Using Miracle Gro Organic Garden Soil? - The Planted Tank Forum

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Using Miracle Gro Organic Garden Soil?

I've been planning on starting an NPT soon, and saw that Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix was the recommended soil for such a thing. Unfortunately, I forgot that it was specifically potting mix that was recommended, so I ended up getting the garden soil instead. I've looked around and have seen people saying not to use it, but I have also seen others say that they have decided to use it and that it worked out for them. So since I'm not really sure about this, I thought I'd ask you guys for your opinion on this.

Should I use it? Or should I accept the mistake and go through the trouble of spending more money? I mean, if garden soil could also work, then I would see no reason to spend more money.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 11:24 PM
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I'd say make it a 1/3 or less of total substrate thickness, and keep it to tank center, cap it with sand and choose plant layout you're not going to be relocating
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-28-2013, 12:05 AM
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Problem with garden soil is it has a lot more "filler" like twigs and the such. A lot more stuff to float up and less helpful in general. You could go two ways. Do it right and do it once, or try it out and see? Garden soil would not be a waste, can always use it in your garden.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-28-2013, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I think I'm going to go the try and see route. The whole "garden soil could be used for the garden" was part of my main case toward convincing my mom to buy some. :v Unfortunately, I do not think it would work too well a 2nd time for a "you can use the extra for your potted plants!"
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-28-2013, 06:35 AM
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You can put it in a big bowl or tub, wet it really well. Let it sit for a few hours and scoop out the big floaters. Do this over and over a few times then let the soil dry a bit. Wet it again the next day, let it dry a bit more and wet one more time to dry a bit. It will take about a week if you put it outside to dry quick but by the time you do this it will be absolutely fine with little floaters by the time you are done. I did this and then mixed in half and half soil/floramax that I had left over and it's working out fine.

Before i read to do the above, we bought soil not realizing mix was better and so have a base of soil in 4 of our tanks. They have no problems, grow plants perfectly except I think they could maybe use a few root tabs for the swords I have, everything else grows great. Will bite the bullet soon and buy some root tabs but which ones to buy confuse me. Still to new to the fertilizer stuff so what should be in it makes my brain hurt.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-28-2013, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peachii View Post
You can put it in a big bowl or tub, wet it really well. Let it sit for a few hours and scoop out the big floaters. Do this over and over a few times then let the soil dry a bit. Wet it again the next day, let it dry a bit more and wet one more time to dry a bit. It will take about a week if you put it outside to dry quick but by the time you do this it will be absolutely fine with little floaters by the time you are done. I did this and then mixed in half and half soil/floramax that I had left over and it's working out fine.

Before i read to do the above, we bought soil not realizing mix was better and so have a base of soil in 4 of our tanks. They have no problems, grow plants perfectly except I think they could maybe use a few root tabs for the swords I have, everything else grows great. Will bite the bullet soon and buy some root tabs but which ones to buy confuse me. Still to new to the fertilizer stuff so what should be in it makes my brain hurt.

This is a good idea.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-28-2013, 01:42 PM
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The only reason not to use the bagged as "garden soil" product is it contains animal manure instead of sterilized poultry litter (chicken crap) in it. The garden soil when used by most accounts requires 2-3 water changes and a couple weeks to stop releasing ammonia.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-29-2013, 04:56 AM Thread Starter
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For a while there, I thought I had done something wrong since ALL the dirt had decided to float when I tried it, but then I looked again and saw you said wait a few hours.I just hope I have enough soil there.

Also, I'm assuming this process is also supposed to help with the the ammonia issue. If it doesn't completely solve it.... well, you need ammonia to begin a cycle, right?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-14-2013, 08:56 AM
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I recommend the 'silent cycle' for dealing with residual ammonia. Plants take up ammonia, faster growing stem plants take up more. If you plant like 50% of the substrate with these they will take care of the ammonia and the Nitrogen cycle will develop at its own rate.

I do see there might be a problem with the stem plants if you want to remove some later because the roots may pull up soil. Stem plants really don't have much in the way of root systems though.

This thread has been educational. I'm trying to get used to the idea of MGOPM and how to do it.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-14-2013, 03:16 PM
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I am just done flooding my tank with the garden soil. I made sure I screened out all the larger chunk until I am getting a very fine dirt with some wood chips and stems. I presoaked it in my tank for 3 days, while I am waiting for my laterite to be delivered. I kept mixing them until they are mud like texture. Cap it with some fine gravels. It has been over 24 hours now and I am not smelling anything from the water. The water is just cloudy.


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Last edited by tetra73; 07-14-2013 at 04:25 PM. Reason: typo
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