it floated to the top when I added water.
I've got a of question:
You write, "holds the dirt together once a bio-film has formed" I know about bio-film that forms on the water's surface. What kind of bio-film are you referring to?
Yes you're right, the non water logged woody pieces may float to the top, but to deal with that I would normally get the amount of dirt i know Ill need, and presoak it for a week. I would mineralize it also during this time. I never let the soil fully dry out, I would simply let the water evaporate to the point that its moist and then i would slightly flood it again till it was a muddly slurry. after week most of the wood pieces will be water logged. once I am near the end of the mineralizing stage i flood it much more and stir the water and mud. after letting it sit for about a 30 seconds after the water is not moving around, I remove the floating items. This helps to maintain floating bits once something is moved in the tank once its established. Sure there will be incredibly tiny pieces of dirt that would move around if I move plants, but with turning off the water flow in the tank, and letting the dirt settle after moving plants or items the dirt settles back to the tank floor.
As for your question, the bio film that forms in your dirt is diverse. The bio film that forms changes in terms of the type and quantity and changes due to many factors: water oxygenation, nutrients, fauna/food waste, certain bacteria populations, water flow, plant root redox, substrate cation exchange capacity, and the list goes on.
Ill put this in a very crude way to make this a lil more understandable.
Ill define the substrate in layers: Top, middle, bottom
Top: the top layer has the most oxygenation due to the water column and water flow being directly "touching" the top layer. This allows nitrification of ammonia and nitrite as well as neutralizing toxic metals and substances like a toxic form of sulfur ( that nasty rotten egg smell) with aerobic bacteria of many types and quantity and thrives best at this layer of substrate. Here the roots of plants get the most oxygen directly and allow a sort of symbiotic relationship with aerobic bacteria to get certain nutrients from the substrate. Most substrate fauna (worms, etc) like to live around here
Middle: This layer has less aerobic bacteria types and quantity and gives way to anaerobic bacteria. Here anaerobic organisms dont necessarily need oxygen in their redox metabolism but can tolerate the presence of oxygen. This layer also neutralizes toxic substances. Some substrate fauna like to live here but less variety.
Bottom: At this layer there is much less oxygen, and depending on the depth of your dirt/substrate, there can be a complete lack of oxygen, allowing anaerobic bacteria to thrive in vast quantities. Here plant roots get nutrients that are only released via anaerobic conditions. Bacteria here and redox of certain minerals by plant roots occur quicker here. This is where much of the rotten egg smelling gas is formed in dirted tanks. Even in tanks where no smell of sulfur comes from the water, there still exists toxic sulfur, and toxic forms of elements here. You can find evidence by simply draining the water, and lifting the bottom layer of the dirt with a spatula. With an aged substrate you will smell the sulfur quite strongly.
Obviously there are sub-layers that i can list which have a ratio different from what I've mentioned, as well as pockets of no water movement or more water movement, and other conditions that make the layers nonhomogeneous (not the same throughout)
Do remember that if the bottom layer becomes super anaerobic, toxic substances can accumulate in quantities that will kill your fish if you disturb it by moving plants or mixing the dirt while fish are in the tank. Please be careful NOT to make your dirt layer too thick. its not meant to be very thick. For most people 1 inch of dirt is already too much LOL. but if you have a VERY heavily planted tank 1 inch of dirt can be fine. If you have a dirt layer that is very thick (more than 2 inches) but you dont have smelly water, you should be fine but make sure that if you remove a large amazon plant ( uses lots of nutrients) YOU MUST replace it with an equally nutrient sucking plant of the same size. If you do not, then you will most likely cause an imbalance in your tank and start to have algae problems, and in the worst case nutrient toxicity to your fauna.
Hopefully this answers your question Robert. We have great ecosystems in our tanks (when its balanced) =) Have fun tanking !!!
I got a question about mineralizing soil here is great link to show you the jist of the the story behind mineralizing soil
I've posted a few times about mineralizing soil myself. kinda hard to sift through my discussion posts.
I was going to ask you about mineralizing and chuckled when I saw your follow-up post. I'll definitely look it up... So anyway, the "biofilm" you're talking about is bacterial populations in the soil. Ok.
I'd say your answer was anything but crude. Simplified perhaps, but not crude or simplistic. Its funny that on a site that specializes in dirt (among other things) I've never read a better description of what goes on in the soil. Dustin understands this stuff, I'm sure, but he barely touches upon it in his videos. (Maybe that's why people like his videos. lol)
I'm copying and pasting your post in my aquarium reference section. Its that's good - a broad but, at the same time, very focused overview of dirt - and surprisingly well written considering the short time you took to respond. A lot of the biological processes you mention also go on in filtration systems which happens to be the next subject of my rolling meetings with scientists from the New England Aquarium. Your post is serendipitous.
When I came onto this site I realized that the stuff I knew I didn't really know. Learning about underlying principles has made the hobby so much more enjoyable and easier to practice. For me, the key is to not tackle too much at the same time and study only the stuff that I'm interests me. If I get bored or bogged down with a particular subject I can always come back to it - and usually do - refreshed and recommitted. That is why hobbies are more enjoyable than work.
You've posted stuff in the past that impressed me but I have to admit it sometimes made my eyes gloss over. It was probably stuff that I wasn't interested in at the time. But I'll revisit your posts and see what I can rediscover. Dustin is organizing his videos into subject playlists. It may not be a bad idea to reorganize some of the better posts into "subject reading lists". My guess is that it would attract serious debate & discussion and maybe some serious scholarship. Another site that I belong to, Aquarimax.com, just landed an interview with Diana Walstad.
Dustin's optimism is infectious and attracts lots of beginners. Why can't advanced aquarists and experts also be part of this site? At the monthly Boston Aquarium Society meetings we have professional scientists sitting alongside beginners, but the atmosphere is always respectful and supportive. That's because the people in charge will slap down anyone who gets too "smart". Dustin's possesses that same quiet authority.
Have I strayed a bit off-topic? Anyway, I've got you as a go-to guy. I haven't heard from GSP much but he's another one. Thanks again.
Sign Upor Sign In
Or sign in with:
Posted by a474463833 on May 22, 2013 at 9:30am
Posted by a474463833 on May 22, 2013 at 9:27am
Posted by a474463833 on May 22, 2013 at 9:24am
Started by Tank Flip (LED) in Nominated Discussions. Last reply by Tank Flip (LED) on Sunday.
Started by TonyToniTone in Microbiology of the Planted Aquarium. Last reply by Tank Flip (LED) on Saturday.
Started by Inna Roberts in D.I.Y. Section. Last reply by ziggynjiggy on Saturday.
© 2013 Created by Dustin Wunderlich.
Report an Issue |
Terms of Service
Please check your browser settings or contact your system administrator.