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Affordable Dirts?


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Hello! I have a 30g barebottom tank with one goldfish. My plants are all dying in their little containers, and I have been wanting to do a dirted tank for awhile. So, what are some good, cheap dirts I can pick up from Lowe's or Walmart? I am on a seriously restricted budget, and can't afford larger, name brand prices.

Thanks for any and all help!

Oh, and I found a few I was wondering about...

Happi Grow Organic Soil

People either love or hate this one. It is definitely natural- just dirt from the ground- but I didn't know if there was anything specific it needed for a dirted tank? I was thinking mixing it with the peat moss below would work, but I wanted to get an opinion from a dirt-y person before purchasing anything.

Organic Peat Moss

Really great, high reviews. More pricey than the others, and would have to be mixed with other soils...

Just Natural Potting Soil

This claims it's natural, but there isn't much for reviews.

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Peat moss will lower pH and turn your water tea coloured—great if you want a black water amazon biotype.

There's a generic version of ADA Aqua soil you might be able to find. It's made by the same production company, but because Aqua Design Amano doesn't get their hands on it to brand, it costs a fraction of the price.

Edited by dan in aus
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Peat moss will lower pH and turn your water tea coloured—great if you want a black water amazon biotype.

There's a generic version of ADA Aqua soil you might be able to find. It's made by the same production company, but because Aqua Design Amano doesn't get their hands on it to brand, it costs a fraction of the price.

are you talking about the UP aquasand? Green leaf aquariums now sells it AND it's on sale right now, which means I'm buying some, I've been wanting to get some to compare to the aquasoil. http://greenleafaquariums.com/products/aqua-sand-black.html

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are you talking about the UP aquasand? Green leaf aquariums now sells it AND it's on sale right now, which means I'm buying some, I've been wanting to get some to compare to the aquasoil. http://greenleafaquariums.com/products/aqua-sand-black.html

No it's actually called Aqua Soil, but lacks the ADA branding. It's literally the same product made by the same company -- similar to generic brand medicines.

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Peat moss will lower pH and turn your water tea coloured—great if you want a black water amazon biotype.

There's a generic version of ADA Aqua soil you might be able to find. It's made by the same production company, but because Aqua Design Amano doesn't get their hands on it to brand, it costs a fraction of the price.

are you talking about the UP aquasand? Green leaf aquariums now sells it AND it's on sale right now, which means I'm buying some, I've been wanting to get some to compare to the aquasoil. http://greenleafaquariums.com/products/aqua-sand-black.html

it's definitely not cheap though! I actually think it's more expensive that aquasoil when its not on sale because I think it is a smaller bag size. Definitely more expensive that dirt, so probably not ideal for the OP :P

are you talking about the UP aquasand? Green leaf aquariums now sells it AND it's on sale right now, which means I'm buying some, I've been wanting to get some to compare to the aquasoil. http://greenleafaquariums.com/products/aqua-sand-black.html

No it's actually called Aqua Soil, but lacks the ADA branding. It's literally the same product made by the same company -- similar to generic brand medicines.

Interesting, do you know where to get it?

The up aqua soil I linked has gotten very good reviews from Tom Barr. It is supposed to last longer than the ADA aquasoil because the grains are firmer.

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Interesting, do you know where to get it?

The up aqua soil I linked has gotten very good reviews from Tom Barr. It is supposed to last longer than the ADA aquasoil because the grains are firmer.

No idea other than you can guys in the US can supposedly stumble across it. I found it whilst thumbing through a planted tank diary. I'm really kicking myself for not remembering where. I'm pretty sure the guy was located in Utah or Ohio.

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You'll definitely have to cover it with a cap, such as gravel or sand, to prevent leaching.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

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Yes, any soil that you put down will need a cap of at least equal depth. I will typically use 1.5" of wet soil, and then cap with another 2" of whatever I chose to cap. Soil will likely cause an ammonia spike, so you'll need to watch your parameters carefully. Have extra Prime on hand, in the event of an emergency. Just do your big water changes, and you'll be fine! :D

Dirt tanks are awesome.

Edited by yafashelli
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Yes, any soil that you put down will need a cap of at least equal depth. I will typically use 1.5" of wet soil, and then cap with another 2" of whatever I chose to cap. Soil will likely cause an ammonia spike, so you'll need to watch your parameters carefully. Have extra Prime on hand, in the event of an emergency. Just do your big water changes, and you'll be fine! :D

Dirt tanks are awesome.

I don't have Prime :blowup: Should I wait to dirt my tanks until I do? I plan on trying dirt in my ten and, if I like it, dirting my 29g when I purchase a stand. I doubt I'll have Prime by then... Should I wait until I do? Is it essential to the process?

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If there are fish in the tank, then you will need to have a dechlorinator on hand. Are you currently using one now?

Yes, I have a dechlorinator. Just not Prime. I read that Prime neutralizes ammonia as well, but mine doesn't do that. As of the moment I'm a bit strapped for cash, and my next paycheck is going towards purchasing Prazi for my new arrival. The rest will likely go into savings. Prime is on my list, as well as my Amazon wl, but I won't have it for awhile.

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If there are fish in the tank, then you will need to have a dechlorinator on hand. Are you currently using one now?

Yes, I have a dechlorinator. Just not Prime. I read that Prime neutralizes ammonia as well, but mine doesn't do that. As of the moment I'm a bit strapped for cash, and my next paycheck is going towards purchasing Prazi for my new arrival. The rest will likely go into savings. Prime is on my list, as well as my Amazon wl, but I won't have it for awhile.

My recommendation would be for you to buy Prime first, and then dirt. You will have a cycle bump, and you will need it. :)

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If there are fish in the tank, then you will need to have a dechlorinator on hand. Are you currently using one now?

Yes, I have a dechlorinator. Just not Prime. I read that Prime neutralizes ammonia as well, but mine doesn't do that. As of the moment I'm a bit strapped for cash, and my next paycheck is going towards purchasing Prazi for my new arrival. The rest will likely go into savings. Prime is on my list, as well as my Amazon wl, but I won't have it for awhile.

My recommendation would be for you to buy Prime first, and then dirt. You will have a cycle bump, and you will need it. :)

Okie dokie. Would plain play sand be fine for a cap?

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If there are fish in the tank, then you will need to have a dechlorinator on hand. Are you currently using one now?

Yes, I have a dechlorinator. Just not Prime. I read that Prime neutralizes ammonia as well, but mine doesn't do that. As of the moment I'm a bit strapped for cash, and my next paycheck is going towards purchasing Prazi for my new arrival. The rest will likely go into savings. Prime is on my list, as well as my Amazon wl, but I won't have it for awhile.

My recommendation would be for you to buy Prime first, and then dirt. You will have a cycle bump, and you will need it. :)

Okie dokie. Would plain play sand be fine for a cap?

Absolutely. :)

One thing that I have learned, dealing with dirt and sand myself, is that you'll need a very thin layer of gravel between the wet soil, and the sand. Otherwise the sand will just mix in, and it'll make a gigantic mess.

My suggestion to you would be to practice on a smaller scale (maybe a bucket, or a shoebox sized sterilite bin, before you make a big mud pie out of your tank. :rofl3 (like I did, the first time).

That being said, the next dirt tank that I run will probably be with Caribsea Peace River gravel. It's just the right size to help plants root, while also being big enough to prevent compaction, and holding down your larger root feeders (swords can be a pain to keep upright in sand).

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Oh, and when you've gathered all of your supplies, and your *really* ready to start dirting, start a thread, and let me know. I'll walk you through every step of the way. I've done it more times than I can count, over the years, and would be very happy to help you.

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Which dechlorinator do you use? Prime isn't the only one that neutralizes ammonia, but there are many that don't. I like Aquarium Solutions Ultimate as well as Prime; both neutralize ammonia.

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Which dechlorinator do you use? Prime isn't the only one that neutralizes ammonia, but there are many that don't. I like Aquarium Solutions Ultimate as well as Prime; both neutralize ammonia.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

I use Jungle Safe Start, which doesn't eliminate ammonia. :)

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