Speeding up the process of mineralized top soil
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:12 PM   #1
Cinbos
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Speeding up the process of mineralized top soil


Can I speed up the process of drying out the top soil by putting it in the oven? Not sure I have the time nor patience to wait for it to dry on a tarp outside.

Could I also do without Potash and dolomite. These are quite hard to find around my area. I have called hardware, pottery and arts and crafts stores, as well as gardening stores.
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:13 PM   #2
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Or could I just go with other substrates like aquasoil, eco complete, etc etc.? I have never kept dirt nor any of these substrates before. I have always had pool filter sand. Its time to change for my 55 gal low tech and 10 gal high tech.
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:37 PM   #3
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You are probably going to get different answers here. I like to keep things simple. I just added organic potting soil and capped it with one of the fancy planted tank gravel mixed with sand (50-50). So far my plants have thrived. I did have a tanis problem for like 1 month, but now it's fine.


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Old 02-23-2013, 03:48 PM   #4
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I am just so confused with exactly what type of potting/top soil to use for a dirted tank. When I go to home depot or lowes I get lost in what I am trying to find. I see organic and that should be great, but then some have manure, and then I see others and I am not sure if it has fertilizer or any other compounds in them.

Not only am I confused with what soil to use, but also with how to go about planting it. I understand adding different elements like clay and potash, but then what do I do, just add, plant and then fill with water? I have read that dirt gives off ammonia and bacteria when first added to a tank. I would really like to avoid this, because I am one of those "now" type of people. I have no patience to let soil air dry on a tarp, or let is soak in a tank for a month to get rid of the bacteria and ammonia.

PLease some help, because I would like to switch my 55 gallon over to dirt with pool filter sand as the cap, and also I am going to start up a 10 gallon high tech...this is all for the benefit of the plants, but I also do not want to have any ill affects on my fish too.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:49 PM   #5
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Lastly, people keep saying "organic" or just top soil. What type, brand, and what ingredients? So I know what to look for when I go to the hardware stores.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:36 PM   #6
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Hello!

I am currently running two small tanks with different soils trying to find out what soil to use in a bigger dirt setup.

One of the tanks use a soil with no added fertilizers, this tank have been running for about 23 days. The tank is doing very good, and everything seems to thrive. There was a lot of bubbels from the soil the first days, but that have stopped. But there is occasionaly some biiiig bubbles of gasses rising up through the substrate now and then. This happening makes sand laying on the leaves on the plants nearbye, but it seems to be only sand, not soil that is realesed to the water column.

The other tank used a soil with actually 30% cow manure. This tank has only be running for five days, but i se there is a difference in behavior comparing to the other tank. There is no bubbles what so ever so far in this tank, this soil looks to me behave somewhat more stable.

Both tanks have zero ammonia readings, and both tanks seem to have the same GH as my tap water.

I really think the most important thing to do when starting a soil tank is to plant heavily, just choose the soil that your dealer have that seems best to you.

By the way both tanks used sand as cap.

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Old 02-23-2013, 06:41 PM   #7
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I think I may go with one of those aquarium plant substrates. I do realize I may be spending a bit more, but it will for sure be less of a headache for me. Plus I will also know nothing nothing harmful is going into my tank to affect any fish or shrimp that will be added. I am just going to shell out about 30-40 bucks for both my 55 gallon and 10 gallon. All I know for sure is that any of those substrates (eco-complete, flourite, and floramax) will be wayyyyy better than the pool filter sand I have in my 55 currently. My plants slowly look as if something is missing, and that would be it. They simply need a better substrate.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:16 PM   #8
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Mineralized top soil is essentially free. You can dig up the topsoil yourself, not buy it. You can get a lifetime supply of KCl, or potash, for very little, or even buy it at the grocery store as a salt substitute. The dolomite can come from a landscape rock yard, and for the quantity we need would cost around a dollar. But, the downside of this is the work and time involved. Even that can be shortened a bit by baking the topsoil in the oven to mineralize it. It will probably stink, will probably upset your significant other, and the time/temperature required isn't widely known - I don't know it, for example.

Or, you can buy ADA Aquasoil Amazonia, and not have any work involved.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:00 PM   #9
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I am in the process of making it myself. I just got top soil from home depot. Made sure it just said top soil. It does not say anything like peat moss on it. I think it was 1.25 a bag. You don't want scotts top soil as that has peat moss in it.

I ordered the potashe from amazon and clay online as well. Still trying to find dolomite, either local places don't have it or they only have powder.

I sifted all the top soil first, read several posts that will help out in the end. Can use wire screen or my wife has one of these nice wire screen sifters for food..shhh don't tell her I am using it.

Mine now soaking in big storage bin I picked up at local junk-mart, I plan to let it soak for 2 days, drain it off, then do it again for 2 days, before I start to put it on tarp to dry out a few times. Looks like it going to be nice week here in NC, so should be good weather for it to dry.

Once it ready I hope next weekend, I will then cap it with sand once it in my tank.

I never done it before either, but really not that difficult.

Follow this article, it really all you need to do.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=152027
Hope that helps.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:19 PM   #10
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Really glad to find this thread and the helpful info on mineralized top soil
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:59 PM   #11
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There might be 50 threads on Miracle Grow Organic Potting soil on this forum.

My suggestion is either follow the directions to build MTS and forget short cuts or go with MGOP.
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