What would happen if i did not mineralize? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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What would happen if i did not mineralize?

So, what would happen if i did not mineralize top soil?
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 05:52 PM
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You would have a planted soil tank.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...-soil-sub.html
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 06:03 PM
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you end up with all the organics which when they decompose can go anaerobic.

you also end up with any fertilizers, chemicals or pesticides that have ever been in contact with your soil and not leeched out.


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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 07:03 PM
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I use top soil with a few certs under it. Its 1" topped off with 2 to 3" of silica sand. Never got any anaerobic spots. The plants that root help. Had this setup almost a year now

I just didn't have the time or the space to mineralize


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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wearsbunnyslippers View Post
you end up with all the organics which when they decompose can go anaerobic.

you also end up with any fertilizers, chemicals or pesticides that have ever been in contact with your soil and not leeched out.
Sorry but not


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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 03:24 AM
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You want the organics to decompose. It provides nutrients to your plants and CO2.
This is a link to the forum dedicated to the Walstad style Natural Planted Tank (nonmineralized dirt substrate).
I fell in love with the concept because its low maintenace, cheap as dirt (literally), and grows plants amazingly well.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 04:38 AM
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I use it in my high tech tank.


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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 04:44 AM
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Ive used it or some version of it since the early 90s. It works great, but is never a total package.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-13-2011, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
Sorry but not
Sorry but yes?

The point in the mineralization is to take the organic matter in soil and let bacteria decompose it, the by product being fertile minerals that are easily absorb able by plants and not available to algae and bacteria.

The anaerobic part is also possible, but it would depend on whats in the soil.

I don't know if mineralization will take out fertilizers or pesticides though so it might be a good idea to choose Organic topsoil.

Not mineralizing the topsoil can result in cloudy water and a lot of algae, as well as wasting much of the nutrients that the plants could be using.


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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 12:11 AM
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Sorry but yes?

The point in the mineralization is to take the organic matter in soil and let bacteria decompose it, the by product being fertile minerals that are easily absorb able by plants and not available to algae and bacteria.

The anaerobic part is also possible, but it would depend on whats in the soil.

I don't know if mineralization will take out fertilizers or pesticides though so it might be a good idea to choose Organic topsoil.

Not mineralizing the topsoil can result in cloudy water and a lot of algae, as well as wasting much of the nutrients that the plants could be using.
PLEASE! Don't say all this to loud or the easiest to maintain tanks in my home will fall apart. There is no debate to be had here, thousands of people have done this. It's one of the oldest (oldest NOT outdated) ways of keeping planted tanks.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 04:46 AM
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The time I tried this, with river silt, the only bad effect was the smell. For a week or two the house smelled a lot like a swamp was just outside the window. But, the plants loved it, and I still consider it the best substrate I ever used. Mine was topped with Soilmaster, which may have helped some by having a high CEC.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 05:22 AM
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People use potting soil, with fertilizers added, all the time. Top soil should have less problems than that. However, it seems with potting soil, non mineralized, it either works or it is a mess, according to other people. That's fine if you have other tanks to enjoy and have time to restart, etc. On the flip side, my MTS doesn't seem to do the trick and after 3 months, many of my plants haven't adapted. I know some species just don't take in much or anything through their roots but it didn't work so well for me. No problem, I still just do EI dosing and have a little room for missing a few days.

-Matt

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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zareth View Post
Sorry but yes?

1) The point in the mineralization is to take the organic matter in soil and let bacteria decompose it, the by product being fertile minerals that are easily absorb able by plants and not available to algae and bacteria.

2) The anaerobic part is also possible, but it would depend on whats in the soil.

I don't know if mineralization will take out fertilizers or pesticides though so it might be a good idea to choose Organic topsoil.

3) Not mineralizing the topsoil can result in cloudy water and a lot of algae, as well as wasting much of the nutrients that the plants could be using.
The Diana Walstad published method is not the answer for everyone's taste in tank keeping but to deny they work consistently if her methods are followed seems silly. It's just that most miss something simple in the process or get in a hurry.

Answering this post is as easy as one, two, and three.
1) As the decomposition rate of the organics changes from a dry to a submerged state the organic matter in the soil is broken down by the bacteria (decomposing it) and creating CO2 freely available to the plants as a byproduct. The resulting minerals are easily absorbed by the plants and not available to algae because they are contained in the substrate by the capping material. The submerged decomposition also delays the availability of all the nutrients which I think may be why mine outlasted the MTS.

2) An anaerobic condition is always possible with a deep substrate even plain sand, it has nothing to do with what's in the soil but the O2 content.

3) Cloudy water and a lot of algae can occur in any new tank so that's just a blanket statement related to aquariums and has nothing to do with soil, MTS or natural. People post about cloudy water when they're tanks contain nothing but off the shelf bag substrates all the time. The wasting of the nutrients that the plants could be using simply doesn't occur if the tank is properly set up. You can't use cow manure or tree bark but clean natural soils are very useful in our hobby.
Quote:
Originally Posted by talontsiawd View Post
People use potting soil, with fertilizers added, all the time. Top soil should have less problems than that. However, it seems with potting soil, non mineralized, it either works or it is a mess, according to other people. That's fine if you have other tanks to enjoy and have time to restart, etc. On the flip side, my MTS doesn't seem to do the trick and after 3 months, many of my plants haven't adapted. I know some species just don't take in much or anything through their roots but it didn't work so well for me. No problem, I still just do EI dosing and have a little room for missing a few days.
I started two tanks within a week of each other. MTS 110g and Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Soil 55g. While the lighting and tank volumes aren't exactly the same, the capping material, plants and water parameters are very similar.
About six months after the start the MTS tank started having issues. Added substrate ferts and eliminated the problems. Today, 1 year 9 months since the fill and the soil sub is still additive free and growing plants.


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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 09:09 PM
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+2 wkndracer. Ive used it for years before ever discovering MTS. I really cant believe all of the people who buy bags of dirt. Must be city folks.

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-15-2011, 05:37 PM
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Good ol' Iowa prairie topsoil has worked wonders for me. I didn't even know what mineralizing was when I did my first tank. I just figured wetting and drying the soil would off-gas some ammonia, make all of the iron oxidize, and reduce leaching into the water column.
I don't like using potting mixes because its not even soil. Potting mix doesn't even grow terrestrial plants well by itself. It is just supposed to be a medium for holding fertilizers.
Grab A Shovel!!! The best aquatic plant substrate you have ever had is under your feet!
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