Dirt bottom planted tank - advice?

Eclipse390

Plecostomus
MFK Member
Sep 15, 2011
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Hudson Valley, NY
I'm planning on setting up a 68 gal. aquarium soon as a dirt bottom tank

I have several smaller planted tanks with plant specific substrates (CaribSea, EcoComplete) but have never ventured into a dirt bottom tank.
I know that I need a potting soil with no added fertilizers - what brands do you suggest?
I would top it off with pool filter sand.

Are there any things to watch out for?
What is the easiest step-by-step process to plant everything? Plant before I put on the sand & fill with water? After?

I have MTS in all my other planted tanks, would they be okay to survive in a dirted tank?

Any other advice would also be greatly appreciated!
 

kno4te

MFK Moderator
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I’ve done a dirtied tank a while ago. Used a organic soil and worked. Any organic soil will work.
 

BizTodd

Exodon
MFK Member
Jan 26, 2020
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I am setting up a 6'*2' dirted bottom aquarium. I bought a mixture of organic top soil and in ground organic compost.

Soak all of it over night in a tub and scoop out the floating debris. Let dry completely, and then sift it to get the good soil and remove small twigs and rocks. I am using Red Mexican Pottery Clay (Source of Iron) and Osmocos+ to make root tabs which I will also add to the soil.

If you don't wash it first, expect a lot of algae. I also suggest you throw a bunch of floating hornwort to eat up the high nutrient levels for a month or so.
 
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