• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

The Soil Substrate or Dirted Planted Tank - A How to Guide

Tim Harrison

Administrator
UKAPS Team
Thread starter
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Messages
9,179
Location
Leicestershire
Is it OK to cap with Tropica Soil? I can't find a gravel / sand I'm happy with and I like the look of the tropica stuff? This would be for a cap over 1" of aquatic compost and moss peat mix.
I think @Sarpijk is right, you may as well use 1:1 mix of moss peat and Westlands aquatic compost.
I have the same question - could anyone assist by giving a link to a soil retainer that would be fish safe? I'm concerned that it may leak chemicals etc. over time...
Try this https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gardman-Gr...ding+gardmans&qid=1565549090&s=gateway&sr=8-1. It's what I use.
Also is this a suitable <<soil retainer>>? What I'm not sure about is "Sturdy extruded mesh made from PP and treated with UV additives for longer life.".
Looks like the same product as the above...
61y9-xkizRL.jpg
 

GlenD

Member
Joined
26 Jun 2019
Messages
161
Location
London

Tim Harrison

Administrator
UKAPS Team
Thread starter
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Messages
9,179
Location
Leicestershire
That really depends on your plant biomass, how densely you plant, and whether you're going to use LC, and the photoperiod and light intensity. All things being even, the general rule is 1/5 - 1/10 EI. For instance, my 60l high energy gets around 30mls a week, any less and I get deficiencies. So based on that premise I'd stick to the recommended dose to start with and see how you go. It is possible to tweak it and watch how your plants respond, but better to tweak it down than to add too little to start and suffer plant deficiencies.

Try Darrel's Duck Weed Index as a guide to fertz dosing and take a look at Tom Barr's Non CO2 Methods.
 

Tim Harrison

Administrator
UKAPS Team
Thread starter
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Messages
9,179
Location
Leicestershire
Just noticed that this tutorial has had 100,000 hits since it was posted. That signifies quite a milestone.
Thanks to all those who have read, posted, and contributed. It's all helped make for a much better tutorial :)
 

Phantom_ws

Seedling
Joined
15 Jul 2020
Messages
4
Location
Pakistan
Nice article.

Can you please post a detailed picture or give some details about the "Soil retainer sheet"
 

Sarpijk

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2015
Messages
649
Nice article.

Can you please post a detailed picture or give some details about the "Soil retainer sheet"
Hi, I used common window screen. I wouldn't say it is essential provided you cap it with enough gravel or sand and of course if you are careful when uprooting plants.
 

Onoma1

Member
Joined
12 Aug 2018
Messages
520
Location
West Yorkshire
Hi, I used common window screen. I wouldn't say it is essential provided you cap it with enough gravel or sand and of course if you are careful when uprooting plants.

Greenhouse shade netting also works well. You can pick it up quite cheaply on ebay
 
Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
557
Location
South Carolina
I used material from JoAnnes fabric store that’s similar to mosquito mesh netting. Anytime I pull up anything nothing comes up except maybe some detritus. It’s totally worth the little extra effort.
 

Regent

Member
Joined
29 May 2019
Messages
139
Location
Kenilworth
Tim Thanks for the tutorial, it's great.
So I have a bag of this Multi-Purpose Compost with John Innes sat in the garden and two tanks waiting to set up, would this work or am I better getting aquatic compost and peat moss and waiting a bit longer?
I'm considering putting the compost into filter media bags so it's well-controlled location wise and then planting in these areas, my hope it that this will help with water contamination if I need to remove plants.
 

Tim Harrison

Administrator
UKAPS Team
Thread starter
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Messages
9,179
Location
Leicestershire
I haven't used the compost you've linked so can't say one way or the other. My gut feeling is that you should perhaps save it for the garden and use aquatic compost and peat.
Filter bags should work out okay, but either way you only really need a cm or two of soil in the bottom of the tank.
 

Regent

Member
Joined
29 May 2019
Messages
139
Location
Kenilworth
Thanks for the advice @Tim Harrison I'll wait until I'm off next!
Would you still recommend a soil substrate? I noticed from your recent journals you've switched mainly to tropical AS and CO2.
 

Tim Harrison

Administrator
UKAPS Team
Thread starter
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Messages
9,179
Location
Leicestershire
Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
557
Location
South Carolina
Thanks for the advice @Tim Harrison I'll wait until I'm off next!
Would you still recommend a soil substrate? I noticed from your recent journals you've switched mainly to tropical AS and CO2.
I actually used both at the same time! It was an improvised approach but it has worked just fine. The only difference is AS doesn’t need to be capped, same benefits! Just a little more prep work in the beginning.
 

cheekycharly

Member
Joined
27 Nov 2011
Messages
172
Location
Barrow-In-Furness
Hi all, I have a Furlough week this week so have some time at home for a change. Instead of wondering what to do I thought I'd do a rescale on my tank. I have a Rio 180 and I am keen to remove my molar clay substrate and try something new which is what lead me here.

Is anyone here good enough to do me a bit of a shopping list of what I should need to get cracking with this project this week. I would appreciate it as you will be saving my sanity.

Based on the current circumstances I'm guessing all required components will have to be online sourced.

Many Thanks for any input.

Sent from my Mi 9T using Tapatalk
 

Tim Harrison

Administrator
UKAPS Team
Thread starter
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Messages
9,179
Location
Leicestershire

KernowEquestrian

Seedling
Joined
27 Jun 2021
Messages
5
Location
Cornwall
View attachment 134800
Mound Building. Credit Tim Harrison

Hi, can anyone explain to me what the bags are in this image, I assume they are some form of ballast being used to build up the mound - presumably to prevent the substrate becoming too deep and forming anaerobic areas? What is contained in the bags and what material are they bagged in? Sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere!
 
Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
557
Location
South Carolina
Hi, can anyone explain to me what the bags are in this image, I assume they are some form of ballast being used to build up the mound - presumably to prevent the substrate becoming too deep and forming anaerobic areas? What is contained in the bags and what material are they bagged in? Sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere!
Looks like pantyhose material or some type of media bags. I believe he used just regular gravel but you could also use crushed lava rock or pumice. Yeah the idea is to build up a mound without using the soil to increase depth. You only need so much soil, that deep would cause more harm then good if you don’t have enough plants to reach that deep and aerate the bottom portion.
 

KernowEquestrian

Seedling
Joined
27 Jun 2021
Messages
5
Location
Cornwall
Looks like pantyhose material or some type of media bags. I believe he used just regular gravel but you could also use crushed lava rock or pumice. Yeah the idea is to build up a mound without using the soil to increase depth. You only need so much soil, that deep would cause more harm then good if you don’t have enough plants to reach that deep and aerate the bottom portion.
Thanks so much. Thought as much, but wanted to be sure. Now to make the family give me funny looks by ordering a load of pantyhose 😅

I've got the best part of a bag of Homebase Alpine Grit and Blue Slate left over from failed aquascaping experiments, would either of those work well packed into media bags or pantyhose?
 
Top