Mineralized Top Soil Substrate - Page 68 - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1006 of 1062 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 03:07 PM
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Been reading this thread with great interest & I'm planning on converting my Evolve 8 into a mud tank using this method/recipe. I'm lucky enough to have a family lakehouse up in NH, and have fond memories of mining clay from the lake bed as a kid - would it be possible to use this clay in the recipe? I really don't know anything about the clay's composition except that it's greenish, very dense with very fine granules, and is found under ~1inch of sand on the bottom of Lake Spofford in southern New Hampshire.
Thanks!
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post #1007 of 1062 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 10:13 PM
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Can anyone suggest a natural colored sand that will not be too small to top the MTS?

I have white play sand now but when I dirt my tank I will be changing it out, because the particles are too small.
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post #1008 of 1062 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 07:07 AM
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Is smell really just the way to know whether the soil is successfully mineralized? Cause I can't smell anything from the soil now despite that I just gathered it yesterday. I gathered it under some bushes.
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post #1009 of 1062 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 04:24 PM
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It's good to do 4-5 cycle just to be sure its done.
Better hurry cause summer is closing to an end.
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post #1010 of 1062 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 05:50 PM
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Summer's long over in our side of the world we're well into monsoon season now. =b
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post #1011 of 1062 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 02:26 AM
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Having just done the substrate tonight, I can offer the following 'protips':
  • 50G tank requires approximately 50% of one bag of soil
  • Clay - do this ahead of time...way ahead of time
  • 0.5-0.75" of MTS (recommended) really seems like nothing
  • Laying MTS/dolomite/potash around hardscape is... difficult...strongly recommend placing hardscape on top of gravel - assuming no digger fish

Hopefully I've done everything right and we get lovely sustainable plant growth.
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post #1012 of 1062 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 03:02 AM
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One of the longest thread Ive seen.

Its good to a have hard copy prints for reference when setting up new tank in the future.
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post #1013 of 1062 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 10:51 PM
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Buying MTS

Hello. I was very excited to try this method after I accidentaly bought a 20 gallon tank and a few accesories to go with it. Actually, I have tried it twice, but can't get past the second rinse because Florida's weather is bipolar. In fact, it has been raining for the past 2 weeks. I am moving to a smaller place, so it looks like I won't be able to do this myself.

Is anyone selling MTS? Or, has anyone bought from bamaplants? I really want to go with this method, but mother nature is not letting me so far
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post #1014 of 1062 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 01:44 AM
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Hi all.

I'm really interested in trying this method but am stuck as to what you are buying as 'top soil'. What I call top soil if I dug it from my garden or paddock could not be 'washed' as it is dirt and would be all gone.

Could someone post a pic of what it looks like? I mean the actual soil you are buying in the bag. I know Aaron's original method has a picture of the bag but it is not a lot of use to someone in another country with different brands/products etc.

Linds
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post #1015 of 1062 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 01:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer View Post
Hi all.

I'm really interested in trying this method but am stuck as to what you are buying as 'top soil'. What I call top soil if I dug it from my garden or paddock could not be 'washed' as it is dirt and would be all gone.

Could someone post a pic of what it looks like? I mean the actual soil you are buying in the bag. I know Aaron's original method has a picture of the bag but it is not a lot of use to someone in another country with different brands/products etc.

Linds
Linds,

Yes, that is exactly the soil you want to use. You are not washing it in the sense that you wash a car or something of that nature. You are soaking it in a bucket or other container and changing the water on top after the soil settles to the bottom. This helps to remove any fertilizers or pesticides that might reside in the soil.

Does that make more sense?

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 #1016 of 1062 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 02:09 PM
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I was torn on what topsoil to use as well. The first batch I did was made with dirt I dug myself with a shovel. It worked out ok, but the ingredients weren't all right and my soil was mostly clay sand with not nearly enough organic material to mineralize. That tank lasted about two years without need for supplementation. I JUST started my next batch but am doing it right this time.

The weather hasn't been much help to me this go around but I'm not in a huge hurry. I am using bagged topsoil this time since my local dirt is just clay sand. I went to Home Depot in the garden center department and at the very end of the line of all the bagged dirt was "earthgro topsoil"

I've read reviews of this product being used for our purposes and they are mixed. Some were successful and some said that their bag was nothing but pine bark mulch. It seems to be fairly inconsistent. I got two 40lb bags which cost me less than $4. The consistency of mine was ok. A good mixture if sandy loam, clay, and fine organics and it sports the dark color were looking for.

I just dumped them in a big plastic storage container, filed it with water, let it sit for a day. Gently poured off the water and floating material (this can be extremely heavy, 30 gallons of water isn't exactly light), and then spread the dirt over a tarp. Wait to dry, put dirt back in container, soak, repeat as necessary. You're not so much washing anything.

You're gonna sift out alot of sticks and bark in just about any topsoil you buy though so be aware. Here's a pic someone requested
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post #1017 of 1062 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 03:01 PM
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Let me preface this by saying that I am, BY NO MEANS, an expert.
I used regular dirt. My brother-in-law has a landscaping buisness and he gave me a bunch of buckets full of dirt he had removed from a job.
Anyway, I wet/washed it in one bucket and then filtered it thru screen material (like would be used for a screen window) into another bucket. I then poured off the excess water and spread out the dirt on a tarp to dry. I threw away the stuff that collected on the screen (rocks, branches, etc.).
I repeated this process about 10 times, until I was left with a fine, debris-free, soil. I then mixed it with a quantity of clay and that was it.
As I understand it, it is the wet/filter/dry process that "mineralizes" the dirt.
So, as I was told by another member, "ITS JUST DIRT". Dont sweat which dirt you are using, as long as you commit to the process of mineralizing it.
Hope this helps alittle.
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post #1018 of 1062 (permalink) Old 02-10-2013, 06:34 PM
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Anybody ever cap their mineralized topsoil with Ada Amazonia???? I may purchase a 5 gallon bucket of used Ada Amazonia but I'm in the process of mineralizing the topsoil. Would that be overkill?
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post #1019 of 1062 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 03:43 PM
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Anybody ever cap their mineralized topsoil with Ada Amazonia???? I may purchase a 5 gallon bucket of used Ada Amazonia but I'm in the process of mineralizing the topsoil. Would that be overkill?
I was thinking the exact same thing! Or would it be better to cap with something more inert like flourite?
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post #1020 of 1062 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 03:45 PM
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Shouldnt hurt other than the whole point of mineralized top soil is to spare the expense of buying an expensive pre-made substrate with same nutrients.
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