My first dirt tank- Chuck style

Discussion in 'General Planted Aquarium' started by Sean S, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    I set up my first dirt tank this weekend. Below are pictures documenting the build.
    dirt1.jpg dirt 2.jpg litter1.jpg litter2.jpg gravel1.jpg gravel2.jpg preplant.jpg plant2.jpg plant1.jpg
    Tom likes this.
  2. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    I added the following fish to the tank-
    15 electric blue acaras (young fish, less than an inch)
    4 Nezzie swords
    4 albino aeneus cories
    2 Paradise fish
    2 Pangio myersi
    1 Pangio shelfordi

    Its a 40 breeder with just an airstone for water movement

    Plants include
    Crypt. usteriana
    Anacharis densa
    Scarlet Temple
    Dwarf Sagittaria
    Cardamine lyrata
    Wisteria
    Naja grass
    Hygrophila stricta
    A stem of Rotala rotundifolia
    and 1 Java fern windelov
    Chuck likes this.
  3. Vshrimp

    Vshrimp Member

    How many inches of substrate are you doing?
  4. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    The tank is 16 inches tall, I didn't measure but its probably about 4 inches between all three layers. It might be a little deep but its my first go at this type of tank.
  5. Vshrimp

    Vshrimp Member

    Ok. Being at estimately 4 in. deep. You may run into large pockets of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) created by the byproduct of anaerobic bacteria breaking down organic matter which can make the tank smell like rotten eggs and ultimately kill your fishes. Also the gas will build up creating a bubble (H2S) and when it large enough. It'll explode in the tank releasing the gas and making everything go everywhere. So be on the look out for bubbles under the substrate. Take a skewer and pot down to release bubble.
  6. Vshrimp

    Vshrimp Member

    Take skewer and push down to release the bubble*
  7. Chuck

    Chuck Advisory Board

    If it looks like that is happening, you might want to add a little turbulence to dispel the gas. I have had my tanks " burp" on me before and I little doesn't seem to be a problem that I have seen. I have read though that it can be bad enough to kill fish.
    Vshrimp likes this.
  8. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    So far so good with the dirt tank. I lost one Nezzie sword but I am seeing growth on the plants. It is minimal at this point but the stem plants are producing new leaves. The tank is still a tiny bit cloudy as it was after planting but I didn't run a power filter to clean that up, just an airstone for water movement. I had to pull out the paradise fish because they got camelanus and I didn't want it to spread. I did notice that they were improving from the time I first thought I saw it until I confirmed it and moved them, The male was even building a bubblenest.

    So, eventhough you won't be able to tell from the pictures that growth has occurred I will post the week 1 pictures anyway for posterity. Hopefully it will show a difference if I keep taking them and we timelapse them together.

    plant1week1.jpg plant2week1.jpg
    Chuck likes this.
  9. Marine590622

    Marine590622 Advisory Board Staff Member

    One way to address this is by adding substrate burrowing snails. The act like little roto tillers moving through the substrate and releasing any pockets of gas before they become large enough to become a problem when they are released.
    Vshrimp likes this.
  10. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    If I find some I want to add I will do that- I would like to keep MTS out of any tank I can, I think I have eradicated them in all but one tank with a controlled (as much as possible) population. Anyone have any cool burrowing snails for sale/ trade/ free?
  11. AssassinJimmie

    AssassinJimmie Chris B

    Assassin snails are good at burrowing.
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  12. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    A little past two weeks but here are the week 2 pictures. I am starting to see good growth from the stem plants. I will probably trim some of the cardamine this week to take with me down to Iowa. The scarlet temple is really starting to flourish and I hope to have some of that ready for the August meeting. I really like the idea of stem plants with this setup because I can cut them without disturbing the roots and substrate.

    plant1week2.jpg plant2week2.jpg
  13. Chuck

    Chuck Advisory Board

    They will also get nice and bushy
  14. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    I put around 30 stems of cardamine in the tank To start with and trimmed 50+ stems last night. That's less than 3 weeks of growth. I also trimmed off and planted 4 side stems from one of the three scarlet temple stems.
    Anyone who wants to grow plants needs their own dirt tank.
    Thanks Chuck for enlightening me to a new way of aquarium keeping!
    I am even starting to see new leaves on the crypts, other than the Java fern that was the only type of plant that I hadn't see growth in yet.
    Chuck likes this.
  15. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    Well, I liked the first dirt tank I set up so much I set up a second one. I tried to be a bit more aesthetic this time around. I just set it up so it looks clear from above but is a bit cloudy so I will get some side shots in a day or two.

    For plants I used one of the plant packages from the last meeting-
    Rotala red, ludwigdia red, Bacopa, Myrio green, corkscrew val, contortion val, Crypt lucens, Java fern windelov plus a little bit of Naja grass and an Anubias lanceolata.
    Fish current inhabitants are Goodea gracilis, Xiphophorus pygmaeus, and orange laser cories.
    Tom likes this.
  16. Sean S

    Sean S Executive Board

    IMG_1344.JPG IMG_1343.JPG
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