Soilmaster Select Red w/ pic links YOU want SOME? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2006, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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Soilmaster Select Red w/ pic links YOU want SOME?

I decided to give Soilmaster a try. After calling my local dealer, I found out that Charcoal isnt in and it would take weeks to order. What they did have in is the Red variety. I grabbed a 50 lb bag of the "red" and went for it. To change my current gravel in the 55, I used my 46 bow as a container. Here are the steps...
1. Empty the 46g bb tank (or leave a little water, whatever)
2. Move the water from the 55 to 46 until most of the 46 is full.

Keep a 5g bucket with the 55g tank inhabitants, in my case: 5 medium angels, 2 clown loaches, 1 spotted rafael, 3 cories, 8 otos. I had an air bubbler going into the bucket to prevent as much stress as possible.

3. After 46 is pretty full, dumb the rest of the water from the 55 and remove the gravel. Dont worry about the muck as it will be used. When most of the gravel is removed proceed to step 4.

4. Sprinkle some peat moss onto the bottom of the tank. I used Schultz peat moss from walmart obtained 8qts bag for 2.50. (no additives from what i've seen). I just sprinkled it lightly. No 1/2 inch layers.

5. Do not wash the Soilmaster. Dump it into the tank over the peat and old gravel gunk. (there is very little water in the tank right now).

6. After making the slope you want at the thickness you want, hide the rest of the bag . I used half a bag on a 55 and i got a fairly uniform 4 inch thickness without much of a slope.
--take a break if you want because the following will take a while--

7. Using 5 gallon buckets, I started moving the water back from the 46 into the 55. In order not to disturb the SM, I started by placing/holding the bucket on the side of the tank and using the syphon to draw the water onto a plate sitting on the bottom. However after deciding that I did not like the plate idea, I placed my sponge filter into the tank and directed the water from the syphon onto the top of the sponge. The water drained through the sponge without disturbing the gravel. After 1/2-2/3s of the tank was full, I just poured the water into the tank out of the bucket with the stream hitting my hand placed just below the water surface. Once again, the bottom was not disturbed.

--- When the tank is 1/3 full you may use the opportunity to plant your plants. My observation was that SM was very easy to plant in. Its pretty light and fills the holes you make with your finger when inserting plant roots.

The tank came out SLIGHTLY cloudy which is much better than I expected given what the SM looked like coming out of the bag. (my gf coughed from all the dust and she was across the room).

The color of the "red" is a bit lighter than your standard orange clay pots found at any garden shop.

Fish were introduced back into the water after about an hour. At first the angels seemed "off" and I got a bit worried. After about an hour of lights out, they came back to light and quit hiding behind the wood. It is now 3 hours later and they are back to normal swimming with vigor and playing/eating. Clown loaches and cories are active.

-A thing to note is the SM retains air when you add water and as your fish swim around, there are going to be air bubbles coming up from the gravel. Nothing to worry about (I hope).

Overall a great experience done in about 1 hour (without the fish waiting and so on)

David

notice: the pics are taken by a crappy camera with no backround on the tank. I found that the cam takes better shots that way, go figure.

http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i2...k/837f599e.jpg
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i2...k/9fa690ed.jpg
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i2...k/5ce2b4b5.jpg

Last edited by playaslk; 06-30-2006 at 03:15 AM. Reason: added pic links
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2006, 05:03 AM
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Echhhh....the color.....grow a ton of ground cover to hide it.....

In college....so no aquariums for a while.....
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2006, 05:19 PM
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Ok, so what is soilmaster? Is it a substrate for aquariums, ponds, or what?

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2006, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TINNGG
Ok, so what is soilmaster? Is it a substrate for aquariums, ponds, or what?
It is a product marketed for Baseball fields mainly.

If you want to see some photos of the charcoal variety of it, have a look here.

It is sold in the US mainly by Lesco.


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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 02:35 AM
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Ahhh... ok. I got the feeling it wasn't an aquarium soil but wanted to make sure.

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 11:54 PM
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Pictures! Pictures!

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 04:24 AM
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That's red? Ok, next question, where might I find this stuff?

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 05:02 AM
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That looks good, pretty natural looking. It will look great once all the plants fill in. You can locate a lesco store on their site www.lesco.com Sometimes you can get them to special order the charcoal variety, or order it on the site and choose local pickup. Some have had luck contacting field maintenance companies and buying from them. The regular soilmaster is larger more irregular grain size, about like flourite. The soilmaster select is smaller and more uniform in size. Both make good substrates.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 03:24 PM
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I like that. Looks pretty natural to me. If when I set up my next tank the local Lesco doesn't have the charcoal, I would have no problem with the red I think.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 03:50 PM
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There's no local Lesco. May have to look for a field maintenance company.

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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-29-2006, 05:08 PM
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Contact OilDri. They are the ones that make Soilmaster and can tell you where the nearest place selling it is.

--Mike
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 02:52 AM
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I likey. Thanks for posting pics
I too, cannot get ahold of charcoal.

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 02:56 AM Thread Starter
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As much as i already feel the pain, I'd be willing to purchase some for any who need it and are willing to pay for shipping to their residence. I just checked it looks as if it is about 42 bucks to ship the whole bag (50lbs) from FL (here) all the way to cali.
***After some serious thought, I realized there is a way to do this cheaper. The approximate dimentions of the 50lb bag are 24x15x6, giving an approximate volume of ***2200 cubic inches***.

Since the advent of flat rate boxes we have the following choices:
Box One: 11-7/8 x 3-3/8 x 13-5/8 inches (ideal for garments, board games, books and other relatively thin items like dirt).
Box Two: 11 x 8-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches (perfect for shoes, model cars and taller items, and dirt).

dimentions of
Box one: around 570 inches cubed (about 4 boxes for 50lb bag) $32 shipping
Box two: 514 cubic inches... not as good

So I can split the bag up into however much SM you need and ship it in flatrate boxes. the cost of a 50lb bag of dirt is 17 bucks give or take a few cents with tax.
Total approximate cost $17+32 is 49 dollars for the soil shipped. This ofcorse is a coarse approximation and in no way hold me responsible for crazy post office employees. (J/K!)

IM me if you want to try working this out
David

Last edited by playaslk; 06-30-2006 at 05:20 AM.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 03:17 PM
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I have been using Soilmaster for about 6 years. It works great they only thing I do not like about it.
Very very dusty and cleaning is a must.
Light weight any large fish and easily shift the Soilmaster also planting can be somewhat a little more difficult.
But for a good bag for the buck it can not be beat. For a low tech set-up the stuff rocks 50lbs for around $15 to $20 is a good deal.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2006, 03:30 AM
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The Lesco site has a directory of companies that sell it.

Good stuff and be sure to get the coarse. It less expensive and after a few months the smaller particles tend to settle down, which makes it much easier to clean.

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