Mineralized Soil - Options & Advice - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-07-2011, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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Question Mineralized Soil - Options & Advice


I am considering setting-up an aquarium with mineralized soil based on the work GWAPA (Sean Murphy as reported by Kris Weinhold and Aaron Talbot), Peter Hiscock, and Diana Walstad. In thinking about the process, I was wondering a couple of things:
  • What's New - Although I have done a little research on variations or options including oven heating to evaporate and sifting and worm casting, I was wondering whether there are any critical updates or improvements in the process (heating and sifting aside as I plan to do these things).
  • CO2 Supplement - I am about to finish out a pressurized system I can use to supplement several tanks. According to Walstad, I am looking at a faster depletion of soil. I was wondering what soil using folks experience has been with this combination (i.e., CO2 Supplement w/Mineralized Soil).
  • CaribSea Eco-Complete - As I have an abundance of eco-complete, I was wondering about using it to cap the soil rather than gravel or sand. Any thoughts?
  • Dolomite & Muriate Potash - As I understand it, Dolomite will provide calcium and magnesium and potash will provide potassium though some supplementation of potassium will be necessary. Again, I was wondering what our members experience has found. How long will each last relative to the soil? In addition, I was wondering whether crushing-up mineralized rock to add into the domolite and muriated potash - overkill? dolomite = mineralized?
Okay, I think that does it for now... thanks, in advance, for taking a moment to share your wisdom?

~Tyger (Michael)~


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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-07-2011, 04:15 PM
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Having read (purchased) D. Walstads book along with experiencing both NPT and MTS in house the choice for me has been to repeat the NPT process on additional tanks. The efforts and time involved with creating the MTS didn't provide a huge increase in long term viability with the substrate. Diffencies showed up sooner on the MTS than the natural soil system based on calender alone in my home.

The only drawbacks (imo) on going with NPT;
The adjustment period as the soil settles into a submerged state of organic decay requiring that you monitor water parameters and watch for a build of gasses from the bacteria. The plus to this is the free CO2 provided.

It's recommended not to include hardscape on new NPT's as this can create problems with the gas exchange out of the substrate.

That's it

NPT can also be enriched for a known addition of supplements just like setting up a mineralized substrate. The last tank set up here included the Muriate of Potash and clay I purchased for the MTS process. The mineral supplements were placed in a layer along the bottom of the tank with a thin layer of sand covering it then the soil was placed on top of it. This tank was setup only 2 months ago so the long term results are years away. My first soil tank followed Walstads methods fairly close to her recommendations and produced fantastic results for over 2 years.

My thoughts on adding CO2 is it would indeed lead to a faster depletion of soil simply because growth would no longer be carbon limited. Can't say I see that as a bad thing. AaronT and Tom Barr posted some interesting debates regarding the combination of water column dosing and MTS. (good read)

Capping with Eco-Complete shouldn't pose any problem I can think of as its small enough to contain the soil either MTS or NPT. My personal favorite is Flourite which has slightly more weight than Eco but again that's just my preference.

Great post OP and I think the responses will be worth reading

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-07-2011, 10:01 PM
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I have 65 & 75 gal tanks with miracle gro organic capped with flourite run Co2 and just started to dose EI at a reduced rate 2 weeks ago. After about 2 months with co2 things were starting to lean out, 0 nitrates, low P?. So far so good. I enjoy maintaining my tanks and prefer the faster growth with co2. The soil is just a buffer for me, I dose but if I forget no big deal, and with dosing the extra nutrients dont hurt anything. These are med light limited tanks. 75 has 1 T5HO and 2 T5NO bulbs. 65 has 1 PC and 2T5NO.
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