Homedepot substrates? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Homedepot substrates?

So I am planning on going to my local homedepot to get some plant substrate....

Some people in the forum say you need to 'mineralize' it, and others say its fine to just put a layer down, and then cap it with something (be it sand, pool filter or other, kitty litter etc....)

These are the ones I have at the local homedepots.... Obviously i am in Canada hence why I want to make sure these are different (many American stores sell different things, I can if it doesn't work out get something from an American Home Depot, its just a bit of a drive....)

http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/s...k=P_PartNumber
http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/s...k=P_PartNumber
http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/s...k=P_PartNumber
http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/s...k=P_PartNumber
http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/s...k=P_PartNumber

Can any or none of these be used?

Thanks for the help....
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 06:55 PM
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Topsoil needs to be mineralized.
Potting soil can be used straight from the bag.
Both will need to be capped with another substrate.

I don't have the time to look at the links because I am leaving for work, but you should test any potting soil you buy in a cup/pitcher of water to see if it leeches anything/changes water chemistry before you put it in your tank.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 07:01 PM
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The Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix is the one I've used, and is safe to use directly out of the bag. (I don't think that could could be used to make Mineralized Topsoil.)

I suspect you could use the bone meal with it, if you want- but just a VERY thin layer sprinkled across the bottom of the tank underneath everything else (you'd want to be able to see through the bone meal).

I personally would not use the Miracle Gro ferts, I'd use ferts specified for aquarium use. It's very likely the Miracle Gro ones contain urea, which I just would not want to put in a closed system with livestock.

I think the Miracle Gro Organic Garden Soil should also be safe to use, but I haven't tried it- I suspect the Potting Mix is probably the better choice of the two?

I'm a little dismayed that from the look of your links, Miracle Gro has changed their packaging already- the only time I had seen the Organic Choice it has always been in orange bags so very easy to identify from the non-organic Miracle Gros. Now that apparently BOTH are in green packages, we're going to have to read labels very, very carefully!

You will want to use something to cap it, otherwise it will tend to float and probably be too lightweight to hold plants down. Pea gravel or pool filter sand should be fine and also available at home depot.





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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 07:11 PM
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Pea gravel is a little to large and allows the soil to work out mucking up the water. Standard tank gravel which is about the same size has led to several posting that they hate soils for this reason. Sand, Eco-Complete, Flourite something with a finer gain works better by the posts I've read.

Having used Flourite I can say it contained the soil very well.
HTH


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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 07:39 PM
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Yeah, I should have mentioned that the pea gravel I had in mind is the VERY small grain size- 4-5 mm at most. And you'd probably want 1" of Miracle Gro capped with 2" of pea gravel to make sure it holds everything down.

I actually found that if I got the Miracle Gro nice and water logged before adding the cap that it stayed down pretty well- I had one corner in my 90gal where I forgot to go back and cap with the Flourite and it didn't float up, much to my surprise.

You're going to get alot of floaters for the first day or two no matter what (there are some pieces that just aren't very absorbant so won't sink), but I just kept using my net to skim off the top of the tank and haven't had any issues past the 2nd day.





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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
I'm a little dismayed that from the look of your links, Miracle Gro has changed their packaging already- the only time I had seen the Organic Choice it has always been in orange bags so very easy to identify from the non-organic Miracle Gros. Now that apparently BOTH are in green packages, we're going to have to read labels very, very carefully!
I bought a bag of this last night
It's kinda messy to work with if you have wet hands :P
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 07:58 PM
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In my 5 gallon nano. I used MG Organic choice and pool filter sand. After I capped the MG soil with sand, I covered the entire area with aluminum foil. I then placed some quarters on the a top of the foil and filled up the tank gently. Afterwards I removed the foil and quarters. This kept everything in place.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 08:43 PM
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Is there advantages or disadvantages of this MG Potting Mix compared to MTS? Obviously you don't have to deal with the mineralization process, but can you still use it without dosing anything? Sorry to get off topic a little, but I'm still deciding on a new substrate and I thought the answer might help the OP also, so I asked here.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loop View Post
Is there advantages or disadvantages of this MG Potting Mix compared to MTS? Obviously you don't have to deal with the mineralization process, but can you still use it without dosing anything? Sorry to get off topic a little, but I'm still deciding on a new substrate and I thought the answer might help the OP also, so I asked here.
We've been having that same discussion in this thread: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...d-my-sand.html

I personally would expect MTS to last longer without needing supplemental dosing.





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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-20-2011, 09:05 PM
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Thanks for the link. Somehow I've missed that thread. I guess I'm back to MTS. It seems like the best option for me for long term ease of use with little imput from me. The less I'm involved, the less I can mess up until I learn more
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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So I've decided to go with the Miracle grow mineralizing my own soil isn't going to work out at the moment, considering the weather is so incosnistent here and I can't 'dry it out' outside....

Do you have to 'prep' the 'organic miracle grow at all'? or is it just add, cap and then add water slowly?
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 08:14 PM
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I dampened mine a bit just to help hold it in place while I added the cap, but other than that, it's pretty good to go.

I'd give it a solid "B" for user-friendliness, and the only reason it doesn't get an A is because you do get some floaters that you need to skim off.





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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 10:32 PM
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I just completed adding substrate. I did as laura suggested with miracle gro organic potting mix. About 1.5" of miracle grow and another 2 inches of eco-complete.

Eco-complete does hold things down pretty well. Regardless, you will get floaters...often quite a bit. Just let it sit. My small ZooMed501 picked up most and the larger pieces you can skim off. Don't disturb the substrate after that though. For planting and such just drain the entire as much as possible or necessary.

...yea i filled up my tank to check out my scape

Laura, how soon after laying the substrate do you recommend planting. And by that I mean, is waiting a week or so generally ok?
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 10:47 PM
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I planted mine immediately, but I don't see any reason waiting would hurt either.





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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 10:47 PM
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If you spread the MG out, dump the bag on a tarp you can within an hour at most pick most of the chunks of wood / sticks out. This eliminates most of the floaters.

Plant the tank after adding a few inches of water over the cap and load it with all the plants you can. Helps things settle to do this then finish filling the tank.
HTH (just posted what I did)


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