MTS - halfway finished and winter hit - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2010, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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MTS - halfway finished and winter hit

I started MTS several times this summer and after one attempt with a bag of virtually sticks and sand, one almost finished project that ended up as a kitty litter box for the neighbors' cat, I started a new project. I got through to cycles of cleaning, drying and rinsing, and then it got too cold to go further. It is sitting in a bucket waiting for warmer weather.

I can't bring it indoors to finish, as our basement gets water and there is not other place to lay it out.

My question is pretty stupid, but I want to make sure I am thinking correctly. I can just leave it alone and finish the project when it warms up enough for the mud not to turn into ice, right? Or is the process ruined? I am almost certain it will be fine, but I want to be assured, I guess.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2010, 11:47 AM
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You can just leave it. Its just dirt.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-21-2010, 01:56 PM
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OR,,, you could just put in a tank, cap it and let nature finish the process by loading the tank with a ton of fast growing plants and a few fish.


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 03:28 AM Thread Starter
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You can just leave it. Its just dirt.
I figured as much. I am over thinking this as usual.

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OR,,, you could just put in a tank, cap it and let nature finish the process by loading the tank with a ton of fast growing plants and a few fish.
Your tank is quite lovely, and I am tempted to do this. However, I am already invested in this MTS process this far, I am determined to finish it. At least I have a few months to figure out what I want to use as a topper.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 03:30 AM
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Space heater? Or leaving it on the coffee table as the living room centerpiece would work, providing your guests were fairly progressive.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 03:35 AM
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Sara, I live in a small apartment and I did mine in a tote that slides under the bed. Take as much water as you can off and let it dry. It'll be fine and mine produced no noticeable smell at all. Lol. I actually have some going right now. Im experimenting with a blackwater crypt mix this winter.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 03:49 AM
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I am already invested in this MTS process this far, I am determined to finish it.
I thought creating MTS was a faster way of doing what nature naturally does anyways with topsoil? Well... and it also removes some of the stuff which will make the substrate anaerobic and funky if it's not able to get any oxygen...? LOL I guess I have more questions than answers. I think you are losing more time by not doing anything with the soil than you would be by using it before it is "complete". When it gets warmer out you can just make some more in a few days. Just think of all the weeks of planted goodness you might be able to muster out of your mix before then! I basically filled a bucket with topsoil and scolding hot water, got rid of the floating debris, 2nd day i filled it with cold water simply b/c something in my head reminded me that cold water holds more DO than hot water (not really sure how that helps but i figured it can't be a bad thing even though the water is only in the bucket for a day or so for the particles to settle so i can rinse and repeat the process). I used some of the soil in a small container (temporarily placed inside an empty fish tank) b/c I got impatient. I put a layer down and then capped it with eco-complete and then put DHG belem and HC in it... My original intention was to mix the soil up with pool filter sand, maybe add a small 1/2" layer of pure Pool filter sand and then cap that with eco-complete(i like the black look of the substrate).

So yea... lol... where am I going with this...?


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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I think if I brought the dirt in the house right now, it would get used by my cats. LOL at the coffee table idea. I could imagine that actually. Truthfully, I am working so much right now, I don't really have time to mess with it. I am just glad it isn't ruined at this point.

Actually, the tote idea is a good one. I wonder how many I would need for 50 pounds of dirt...

Oogly, you crack me up. TPT is so much funnier with you around.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 05:48 PM
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Not a problem at all to wait. If you are short of time for the project this is certainly one material that is just fine later.
I would drain off as much water as possible so it won't go anaerobic on you, though most bacteria are not very active in the winter.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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I was actually fortunate enough to have it dry out in time, so it is in dirt form in a container. I almost think it could be used already, but I am being extra cautious.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 09:02 PM
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I was actually fortunate enough to have it dry out in time, so it is in dirt form in a container. I almost think it could be used already, but I am being extra cautious.
I think you should use whatever soil you have left in its current state, mix in a little bit of pool filter sand so it's not so rich, cap it with either the pool filter sand or whatevre substrate you want to see on the top... then do a dry start method and grow out some sort of carpet. In 4-8 weeks the soil should be fully mature, your carpet will look great and you can then fill it with water and add fish!


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 10:21 PM
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I second Oogly's suggestion. A dry start lets the soil finish mineralizing as the plants start to grow.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Good idea. Only, I have to tear down the tank and rebuild it in the same day as I am just moving fish.

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-24-2010, 02:48 AM
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Hmm... don't happen to have a time warp available, huh?

Could you do a dry start in gardening containers, perhaps flats that flowers or ground cover comes in? Wrap the whole thing in a plastic bag- clear, of course- to maintain humidity.

When it is time to make the move to the tank cut the flats of plants into several pieces and set them in like a jig-saw puzzle.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-24-2010, 05:39 AM
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Can you put your livestock in a bucket with the filter running in it during the DSM period? I also like Diana's idea about the jigsaw puzzle. We are not giving up on you yet Sarah


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