soil or worm castings--can't get either to work (turbidity issues) - The Planted Tank Forum

 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-09-2010, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
slb
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soil or worm castings--can't get either to work (turbidity issues)

First my goal: Live plants, no CO2, 1.5 watts/gal, LOW MAINTENANCE AND MINIMAL WATER CHANGES. I have no delusions of winning an aquascape contest.

I read Diana Walstad's book. I bought four different bags of soil, 3 different bags of cheap stuff and one bag of Miracle Grow Organic. I put them in bottles, covered them with gravel and let them sit for a few days. The three cheap soils all had turbidity issues (yellowish water). The Miracle Grow water looked relatively clear, but had a lot of floaters. According to the bag, its almost entirely bark and peat moss. However, I read in some forum that it can causes issues with ammonia.

Next. Tom Barr recommended worm castings with sand. I got the directions off his website and followed them exactly: 100% pure worm castings, rinse, remove floaters, boil for 15 min, rinse again, and again and again and again and again... Problem: even after numerous rinsings the water looks like black coffee.

Tom says some Brazilian aquascapes had success with worm castings a decade ago. Anyone, on this forum ever used them that can tell me what I'm doing wrong?

If I break down and decide to spend $150 on Aqua Soil, does it have turbidity issues also?

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-09-2010, 02:46 PM
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I use worm castings. I topped mine with gravel and was very careful not to disturb it while filling with water. The water came out somewhat yellowish but nothing that carbon and a few water changes couldnt fix.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-10-2010, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slb View Post
I bought four different bags of soil, 3 different bags of cheap stuff. The three cheap soils all had turbidity issues (yellowish water). Next 100% pure worm castings, rinse, remove floaters, boil for 15 min, rinse again, and again and again and again and again... Problem: even after numerous rinsings the water looks like black coffee.
I would try all of them with sand as a topper before you spend a lot on substrate. Also would do the experiment in a bucket. Put plastic over the substrate and fill with water.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-11-2010, 02:14 AM
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I used the Miracle Grow. It helps if you soak it beforehand, pour off the floaters, and repeat several times. Not only does it eliminate the floaters, but it removes most of the tanins from the bark that color the water.
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