Chicken manure compost + worm castings - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Chicken manure compost + worm castings

It will be mostly 50 50 of the above. 10% biochar and 15% ca-montmorillonite clay with the addition of green sand and aragonite to buffer acidification by decomposition. A bottom very light layer will have activated carbon mixed in to slow microbial activity (studies show by almost 50%) in what is going to be an anaerobic respiration risk layer.

What are your thoughts on this?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 07:34 AM
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What exactly do you mean by anaerobic respiration risk layer?

Is this going to be a plants only tank? With that much ammonia releasing fertilizers, it could take awhile to cycle. In my last tank, I used a very thin layer (barely covered the glass) of organic potting soil containing worm castings & bat guano. Even after 3 cycles of soaking & drying per Aaron Talbot's mineralization protocol, I had a huge amount of nutrient leaching, and huge algae blooms for over a month. I'm guessing during the cycle you'll have to do huge water changes frequently on top of planting heavily with lots of hungry stem & floating plants.

Interested to see how this substrate design works for you. Will you have MTS or other burrowing snails to aerate the substrate?
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nothreat33 View Post
It will be mostly 50 50 of the above. 10% biochar and 15% ca-montmorillonite clay with the addition of green sand and aragonite to buffer acidification by decomposition. A bottom very light layer will have activated carbon mixed in to slow microbial activity (studies show by almost 50%) in what is going to be an anaerobic respiration risk layer.

What are your thoughts on this?
I think this is overly complicated. Will it work? Sure, but it will require more work then other solutions that would work at least as well and possibly better. By that I mean this.

Even the most nutrient deprived soil you can buy at your local gardening supply store contains many times the amount of nutrients needed to grow our plants. Buying simple organic soil (garden, raised bed, top soil, potting, whatever) will be the easiest solution and has been proven over and over to work great when growing plants so long as it is capped by a suitably dense layer of inert substrate (typically 1-2" of sand). As for anaerobic bacteria? Yes you will have that. Soil is too dense not to have anaerobic bacteria. However, plants release oxygen even from their roots. The plant roots themselves will provide the oxygen for your dirt layer and reconvert the dirt from anaerobic back to aerobic. While its anaerobic nothing bad will happen because it won't be deep enough to build up to any kind of actually dangerous level. That's why we limit soil layers to around an inch or less.

Anyway unless you have all of the supplies you mentioned lying around or are doing this on a very large tank, you are defeating the main purpose of using soil to begin with, that being cost. By the time you buy all of the supplies you mentioned you could have just bought a bag of aquasoil which is just dirt that has been processed a bit. You could simply pour a layer of aquasoil and cap that with whatever you want and get the same effect.

Just my 2 cents since you were asking.


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 05:58 PM
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I would just use worm castings. They have a low soluble N and P content which is something you want. You want the nutrients to stay in the soil, not leach into the water.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-23-2020, 01:36 AM
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I would guess that you are going to have so much ammonia in your water that it will burn the plants. Just organic potting soil took many months to settle do to a level that my plants started to thrive.
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