Quick MTS question... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 05:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quick MTS question...

I've been in the process of making mineralized topsoil for a week now, and I'm concerned that it's going to turn out to be all for nothing.

I'm following Aaron Talbot's instructions, and I'm now on my third drying out phase. I just went out to stir the drying topsoil around and discovered that it's feeling more like sand than dirt anymore.

I just hope that this hasn't all been for nothing. Should I be getting an end product that feels and looks an awful lot like sand?!?

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Last edited by CAM6467; 01-24-2012 at 01:58 PM.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 05:36 AM
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Soil is dirt/sand mix.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'm sure that I'm over-thinking this process. It's dirt...

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 02:05 PM
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3rd cycle and it's powdery silt...you are done. Get that tank planted!
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
3rd cycle and it's powdery silt...you are done. Get that tank planted!
Yup! You are home. Plant that puppy.


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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome! One problem, I haven't recieved the dolomite & muriate of potash yet. I guess that I could just let it go for another round while I wait.

Is it bad to over-do the mineralization process?

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 03:41 PM
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I do 3. Some on here from Texas did 7?

I store the dirt in a 5gl plastic bucket. I don't add anything until I'm ready to plant so I have a bit more control of the mix. You will find you still have some moisture in it when you dump the bucket and there will be a few clumps because of that.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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I wouldn't exactly call it a "powdery" silt. It's more of a clumpy, sandy mix.

Well, I'm done with 3 cycles. I'm just going to let it sit in the tub and continue to dry. I've read that some folks will leave it spread out and simply mist it with a water bottle daily. I'm going to do that until the supplies get here.

Thanks for the support guys!

Charlie

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 05:04 PM
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When I make mine I shift it after each dry cycle before I soak it. Probably over kill on my part. When I'm done it's small and uniform. I think It mixes better. It will work fine with some clumps in it.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I sifted mine after the initial soaking through a wire screen that goes on the top of my 10 gallon lizard aquarium. I bought a "sifter" at Target last night that has very fine wire mesh. I'm going to sift my batch this afternoon once I get home. I'm sure that it'll leave me with a more silt-like material.

All I have left to do is mix in the clay, but I'm still waiting on the dolomite and potash before I do that part of it. I'm confident that it's going to turn out just fine.

Thanks for the input y'all,

Charlie

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Last edited by CAM6467; 01-24-2012 at 09:02 PM. Reason: Spelled lizard wrong like a moron
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 08:55 PM
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The silt and sand issue will come up based on what topsoil you used. Some can even contain a bit more clay than others. Don't be too hung up on it. If it doesn't have an odor, then you are done and the mineralization is complete. You can continue to do more, but its totally unnecessary.


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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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So I got home and went straight to work on the soil. I previously purchased a kitchen strainer with very tight wire mesh. I took my soil that had already been sifted to remove large particles and sent it through a second, more intense sifting. I ended up with a very light, powdery, silt-like soil. I'm very pleased! It smells like dirt, but I don't think I can get dirt to not smell like dirt.

MTS after the first screening and two wet/dry cycles:


MTS after the second screening and three wet/dry cycles:


Unfortunately, I discovered that a 5 gallon bucket 3/4 full of raw topsoil only yields ~1/4 bucket of finalized MTS. Consequently, I am starting a new batch. I would rather have too much than not enough.

Here's the new batch taking it's first bath. I'm using a plastic tub this time for soaking. I'm thinking that it'll be easier....


Charlie

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Just because it's dirt doesn't make it low-tech.

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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 04:45 AM
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Here is pictures of the MTS I used in a tank I set up last Friday.



Mixed into cake batter with clay



Potash and Dolomite dusting


Edging with cap substrate to make nice clean sides


MTS placed


Capped


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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 04:47 AM
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I will be talking about mineralized substrates this weekend on Aqua Botanic's podcast.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/aquabot...n-the-aquarium

You should tune in or call in and give some feedback on your experience or ask questions.


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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 05:03 AM
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I put my dirt in a little more like mashed potatoes than cake batter. I find it easier to plant in that.

I don't place the edge cap as I want to show off my MTS This latest tank I went heavier on the clay that previous batches. The MTS looks cocco brown against the Black Diamond Cap. I feel the crypts are doing extremely well in it.

Last edited by DogFish; 01-25-2012 at 03:31 PM.
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