mineralized top soil ammendment - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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mineralized top soil ammendment

I am going to be going with the MTS method probably this weekend.I am very excited.I know some of you have been doing it for awhile and I am wondering how it is going so far..I know I could peruse many,many pages and attempt to get an answer,but I am hoping that we can get this thread going as an update thread..

One thing I want to add which I am not sure anyone else has done is a layer of peatmoss..I dont know if I SHOULD ADD IT?? I dont know if I should mix it into the soil cake.( I am thinking not).Or if I should put a layer of gravel on top of the soil cake for a cap,then lay the peat,then cap again???

Thanks,
ZEN

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Originally Posted by macclellan
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 02:20 AM
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Hello Zenfish,
I sadly cannot answer all your questions, but I know that some people would not reccomend peat moss because the main objective of doing MTS is to get rid of organics and turn them into minerals, adding peat moss would be sort of redundant maybe?

But aside from that I just started the method 5 days ago, and everythings going pretty good. One thing though that you could look into is sifting the dirt from the get go, it helped alot, as the topsoil I found had many sticks and such.
Hope this helps,

Piano
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 02:29 PM
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I have not used MTS, but based on my experiences with other substrates, if you wanted to use peat moss, I'd put it on the very bottom before you put the soil in, and then cap it all together.


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 03:08 PM
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I'd skip the peat. Part of the reason for using dolomite is to help prevent the MTS from becoming too acidic, so peat will be counterproductive to this.

If you're wanting to use peat to help add tannins or acidify your water column, I'd stick a bag in your filter, instead.





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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 10:52 PM
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I have always added sphagnum peat moss to my soil substrates with good success. I started doing this years ago after reading Diana Walstad's "The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" in which she describes the role of organic material in healthy soil sediments. (However she seems to prefer kitchen compost to peat moss for acidity concerns.) But I was mainly interested in the benefits of increased biological CO2 production, and didn't have any kitchen compost on hand.

To be clear, overall, I'm talking about small amounts of peat moss added to the soil batter.... it's an additive, not a major component of the substrate.

Even without added peat moss, mulm builds up over time and integrates into the substrate - which serves the same purpose as the added peat moss; but a new setup doesn't have the mulm build-up, so this is why I opt for added peat moss when I build a new soil substrate.

Here is an excerpt from Ecology of the Planted Aquarium (pg 71-72, pg 138):

"Probably the most important bacterial process in the planted aquarium is simply the decomposition of organic matter. The gradual decomposition of organic matter by heterotrophic bacteria into plant nutrients is a natural and continuous process.
......
In aquariums containing soil, the decomposition of the soil's organic matter by bacteria can provide plants with a generous initial supply of CO2. Indeed, I calculated that an 'average' soil substrate would provide the plants with enough CO2 for about 11 months (see page 83).
.....
Well-decayed organic matter (e.g. kitchen compost) is a good soil amendment, because unlike peat moss, it has a relatively neutral pH. The compost can be mixed with the soil when the tank is first set up. I would probably not mix peat moss -because of its strong acidity- with soil. (The acidity may bring toxic levels of heavy metals into the soil solution.)"


But this acidity warning didn't stop me too much. To be sure, I had my soil analyzed by a lab and confirmed the overall nutrient content, its pH, the lack of heavy metals, and also the percentage of organic material due to the added peat moss.



Cheers!

Jeremy Squires, Toronto, ON
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Ok thanks all for the reply..Guess I will leave the peat out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macclellan
The Advanced ballast is slightly more advanced than the Workhorse ballast, although not quite as much of a workhorse...
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