Anyone baked soil for mineralized top soil? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone baked soil for mineralized top soil?

Anyone baked soil for mineralized top soil? I have read several posts that it can be done, but non that say how many times it needs to be done? Can I do it one time, or do I need to bake it, soak it a few days then bake it again?

Trying to do this out in the back yard several times, with working 12 hours a day, is not going to work out for me.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 05:44 PM
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What does it matter how long you are at work? It's pretty easy to just let it sit out in the yard and trying to bake it inside is likely to lead to a mess and I'm not convinced it would work as well as it would kill all of the aerobic bacteria that do the mineralizing.

In the D.C., Maryland, or NOVA area? Come check out The Greater Washington Aquatic Plants Association! www.gwapa.org
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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What does it matter how long you are at work? It's pretty easy to just let it sit out in the yard and trying to bake it inside is likely to lead to a mess and I'm not convinced it would work as well as it would kill all of the aerobic bacteria that do the mineralizing.
Sadly that six days a week, I go to work in the morning it dark, and when I get home it dark. Between wife/kids when I get home, no time to go work in the yard. It would have to sit outside for entire week, as only real day I have to work on it is Sunday

So as much as I would love to use it, my options are limited.

Thinking if I could find someone that sells, it I might just buy it. I found one place that sells it, just waiting on a price.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 06:54 PM
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I dont know about you marc, but I dont have the patients nor time to wait and dry. Thats why I went ahead and bought fluorite and floramax for the substrtates.

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3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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I dont know about you marc, but I dont have the patients nor time to wait and dry. Thats why I went ahead and bought fluorite and floramax for the substrtates.

Yeah, work just been crazy, and just don't have time to deal with it. By the time I get home it dark, and don't really want to have to bring soil back into house at 9pm.

At this point, I am tempted to just order a few more bags of flourite black sand and call it a day. I think I would still put stuff on bottom of tank like you are, but that about it.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by marcnc View Post
Yeah, work just been crazy, and just don't have time to deal with it. By the time I get home it dark, and don't really want to have to bring soil back into house at 9pm.

At this point, I am tempted to just order a few more bags of flourite black sand and call it a day. I think I would still put stuff on bottom of tank like you are, but that about it.
Exactly. There for you have mineralized mineralized substrate, lol. I kid, but there will definitly be plenty of nutriants for the plants.

55 Gallon Planted

Fish
3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
Plants
Rotala Indica, Cardamine, Crypt Spiralis, Pygmy Chain Swords, Dwarf Sag, Lutea Crypt, Wendtti Bronze and Red, and Floating Frogbit
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 07:38 PM
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Your other option is to spend a little time one Sunday afternoon screening some topsoil and put it in without mineralizing it. Basically do everything except the wet / dry cycle. Still add the other ingredients as usual as well. If time really is as tight as you say it is this will help you a lot more than Flourite or some other basically inert substrate as you won't hardly ever have to dose once it's setup.

The sifting will remove any rocks, sticks, leaves, trash (yes, I have found bits of trash). If you plant densely from the beginning you shouldn't have issues and the roots will oxygenate the soil and it will still mineralize over time inside the tank.

In the D.C., Maryland, or NOVA area? Come check out The Greater Washington Aquatic Plants Association! www.gwapa.org
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 07:43 PM
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I've been reading the back and forth banter about what to do with the dirt in several threads.

NPT/MTS
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.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
I've been reading the back and forth banter about what to do with the dirt in several threads.
Just think...without these posts how would you be entertained.

I made this very simple for myself at this point. Found someone online that sells Mineralized Topsoil all ready to go, and going to buy it from them.

On to the next topic.....
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 09:55 PM
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When you use heat to mineralize the topsoil you don't need the bacteria for that job. You are converting the organic nitrogen to inorganic nitrogen with heat alone. It would certainly be faster than working on the outdoor mineralizing once a week.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 10:02 PM
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Anyone baked soil for mineralized top soil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
When you use heat to mineralize the topsoil you don't need the bacteria for that job. You are converting the organic nitrogen to inorganic nitrogen with heat alone. It would certainly be faster than working on the outdoor mineralizing once a week.
Agreed. If I were doing this, this is exactly the way I would do it!

55 Gallon Planted

Fish
3 GBR, 2 Bolivian Rams, 1 Juvenile Super Red BN Plecos, 9 Oto Catfish, 9 Bloodfin Tetras
Plants
Rotala Indica, Cardamine, Crypt Spiralis, Pygmy Chain Swords, Dwarf Sag, Lutea Crypt, Wendtti Bronze and Red, and Floating Frogbit
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AaronT View Post
Your other option is to spend a little time one Sunday afternoon screening some topsoil and put it in without mineralizing it. Basically do everything except the wet / dry cycle. Still add the other ingredients as usual as well. If time really is as tight as you say it is this will help you a lot more than Flourite or some other basically inert substrate as you won't hardly ever have to dose once it's setup.

The sifting will remove any rocks, sticks, leaves, trash (yes, I have found bits of trash). If you plant densely from the beginning you shouldn't have issues and the roots will oxygenate the soil and it will still mineralize over time inside the tank.
This is good info, I will have to keep it in mind. Yeah Sunday about the only day I get to spend with family and try make time for the tank as well. All about balance.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by AaronT View Post
What does it matter how long you are at work? It's pretty easy to just let it sit out in the yard and trying to bake it inside is likely to lead to a mess and I'm not convinced it would work as well as it would kill all of the aerobic bacteria that do the mineralizing.
Oxidation is oxidation is oxidation.

Heat does it, bacteria can do it at a much lower temp because they have the enzymes, but the end result is still oxidation of organic matter.

Takes maybe 1 hour if the other people in the house will allow it (the largest trade off factor AGAINST baking it) at max heat. Stinks etc.

But takes one hour.....

Shallow pan and soil outside after 2-3 weeks works dandy, boiling it also works, again same issue and stinky soil.

Bacteria will change dramatically after you submersed the soil in the tank and re expose the anaerobic species to air(they will die) or well oxygenated water. No way around this.

Actually there is.

You can submersed the soil and mineralize the soil in situ in the tank itself and do a dry start method. This way you have a shallow submersed soil layer and the plants also get a good jump and establish root systems prior to flooding.

Then that bacterial colony is maintained well once you add more water over top the sediment. But that's about the only way.

Integrating DSM and MTS is a no brainer. If you are into the whole bacteria thing anyway.

Kills two birds with 1 stone.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 01:06 AM
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How about in the winter months... I imagine the bacteria don't work well in the freezing weather. Is the only option to bake? This is relevant to me since I just picked up a frozen bag of dirt yesterday.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by p.lewis View Post
How about in the winter months... I imagine the bacteria don't work well in the freezing weather. Is the only option to bake? This is relevant to me since I just picked up a frozen bag of dirt yesterday.
Well, the Dry start avoids stinky and temp issues.
You can do the MTS method indoors, as long as there is an appropriate location somewhere inside to add water and have it evaporate, this can lead to mold and high humidity. Particularly if you have several tanks and the temp difference outside is more than 30F.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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