backyard soil - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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backyard soil

Hopefully this isn't a dumb question. I keep getting mixed answers from google. Can I just use soil from an unused corner of my backyard as substrate. I have some dug up and sifted. But I want to make sure I am not dooming my shrimp with nutrient spikes. It is a 6 gallon tank, I currently have a few java ferns, but will be adding many more plants when I change to substrate. Any advice would be very appreciated, both by me and the shrimps.
thanks,
jack
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 11:19 PM
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If you don't use herbicides/insecticides on the lawn and you haven't got a spot that contains lots of lead contamination (not as unlikely as you'd think) or a spot where the previous owner dumped huge amounts of oil or salt or whatever other nasty stuff you might want to think of, you should be fine. Look up mineralized top soil for one recipe, though you can also cap it with another substrate and treat it in the way that people do miracle gro organic soil.

The plus side is that it is cheap, lasts quite a while, and plants seem to love it. The minus side is that it makes rescapes and vacuuming difficult.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-17-2012, 11:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacketherington View Post
Hopefully this isn't a dumb question. I keep getting mixed answers from google. Can I just use soil from an unused corner of my backyard as substrate. I have some dug up and sifted. But I want to make sure I am not dooming my shrimp with nutrient spikes. It is a 6 gallon tank, I currently have a few java ferns, but will be adding many more plants when I change to substrate. Any advice would be very appreciated, both by me and the shrimps.
thanks,
jack
I would be careful using soil from the back yard especially when shrimp are going to be in the tank. Is this going to be a shrimp tank with plants or are you focusing more on a planted tank that has shrimp in it? If you are focusing on the shrimp I would suggest against going with a dirt soil and purchasing something like aquasoil, akadama, or FSS. Especially being such a small tank, it wouldnt cost much.
If you are focusing on the plants, the soil will probably be alright, just be careful that it isnt contaminated with anything, cap it well and try not to disturb the soil at all or you may have a problem with the shrimp.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 12:14 AM
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I absolutely, positively would not do it. For years my neighbors put weed-n-feed on their yards and of course when it rained I got the benefit (not) of their chemicals. Weed-n-feed kills broadleaf plants living in the grass. What do you think it will do do your aquarium plants?

Then there are insecticides, runoff from roads possibly treated with salt in the winter, runoff from Bubba's oil change he did on the driveway.

I love to find ways to save $$, but I'm thinking substrate is not one of them. You could pour hundreds of hours of planning and work and have the most glorious plans, but if Bubba was in the mood to change his oil, or do the weed-n-feed, or even wash the bbq and the runoff came over to your place, your plans for this beautiful tank would be as dust in the wind.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 12:26 AM
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Only you can decide if you should use your backyard soil. I did, works great, but i have no close neighbors, live in the woods, and the house has been in my family over 45 years.... If you are on the fence just buy a bag of MGOCPM, it's not that much cash.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by monkeyfish View Post
Only you can decide if you should use your backyard soil....
Best answer

Use common sense, if the dirt is under a lush lawn that is not treated with chemicals, or from a flower or vegetable bed that are grown organically. Odds are pretty good hit is safe. The same thing with building the dirt up. You don't get carried away with additives. Don't go in a panic over some organic material ether.

Try to keep in mind were these plant we keep come from. Those places don't look like a sterile ADA award winning tank.
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