Planted Tank Enthusiast
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Alvarado, Texas
I've researched mineralized topsoil and decided that it may be the best route for me to take this time around. I cannot express how much I hate dosing water column ferts on a weekly basis. I want to have a tank that is as low maintenance as I can get, and it seems that making mineralized topsoil is a solution to my problem.
I went to Home Depot and purchased 40lbs of topsoil for under $2. I filled a 5 gallon bucket half full with the topsoil and filled it with water to about 2" above the soil. It is currently soaking under a heat lamp due to the cold weather here. I plan to scoop the top layer of floating debris out this afternoon. After reading a bit, it seems that the longer that I allow it to soak and the more dry-soak cycles I repeat the better the mineralization process will work.
The only problem that I have at this point is locating a source of dolomite, pottery clay, and potash that is required once the mineralization is complete. Perhaps somebody reading this will know of a supplier or have some themselves that they would be willing to part with. I know that I won't need too much seeing as how I will be using this in a 29 gallon with a 30"x12" footprint. If you have any or know where to find it in smaller quantities, please PM me.
I don't know what I want to use as a capping substrate at this point. I have read that many people do the MTS so that they can cap with inert substrates and get away with it. I am doing this purely so that I don't have to fertilize the water column as I have in the past (Although I'm sure that a little supplementation will be good once my tank fills in). I have used eco-complete in the past as well as a product by aquariumplants.com as stand-alone substrates with good success. I am not opposed to using them again, but I was really hoping that I could use something else that wasn't as expensive (otherwise I would just use them without the MTS). Again, suggestions are welcome.
"Success is not the goal, it's merely a byproduct!"
- The Fraternity of Dirt #66 -
Just because it's dirt doesn't make it low-tech.