Worm castings. Seeking experiences from those who’ve used them - The Planted Tank Forum
 13Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 37
Worm castings. Seeking experiences from those who’ve used them

Going through some of the threads and search, it seems there are some of you who have used it, without the boiling/drying/mineralization cycle described elsewhere.

But most threads typically just cut short and say “it’s pretty new, will update later” followed by silence.

So, the question I have is, those of you who have tried worm castings without boiling them, did you encounter any issues down the line?

If I go this route, will will be doing intensive water changes the first week or two for sure and not use liquid ferts for a month. Also intend to mix it with high CEC substrate such as flourite, just to get the best of both worlds.

Any feedback/sharing or experiences?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Noob. Green noob
GeorgeGy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-05-2018, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 37
Worm castings doesn’t seem to be a popular topic eh?

Looks like I may end up taking one for the team. LOL


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Noob. Green noob
GeorgeGy is offline  
post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 06:50 AM
Planted Member
 
Kevyg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Laytonville, CA
Posts: 256
I haven't used worm castings in a tank but I have extensive knowledge of soil biology and composition as well as its effects on plants.

Let's compare this to miracle grow organic choice.

People rinse this like crazy, get the mulch and wood particles out and guess what's left? Worm castings, peat moss and sediment (they would call this natural fertilizers).

Worm castings when made correctly are extremely high in biodiversity with thousands of bacterial colonies in them. It is also pure organic matter that is predigested by worms. This creates various forms of mychorrizae and all of the biology you need to break nutrients down into a usable form for the plants.

All of that being said, I would say worm castings give you the best possible foundation for nutrients to be introduced in conjunction.

Poorly made worm castings that are not digested fully will release ammonia, nitrogen, and sulphur.

Some of the companies that have the best track record for the highest quality castings are:

#1 quality: Roots Organic Big Worm
Cascade
Eb stone (is sub par, just be wary of the ammonia release)
Locally cultivated worm castings from a farm (just remove the live worms by sifting and I would suggest following a similar practice to mineralizing if from this source)

Worm castings are very dense and mixing sand will make for more even water wicking into the substrate layers making it so air pockets are much harder to come by.

There are a ton of castings out there, just make sure you aren't getting anything from a municipal waste facility that uses worms to digest the materials people throw away in their yard bins. This means it could be motor oil, gasoline, paint thinner, you name it. People don't want it and "it's soil so... it must go in the green waste bin!"

Just... no....

If you have found worm castings that you may have questions about, I am more than happy to try and answer your questions.

All of this being said, I am planning on setting up a 20g with a nice bed of high quality worm castings mixed with sand.
(Big Worm will be my choice). This will be capped with... well something I haven't quite decided yet. Based on what I know about soil biology, it would be hard to convince me to not use worm castings as a base and add in some root tabs or osmocote pills.


Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
GeorgeGy and GeorgeGy like this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Kevyg is offline  
 
post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 07:22 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Monster Fish's Avatar
 
PTrader: (44/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Queens, NY
Posts: 3,324
I've used them before, mixed with some mineralized topsoil in a dirted 20H. It took a while for the plants to get established and initially I had a bit of algae such as bba but now the crypts and buces in the tank are growing like weeds.
Kevyg, Kevyg, GeorgeGy and 1 others like this.

The Fraternity of Dirt #112

Cryptocoryne farmer
Monster Fish is offline  
post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 01:52 AM
Planted Member
 
Kevyg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Laytonville, CA
Posts: 256
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeGy View Post
Worm castings doesn’t seem to be a popular topic eh?

Looks like I may end up taking one for the team. LOL


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I guess you're right there GeorgeGy. Seems like there really isn't must interest...

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
GeorgeGy and GeorgeGy like this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Kevyg is offline  
post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 05:01 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Monster Fish's Avatar
 
PTrader: (44/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Queens, NY
Posts: 3,324
For my next tank I'm setting up, I'll probably use half worm castings, half ADA amazonia and see how the plants (mostly crypts) do down the line.
GeorgeGy and GeorgeGy like this.

The Fraternity of Dirt #112

Cryptocoryne farmer
Monster Fish is offline  
post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 03:47 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevyg View Post
I guess you're right there GeorgeGy. Seems like there really isn't must interest...

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk


Thanks for the detailed input, @Kevyg and the tips on what to look for.

The biodiversity you mention is exactly the reason why I don’t want to boil them. Why boil and kill all that goodness that’s in the worm castings? So, if there is no major downside to using them as is, that’s what I plan to do.

I will just do heavy and frequent water changes in the first two months or so, probably go higher on CO2 initially, as I don’t intend to add livestock for at least a month and a half, and hopefully won’t have too big an issue with algae while plants are getting established.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monster Fish View Post
I've used them before, mixed with some mineralized topsoil in a dirted 20H. It took a while for the plants to get established and initially I had a bit of algae such as bba but now the crypts and buces in the tank are growing like weeds.


Thanks for the reply Monster Fish! Did you mineralize the worm castings as well or just the topsoil?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
roadmaster and roadmaster like this.

Noob. Green noob

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-09-2018 at 03:23 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts
GeorgeGy is offline  
post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 03:52 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Nubster's Avatar
 
PTrader: (17/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Romney, West Virginia
Posts: 4,367
Maybe check this out if you haven't already.....https://barrreport.com/threads/earth...s-how-to.5533/
GeorgeGy and GeorgeGy like this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Nubster is offline  
post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 07:32 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
Maybe check this out if you haven't already.....https://barrreport.com/threads/earth...s-how-to.5533/

Thanks for the link!

I have. That’s the thread that got me thinking about worm castings.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Noob. Green noob
GeorgeGy is offline  
post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 03:12 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Monster Fish's Avatar
 
PTrader: (44/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Queens, NY
Posts: 3,324
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeGy View Post
Thanks for the reply Monster Fish! Did you mineralize the worm castings as well or just the topsoil?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Just the topsoil. The worm castings I just sprinkled into the MTS layer. According to my notes, for my 20H I used about 20 tablespoons of worm castings.
GeorgeGy and GeorgeGy like this.

The Fraternity of Dirt #112

Cryptocoryne farmer
Monster Fish is offline  
post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-15-2018, 11:36 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 819
I've heard of people using worm castings in planted tanks but never really considered them a real nutritional source for plants, although they are loaded with calcium carbonate. I use them in our outdoor garden beds to help establish soil biology. I make my own castings with red wigglers and feed them mostly partially decomposed compost... which is made from a diverse blend of vegetation. Not sure I could grown healthy plants in vermicompost (castings) alone, but they are full of beneficial bacteria, although typically aerobic in nature. The stuff I make myself drains much better with less compaction than store bought stuff. I would would stay clear of many of them, unless you know what the worms are being fed. I imagine in a planted tank with anything other than low lighting, would still require water column dosing or at least some tabs mixed in for the root feeders.
GeorgeGy and GeorgeGy like this.
madcrafted is offline  
post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by madcrafted View Post
I've heard of people using worm castings in planted tanks but never really considered them a real nutritional source for plants, although they are loaded with calcium carbonate.
Hmmm, I was under the impression that worm castings are very rich in nutrients, at least based on what I have read. Are you saying this is not the case?



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Noob. Green noob
GeorgeGy is offline  
post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 06:25 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 819
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeGy View Post
Hmmm, I was under the impression that worm castings are very rich in nutrients, at least based on what I have read. Are you saying this is not the case?



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Well, yes and no. They contain many nutrients, enzymes, bacteria, fungi, etc. but typically in smaller quantities. This is why many folks start seedlings in WCs. They are gentle enough to not burn plants. You can't overdo it. The nutrients that are provided can be utilized immediately, which is good. I'm just not sure how long they could sustain plants in the long run. I know with terrestrial plants, it's not long. Maybe 3 weeks before I started seeing plants that were topdressed with WC start showing signs of deficiency. This is why I top dress organic soil with lots of ammendments like fish meal, fish bone meal, kelp meal, alfalfa, etc. first, then I top dress them with about 2" of WC.

None of this may even matter with a planted tank, though. Many of these aquatic plants seem to require much less than their terrestrial counterparts. Apples to oranges. I'm no expert here. I've just recently started a planted tank, but I do have over 15 years of natural gardening behind my belt. While I understand quite a bit about soil microbiology, planted tanks are uncharted territory for me. I'm very interested in hearing what others have experienced using WC as substrate. If it works well, I have over 100 lbs of homemade castings sitting at home.
GeorgeGy and GeorgeGy like this.
madcrafted is offline  
post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by madcrafted View Post
Well, yes and no. They contain many nutrients, enzymes, bacteria, fungi, etc. but typically in smaller quantities. This is why many folks start seedlings in WCs. They are gentle enough to not burn plants. You can't overdo it. The nutrients that are provided can be utilized immediately, which is good. I'm just not sure how long they could sustain plants in the long run. I know with terrestrial plants, it's not long. Maybe 3 weeks before I started seeing plants that were topdressed with WC start showing signs of deficiency. This is why I top dress organic soil with lots of ammendments like fish meal, fish bone meal, kelp meal, alfalfa, etc. first, then I top dress them with about 2" of WC.



None of this may even matter with a planted tank, though. Many of these aquatic plants seem to require much less than their terrestrial counterparts. Apples to oranges. I'm no expert here. I've just recently started a planted tank, but I do have over 15 years of natural gardening behind my belt. While I understand quite a bit about soil microbiology, planted tanks are uncharted territory for me. I'm very interested in hearing what others have experienced using WC as substrate. If it works well, I have over 100 lbs of homemade castings sitting at home.

Thank you for taking the time to clarify. I do intend to use liquid ferts and will most likely supplement the substrate with Osmocote+ as well.

I just want to give the plants a head start at the beginning.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Noob. Green noob
GeorgeGy is offline  
post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 08:52 PM
Algae Grower
 
frenziedpace's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: KY
Posts: 149
Started a 5 gallon with earth worm castings capped with Safe T Sorb.
Had it running for 5 months. It didn't seem all that different to some other tanks I did with Miracle Gro organic.
GeorgeGy and GeorgeGy like this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

No sense of style, just growing.
frenziedpace is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome