Will this soil work for a dirted tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Will this soil work for a dirted tank?

I haven't had much luck finding the Miracle Grow potting soil that is always recommended, but I did find this Burpee eco-friendly natural & organic seed starting mix... here is a link to their product page: https://www.burpee.com/gardenadvicec...icle10650.html

Will this work? It's not the end of the world if it won't -- I'm only out $5, but I'm getting a little antsy to get this 15 gallon tank set up and I REALLY want to do it this way... Also, the girl who sold me the tank let me know it came with a couple female Bettas, which was fine. What she didn't tell me was that she wasn't going to break the filter down in a way that kept the cycle alive, or that there were actually three bettas...so now the poor things are in a 2 gallon bowl with an air stone, daily water changes & prime dosing, and a whole pile of plants that are just floating around. I feel like a bit of a jerk, at this point...
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Last edited by Cinnamonamon; 03-28-2019 at 08:36 PM. Reason: title adjustment
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 08:41 PM
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air food and clean water, you are good.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 08:59 PM
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It looks like this is mostly made from organic coconot coir so that won't harm anything. It also has "organic plant food" which just FYI is usually poultry poop.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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It looks like this is mostly made from organic coconot coir so that won't harm anything. It also has "organic plant food" which just FYI is usually poultry poop.
Good to know I won't be hurting my fish/plants! My goal is for something more useful than only inert sand or gravel, though. I'm going low tech, so I'm not looking for a ton of growth -- more that I'll have a while before I have to mess with root tabs, etc. Does that sound reasonable?

Thanks!

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air food and clean water, you are good.
I'm trying...I still feel bad that they're all mushed in there...2 of their brothers were stuck in jars for a few days though, so at least they have a couple gallons!

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 01:11 AM
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I don't buy any soils unless it lists all 'ingredients' used in it clearly.
Please please tell me you are keeping the 3 female bettas physically serrated (jarred, in separate tanks, breeder boxes with lids)-if not there will be deaths. They need to be in a densely planted/decorated with ton of line of sight break up, minimum 10g with a group or 4, or larger group in larger (longer) tank. Less than 4 the dominant 1 will bully the other 2 to death, smaller than 10g tank same outcome.
I kept a sorority of 8 betta females in a densly planted 20g long. Worked well until the dominant one died. This caused a breakdown in the hierarchy and battle for who dominance which led to a lot of damage and stress. Ended up having to break up the sorority.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AquaAurora View Post
I don't buy any soils unless it lists all 'ingredients' used in it clearly.
Please please tell me you are keeping the 3 female bettas physically serrated (jarred, in separate tanks, breeder boxes with lids)-if not there will be deaths. They need to be in a densely planted/decorated with ton of line of sight break up, minimum 10g with a group or 4, or larger group in larger (longer) tank. Less than 4 the dominant 1 will bully the other 2 to death, smaller than 10g tank same outcome.
I kept a sorority of 8 betta females in a densly planted 20g long. Worked well until the dominant one died. This caused a breakdown in the hierarchy and battle for who dominance which led to a lot of damage and stress. Ended up having to break up the sorority.
Thanks, AquaAurora! The 3 bettas have apparently lived together their entire lives together in the 15 gallon they are going to go in. The girl who sold me all the supplies & fish gave them to me all together in a bag with a bunch of plants -- she bred them and they are sisters (I have a couple of the brothers, as well - though they're in separate tanks). Currently, the sisters are living in a 2 1/2 gallon bowl with so many plants floating in it (waiting to go into the tank) that they do not appear to ever see each other. They're very chill -- they just rest on the plants most of the time. I actually watch closely each day when I feed them to make sure they are still alive, and that everyone is getting food. I'll keep a sharp eye out for aggression, especially if their numbers change, but I'd hate to move them into little jars when they're doing well in the bowl together for now.

As for the soil, the ingredients list 95% coconut fiber, perlite, & fertilizer. The "guaranteed analysis" is Nitrogen: .06%, Available Phosphate: .03%, and Soluble Potash: .03%. It notes that it is derived from composted poultry manure, feather meal and sulfate of potash.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Update in this thread: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...cedures-q.html

I really need to get my act together and start journals...!

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonamon View Post
I haven't had much luck finding the Miracle Grow potting soil that is always recommended, but I did find this Burpee eco-friendly natural & organic seed starting mix... here is a link to their product page: https://www.burpee.com/gardenadvicec...icle10650.html

Will this work? It's not the end of the world if it won't -- I'm only out $5, but I'm getting a little antsy to get this 15 gallon tank set up and I REALLY want to do it this way... Also, the girl who sold me the tank let me know it came with a couple female Bettas, which was fine. What she didn't tell me was that she wasn't going to break the filter down in a way that kept the cycle alive, or that there were actually three bettas...so now the poor things are in a 2 gallon bowl with an air stone, daily water changes & prime dosing, and a whole pile of plants that are just floating around. I feel like a bit of a jerk, at this point...
Thanks for this thread, OP!

I was planning on grabbing their organic growing mix for a rescape that's planned, but the stuff you chose is also worth looking at.

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...x?cm_vc=-10005
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 06:55 PM
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I also set up a new tank about a month ago using a organic potting soil. Be careful if you use one that contains any kind of fertilizer--even organic chicken manure--especially if you're needing to add fish right away. It can flood your tank with nutrients and cause a massive algae bloom. Mine had worm castings & bat guano, and even though I soaked & drained it multiple times, I still got algae blooms--first a brief outbreak of hair algae, then green water that I'm still battling (though it's starting to recede) .

Here's an interesting post I referred to: https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...on-talbot.html . Mineralizing the soil per this protocol can help leach out some of the nutrients so you don't have ammonia spikes & algae blooms--though I still had some in mine. I suspect my SafeTsorb substrate absorbed a lot of the nutrients which is feeding the algae--even though ammonia/nitrites/nitrates in the water all measure 0 across the board. The extra nutrients can be a plus if you're doing a plants only tank at first, but if you need to put livestock in, it could just complicate things for awhile. Maybe some plain coco peat w/o fertilizers?

Good luck!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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I also set up a new tank about a month ago using a organic potting soil. Be careful if you use one that contains any kind of fertilizer--even organic chicken manure--especially if you're needing to add fish right away. It can flood your tank with nutrients and cause a massive algae bloom. Mine had worm castings & bat guano, and even though I soaked & drained it multiple times, I still got algae blooms--first a brief outbreak of hair algae, then green water that I'm still battling (though it's starting to recede) .

Here's an interesting post I referred to: https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...on-talbot.html . Mineralizing the soil per this protocol can help leach out some of the nutrients so you don't have ammonia spikes & algae blooms--though I still had some in mine. I suspect my SafeTsorb substrate absorbed a lot of the nutrients which is feeding the algae--even though ammonia/nitrites/nitrates in the water all measure 0 across the board. The extra nutrients can be a plus if you're doing a plants only tank at first, but if you need to put livestock in, it could just complicate things for awhile. Maybe some plain coco peat w/o fertilizers?

Good luck!
Very true! I read that others have had similar problems, but I chanced it. I didn't mineralize the soil because honestly, it looked like a huge pain in the tush...and also apparently Michigan doesn't get sun anymore. That said, I kept a close eye on parameters at first, had seeded media, a fair number of plants (including frogbit, which is VERY happy in this tank -- likely due to all those extra nutrients), and a low bioload of fish. I don't know if this type of potting soil (i.e. the coconut stuff) made things better or not -- I really only chose it because that looked to be the only appropriate option. Everything else had vermiculite and other additives that were supposed to be bad for aquatic tanks.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Desert Pupfish View Post
Here's an interesting post I referred to: https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...on-talbot.html . Mineralizing the soil per this protocol can help leach out some of the nutrients so you don't have ammonia spikes & algae blooms--though I still had some in mine. I suspect my SafeTsorb substrate absorbed a lot of the nutrients which is feeding the algae
To lengthy of a project for me. I use Hyponex topsoil in the past. Now since I hope to move within a few months I am using landscaper sand with worm castings. I put Worm castings in capsules into the sand.

I have read that some people whom use miracle grow potting soil have harmless algae blooms.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 09:44 PM
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To lengthy of a project for me. I use Hyponex topsoil in the past. Now since I hope to move within a few months I am using landscaper sand with worm castings. I put Worm castings in capsules into the sand.

I have read that some people whom use miracle grow potting soil have harmless algae blooms.
Smart idea to put the worm castings in capsules--did that prevent any nutrient spike/algae blooms, and make the nutrients last longer for you?

The algae blooms may be harmless (my fish seem to love their pea soup) But it's damned annoying for me when I can't see into my tank, and the plants sulk when they can't get full light and are outcompeted by the algae for nutrients.....
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