Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil & Cap - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-01-2012, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil & Cap

For setting up my new tank, I am going to put down first Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil, as suggested in my other post, and then a cap, the question about the cap, will eco-complete I have work OK? I really hate to replace it since I already have 180lbs of it in my current tank, I hate to have my new tanke re-cycle, but I want to do what going to be best, I don't want in a month for the soil to be all over the place and have to take the tank down. Want to do it right the first time.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-01-2012, 06:03 PM
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Trying to save the cycle I'm guessing fauna is going right back into the tank after the change. Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil has cow manure listed on all the bags I've seen. Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix (exact wording on the label) has chicken waste added in the mix and has less tendency to spike parameters when first submerged.

To you're question a 2" layer of Eco should hold it down fine. Another option would be to use it and add some coal slag blasting media as a filler with the Eco to help close gaps in the capping material. Just wrote out the following for another post today.
Flourite, Eco Complete and gravel mixes release to the water more during the first few months. Using sand or a mixture of sand and frag my water parameter always test a lower nutrient content.

Using a mixture of Black Beauty and Eco 1.5" held the lighter organics great here. Even thinner on the cap will work using sand size grained materials. 1" holds very well in my experience. The mixed size of the Eco Complete I have handled 2" would be my minimum capping thickness.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advise.

Just wanted to confirm a few things.

Coal Slag Blasting Abrasive - is this what your talking about? Any suggestions how much to use? Looks like I can buy it in 25lbs container for 20 dollars local? I have 180 lbs of eco complete, though doubt I will need all that now with using the sand.

Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix - how deep should I made this about 2 inches? Any idea how many bags I might need? Looks like it sold in 8qt bag local. Any other options that would work for me that does not cost as much? This stuff is 4.50 a bag. I don't mind spending the money if you think for my case it would work the best.

Thanks again for your help
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 09:34 PM
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Jim - Look for Black Diamond blasting media. A welding supply or Farm supply should have it. He it's $8 for a 50# bag.

I completey agree with wkendrcer use it with your eco. Should actually look pretty nice to. I'm using straight Black Diamond as a cap and while it looks nice..it's to perfectly nice...I'm more into a natural look.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Jim - Look for Black Diamond blasting media. A welding supply or Farm supply should have it. He it's $8 for a 50# bag.

I completey agree with wkendrcer use it with your eco. Should actually look pretty nice to. I'm using straight Black Diamond as a cap and while it looks nice..it's to perfectly nice...I'm more into a natural look.

Thanks for the info.

I found some local at tractor supply. It about 30 min drive, do you think one bag will be enough?

Last edited by Jim_PA; 02-02-2012 at 10:40 PM. Reason: typo
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 10:34 PM
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Black Diamond, Black Beauty are trade names for coal slag blasting media.
Sampling 3 different bags for water tests all were inert when I tested.

Larger grades are available but I have whats pictured below, the coin is a dime.



None of this stuff is marketed for our purposes so quality control is always a question of comfort zone. I've used Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix with consistent results so I recommend it based on that. Placed in the tank dry pressing down with the palm of my hand to compact it a 2" layer is the limit on the depth I've used. Larger bags should be available but I can't say how much as I do multiple tanks and just open bags as needed.


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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 11:34 PM
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Jim - I buy mine at Tractor Supply too. Get the large size. I'd think mixing it with your Eco one bag would work as your using it as a supplement. Might be a good I idea to make a few test mixes outside the tank. Like 75% eco 25% BD & 50-50. Post a pick & we can look at it.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 11:50 PM
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haha coin is in the pics (it was/is a dime)

Using the grit to fill in the gaps in my capping material I just filled 22oz plastic cups after filling the tank with everything used to set it up, dirt, main frag capping material and 1/2 tank water fill. Then scattered 5-6 cups (55g tank) over the top and did my plant placement. It settles into a mix in short order. All my soil tanks get a little capping material added over time as I think touch up is needed so I hold some in reserve. In a years time I've added maybe 5lbs of grit if that doing it twice.

HTH


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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 01:42 AM
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Get the 20/40 grit Black Diamond. It's the perfect size. Not gravel, and not sand.

Oh, and +1 to everything those two said about dirt.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 02:12 AM
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Jim - After reading Mike's last post I have enough left in a bag to do what you need. Planning on being in Chicago anything soon?

Mike - Ya, I know I didn't catch the that until after I posted.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the advise, this is very helpful, let me throw in one more question.

What if I don't want to use the eco-complete anymore, not sure route I want to go yet, but can I just use Black Diamond blasting media as the cap, and replacement for the eco-complete
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 01:49 PM
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hey Jim are you planning to mineralize the miracle grow?

here is a pic of of mine during the sifting stage. Keep in mind that this is AFTER 3 soak/dry stages.

Look at all the filler that i still got out of it. the bin on the left if the sifted "finished" MG the one on the right is what i sifted out.



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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 02:01 PM
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Is there anything appropriate to our use on the market that doesn't need to be sifted? Lazy girl is lazy....
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 02:49 PM
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You can Float out a lot of stuff too.

Fill 1/2 a 5 gal pail with dirt, add water, stir until all dirt is moving. Let settle 5 min. pour off the floating matter. Anything that will float in the bucket would float in your tank. You will have to repeat this a few times. Then stick you hands in that mess and remove any rocks and break up any clumps. Let it settle for 30min and slowly pour off the water.

When you get almost all the water out, crumble up some newspaper put it on the dirt to squeeze out more water.

I like to put the mud in the tank the consistently of mashed potatoes. I find that easier to work with than soupy mud. I then lay the cap and plant.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
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You can Float out a lot of stuff too.
This method sounds much more appealing. The kids can even help with the smooshing and stirring. They'll like that.
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