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Tropica aqua soil

Singy 86

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Hi new to the group, I just have some questions I would like some information on.
I’m setting up a new tank a have a tank set up and am going to be transferring fish over to the new one. I’m just wondering if I use tropica aquasoil mixed with some fine sand and fine gravel as a base layer then top off with a fine sand and fine gravel mix will I be able to introduce fish straight away? I will be running two mature canister filters of my old tank on the new tank!
Any advice information would be greatly appreciated thanks👍
 

jamiepearson

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That soil doesn't need capping with sand/gravel.

I had a leaking tank so had to rescape in a new tank and tropica soil, and move the livestock into it straight away. I initially tested daily for nitrite and ammonia. There was some nitrite so I ended up having to do two 90% water changes a day for 10 days
 

Singy 86

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Thanks for the info mate, I tried to do some research online for it leeching ammonia but couldn’t really find any it just said doesn’t leech much.🤔
 

arcturus

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Hi new to the group, I just have some questions I would like some information on.
I’m setting up a new tank a have a tank set up and am going to be transferring fish over to the new one. I’m just wondering if I use tropica aquasoil mixed with some fine sand and fine gravel as a base layer then top off with a fine sand and fine gravel mix
New Tropica soil will release ammonia, but in lower amounts than ADA soil.

Be aware that a mix of fine sand with soil or gravel will not stay the same for long. Why are you mixing sand, gravel and soil?

will I be able to introduce fish straight away? I will be running two mature canister filters of my old tank on the new tank!
Any advice information would be greatly appreciated thanks👍
I would wait a couple of weeks with several water changes to make sure that the ammonia released from the new soil will not cause issues and to let the new soil to start stabilizing. Will this be a planted tank with new plants?
 

jamiepearson

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I've since done a rescape and for the month prior I had four bags of soil in four buckets of water, changing the water twice a week, which leached off the ammonia before putting it into the tank. And planted very heavily from the start
 

Singy 86

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I’ve seen some videos of doing a substrate mix of sand, gravel and aqua soil and putting it in fine mesh bags and laying on bottom of tank in areas where you plant stem plants and just cap it over with a sand and fine gravel mix for your decorative finish so it’s locked in place to give your rooted plants nutrients and can’t break loose. Don’t know what you guys think of that?
 

Singy 86

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Jamie I have thought of doing that with the mesh bags filled with above mix so that worked for you? Just keep doing regular water change on the buckets and keep testing?
 

jamiepearson

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No, I just have aquasoil with no topping of sand. I'm not yet convinced the MD Fish Tanks mesh bag method works long term - I wonder how much the roots can actually penetrate deep into the bag - but happy to be proven wrong.

The month in a bucket of water was easy, just leave the soil sat in the bucket, no testing necessary - it doesn't matter if there's ammonia while it's in the bucket. I only changed the water so it wasn't stagnant.

There was subsequently no ammonia once the soil was in the aquarium. Caveat again - my planting was very heavy, which could have dealt with ammonia rather than the bucket pre soak
 

AlecF

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Purely personal taste, but I love my sand topping, but I do wish I had remembered to put a plastic mesh over the aqua soil I put in below as grains do pop through and look unsightly. I find sand easy to plant into and clean.
 

Singy 86

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That’s great information jamie think I will do the bucket trick as tank will be only here in a month or so. Yeah on the md tanks bags do you think I would just be better using it as I loose base layer and capping with a decent amount of sand/gravel as I want the natural sand look but just make it deep enough to stop fish digging it up! It will be heavily planted yes plenty of stem plants and dwarf sagg and some well established Amazon swords and then some Java ferns and anubias on wood and stone.
 

Hufsa

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Id go for the bags, the mesh size on them should be more than sufficient for plant roots to get through, youd be surprised what plants can do. Let us not forget dandylions growing through asphalt. Youre gonna have soil coming up left and right unless you lock it down there. The biggest stuff always ends up on top.
Just my two cents
 

arcturus

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That’s great information jamie think I will do the bucket trick as tank will be only here in a month or so. Yeah on the md tanks bags do you think I would just be better using it as I loose base layer and
I have used mesh bags with small pieces of lava rock on the bottom of the tank, but the goal was to raise the substrate at the back of the tank and stabilize the hardscape, and they work very well. The bags will also work with a mix of soil and gravel but I would not put any sand in there though. You do not want the substrate to become anaerobic and therefore you need some water circulation. The sand will not help with that and will do nothing for the plants as well. If you need a filler, add small pieces of lava rock.

capping with a decent amount of sand/gravel as I want the natural sand look but just make it deep enough to stop fish digging it up!

Good luck with that :) You will have Physics, fish, shrimp, and snails working against you. If you use sand to cap the soil it will be just a matter of time until it becomes a mess, with the larger pueces of soil popping up everywhere. I would use the sand only for the visible areas of the tank without plants. In planted areas you barely see the soil anyway. Elsewhere I would just use soil.
 

jamiepearson

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I too have used mesh bags containing lava rock for raising the height. When I broke down that scape, there absolutely was some root penetration through the mesh but not a great deal, the roots also going horizontal. But there was no nutrition in the bags so that could be why. This was 53B so fairly rooty olants.
If the options are mesh bags or no bags and sand capping (and uncapped soil not an option), I'd defo go bags. I think the soil is bound to come up without
 
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Singy 86

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I’m think I’m going to go with mesh bags with small lava rock and tropica soil inside but as I need to scape and add the fish pretty much straight away I will soak the bags like you did Jamie to get the ammonia out of it and keep Chang the water In the buckets and test for ammonia after say 3/4 weeks. Then just cap it with corse sand and fine gravel mix. Then just test daily for ammonia and nitrite and just do water changes as needed. Do you think that will work?
 

jamiepearson

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I do. But why are you adding lava rock? I would use it for bulking up because it's cheaper than aquasoil for a 120cm tank then adding soil on top. But if you don't need to do that and are adding sand on top, then put 100% soil in the bags - more nutrients. Related note, will you be keeping the scape more than a year? You might need to add root tabs at some point, but can't of course add to the bags just the sand
 

Singy 86

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Will be keeping the scape for as long as possible I think. How long would you say before I need to add root tabs? I have used them before on planted tanks with no soil and had good results just added them every 2/3 months
 

Singy 86

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I’m just going to add lava rock and soil to the mesh bags to build up the back corners and in the middle/foreground use flatter bags of probably just soil for the dwarf sag and other foreground plants. Also heard it hold beneficial bacteria in the lava rock?
 

arcturus

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I’m just going to add lava rock and soil to the mesh bags to build up the back corners and in the middle/foreground use flatter bags of probably just soil for the dwarf sag and other foreground plants.
What is the size of the tank and the height of the soil you are planning?

Lava rock in bags is usually used in large-ish tanks to raise the substrate because it is much cheaper than aquasoil. It also helps stabilizing the substrate slope and the hardscape. But this layer is mostly a filler and it is not going to provide relevant nutrition to the plants. The plants will use the nutrients in the substrate and aquasoil that sits on top of the lava rock. In small tanks you can skip the lava rock altogether because the cost factor becomes less important. If you need to stabilize the soil then you can use mesh bags with soil in them. However, I would not mix the lava rock with soil. Either you use lava rock as filler with soil on top, or you just skip lava altogether and use soil only.

Also heard it hold beneficial bacteria in the lava rock?
Lava, as a porous rock, provides a good place for bacterial colonies. Bacteria will be all over the substrate and hardscape. But note that this lava rock will be below all the soil, which means the amount of water circulating through it is going to be low and the oxygen will not be high. These are not the best conditions for beneficial bacteria. Nevertheless, lava is irregular in shape and there will be many gaps between the rocks. This is important so that the bottom layer does not become anaerobic. If you use a compact layer in the bottom (e.g. fine sand), it can become anaerobic over time. In any case, in a planted tank the plants will do most of the needed filtration.
 
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