Top soil - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Top soil

Hey everyone,

I have a planted tank, and I have been using root tabs.

My moss and stem plants are doing well, the rooted plants not great.

I was thinking of adding my root plants to containers filled with something like Stratum, then burring the container.

Rachelle O’leary does this, and seems to have success.


Here is my question. Can I use top soil? And I’ve heard stratum will cause huge increases in ammonia at first. Anyone have any advice?
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 08:29 PM
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Do you mean using a dirt substrate? I would not add ferts if you go that route.

Style: Organic potting soil, gravel, sand, wood, plants, algae, biofilm, snails, shrimp, fish, dual siestas
Tech : Small tanks, Fluval Plant 3.0, Top Fin MF10, Eheim Classic 150, Neptune Systems Apex EL
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah.

I want to use some organic top soil

I use liquid ferts for my non rooted plants. Do mean avoid root tabs?
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 09:04 PM
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I only do dirt, so my perspective is limited. If I try a squirt of Easy Green, my crypts start melting. Dirt provides a lot of nutrients.

Style: Organic potting soil, gravel, sand, wood, plants, algae, biofilm, snails, shrimp, fish, dual siestas
Tech : Small tanks, Fluval Plant 3.0, Top Fin MF10, Eheim Classic 150, Neptune Systems Apex EL
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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What dirt do you use?

Something like stratum?

Did you cycle the tank with the dirt? I’ve heard if you add it afterwards, you’ll get a huge ammonia spike?
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 09:53 PM
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Soil can mean so many things. When I say dirt, I mean organic potting soil, which is like a battery for nutrients. I like it because I grew up in the woods next to a river, and it is natural to me.

Style: Organic potting soil, gravel, sand, wood, plants, algae, biofilm, snails, shrimp, fish, dual siestas
Tech : Small tanks, Fluval Plant 3.0, Top Fin MF10, Eheim Classic 150, Neptune Systems Apex EL
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 09:55 PM
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I tried Fluval Stratum, but it did not work for me. I'm sure you can work with it, but it is not dirt in the form of pressed spheres.

Style: Organic potting soil, gravel, sand, wood, plants, algae, biofilm, snails, shrimp, fish, dual siestas
Tech : Small tanks, Fluval Plant 3.0, Top Fin MF10, Eheim Classic 150, Neptune Systems Apex EL
Tanks:
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Last edited by Streetwise; 12-30-2019 at 06:04 AM. Reason: Edit
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 10:06 PM
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I like dirt. You can use small pots with dirt capped in sand with success.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Did either of you have problems with ammonia?

My LFS said if I add dirt to a cycled tank, it will create an ammonia spike
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 10:48 PM
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Adding dirt to a cycled tank will spike your ammonia only if the dirt has reduced nitrogen in it -- either because it has been fertilized with an ammonium fertlizer or has a lot of dead plant matter in it.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-29-2019, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Can you recommend a brand?
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-30-2019, 12:50 AM
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One way to help limit, if not avoid, an ammonia spike when using soil is Aaron Talbot's remineralization technique:
https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...on-talbot.html
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-30-2019, 04:17 AM
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I redid my dirt (organic potting soil) substrate on a few tanks, to have less dirt, since I used too much when I started them. I had to move my livestock, and re-read the book. It was messy and required a lot of patience. Those tanks are still messy, but much less messy, and I have gained much more patience, but I still like this path.

For me, this is the way. (Mandalorian paraphrase, not hobby gospel).

Style: Organic potting soil, gravel, sand, wood, plants, algae, biofilm, snails, shrimp, fish, dual siestas
Tech : Small tanks, Fluval Plant 3.0, Top Fin MF10, Eheim Classic 150, Neptune Systems Apex EL
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Last edited by Streetwise; 12-30-2019 at 08:10 AM. Reason: Edit
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-30-2019, 04:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
I like dirt. You can use small pots with dirt capped in sand with success.
I would like to use small pots in a couple of my small utility tanks (under 10 gallons). Have you found a plant cup that fits well and works well for our hobby? I feel like there has to be something bigger and better than the containers we normally see. I would like a proper cube shape, maybe about 2.5" x 2.5" x 2.5", so they could fit in small-slice betta tanks.

Style: Organic potting soil, gravel, sand, wood, plants, algae, biofilm, snails, shrimp, fish, dual siestas
Tech : Small tanks, Fluval Plant 3.0, Top Fin MF10, Eheim Classic 150, Neptune Systems Apex EL
Tanks:
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Last edited by Streetwise; 12-30-2019 at 05:03 AM. Reason: Edit
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-30-2019, 04:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuluCocoPopoRoro View Post
I was thinking of adding my root plants to containers filled with something like Stratum, then burring the container.

Rachelle Oleary does this, and seems to have success.

Here is my question. Can I use top soil? And Ive heard stratum will cause huge increases in ammonia at first. Anyone have any advice?
Top soil is absolutely fine, screen it to get large debris out and then soak it and remove anything that floats.
Use 3/4 - 1" of soil and cap with a bit more than an inch.
A tighter cap prevents too much leaching into the water column.
I am using little pots all over the tank these days, mini red solo cups that are not hidden and look terrible!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Streetwise View Post
I had to move my livestock, and re-read the book.
Didn't realize there was a book of "Dirt" ?


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Growing is not that difficult.
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