I have been spending a lot of time researching substrates and needless to say i've got questions. First a little info: I will be changing over my 55g to a 75g (48"x 18" footprint). The tank now contains hundreds of cherry shrimp, 7 Amano shrimp, 7 pygmy corys, 1 oto, 1 galaxy rasbora, 1 emerald rasbora, and 1 kubotai rasobora (yes I know its a dwindling fish stock). There are a few rotala, dwarf hairgrass bellum, micro sword, and a ton of sagitaria subulata. The main failing factors in this current tank were my inability to consistently dose fertilizer and using some rocks from a local creek that i believe leeched minerals into the water causing one algae issue after another. In the new tank I plan on using and own a pressurized CO2 made by ISTA, a Coralife 48" 54w x 4 t5 HO fixture (216w total), an eheim 2236 canister filter, and a closed loop with a submersible pump to run my co reactor, inline heater, and spraybar.
That being said i would like to try the mineralized topsoil method in order to keep the tank balanced with minimal maintenance, I read the notorious recipe by Aaron Talbot posted a few years back ( http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...on-talbot.html
) and i have begun the process on some topsoil that was stored in my backyard it has very low organics, pretty rocky clay stuff. I have also read all of the post by umikazumi ( http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...neralized.html
) about a new recipe for MTS.
1. Is the pottery clay, muriate of potash and dolomite still considered to be beneficial ingredients?
2. Have the ingredients in Ukamikazu's recipe proven successful? I already have Azomite and plan on using some. The recipe seems pretty comprehensive but is all the fancy stuff worth it?
3. In a dirt setup is the high CEC gravel considered to be essential? I already own 3 bags of eco-complete I plan on using for a cap and I considered pool filter sand, more EC, or safe t sorb to mix in to make up the rest of the cap. If CEC is not essential than the PFS seems easier to work with but i'm not sure it will mix well with EC.
4. Will this low organic, rocky clay topsoil be suitable or is a more organic rich topsoil going to be more beneficial?
My plan: I plan on using the homemade MTS i am working on, mixing in laterite, finely crushed aragonite, azomite, Horticultural Charcoal, sul-po-mag if i can find it and possibly anything else that seems beneficial for a low maintenance system.
Any suggestions on keeping my livestock safe and the usefulness of my equipment would be greatly appreciated.
Hopefully I have'nt lost you by now with the long-winded post, please shoot my plan full of holes with your scientific reasoning and experience. Many Thanks in advance for help, this is obviously a confusing subject.