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Old 12-08-2012, 09:23 PM   #1
The Big Buddha
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Dirt Experts... I need Help !


Quick question for the dirt masters.

I am starting a new 10G Planted, I want try MTS Capped with black diamond.
At the end of the summer/fall I decided to start prepping some MTS. I bought the recommended bag of Miracle Gro, when I started the process the bag ended up to be probably 80% of wood and mulch that floated to the top. I ended up just dumping it in the garden and gave up.

The cold is here, my garage is unheated so the whole MTS process isn't an option right now. Is there any options to still go the dirt tank route?

Any help and suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:12 AM   #2
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you could buy the aluminum pans from the grocery store and wet/dry by baking it...you could boil it stove top...or just put it in your tank and mineralize it in your tank

any of those methods would work...

my personal favorite is to mineralize it in the tank...though you'll need to watch your ammonia levels initially (and it will smell like a swamp to begin with until it smells Earthy -takes about a week)
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:36 PM   #3
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What exactly is the process to mineralize it in the tank?
Thanks.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
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What exactly is the process to mineralize it in the tank?
Thanks.
Buy the same bag of wood chips you wrongly selected the first time and dump it in the tank and cap it. LOL easy enough.
Look at any of my tank threads and the setup is all in the first couple pages.
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:22 PM   #5
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1. Open bag of MGOPS

2. Dump in tank

3. Cap

4. Watch plants grow

5. RAOK the spoils.

6. Repeat.

Remineralize what.? Dont complicate yourself too much with this. Yes, you can sift the stuff to remove the wood chips, but they wont bother you unless you uproot, and then its nothing a good netting wont solve.

My 20L has it sits currently:

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Old 12-09-2012, 03:32 PM   #6
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Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix

MGOCPM (potting mix) contains soil and a large portion of organic material (55-65% by volume). Sphagnum peat moss, composted bark fines, leaves, twigs, wood chips etc. and "pasteurized poultry litter" (cooked chicken crap).

or mix up the following;

50% composted tree barks and fines, 30% sphagnum peat moss and 20% worm casting. Powdered clay can also be added to the mix if you like.

Manure tends to spike ammonia early on in a rather rich release. Stay away from manure rich mixes.

About a 1.5 to 2" layer of the mix capped with 1 to 1.5" of fine gravel or coarse sand.

Using either one moving rooted plants you have to work slowly moving things around and pulling plants.
tip; setting up the tank hold back a sandwich baggie full of capping material for added touch ups as needed, much later I find it hard to find a good color match. Bang for the buck and the least effort go dirt because it works
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borikuan View Post
1. Open bag of MGOPS

2. Dump in tank

3. Cap

4. Watch plants grow

5. RAOK the spoils.

6. Repeat.

Remineralize what.? Dont complicate yourself too much with this. Yes, you can sift the stuff to remove the wood chips, but they wont bother you unless you uproot, and then its nothing a good netting wont solve.

My 20L has it sits currently:

I literally did these steps and it's true once it's capped your good until you try moving a Plant then your gonna have to do a couple of back to back water changes.

I also have 1 CAE that likes to remind me there's dirt under my cap every night but it doesn't the tank at all just annoying
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:14 PM   #8
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+1 for the MGOPM capped with sand. If your having problems when you move plants, you need to have less Dirt and more cap-your gonna want at least 1.5" of cap at all times, probably between 0.5-1.0" of dirt on the bottom, Also, it helps if you hydrate the dirt before you cap it, that way you don't get chunks of dry soil shooting to the surface when you fill the tank.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:30 PM   #9
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I think the "mineralize" thing has gotten way off track. The idea was to breakdown topsoil and eliminate organic material. So you wanted to AVOID soil mixes that were very high in organics. Miracle Grow is the wrong way to start when you're mineralizing. Some of the cheapest topsoil mix at your local home improvement center is a better starting place than MG. See the article that I think is the originator of mineralization (Arron Talbot's post at AquarticPlantCentral) here.

What you're thinking of doing with Miracle Grow is the method that Diana Walstad started. Over at APC, it's referred to as "el Natural".
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Big Buddha View Post
The cold is here, my garage is unheated so the whole MTS process isn't an option right now. Is there any options to still go the dirt tank route?

Any help and suggestions would be appreciated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickRS View Post
I think the "mineralize" thing has gotten way off track. The idea was to breakdown topsoil and eliminate organic material. So you wanted to AVOID soil mixes that were very high in organics. Miracle Grow is the wrong way to start when you're mineralizing. Some of the cheapest topsoil mix at your local home improvement center is a better starting place than MG. See the article that I think is the originator of mineralization (Arron Talbot's post at AquarticPlantCentral) here.

What you're thinking of doing with Miracle Grow is the method that Diana Walstad started. Over at APC, it's referred to as "el Natural".
The OP asked for other options to MTS and received them. Diana Walstad added the details of why things happen but she's not the originator of the "method", she followed up on the works of others, detailed it, and was published. In fact several have said the organic content of the MGOCPM is too much based on her method guide. Hope this doesn't drift into that (conversation).
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2012 update adding table top pleco pans & a 90g (Nutz)
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:19 PM   #11
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If the chicken poop in MGOPS is already baked, isn't that essentially mineralized? None the less we'll think of the Miracle grow method as more of a different way to skin the cat, and would not count as mineralized top soil.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:34 PM   #12
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If the chicken poop in MGOCPM is already baked,
sterilized by heat, eliminating animal feces bacterial issues.
'chicken poop' gives it the initial NO3 boost needed until good bacteria start working on the organic content.
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2012 update adding table top pleco pans & a 90g (Nutz)

Last edited by wkndracer; 12-09-2012 at 11:47 PM.. Reason: life
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:46 PM   #13
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The reason you buy MGOCPM is so that you don't have to mineralize it. You can simple just dump about 1 inch of it into your tank and cap off with your substrate of choice. I'd be really sure when planting that's the scape you want as often when the plants take root, uprooting it would cause a whole spew of mess for you and the fish.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:56 AM   #14
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Wow, thanks for all the great help on a question that has probably been asked a hundred times. I will give this a try with mgocpm and the black diamond. How long before re adding the fish? I will be using an already cycled filter. Do I need to be monitoring anything special?

Thanks wkndracer and everyone who posted.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:10 AM   #15
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The reason you buy MGOCPM is so that you don't have to mineralize it. You can simple just dump about 1 inch of it into your tank and cap off with your substrate of choice. I'd be really sure when planting that's the scape you want as often when the plants take root, uprooting it would cause a whole spew of mess for you and the fish.
yeah I am living proof of this as I cant seem to keep my hands out of the tank and am always rearranging things
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