Mineralized top soil?? Low tech tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Mineralized top soil?? Low tech tank

Hi, I am not new to planted tanks, but have never tried soil as a substrate. I've read that it can cause algae blooms in the early stages until the organics that are un-useable by plants are broken down. I am going to mineralize it to help with this.

My question is after its done..do you think it would help if i filled the tank and left it w/out any light? before adding plants
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 11:07 PM
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I am new to planted tanks and my first low tech tank had mineralized top soil capped with gravel. I never had any sort of algae blooms. I only had some diatoms show up after a couple weeks which I believe isn't actually algae. Must have been induced by the silicates in my gravel.

Here is what I did:
  • I soaked the soil for two days, drain the water and soak for another day.
  • Spread it out thin on a tarp and let it dry until hard.
  • Repeat the steps above 3-4 times.
  • Sift the soil
  • Added pottery clay(powdered form is okay). I used 1/4lb per 1 sq. ft. of tank footprint according to Aaron Talbot's recipe.

    I dont think the lights would matter. After filling I immediately started planting.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 11:21 PM
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You can avoid an algae bloom as long as you have enough plants starting out, even with normal soil. I did this in a low light tank with no problems. The cynaobacteria that was coating my old plants is disappearing over time even.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soujirou View Post
You can avoid an algae bloom as long as you have enough plants starting out, even with normal soil. I did this in a low light tank with no problems. The cynaobacteria that was coating my old plants is disappearing over time even.
How much is "enough"?

I started out with only 6 bunches of jungle vals for my 18 gallon non CO2 & no ferts tank and did not have any algae blooms.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 04:16 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the process specks..i think ill start it all tomorrow
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 10:15 AM
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No problem. Glad I could help.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 10:39 AM
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Question: if you are going low tech, why not Walstad?

The decaying organics in MGOCPS will at least temporarily increase your available CO2. And after a year or two of that you're basically left with MTS, anyways.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s_s View Post
Question: if you are going low tech, why not Walstad?

The decaying organics in MGOCPS will at least temporarily increase your available CO2. And after a year or two of that you're basically left with MTS, anyways.
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Originally Posted by s_s View Post
Question: if you are going low tech, why not Walstad?

The decaying organics in MGOCPS will at least temporarily increase your available CO2. And after a year or two of that you're basically left with MTS, anyways.
What is MGOCPS?

i did not bother with walstad because I wanted to avoid an algae bloom that is common with unmineralized soil(this is according to sources regarding mineralized top soil). I like to play safe.

If the decay of organics indeed produce CO2 then this will be more of a concern in unmineralized soil. Mineralization basically removes most if not all of the organics in the soil.

Also, low tech means no CO2.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 03:44 PM
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MGOCPS = Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Soil

But at my LFS they said...
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by specks View Post
What is MGOCPS?

i did not bother with walstad because I wanted to avoid an algae bloom that is common with unmineralized soil(this is according to sources regarding mineralized top soil). I like to play safe.

If the decay of organics indeed produce CO2 then this will be more of a concern in unmineralized soil. Mineralization basically removes most if not all of the organics in the soil.

Also, low tech means no CO2.
Many have opinions on what qualifies as low tech and "The Walstad Method".
Fair to say for most on this forum low tech is lower lighting levels and a lack of pressurized CO2 injection in the majority of posts I've read.

The D. Walstad method (imo) is the attempt to reach complete balance between flora and fauna. I maintain many tanks that use her book as a guide. Naturally occurring CO2 within the tank (respiration and organic break down) is all low tech LOL.

Large algae outbreaks have never occurred in my NPT systems.
Healthy plants including floaters in good numbers out compete algae.
Also understanding how to control (or limit) the light energy is the easiest way to avoid most algae problems in my experience so far.

Organic content doesn't = a bad thing


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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hey specks....in that low tech tank..in the substrate..did you use dolomite and potash too?
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
i did not bother with walstad because I wanted to avoid an algae bloom that is common with unmineralized soil(this is according to sources regarding mineralized top soil). I like to play safe.
The algae bloom is from the release of ammonia that sometimes occurs with soil. This happens in both the Walstad method and the mineralized soil method.

Quote:
Mineralization basically removes most if not all of the organics in the soil.
Thats not true at all. The mineralization process makes the nutrients more readily available, but absolutely does not remove the organics. In MTS the organic material continues to decay over the life of the substrate just as it does with the Walstad method. Sun drying the soil will release some of the ammonia, but the organic material is still there. Glenn McCreedy, Chris Brown, and Betty Harris talked about this in detail on my radio show. Soil is organic material. If you removed all the organic material there would be no soil.

Betty Harris, a very long time Walstad user, explained that she has set up several tanks without any major algae blooms, but one of her tanks was a huge mess that took 2 or 3 months to settle down. Once it did settle and stabilize, it presented no further problems.

Robert Paul Hudson

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