I've been reading the back and forth banter about what to do with the dirt in several threads.
Mineralized soil is a process that's involves many steps and the end result is a nutrient rich readily available base. NPT or simply dumping the dirt in and capping it are the same processes at work only at different times as the same thing happens. It's just a question of where. Mineralizing the dirt the activity of bacteria breaking down the organic compounds releasing the minerals happens on a tarp in open air. The activity of bacteria breaking down the organic compounds over time creates several changes within the tank that MTS completes first eliminating these shifts from occurring in the aquarium. The conversion of organics and the break down is slowed greatly in the tank because of less available oxygen. The submerged steady state of decay once established in the tank takes about a year to happen. During that time settling or collapse of the organics reduces the thickness of the substrate. This doesn't happen using MTS. The organics have been consumed / converted back to mineral content alone by the bacteria before the dirt ever goes in the tank. Biggest difference between the two, MTS and NPT is where the organics are broken down, in tank or before.
Baking doesn't break it down very well.
Be it MTS or NPT for the cost, ease of upkeep and growth results dirt works used in either form and is my favorite way to play.
I've setup ONE
MTS tank and over a DOZEN
using the bagged potting mix. ZERO
failures of critter deaths. I like that math, and it should tell you my position, I'm grown up and stopped playing in the mud.
My oldest potting mix tank is almost 4 yrs. old and still growing plants.
The time spent reading and posting by a couple folks would have seen a tank setup and planted already LMAO.
Same day tank swaps putting fish right back in.
Adding fert layers and clay.
Using it sifted.
Using it right out of the bag using everything smaller than a 2x4.
Sand cap, Flourite original, Eco-Complete, Floramax, Coal slag, pool filter sand. Everyone of the setups grow plants, fish spawn and I'm happy.