Planted Tank Enthusiast
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: College Station, TX
No prob! I had done this once before using dirt I dug from the yard, but our area is just sand and clay. I am now thinking it was the root tabs that contributed to my original success.
This time, it took me 5 total soak and dry cycles. As far as days? Not sure. Couple weeks I guess. But we have had rain and freezes lately. I could have gotten it done in a week if this was summertime. This dirt was perfect. Had a good amount of sticks, but once those are sifted out I have a dark dark brown very dense muddy soup. Perfect. The first 3 wet stages stunk horribly like swamp water but now it just has a faint "outdoor earthy" smell if that makes sense. I soaked it in a tub using tank water, for a day or two at a time, and have been spreading it on a tarp to dry.
I found muriate of potash at a local feed store, and bought a box of API laterite for the clay portion (expensive, but couldn't find the right potters clay locally, it'll work). We also don't have any dolomite, so I'm using well rinsed crushed coral from my reef tank, and some Epsom salt for the Ca and Mg.
I had a local irrigation supply store order me a 50# bag of Turface natural pro league as my cap. By my calculations, with my rocks and driftwood, I should be able to have a 1" layer of MTS and about 2.5" of cap. Hopefully it works well!
My tank has been running for years and is already stocked but just has play sand and mosses. Wanting to go with the overgrown dense jungle look with tons of stems and a big sword. Hoping to remove the tanks contents and get the change over done in one quick sitting.