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How long should I wait to add fish after doing a soil bottom?

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wtusa17

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Like @utahfish and @seangee said there are a lot of thing to consider. Right now your fish are your main concern until your tank gets cycled. I would add some floating plants like hornwort and water sprite to help with the ammonia. They are good at soaking it up, You can "plant them if you want but I would just let them float for now. How many fish do you have and types?
And moneywort
 
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wtusa17

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Like @utahfish and @seangee said there are a lot of thing to consider. Right now your fish are your main concern until your tank gets cycled. I would add some floating plants like hornwort and water sprite to help with the ammonia. They are good at soaking it up, You can "plant them if you want but I would just let them float for now. How many fish do you have and types?
I have neon tetras, dwarf gourami, German blue rams, and angel
 

seangee

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For most people in a low tech setup "packaged" products are easier as there is no mixing or testing required. Seachem root tabs for me plus Seachem comprehensive supplement for the water column - usually at half the recommended dosage. As you can see from my pics I absolutely don't have to worry about supplementing the N or CO2
 
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wtusa17

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For most people in a low tech setup "packaged" products are easier as there is no mixing or testing required. Seachem root tabs for me plus Seachem comprehensive supplement for the water column - usually at half the recommended dosage. As you can see from my pics I absolutely don't have to worry about supplementing the N or CO2
Thanks. I have seachem flourish that I will dose and I will get the root tabs.
 
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wtusa17

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For most people in a low tech setup "packaged" products are easier as there is no mixing or testing required. Seachem root tabs for me plus Seachem comprehensive supplement for the water column - usually at half the recommended dosage. As you can see from my pics I absolutely don't have to worry about supplementing the N or CO2
Also, will the fish waste that is in the gravel already be good for the plants when they first get in the tank?
 

utahfish

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Also, will the fish waste that is in the gravel already be good for the plants when they first get in the tank?
Fish waste will provide nitrates and phosphates and traces of whatever micronutrients are in fish food but for heavy feeders like swords and crypts theyll need more than just what fish waste will provide. Root tabs are good for macro and micro and whatever liquid fert you add will help a plant like anubias or ferns and mosses.
 
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wtusa17

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Fish waste will provide nitrates and phosphates and traces of whatever micronutrients are in fish food but for heavy feeders like swords and crypts theyll need more than just what fish waste will provide. Root tabs are good for macro and micro and whatever liquid fert you add will help a plant like anubias or ferns and mosses.
Thanks
 

utahfish

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I would thinks so for now, Sorry that I misunderstood -the tank is already cycled that makes things so much easier. @utahfish is very good with plants
Yes over the years of killing many plants i have figured out how to kill them. More slowly lol
 
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Well, I hope I don't get flamed for voicing a dissenting opinion, but I use dirt-under-sand substrates in all my tanks. My Southeast Asia build was four years old before I tore it down because I was bored with it. The 29g Rio Negro-Orinoco tank lasted 3 years before I tore it down for the same reason. My 150g Rainbow build is 3.5 years old and doing just peachy. And my daughter's 5 gallon betta/microrasbora tank is on year two and growing so many plants she has to trim them once a week so the fish have room to swim. So I would agree with Mr. Byron that you aren't getting the full story, but not in quite the same sense that he means. :)

If you're serious about dirted tanks, read "Ecology and the Planted Aquarium" by Dianne Walstad. It isn't your typical "How to set up an aquarium" pamphlet; it's more like a microbiology textbook. But it will give you what you need to know, what works and why. Dirted aquariums are amazingly stable and healthy if you set them up right.

To answer your original question, get a Seachem Ammonia Alert sensor. Dirted tanks have to cycle just like stocked tanks (there are a lot of critters living in that soil, which contrary to popular opinion is not a bad thing). I find it usually takes a month or two for the good bacteria to get fired up and take care of the ammonia. Once that happens, start testing for nitrites. Once the nitrites are gone, you're good to start gradually adding fish.
 

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I also use the Seachem Ammonia Alert sensor in my 55 gallon tank. As far as dirt I have read both good and bad articles on it but I will check out Walstad's pamphlet. Always open to different views. Thank you for expressing your view with backup sources.
 

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Bryon is right as he did a lot of studies/research plus his many years of experience in fish keeping.

I won't be going into the details as there are too many things to explain.
But just to explain very briefly.

In an aquarium(confined environment), "soil and fish" are not recommended to be together.
In my opinion, soil and fish are not meant to be together in an aquarium though I know that there are many people who are doing it especially those who are doing aquascaping.
To me, their main priority is the well-being/health of their plants than their fish.
But to me, my fish health/well-being are the most important and not the plants.
So, my advice is to keep "fish with plants but without the soil" or "plants with soil only".

Some soil will create ammonia spike for the first few weeks.
Some soil contain heavy metals, chemical, etc that are bad for the fish and may kill the shrimps or any sensitive sea animals.
Soil will also change your water pH.

And the worst part is, soil will gather/accumulate all the debris, fish waste, left over food that are hard to be removed from your tank. It's very messy and hard to maintain if you have soil in your tank.

Lastly, please bear in mind that an aquarium is a confined environment unlike in the wild/rivers where the water is being renewed frequently.
Any waste, toxic in the rivers will be flushed away frequently.
Anything that goes into your tank will accumulate to a dangerous/toxic point that will kill your fish unless you change the water frequently.

Here are some interesting articles:


 
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Lucy155

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I had a 30 gallon organic dirt tank for 5 years. I used it as my Angel breeding tank. For the first time I had a planted tank with plants that were growing, BUT, it was incredibly messy to start, and I had amonia issues up front. Moving plants or changing scape created a mud filled water column. When I moved and started my tanks up again, I decided NO dirt tanks.

I finally have my low tech planted tank . 75 gallon, two years old with Angels, Rainbows, corys. My substrate is eco complete, capped with small gravel. It took the first year to get fertilizers right. Dose once week on different days with Flourish, potassium, iron, Trace and use Flourish root tabs. The growth is significant. I’m actually beginning to trim!!!! I will never do dirt again. No need! See pictures.
 

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Retired Viking

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I had a 30 gallon organic dirt tank for 5 years. I used it as my Angel breeding tank. For the first time I had a planted tank with plants that were growing, BUT, it was incredibly messy to start, and I had amonia issues up front. Moving plants or changing scape created a mud filled water column. When I moved and started my tanks up again, I decided NO dirt tanks.

I finally have my low tech planted tank . 75 gallon, two years old with Angels, Rainbows, corys. My substrate is eco complete, capped with small gravel. It took the first year to get fertilizers right. Dose once week on different days with Flourish, potassium, iron, Trace and use Flourish root tabs. The growth is significant. I’m actually beginning to trim!!!! I will never do dirt again. No need! See pictures.
Nice looking tank, the plant growth looks great.
 

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