What should I add to my sand to make it richer? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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What should I add to my sand to make it richer?

I have been using pool filter sand for the past 2 years in my tank. I am gonna do a major rescape of the tank and want to add something like peat moss to help the substrate be a little more nutrient rich for the plants. What would be my best bet to add to an already established aquarium?
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 12:16 PM
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Why not just root tabs?
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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I use root tabs now, but I am getting some heavy rooted plants and I think I need more substrate to hold them down. If I am adding substrate why not add something nutritious, right?
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 01:12 PM
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I've started using Miracle Gro Organic potting soil in my tanks and like it quite a bit. That would be a cheap, easy alternative for you. 1-2" of Miracle Gro capped with an inch of sand (or whatever else) works well.

Here's a pic of mine under Flourite (mix) in my 90gal:


In my 46gal you can't see the layers through the glass since I first edged the tank with my Flourite mix before adding in the Miracle Gro, so that's an option if you don't like the look. Some of the Miracle Gro will eventually mix in with the cap layer, though.





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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 01:21 PM
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Use egg crate grill material to eliminate gravel creep along the glass.
two years and no creep of the soil to the glass,







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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 04:38 PM
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a huge +1 on organic potting soil
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I have peat moss at my house now, but I think I will go out an buy a bag of top soil instead. That seems to be the best possible addition to my tank. Can I just mix it in? Or should I only put it beneath the sand?
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 11:46 PM
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If you use too much peat it can turn your tank into tea and crash the pH and kH.

I'd be very leery of using "raw" topsoil. Topsoil can vary greatly in actual composition. Some may be safe, but others may cause water parameter issues. I'd personally test some in a bucket for a few weeks to be sure.



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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 05:25 PM
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you would want to put it under the sand.

As what laura said, trust it. I didn't get the right kind of top soil and it never mineralized properly, and I had really bad issues.

As for Miricale Grow Organic Potting Soil, it wont cost more then 5$ I also
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 05:53 PM
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Capping it is a must for non-mineralized soils in a fish tank. There will be far too much nutrients floating around the tank for plants to use if it isn't capped.
edit: its basically a must for mineralized soil too


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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 06:33 PM
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If you want to add mts to your existing gravel, do you have to dig up the whole thing or can you just allow the soil to sink to the bottom?
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takadi View Post
If you want to add mts to your existing gravel, do you have to dig up the whole thing or can you just allow the soil to sink to the bottom?
There is a really good procedure for assembling the mineralized soil on GWAPS website- the link is in the mineralized sticky thread. You really need to plan to break down the entire tank to replace the whole substrate if you want to go this direction.





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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 08:13 PM
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Would you say that potting soil is pretty equal to mineralized top soil?
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aubzilla View Post
Would you say that potting soil is pretty equal to mineralized top soil?
Mine lasted longer than MTS.


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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-19-2011, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
Mine lasted longer than MTS.
MTS is supposed to last longer whereas regular potting soil might provide faster growth.


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