How to Set Up a Dirted Aquarium?

Do you know what a dirt aquarium is? You’ve probably heard of this if you keep fish or are just starting out. But why is it so popular? How do I put together a dirted aquarium? Is it simple to assemble a dirted aquarium? What exactly is a dirted aquarium?

Due to its lower cost and simplicity of setup, the dirt aquarium has become more popular among fish enthusiasts. It needs a few easily accessible items from the market, and the method itself is straightforward.

As a result, I’ve put together this guide to walk you through the processes and materials you’ll need to set up the tank. So continue reading!

What is a Dirted Aquarium?

Instead of using commercially produced aqua soils as a substrate layer, dirty tanks use regular dirt or garden soil. Typically, dirt is less expensive than the majority of commercial aqua soils. Additionally, it has a high concentration of macro- and micronutrients that support strong plant development. If they are put up properly, some dirty tanks can last for several years at a time.

What is a Dirted Aquarium?

A List of Items to Buy for a New Dirted Tank

The remainder of this post will go into depth on how our 20-gallon dirty tank was set up. But here is a short list of everything you will need to get going: Tank (16 inches or higher preferred);

  • (1 inch) of organic soil
  • Soil additives (optional); Covering the substrate (2 inches);
  • Sponge filter;
  • Air stone;
  • Air tube;
  • An air pump;
  • Heater (rated for the amount of your tank);
  • Medium-intensity lighting;
  • Hardscape (optional and up to your taste);
  • Low-light plants and floating plants;
  • Planting tweezers or tongs;
  • 5-gallon container;
  • Water conditioner, and
  • Test kit for water parameters.
  • Setting up your dirty tank
  • It’s time to start assembling your dirty tank now! This is how:
  • In a 5-gallon bucket, prepare your soil.

Related Post: How to Set up a Fish Tank?

How to Set Up a Dirted Tank?

Pour your Soil into a 5-gallon Bucket and Measure it out First

We advise using a 2-inch cover over a 1-inch layer of dirt. The aquarium’s length and width should be measured, and ours measures 12 inches broad by 24 inches long.

The amount of Soil Required is 288 Cubic Inches

The amount of dirt used was only approximately a third of a medium-sized bag. We filled a 5-gallon bucket we purchased from The Home Depot with soil. Then we got rid of any big sticks or bark on the ground.

We put a little tap water and Seachem Prime Dechlorinator in a different bucket. The dirt bucket was then mixed with a bit of water after that.

A Moist mud-like Consistency is Desired

The dirt shouldn’t be so saturated that it becomes soupy. If you use too much water, you can use a fish net to catch some debris and press it out over your bathtub or sink, which will help eliminate some water. Keep going until the mixture resembles mud.

We put our 20-gallon Aquarium on a Stand in the Interim

The bottom of the tank was then surrounded by a sand border. This is done to prevent dirt from collecting along the tank’s edges. We believed the dirt would have a greater chance of leaking into the water column in the space next to the glass. Therefore, we kept the dirt in the tank’s middle.

Fill your Tank with 1 Inch of Prepared Soil

After that, we filled the tank’s center outside the sand edge with one inch of earth.

A 2-inch layer of Capping Substrate over your Soil

Then, we applied a 2-inch layer of sand—or gravel, if you prefer—over the dirt.

Add your Hardscape

Following that, we included our rock hardscape component.

Put Dechlorinated Water in your Tank

We then used dechlorinated tap water to fill the remaining space in our tank. We merely poured a small amount of Seachem Prime into a few milliliters of water in the 5-gallon buckets to accomplish this. We don’t want to disturb the substrate, so be cautious when adding water to the tank. Suppose you pour the water into the tank without first generating a creator. In that case, the dirt may escape and end up in the water column, resulting in a hazy mess.

Put Dechlorinated Water in your Tank

We then pour water through a colander or strainer balanced atop the tank. The colander will absorb most of the blow and stop a crash. Alternatively, the substrate may be covered with a plate or plastic bag and pour it in that instead.  It might be too much for you to lift and dump a 5-gallon bucket. In its place, you can use a clean Tupperware container to scoop water from the 5-gallon bucket within the tank.

Set up your Heater and Sponge Filter

Now that we have our heater, we can also put the sponge filter in. Due to the possibility of hiding them behind a hardscape or in corners where plants would grow in front of them, we prefer to install these before the plants.

Get your Plants Ready

We enjoy cleaning the plants we purchase to get rid of any potential bugs or algae. To do this, we take them out of the filter floss, rock wool, or another container they were in.

They are then put in a jar with 20 parts water and one part bleach. We let them sit for roughly 90 seconds before taking them out, giving them a gentle rinse under the faucet, and putting them in a different container with dechlorinated water.

Get your Plants Ready

You do not need to bleach if you purchase in-vitro plants, sometimes referred to as tissue culture plants. This is because they are cultivated in pest-free, sterile surroundings.

Set up your Plants

Once you have chosen where to place your plants, you can do so with your planting tweezers.

The Bottom Line on How to Set Up a Dirted Aquarium?

It’s not really challenging to put up a directed tank; it merely needs the appropriate equipment and strategy. Therefore you may quickly set up your aquarium if you take care. Due to the low cost of the dirt used, this dirted tank procedure is also quite affordable. However, it still provides many benefits for your tank, mainly your fish.

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