Substrate Question - Sorta Dirt - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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Substrate Question - Sorta Dirt

I started a small MGOP tank a few weeks back and now after seeing the results I wanna do a little larger tank in dirt. The tank on the table for getting dirt is a 75 gallon. I happen to have a few hundred pounds of organic worm castings (homemade thanks to my indoor red worm bins). The thing I fear is that it may compact to much when wet, other than sand is there anything I should add to help defer the compaction? Also when adding clay (going with the 5-10% thing) is cheapo nothing added clay kitty litter and acceptable option?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 12:44 PM
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Don't worry about compacting. My recipe is as thick as mortar....I just don't have the problems that the chicken littles are in panic about.

I think the Clay to increase Iron is more important that people think. I think the potash is important too.

You can buy small amount of MTS additives on swap from Colin, he's a good guy. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sp...-supplies.html
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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I have access to potash and the dolomite that it mentions in the sticky. My biggest wonder is with the kitty litter (Poor mans Laterite). I know that I use that for backgrounds in my vivariums with no ill effects so I am not worried about chemicals(non perfumed no clumping agents etc.). I just wonder if via however it is processed I am missing the main reason for getting it.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Another semi random thought dealing with substrate just came to me. I have a decent sized creek near my house with spots full of loam. I think that shall be my cap. What about wetland soil (before someone yells I know destroying wetlands = no good). Any reason not to dry/bake/leach/bake and then use that (mixed in with the castings, clay, etc.) I cant really think of anything more fitting to growing plants than something that is already growing aquatic / semi aquatic plants

Edit: second though.

Instead of just using the loam as a cap, mixing it with the casting..should be able to not use kitty litter then and still get the clay content. My only worry is seeing as how it is not the same kind of clay that would be found in kitty litter / Laterite will it still hold nutrients and or release iron?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Well I guess this thread is now dead I went ahead and setup the tank.

Bottom Layer: Worm Castings, Dolomite, Potash, Ground Up Leaves, MGOP, Peat, and a small amount of coco coir

Cap: Loam (Kinda a heavy kind with some larger particles in it for the top layer..sorta close to the consistency of eco in its look) I am hoping that since loam is around 40% sand, 40% silt, and 20% clay I will be able to get the Iron and nutrient holding capabilities that clay has since I did not use kitty litter.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 12:58 AM
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Big Z - Not ignoring you my friend...Work gets in the way of hobbies.

typically we use sand or fine gravel as a Cap to contain the dirt, and give young plant roots something get a firm grip on. I'll be interested too see you tank and how well you cap is working.

I agree that the closer to nature we can get the better the pants wil live. Good luck with your tank
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 04:40 AM Thread Starter
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No worries, my patience often gets in the way of my decision making process. If this idea fails I have plenty more tanks to play with
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 04:50 AM
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I was thinking of doing the same thing(or something very close). Please let us know how it goes for you over the next week or two.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 04:51 AM
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Dogfish, What do you use as a cap over dirt?
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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I was thinking of doing the same thing(or something very close). Please let us know how it goes for you over the next week or two.
The next week or two might be an issue, I am playing this one slowly. I still have not decided on lights, filter, scape (rocks vs driftwood vs both), Co2 (another DIY or run two tanks of the co2 setup I have coming), flora, and fauna. In other words even though its setup, its nowhere near setup lol.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 11:20 PM
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Okay. Thanks. Good luck!!!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Don't worry about compacting. My recipe is as thick as mortar....I just don't have the problems that the chicken littles are in panic about
God...really?

Worm casting has been used in the aquarium before. There is a group of aquascapers in South America that swear by it. The key though is to use it in moderation.. small amounts and mix it with a clay gravel which will help to keep it aerated and from compacting. There is no need to use it in large amounts any way. The plants will derive the same amount of nitrogen from a small amount as they will from an excessive amount

Quote:
Bottom Layer: Worm Castings, Dolomite, Potash, Ground Up Leaves, MGOP, Peat, and a small amount of coco coir
Wow, little of everything. Any particular reason for each of these things?

Quote:
Cap: Loam (Kinda a heavy kind with some larger particles in it for the top layer..sorta close to the consistency of eco in its look) I am hoping that since loam is around 40% sand, 40% silt, and 20% clay I will be able to get the Iron and nutrient holding capabilities that clay has since I did not use kitty litter.
Boy, I'd like to hear how that turned out. Unless the clay is fired, it will turn to mud. Not something usually used as a topper

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, little of everything. Any particular reason for each of these things?
Honest answer is that I just used most of the things I had on hand. My thought was "well I have it, might as well use it". We shall see if that will be my undoing or not in the near future.

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Boy, I'd like to hear how that turned out. Unless the clay is fired, it will turn to mud. Not something usually used as a topper
Hopefully I have saved myself from this I actually capped my so called cap. I put in the loam, and all the micro particles that would literally move if you thought about touching the water began to bug me. So I grabbed a screen and started sifting the leftover loam so that I could cap with the larger pieces. So far so good..but it has been only 5 days

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