This potting soil GOOD/OKAY?? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-24-2019, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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This potting soil GOOD/OKAY??

I can’t find the yellow bag of the miracle gro anywhere anymore. I don’t know if they discontinued them, changed the bag, or I just can’t find them by me but is this miracle gro okay.

The supposive ingredients in back say alfalfa meal, bone meal, earthworm castings and kelp meal.

Total Nitrogen 0.15%
0.10% ammonical nitrogen
0.047% other water soluble nitrogen
0.093% water insoluble nitrogen
Available phosphate 0.13%
Soluble potash 0.15%
Calcium 0.03%

Derived from poultry litter, alfalfa meal, bone meal, kelp meal, and earthworm castings.

(Here’s where idk)
Formulated with sphagnum peat moss, processed forest products, coir, perlite, organic fertilizer and yucca.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-24-2019, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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I’m aware of peat moss lowering PH but not sure ab the rest.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 12:29 AM
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I am setting up a tank right now using the natures care garden soil. I will say my main issue with it thus far is that when I added water to pre-soak it about 80% of it floated. This just meant I needed to sift a LOT more of it, but be aware that most of your bag of soil will be bark and leaves.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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You used that bag? And did the water ever clear up ?
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 01:29 PM
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Yeah, sifting soil can take quite a lot of time. I probably spend 30 minutes for about a gallon of soil, going thru it again and again.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 01:33 PM
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So semi off topic but I've used Miracle gro raised bed soil for my tank. It's been pretty good so far. Sifting through is a semi pain, just like @Streetwise said. But just take your time and I suggest to presoak your sifted soil ahead of time.



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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 01:35 PM
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I don't bother pre-soaking anymore. I found it more troublesome than just super-sorting, capping, and careful filling. I'll usually pour water onto a foam filter pad in the tank to be gentle.

Style: Organic potting soil, gravel, sand, wood, plants, algae, biofilm, snails, shrimp, fish, dual siestas
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streetwise View Post
I don't bother pre-soaking anymore.
You rebel.

Really a preference for OP. Pre-soaking can,but not permanently, eliminate some air bubbles. In the end, you will get air pockets underneath from bacteria doing its thing in the soil. It's inevitable and you will need a long skewer or chopstick to poke your substrate to release the gas trapped underneath.


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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 02:26 PM
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You used that bag? And did the water ever clear up ?
So I have it in a quarantine tank I just setup last night and I am planning on putting it in a proper Walstad tank in the near future. The quarantine tank does not have much soil in it. Probably about 2 cups of soil for a 40 gallon breeder. It then has 1 inch of pool filter sand / safe-t-sorb in a 50/50 mix. Most of the Safe-t-sorb is underneath the pool filter sand but some has already been mixed up to the surface. My water is relatively clear less then 24 hours later (about as clear as I would expect any pool filter sand tank to be less then 24 hours after setup).

The other tank I will be setting up in the near future is going to have about 1/2 inch of soil on the bottom with a similar mix of safe-t-sorb and sand on top. I am doing a very thorough pre-soak of the dirt first. I have the dirt in a 5 gallon bucket just by itself right now with water filled up almost to the brim. Every day I am dumping 80% of the water out and refilling. At this point the dirt "settles" to the bottom of the bucket in a few hours and its just barely clear enough that I can see the bottom when looking in from the top. I have been doing this for about 1 week now. It will be substantially better once its in a tank with an actual cap on it of course.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 02:28 PM
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Don't you feel like you are giving away nutrients every time you dump water from that bucket? I sort-of think of soil like a big rechargeable battery, so I don't want to give away any of that battery power except to my plants.
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Style: Organic potting soil, gravel, sand, wood, plants, algae, biofilm, snails, shrimp, fish, dual siestas
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 02:31 PM
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For my latest dirting endeavor, I used the MG Performance Organics in-ground soil. Sifted out the sticks, didn't soak, and capped with PFS. So far so good, however I don't see why your choice wouldn't work either.

To sift, I used one of those screen lids you get for fish tanks, to convert them to reptile tanks, from Petco. The mesh was the perfect size to get the sticks out but save the soil.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Don't you feel like you are giving away nutrients every time you dump water from that bucket? I sort-of think of soil like a big rechargeable battery, so I don't want to give away any of that battery power except to my plants.
This is true. I soaked mine but did not rinse. So the water went in the tank as well. Really it was just enough water to make it a little wetter then mud.

Quote:
For my latest dirting endeavor, I used the MG Performance Organics in-ground soil. Sifted out the sticks, didn't soak, and capped with PFS. So far so good, however I don't see why your choice wouldn't work either.

To sift, I used one of those screen lids you get for fish tanks, to convert them to reptile tanks, from Petco. The mesh was the perfect size to get the sticks out but save the soil.
I used a dollar store oil splatter guard. Really fine mesh. Took quite a bit longer to sift through, but ended up with very fine soil and no sticks. Even found some magnet bits, glass shards and some metallic pieces!

@ThomasJ22 will you be capping this? Are you going to try the Walstad method?
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 02:41 PM
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No. Perlite will make it float even if you sift.

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streetwise View Post
Don't you feel like you are giving away nutrients every time you dump water from that bucket? I sort-of think of soil like a big rechargeable battery, so I don't want to give away any of that battery power except to my plants.
I am definitely getting rid of nutrients with each water change, that is actually the reason I am doing the water changes. Its a black box situation (meaning we don't really know how much nutrients we have in soil, how much is leeching out, and how much our plants actually need) so I can't know if what I am doing is 'correct'. My theory is that there is SO MUCH nutrients in soil that a lot of problems are caused in the first few weeks/months of a new dirt tank due to all the nutrients leeching into the water. We cap the dirt to stop or slow that leech as much as possible, but it still gets out. So I am leeching my soil of excess nutrients now when its in a bucket I don't care about so hopefully I won't have problems once its in a no filter, no equipment whatsoever Walstad tank.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-25-2019, 04:19 PM
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I look forward to seeing it come together!

Style: Organic potting soil, gravel, sand, wood, plants, algae, biofilm, snails, shrimp, fish, dual siestas
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