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Old 02-26-2013, 05:22 PM   #16
gene4christ
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After sifting it I just got it to the consistency of thick gravy and then put it in the tank . Think mud pie's . :^)
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:08 PM   #17
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Is laterite necessary with dirted tanks? I plant on using potash, and clay, along with this potting mix.

According to Walstad, the dirt alone will provide plenty of iron. I believe she also suspected one tank failure due to excessive iron in a tank that was both dirted and supplemented with laterite, but I'm not certain. (and I don't have the book to reference right now).
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:32 PM   #18
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I actually went with Miracle grow organic mix mixed with clay and capped it with large sized gravels. After months and months of water changes I still got a tank that's brown leeching from the dirt. I just planted heavily so we will see over time if the water will clear up once the plants take in the nutrients. Not sure at this point whether if this is good way of doing it still or not.

One lesson learned if you go this route is that you should add water slowly until it's fully soaked. Then you want to press it down so all the loose stuff doesn't come to the surface. You want to add water very very very very slowly and carefully. I used a cup to pour the water in so it doesn't hit the surface and cause it to go everywhere. You will want to cap it after that and very slowly add the remainder of the water. After you finish adding the water you will want to use a cup and remove the stuff that floats at the top.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:48 AM   #19
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Just put a shopping bag on the water surface and pour water into the middle of it. This will prevent the dirt or substrate from being disturbed while pouring.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:54 AM   #20
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Default Miracle gro organic choice potting mix or MTS

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Just put a shopping bag on the water surface and pour water into the middle of it. This will prevent the dirt or substrate from being disturbed while pouring.
I have seen that from some of the green machine videos. He also uses newspaper as well.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:20 PM   #21
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Fwiw I just threw in ~2 inches of MGOPM, capped it with 1 inch of eco complete, put a medium sized bowl at the bottom to keep it from getting disturbed when filling, filled it halfway, planted it, finished filling it up and netted out any large floating debris. I added fish the same day. No fish loss, no algae at all. It's been 4 months.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:55 PM   #22
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Fwiw I just threw in ~2 inches of MGOPM, capped it with 1 inch of eco complete, put a medium sized bowl at the bottom to keep it from getting disturbed when filling, filled it halfway, planted it, finished filling it up and netted out any large floating debris. I added fish the same day. No fish loss, no algae at all. It's been 4 months.
That good to know. I think at this point I am going to take the long painful process of going with MTS. I have always wanted to setup a tank with MTS and I finally found place that sould me plain old soil. I bought 6 5 gallon buckets full yesterday, cost me 4 dollars. It in the soaking process now. We shall see how it goes.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:34 PM   #23
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Finishing up my MTS. I used earthgro topsoil from Home Depot. It had quite a bit of sticks and bark, but after 4 soak and dries, and a good sifting with window screen. The consistency, color, and smell lead me to believe its ready. 80 # starting weight looks to have made just enough for a 1" layer in my 75 gal when it's all said and done. If I had to do it all over again, I'd have just used miracle grow and called it a day. This MTS making is such a pain in the neck, but the results I've seen from other users were just too convincing.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:38 PM   #24
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Finishing up my MTS. I used earthgro topsoil from Home Depot. It had quite a bit of sticks and bark, but after 4 soak and dries, and a good sifting with window screen. The consistency, color, and smell lead me to believe its ready. 80 # starting weight looks to have made just enough for a 1" layer in my 75 gal when it's all said and done. If I had to do it all over again, I'd have just used miracle grow and called it a day. This MTS making is such a pain in the neck, but the results I've seen from other users were just too convincing.
Thanks for sharing. I have really been torn between the MTS and miracle gro, but now that I have found soil I need, I am going with the MTS.

How long did it take for you to complete? Mine on day 2 of first soak, I plan to empty it and put it on tarp to dry saturday then repeat 3 more times, then sift. We have rain the next few days, so I might just have to put it in my garage to dry, which might take longer.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:06 PM   #25
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No prob! I had done this once before using dirt I dug from the yard, but our area is just sand and clay. I am now thinking it was the root tabs that contributed to my original success.

This time, it took me 5 total soak and dry cycles. As far as days? Not sure. Couple weeks I guess. But we have had rain and freezes lately. I could have gotten it done in a week if this was summertime. This dirt was perfect. Had a good amount of sticks, but once those are sifted out I have a dark dark brown very dense muddy soup. Perfect. The first 3 wet stages stunk horribly like swamp water but now it just has a faint "outdoor earthy" smell if that makes sense. I soaked it in a tub using tank water, for a day or two at a time, and have been spreading it on a tarp to dry.

I found muriate of potash at a local feed store, and bought a box of API laterite for the clay portion (expensive, but couldn't find the right potters clay locally, it'll work). We also don't have any dolomite, so I'm using well rinsed crushed coral from my reef tank, and some Epsom salt for the Ca and Mg.

I had a local irrigation supply store order me a 50# bag of Turface natural pro league as my cap. By my calculations, with my rocks and driftwood, I should be able to have a 1" layer of MTS and about 2.5" of cap. Hopefully it works well!

My tank has been running for years and is already stocked but just has play sand and mosses. Wanting to go with the overgrown dense jungle look with tons of stems and a big sword. Hoping to remove the tanks contents and get the change over done in one quick sitting.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:49 PM   #26
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Default Miracle gro organic choice potting mix or MTS

Marc,

So I went ahead and took the plunge and bought 1 bag of fluorite and 2 bags of floramax. Expensive, yes, but I got tired of jumping around and it wasn't worth the headache for me.

I also bought Amaco Red Natural Clay from Michael's. We'll see if that works. Also I am using aragonite crushed coral in place of the dolomite. I will sprinkle the grounded up coral and muriate of potash on the base and place the rinsed fluorite and floramax mixed with clay on the top and then cap it with cycled pool filter sand from my current tanks. A bit expensive but my plants should have plenty to eat! I will also run DIY Co2 and dose periodically with the dry ferts I have. When you get everything up and running let me know, we can judge each others tanks over time! I should have mine set up around next week. I have the clay sitting out to dry, and Sunday and Monday I will work on getting everything (aragonite, and floramax) rinsed.

Cheers!
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:09 PM   #27
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Marc,

So I went ahead and took the plunge and bought 1 bag of fluorite and 2 bags of floramax. Expensive, yes, but I got tired of jumping around and it wasn't worth the headache for me.

I also bought Amaco Red Natural Clay from Michael's. We'll see if that works. Also I am using aragonite crushed coral in place of the dolomite. I will sprinkle the grounded up coral and muriate of potash on the base and place the rinsed fluorite and floramax mixed with clay on the top and then cap it with cycled pool filter sand from my current tanks. A bit expensive but my plants should have plenty to eat! I will also run DIY Co2 and dose periodically with the dry ferts I have. When you get everything up and running let me know, we can judge each others tanks over time! I should have mine set up around next week. I have the clay sitting out to dry, and Sunday and Monday I will work on getting everything (aragonite, and floramax) rinsed.

Cheers!

Cool keep me updated. I am on first day of drying, and really not happy person right now. What a mess it has made of my yard. With working 12 hours a day, this is going to be a real pain in the butt.

I know it can be baked, which I am considering at this time, and already have the OK from the wife, she even offered to help.

What I don't know is do I bake it once, and then sift it, or do I still have to let it soak several times, and bake it again.

May cap is going to be flourite black sand. I need to figure out something soon, as my stand is going to be ready middle of the week to bring in, and I am getting tired of waiting.
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:25 PM   #28
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For those of you participating/following/in the process of making your MTS, what is your tanks Ph? My local water comes out at 8.2 and is strongly buffered. Lots of people say you can keep plants with that water chemistry but plenty of us locals have done it just fine. My issue is the dolomite addition.

As mentioned I was going to use crushed coral and Epsom salt in the place of dolomite. But the more I read, it's primary purpose seems to be for ph elevation of the substrate, so it doesn't get too acidic. My water Ph is such though that it doesn't seem to be necessary for me to use it? Anyone with higher ph skip the dolomite addition?
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:43 PM   #29
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I don't know to be honest. Only thing, I know is that the more I read the more confused I get.

I could not find dolomite either.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:34 PM   #30
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I don't know to be honest. Only thing, I know is that the more I read the more confused I get.

I could not find dolomite either.
Aint that the truth?! I am using crushed coral in placed of dolomite for my substrate.
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