Thursday, November 8, 2012

29 gallon dirt tank

This tank has been an experiment and is still running today. I never went completely Walstad with it, I have kept filters on it. It has both an AquaClear 50 and a DIY sponge filter. Some plants did better than others because of the lighting. It has a Coralife Freshwater Double Aqua T5 with one 6,700K and one Colormax bulb. In it I use Flourish comprehensive, Flourish Trace and Flourish root tabs. My water out of the tap is 7.4 so I try to choose fauna that like that ph. I use Prime water conditioner. I have for about 12 years and have never had a reason to change to a different one. I am however going to change out the filters for an Eheim 2215. 


I have had freshwater aquariums with live plants for many years. This however will be my first dirt tank. This is not a new idea, people have been doing this for many years. You can read "Fresh-water aquaria" by Gregory Climenson Bateman published 1890, online at Cornell University Library.
For a more recent publication "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by Diana Walstad is very good for understanding the science behind it, how and why a dirt substrate works.

There is a lot of information available both online and in books so this is not going to be any sort of tutorial. It is just a journal of my personal experiences.

dirt tank 1

29 gallon tank. I sifted Miracle Gro Potting Organic Choice Soil through a wire sieve to remove large wood pieces. I am airing it out to let it out gas before adding a cap to keep it from just making a tank of muddy water.


Finishing up putting in the substrate in my planted tank. On the right you see the miracle gro organic choice potting soil. The white bits are crushed shell I mixed into the soil. I took this photo while adding the cap. I am using 20/40 grit Black Diamond blasting sand. I washed it to remove the oily residue that comes on it. It is the black you see on the left.


I painted the outside back of the tank with black acrylic. I used to have a piece of black foam board behind it but like it better painted.
Next I will begin planting with what I have leaving space for more that I ordered from one of my favorite sellers on Aquabid. They will be here in a few days.


Sorry about the cloudy pic. I just planted and moved them around a bit. Still not finished rearranging because I have not really settled on how it looks yet. Most of these plants will grow a lot and keeping a photo diary of it will help me keep track of growth and what works as well as what does not work.

plants day 1

Plants in the tank so far...
Lindernia rotundifolia, Variegated Baby Tears
Bolbitis heudelotii, African Fern
Anubias nana
Microsorum pteropus, Java Fern
java moss, Vesicularia dubyana
Lobelia cardinalis, Small Form
Pogostemon erectus
Rotala rotundifolia, Roundleaf Toothcup
Ammania species 'Bonsai', now known as Rotala indica


I was not happy with how busy the tank looked so I changed it. I moved the java moss and African fern to another tank and rearranged everything else. While I was at it I trimmed the rotala.


I like this a lot better.
Since I do not have any Malaysian trumpet snails to aerate the soil I carefully poked it with a chopstick just before doing a water change.


I added a fish to the 29 gallon tank last night. Today he acts like a typical veil tail betta. Curious and comes to the side of the tank to check out me or the dogs. However every time I get the camera out he looks at it and either hides in a plant or behind the driftwood. Perhaps I should leave the camera beside the tank for a while so he can get used to it? This is the best shot I could get and it was taken from several feet away.


FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2012

It has been a while since I updated my natural planted aquarium diary. I started this tank in November. Added the walmart rescued veil tail betta in December. Now it is March. Some plants worked out great. Others needed more light than I could provide them.

DT update March 2012


DT update September 2012

DT update March 2012
March 2012

As you can see some of the plants did better than others. I think this is because some needed higher light. Sorry this post is so long. I figured it would be better to put this all in one post than a bunch of little ones. If You have seen my art blog you know I usually never write long posts.

1 comment:

Rhiannon said...

This is really neat to see how your tank progresses! I love it! I never thought about painting the outside back of the tank...what a great idea! I might just steal that idea for mine :)