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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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The Natural Tank

NOT GOOD FOR BEGINNING FISH KEEPERS.

This is a low maintenence tank that uses plants for filtration.

When setting up the natural tank, you first put 1 - 1.5 inches of unsteralized potting soil or top soil in the tank, slowly add water to it just enough to get the dirt wet. Let set overnight to outgas the ammonia . If you like you can add a layer of organic matter such as compost on top of the dirt. On top of that you add 1 - 1.5 inches of 2 - 5 mm gravel or sand. If you are going to use this for the hard water species I would suggest you mix in pelleted dolomite or crushed shells to gradually raise the ph.

Slowly and carefully add water to lessen any cloudiness. Add a powerhead or two with sponge prefilters, depending on the size of the tank. I use 2 in my 75 gal.

Do not add any fertilizers to this.

You want to add a lot of different plants, some of which will grow emergent. Floating plants are also good for this type of tank. You want to plant at least 50% of the tank.

Let set for 24 hours.

Lighting, if the tank doesn't get any sunlight you want 1 - 2 watts per gal. I use 4 4ft flouresents, 2 daylights and 2 plantlights.

If it receives sunlight for a few hours, you don't have to have lights unless you want to use them after the sun goes down.

You can start adding fish in moderation, But avoid plant eaters or fish that dig into the substrate.

Ferts. Feed the fish liberally, they will fertilize it.

Airation: Only if the fish are gasping or tubing in the early mornings.

Water changes: Every 6 months or when the fish or plants look like they need it. I change
50 - 60% at 8 months.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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7,685 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes I have, that is the reason I tried it, mine has a little change in it as I topped it with more sand than what she does, but it makes for less mess when planting. I just plant into the sand and the roots find their way to the topsoil.
 

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Master of mistakes
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nice, i like it, my indoor pond just has a powerhead in it and utilizes the fish waste for fertilizer......i dont have soil though just sand ans gravel mix....very nice


Doug
 

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Thank you so much for sharing the information and that lovely pic. We await more pictures as you find the time and opportunity and this has been very interesting. I have the tanks but did not have the information until now!
 

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I tried it in my 29g for a while... I had 2 inches of potting soil and 2 inches of pea gravel... I didnt plant super liberally but had lots of hornwort to absorb the nutrients... I got anaerobic pockets and the room smelled like rotten eggs after about a month... I had done water changes as the DW i had made the water super dark and I couldnt see the tank properly with the cloudyy and dark water...

I had to remove all of the soil and subsrtae and thorougly clean the tank later... its not for a rushed set up. It takes time and should be seriouslt thought out before even the slightest action is taken. also it is not reccomended that you stock the tank heavily, moderation is best and not to even approach the stocking level one would use if setting up a standard tank.

Just my 2 cents :D
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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7,685 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I tried it in my 29g for a while... I had 2 inches of potting soil and 2 inches of pea gravel... I didnt plant super liberally but had lots of hornwort to absorb the nutrients... I got anaerobic pockets and the room smelled like rotten eggs after about a month... I had done water changes as the DW i had made the water super dark and I couldnt see the tank properly with the cloudyy and dark water...

I had to remove all of the soil and subsrtae and thorougly clean the tank later... its not for a rushed set up. It takes time and should be seriouslt thought out before even the slightest action is taken. also it is not reccomended that you stock the tank heavily, moderation is best and not to even approach the stocking level one would use if setting up a standard tank.

Just my 2 cents :D
This is true, setting up one of these tanks take time and patience. And being able to put up with the smell while the tank settles. One thing that can help with anaerobic pockets is to add MTS and they will keep the soil stirred up. Stocking levels are definately light on one of these tanks, to much you will end up with to many nutrients in the tank causing more water changes.
 
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