Winter MTS solutions? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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Winter MTS solutions?

I thought I had mineralized my substrate properly but I have tons of air pockets. My 4 year old Florite isn't doing it for me anymore either (and I think it caused me some problems, my tank crashed 2 years ago and has yet to recover, rinsed and reused it).

Anyway, instead of constantly proding an poking my substrate and have the same problems I used to, I just want to redo. Winter time though, what to do?

I was thinking about putting it a container inside that is long and short. I don't want the smell around so I was thinking that it should be sealed. I am thinking that this will constantly allow the bacteria to stay alive because it will be constantly drying/wetting itself. Would this work? I do not have room to lay it out and let it dry anywhere, but a self contained setup would work, I can put it in a closet or something.

Please give me some suggestions. I don't care if it takes a bit longer, over not being able to do it at all.

-Matt

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 12:42 AM
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To be honest, my MTS doesn't have a strong smell. It's on it's 3rd and final wet/dry cycle and has taken me 2.5 weeks.

What I did... Get preferably good organic topsoil.

Let it dry out a bit (in a crawl space does wonders) as they should be dry in the first place. My bag took about 3 days open to dry out enough.

Then I threw it into a bucket, put some tank water into it, just enough to make it nice and muddy, but not liquid.

Lay it out in a bin like the one you mentioned (18X24) about 1-2" thick..

Then either throw a Heat lamp over it or just wait for it to dry out a little then throw a heat lamp...


Also, good dark soil from your yard works as well. I'm using it for my 75G... make sure there's no fertilizers or contaminates in that general area though. (edge of woods works nicely.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 01:02 AM
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I got 40lb dirt in a bag from TrueValue nothing fancy. $3/bag. Split it into two 5 gallon buckets and soaked it twice and dumped out the water twice before dumping it all in a largish plastic bin heated with a 250w heat lamp in the basement. Tilted it to drain out excess water before starting the first dry. Turned it with a hand claw several times a day whenever I thought of it. Usually took 3 days to dry. Only took the addition of 1 to 1.5 gallons of water to rewet. Five cycles took a little less than two weeks. Credit to fishykid1 for the heatlamp idea. Get the heatlamp close to avoid losing energy.

Did the sift through ordinary aluminum screening yesterday and it turned out beautiful.

I'll need another bag to do my 90 and I'm working on it now.

Mine will be used for a DSM for a month or so which can't hurt.

EDIT: never had any remarkable smell. If you cover it it will likely go anoxic and the wrong bacteria will take over and you will get some seriously unpleasant smell. Keep it open, turning it will ensure that oxygen gets everywhere. Spreading out into a thin layer will work as well. I didn't have the room.

good luck

jim
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 01:23 AM
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I wouldn't cover the MTS.
I used a 8'X8' poly sheet to dry the soil and layed 2x4's on the ground as a makeshift frame to keep it from spilling across the floor. Used a fan to move air across the soil. No smell.


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 02:00 AM
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Great idea colt... If you have room :P

Jim, glad to hear yours turned out well also. I let mine get almost dry then re wet it. It would still clump if i squeezed tightly, but wouldn't leave mud on my hand.. if that makes sense.

I think I may also be doing DSM with HC thanks to a bud of mine.

EDIT: I also tried it without a heat lamp and it took me 4 days instead of 1-2. The air where I am is really dry, I'd imagine a basement is relatively damp


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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I can do anything like pictured for sure, my garage has no room (my project car is there and can't be in the elements in it's state and in Cali, I don't think basements exist lol. I may just do what I said with no lid, put that in the garage. It is only for a 29 gallon and the bin is about the same size, if I keep it down to 2 in, that should be fine as I shouldn't loose anywhere near half from rinsing.

-Matt

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 02:54 AM
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yeah, agreed. I'm making enough for a 75G tank. So I need a little more.

I look at it this way, if you need another bag, it's only 2-3$...


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, the cost is no concern for me. I just want to tear my tank down now lol, having to wait is probably a good thing though. I don't want to wait for the rain to stop, I just need to find a place to stash it for now.

-Matt

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 02:59 AM
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ive been baking mine in the oven and sifting

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 03:06 AM
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another, but more stinky method.. I tried it and it has a little smell to it.


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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by fishykid1 View Post
another, but more stinky method.. I tried it and it has a little smell to it.
ya... my girlfriend and daughter think im insane... it does smell for like the day you do it

i kinda liked the smell... kinda like an old barn...

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 03:20 AM
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The goal isn't to just dry it out. It is to provide an environment for the bacteria to grow and decompose the organics. Excessive heat isn't really doing what's necessary.

jim
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 03:35 AM
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The oven method works just fine but you don't end up with the bacteria. I did some experiments in which i used baked, baked with a little "raw" dirt mixed in, and "raw" dirt. I didn't notice much difference between the baked and the one with the "raw" soil added to seed it with bacteria so I am assuming the soil gets recolonized by bacteria fairly quickly from the air, water, and plants. These were outdoor containers so there might have been plenty of bacteria just blowing around outside to seed it quickly.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 04:09 AM
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Quote:
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The goal isn't to just dry it out. It is to provide an environment for the bacteria to grow and decompose the organics. Excessive heat isn't really doing what's necessary.

jim
Yeah, this.

I am doing this for the first time, myself. From how I understand it, getting it to dry faster isn't the goal. It does it's work while wet/damp. I could be wrong, but I think sitting there a few days damp will do a better job than quickly drying in a day.
That said, after I laid mine out in a thin layer (about 1/2") I put a space heater with a fan on it for a couple hours just until it wasn't sopping wet. Then I let it dry the rest of the way by itself.

You could get a couple of those bins, and use the covers too, then slide them under the car to dry. (Just make sure nothing is going to drip off the car into them.) I would think it is best to keep the layer under an inch deep, so it can get air. I mix them up a bit every day, too.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 02:16 AM
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so after you dry out all this soil and make it "clean" lol.. you then do what? add dry fertz to it? or?


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