Some questions regarding MTS - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Some questions regarding MTS

Hello,

So I've started my quest to make MTS and have already hit many bumps.

I've dumped two bags of topsoil into a bucket and I filled it up with water, mixed it around and let it sit 2 days. Problem is now it's just a bucket of dirty water so I'm not sure how I'm supposed to "dump the water off the top". It has not seperated at all. Does this mean I've bought the wrong stuff? I feel like this is a dumb question.

This is the top soil I have: http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows....jsp?locale=en

It says compost "enriched" soil so I'm worried that's the wrong type.

I'm also having trouble finding the dolomite, but have read I can used crushed coral and epsom salt instead. Is this true? If so in what quantity?

Can I use powdered dolomite? I know to avoid dolomite lime but not sure if a powdered form of dolomite is ok (from pottery supplier).

Or is there a place online (for Canada) that I can buy..

Thanks!

Last edited by karawr; 08-31-2012 at 02:44 AM. Reason: another question
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 02:35 AM
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As far as the in the bucket, It only needs to be in there until the dirt is saturated 15 min is more than enough. No need for a two day soak.

I stir mind up and let it settle. Wood chips that float to the top are skimmed off with a fish net. Anything not settled after 15min is poured off.

Yes, there is waste due to cloudy water, sticks and pebbles.

I think what is floating in yours is the compost enrichment. I use the cheapest 40# bag I can find at Home Depot $1.17 unless I see it on sale for .87


I'd say pour the water off, keep what you do have in the bottom of the bucket. Then get a 40# bag of the cheapest topsoil you can find.

Last edited by DogFish; 08-31-2012 at 01:24 PM. Reason: sp.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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I see. I was just going by Aaron's post, he said let it soak a day or two. Is that just the initial soak then? I suppose after that I could just spray the dirt with a hose once it's on the tarp?

Should I just restart with a new topsoil? Because I used two 25L bags. This is for a 120g 60 x 18 footprint. Is two bags too much?

And can I use powdered dolomite?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karawr View Post
I see. I was just going by Aaron's post, he said let it soak a day or two. Is that just the initial soak then? I suppose after that I could just spray the dirt with a hose once it's on the tarp?

Should I just restart with a new topsoil? Because I used two 25L bags. This is for a 120g 60 x 18 footprint. Is two bags too much?

And can I use powdered dolomite?
No disrespect to Aaron he's a friend and his Skicky is a great help to people starting with dirt. Once the dirt is saturated there is not need to continue soaking it can only hold a finite amount of water. I find after 15min. every thing that is going to float has reached the surface ( I do stir it) I don't want the floating matter in my MTS mix, so I net it out or pour it off.

I use a watering can to wet the dirt on my tarp. A hose with a spray nozzle will work fine too. Rain of course is nice too.

While it's drying out between cycles I ram it to to sped up the drying.

The formula is L x W X 2" that will give you maybe 1 1/2 " compressed MTS once its in the tank.

I try to figure that a 40# bag of topsoil that is 4" thick when laying flat will 2" thick after being "cleaned" of stick & stones and the porganics have mineralized. That said look at physical size of your 25L bags and think 1/2 of that thickness for finished project. It's too early for me to do the Liters to Pounds conversion math.

If you build too much, no worries it's dirt it will last. I use extra for our house plants.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by karawr View Post
....And can I use powdered dolomite?
Yes, keep in mind it will desoulve faster than small pebble sized grains so go easy on the amount. Unless you are starting with very acidic soil or have acidic water I think dolomite is a less important addition. It's really intended as a time release type addition by using larger grains.

They are other options like Chicken grit with is crushed Oster shell and crushed Coral. Turkey grit will be larger grain size. Very in expensive if you are near a Farm Feed Supply.

You could use both in moderation.

I feel the clay & potash are a bit more important.

I also feel one needs some Organic mater to help the plants use the mineralized soil more effectively. I use a think layer of worm casing
1/4". To me mineralization is a way to have control over organic content
and provided long term feeding of the roots.

A 1/4" of worn chasing will compress to 1/8" or less so in relationship to the rest of the MTS is is very small amount.

Last edited by DogFish; 09-01-2012 at 02:45 AM. Reason: sp.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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Would powder or chicken grit be more useful? There's a feed supply down the road I'm gonna check out tomorrow. I will look for the chicken grit.

In either case, how much should I use for my footprint?

I need to run to the garden centre still for the potash. As for the clay I've found a pottery supplier for 2lbs of plainsman m390. It's is roughly 4% iron. Should 2lbs be enough? I did the math 1/4 per sq foot so 1.8lbs I should need...
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Should I add osmocote plus to the MTS? And if so, how do I use it? Do I sprinkle it on the bottom with the potash and dolomite or should I make capsules and stick them in the soil every so often?
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 05:02 PM
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I would suggest the fertcicle method, which is add 5 osmocote pellets into each icecube areas in an icetray, then add water and freeze. Then once frozen you can add a fertcicle to every 1ft of the substrate, make sure to push any osmocote cicles down deep into the substrate.

Also make sure you have the 15-9-12 Osmocote +, because Osmocote comes in many different N-P-K formulas...

45g Long - High Light Planted Tank / 30g - Plant Grow Out Tank / 100g Tank - currently resealing
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